Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Listen to the Children: It is time to Stand Strong, not back away!

May 20, 2014


As of 11:55 tonight, there are 10 members of the Newark Student Union spending the night at 2 Cedar Street in the room where the Advisory Board holds its business meetings.  
After our small but successful rally this afternoon, the students went upstairs, issued their demands and sat down in the floor in the front of the room.  The demands were:

1)  The immediate resignation of Cami Anderson

2)  An immediate halt to One-Newark

3)  Implementation of Newark Promise (the community driven report created over months and presented Saturday)

4)  A meeting with Anderson and NJ Commissioner of Education David Hespe.  

When they were offered the meeting with Anderson and Hespe, but had the other demands refused, they remained seated and refused to leave.  The meeting was ended, the adults all left, and the students controlled the room.  And they still control the room right now.

This is an INSPIRING example of what human beings can do when they show solidarity with each other and work together to fight injustice imposed by the wealthy and powerful!  A small group of students are literally putting their bodies on the gears of power, and stopping those gears from functioning!  

For we adults - often too afraid to take action even when our own profession, reputations, livelihoods and callings are under attack - this action should show us that it is not acceptable to bury our heads in the sand as public education is destroyed!  We hope this will be a call to action for the many adults who have thus far refused to stand up for themselves, their schools, and their students!  

BUT, the students have not eaten much since 6 or 7 pm, and are hungry now.  And, they will be truly hungry in the morning.  AND, they need moral support.  So, if you are at all able and have time in the morning, please help and support these students in any way possible, either materially (food and beverages) or morally (going to 2 Cedar St to show support, or telling friends about their action).  

Please tell friends, family, and colleagues about their fight and their current situation.  They need all the support they can get.  

NEW Caucus stands in solidarity with the Newark Students Union!

How are the children?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Schools are In Crisis and They Are Going to Disney World!

A storm of anger was unleashed on March 27, 2014 when David Matthews led Academy Parents (mostly out of district - School Choice) on a destructive rampage of hate and propaganda. They do not want their children to pass yours and mine in the hallway.

Some people were so enraged that all concerned ignored actions that needed to be taken based on the high school Principal's presentation.
  • Final Exam Dates, Schedule, Details were ignored and not recommended by the Superintendent          or approved by the Board.
  • Senior Experience was ignored and no action was taken
  • Graduation Date was ignored, no decision was made, no action was taken
  • Keynote Speaker of Graduation was lost because action was not taken in time to secure the chosen speaker. Our Board and District Leader had taken no action on how the loss of instruction time, because of inclement weather, would be made up. (Did we need a "Think Tank" to take action on this also?
Residency Re-Registration
Attention was diverted to the task of re-registering students at Quarles and Grieco to weed out persons who are stealing Education from the Englewood Public School District. 3 families supposedly confessed that they do not live in Englewood and nothing happened. They are being allowed to finish out the year. 

Last year, we watched the Board bring a teacher employed by the Englewood Public School District to tears.  She does not live in Englewood, but had a diabetic son registered at and attending Quarles. They had the woman crying in public.  They gave this teacher and several others a tuition bill. Why are they allowing persons who confess to "stealing education" to finish out the year without paying anything? The 
Re-registration activity itself cost the District money.

The Budget - 
Why is there no reference to the amount paid by Englewood Cliffs? State Aid does not cover them since we are their high schools. In years past, there are amounts paid to the district for Englewood Cliffs students. 

Curriculum Development
Some things do not require a degree in education to see the problem. Compare the way
the curriculum as developed in the first 2 Englewood models to the ones following.

I suspect that the person who typed the Curriculum formation did not have a mastery of the software. The people who created the Curriculum need training in Curriculum Development. This was created by folks with Doctorate Degrees who do not teach. That is for sure. What are Essential Questions in the Common Core State Standards?
If a job is offered to a person of integrity and he/she is not able to do that job because of the skill set required, a person of integrity declines the position.
That person who typed these 2 Curriculum Guides should be required to perform a do over. Too much time is required on the part of the teacher, parent or state official to decipher that mish-mosh.

It is extremely difficult to even read the content. This should not be
posted so others may make the same comparison that this Educator has made. It is a bad
reflection on the district and demonstrates the shoddy work that our district accepts.

Acceptance of shoddy work is the basis of why we have a focus school.

