Friday, October 31, 2014

Just Unadorned FACTS and STATISTICS...

"...This is not a 1 Year Phenomena....." 

Michael Roth, Interim Superintendent of the Englewood Public Schools - Addressed the public at the Englewood School Board Meeting, October 16, 2014.

This is what the Interim Superintendent of schools had to say about the

plummeting TEST SCORES of Englewood children.

"Since we received the scores, we’ve been very concerned. We have been taking them apart trying to find out, what went wrong, what is not going right. However, there are 2 particular areas.

1 is from 3rd to 4th grade in Language Arts. The other one is going from 6th to 7th grade in mathematics. 

Where the other scores went up a couple of points or down a couple of points, those 2 specific areas fell off a cliff. They didn’t go up or down by 1 or 2 points. They went off by almost 30 points. We’ve been trying to pull it apart. 

We’ve gone back to approximately 2006 so far.

That’s been happening in Englewood every single year. I don’t wanna give you a glib, answer. Right now, I am as confused as you. It doesn’t make sense that on the other years, there is fluctuation of a couple points, which is normally what you expect.  If you’re getting better, you’ll see a certain trend going upward. If there is a problem you will see a certain trend going downward. You never see a 30 point drop. I mean, it just doesn’t happen, and yet…

I don’t accept that as an answer this is not a one year phenomena. This has been happening, or close to it, for every single year. There is always a reason. There is a cause and effect. We’re going to have to find it. We are going to work to find it and I don’t want to give you a glib answer. I just don’t know. 

That’s why I wanted people to see unadorned facts and statistics. So we can dedicate ourselves to doing something about it. It doesn’t do any good to not face the facts. And that’s what it is…it is a very fair question. And I’m going to have to come to you with some answers. But I just don’t have them now. I don’t have them now."

                        "...And how are the children?"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This Is Not a One Year Phenomena...

All together now.....
On the subject of plummeting TEST SCORES...
Repeat after our Chief School Leader who was hired by unanimous Board decision. This includes the majority SEEK Board Membership.



It cost more money to educate a child in the Englewood Public School District than it does in one of our finest Private Schools. What do we have to show for it? Low test scores and children with broken spirits? How many generations of children has this district failed consistently?

This did not start in April of 2013. It has been ongoing and consistent for over 12 years. It was in full force in 2006 when Stephen Brown was President of the School Board and in 2008 when Glenn Garrison was President. Check out this article in FAST (Fiscal Accountability Starts Today)

Is this a tag team for failure? Where is the worm hole that swallows up the money?

Checkout the amount of money from the U.S. Department of Education that passed through the New Jersey Department of Education to the Englewood public School District IN THE SCHOOL YEAR 2003-2004. Keep in mind that taxes were going up consistently at the same time in the Municipality and in the school District. Double digit tax increases. Check the data for yourselves. This is the reason that there is now a 2% CAP for municipalities and school Boards. Wake up and smell the truth.
Stephen Brown and Glenn Garrison are part of the mechanism that created the problems in our school district. What makes you think that the architects of the problem will now become part of the solution?
"I don't care if children cannot read when they leave Quarles.Their parents should teach them to read and write before they go to school." Glenn Garrison, May of 2011.
That is what Glenn Garrison said to me in 2011 when I questioned the efficacy of teaching 3 different languages to pre-school and kindergarten children. Reminder: The test that they must take and pass with a full knowledge of computer usage and English Grammar is given in English in 3rd grade. Is your child ready? Is your child computer literate enough to pass this test? Is your child able to type with speed and accuracy? Does your child know English Grammar?
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MONEY IN THE ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT? LOOK AT YOUR CURRENT TAX BILL. HOW MUCH GOES TO YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT? Where is the return on your tax dollar? Every single word and action should be directed towards educating ALL of the children.

Friday, October 10, 2014

When Old Problems Persist

A friend of mine read this article in today. She wanted to know what I thought...

In a perfect world, Englewood Cliffs will build their own little high school for a small number of students. There are tiny high schools all over the country. So what is the problem? Folks seem to forget that Englewood Cliffs is totally free to set up their own small high school. They might even set up a Charter School. Remember, Charter Schools are public schools. That means that the people of Englewood Cliffs need to make some very important, history changing decisions. It would be a bold and admirable move. That would take care of Englewood Cliffs. (One wonders why this was never done. Gives one pause.)

The State and Federal Government or whomever makes the important decisions on these things should officially redefine the term "integration".

The Academy should be forced to eliminate the TEST with the stringent MATH performance requirements that all applicants must take to enter the School Choice Program. It is contrary to School Choice Guidelines to base admission into this "funded program" on a test. School Choice is based on Space. We see from this article that School Choice Admission is also based on Funding and this Funding is running out. The Program is costing the entire School District money. Poor planning, poor work organization and poor fiscal management may also be factors to consider.

It costs more to educate a child in the Englewood Public School District than it does to educate a child in a good quality Private School. This would be fine if test scores demonstrated that we are providing a good quality competitive education to every child. That, is not the case. School Choice is a privilege and should only be available to school districts that demonstrate they are already successful at teaching their own children. School Choice Students come here and they can be number 1 or number 10. What number were they in their home districts?

Exactly what does Englewood get out of that arrangement? Enrollment of Englewood students in A@E dropped long ago. There is no longer even an attempt to keep the enrollment to half and half as was mandated by the state. School  Choice is based on Space. 

Why should the State even consider giving this funding to Englewood Cliffs and Englewood? Both places need to accept that the world is changing. Some old deals need renegotiation and some just need to be discarded altogether, because of the backroom nature of the bargains. When I came here in 1967, there were quite a few students from the Cliffs. It was said that the additions to Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall were made to accommodate Englewood Cliffs students. I don't know about that, but I do know that the taxpayers of Englewood paid for the construction of the South Building. That information was easy to find.

Englewood Cliffs must take on the full responsibility of educating their own children. 

It is time for Englewood to do the same thing. EPSD must stop making excuses for failure. Englewood children must be "priority ONE" if we are to achieve the Reward School Designation. We must endeavor to raise the Academic Performance of every single student.  There are Regulations and we have policy regarding Equal Educational Opportunity. This policy is in direct conflict with the concept of "academic segregation" and this should be stressed to the public. It is unfair and gives children the wrong idea when adults do not practice what they preach. They make laws that apply to OTHER people and not to themselves. The children are watching, learning,  judging...and...

The very concept of Integration means that you need a certain percentage of white people. This A@E Entrance Test probably eliminates some very brilliant white children who excel in many other subject areas and who will fit more harmoniously with the children of Englewood Residents. Do you follow? It will do wonders on helping to repair the Toxic Climate and Culture that has been pervading our high school. Then perhaps children, teachers and administrators will get down to some learning. 

Everybody is looking to register white children. This very paper did an article a few months ago about Teaneck Public Schools. It seems that Teaneck still thinks that they need white people in order to survive and educate all children. The perception that education must stop because of a person's address and skin color is old and played. White flight is at its highest. Population growth among Caucasian people is said to be about 0-1%. It is time to stop chasing Anglo Saxons. Some people don't like being in the minority, so they fly. Englewood must buckle down and teach the diverse population of children enrolled.

There are just not enough white people to go around.

What does Englewood get out of any deal with Englewood Cliffs? There is no real gain from even the School Choice Program since we lose money on every single student. Add that to the cost of the extended day and there lies that deficit that was defined in 2012. This same deficit was predicted in 2008 - 2009 when the last check came