Phase I Curriculum Alignment - 2013-2014 Created by EPSD Six figure Employees

EPSD six figure employees have just presented us perfect examples of curriculum that will never be used.
  • The set up. What is up with those cells? Baffle and Befuddle before even reading content? Hire someone who is capable of using the software. There is enough confusion already.
  • This model requires the teacher to;
    •  Memorize each standard's number
    • Consult the Common Core to identify the content of each individual standard constantly. CCSS Standards/Anchor Standards: RF 1.1, 1.3, 1.3b, 1.4,1.4a, 1.4b, 1.4c ,SL 1.1,1.1a, 1.1b, 1.1c, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 
    • Or ignore it all and chance that no one else has learned or has come up with a way to minimize  referencing time.
  • Our six figure employees have created a document in a way that was easy for them, but will be near impossible for a teacher to use effectively. (Turnaround Principle #7Effective Use of Time: Redesigning time to better meet student needs and increase teacher collaboration focused on improving teaching and learning; and)
When did we sell ourselves to Just Right Books? The names of vendors have no business within the
body and objectives of the Curriculum Guide.
Essential Question: How can readers read Just Right Books and use print strategies to
support conventional reading?
That is NOT an essential question. Click here for examples of Essential Questions. Essential Questions. What if this organization goes out of business? This implies that deals have been made even before the curriculum was written. Skills and Mastery shall take precedence over vendors. Just Right books should be listed with other resources that may be consulted by the Teacher. Are they under contract already?

What are running records? What percentage of the students' grade and the teachers'
evaluation depend on the results of Star Renaissance diagnostics?

The Field Trips - Purpose: The goal of HOSA is to experience the field of medicine in action.

You have got to be kidding. Is that the only rationale required for taking 9 children on a trip that costs the tax payers $4,100.00? How many of these 9 students are Englewood Residents? Chaperones should pay for themselves. Are you using the Title I status of our District to reduce the cost of sending non-Title I Students on a Field Trip to Disney World?

Are you trying to destroy what little positive climate and culture that remains intact at the high school? We all know that the majority of these children are School Choice. This is an example of why we/taxpayers have a problem with this Educational Model. At a Parent Partnership Association (PPA) meeting on March 27, one parent was adamant that Englewood taxpayers should NOT be allowed to speak, because it was a PPA Meeting and not a taxpayer meeting. 

On April 10, the Board President and Superintendent dismissed the "idea" presented by the HS Principal and did not look back to see that they were responsible to take action on other very important items listed on the same power point presentation as what they referred to as a "hair brained idea". After prefacing Privilege of the floor with the mandate that only one person per organization would be allowed to speak, our Board President engineered a situation where all members of the organization of PPA got to speak while only allowing 1 person to speak from the ETA. 

What exactly are the children expected to learn? HOW DO YOU EXPERIENCE THE FIELD OF MEDICINE AT A CONVENTION? Some of us have attended this type of convention.
Not one of you should vote for this. Shall we all chant "conflict of interest" 10 times, since 5 of you have
children in the Academy. This is not acceptable. A better rationale describing Learner Outcomes should be demanded for trips such as these if for no other reason but to keep the peace. You are fanning the flames now.

Were over 100 jobs sacrificed so you could cater to the few. The needs of the many far outweigh
the needs of the few.

Graduation - 
The High School Graduation is at high noon. The hottest time of the day for an outside graduation.
Many Districts intentionally schedule graduation at 5:30 after the sun has gone down and it is cooler. Plus this allows parents to attend work most of the day.

Why are you subjecting everyone to the possibility of heat stroke? Old people, small children, individuals with health concerns. I am diabetic. Sitting outside in the heat of the sun at "high noon" would be enough to put me in the hospital.

The Tone of the Present Agenda -
Oh really, you are going there? Seems someone may be a tad upset, because due process was followed for the first time in a very long time. The more you ignore the obvious, the more the climate and culture of the entire district deteriorates.

                                         How are the Englewood Children?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Will We Survive!?

June 14, 2014 is a very special day. We are continuing the conversation that was started last year at the People's Town Hall on Education Issues and Solutions.

Did you know that your 3rd grade child will be expected to accomplish a 
task that most adults cannot accomplish without sufficient preparation?

3rd graders will be required to type with speed and accuracy in order to perform well in the completion of online standardized tests. 

Third grade. 
How many words per minute do you type (key in) without errors?

Are you able to type without looking at the keys?
Do you use the hunt and peck method?
Do you simply text on the keyboard?
Do you type with all 10 of your fingers?
How many words do you type in 1 minute without errors?

Hunt and peck is almost sufficient for multiple choice.
How will they fare when writing?

More time on task is needed. 
Find an online program and require your child to begin to practice now
even if you are planning to OptOut.
I once harbored ill feelings towards my high school guidance counselor 
She kept telling me that I would make the best secretary
I wanted to be a doctor.
Today, I am thankful that my strong feelings towards her forced me to 
learn to type without looking at the keys.
The computer is a tool. 
The keyboard must become an extension of one's fingers.
Dealing with the machine must NOT be allowed 
to come between your child and success.


These tests will determine the way your child is treated in school for the rest of his or her life.

Typing Through Time: Keyboard History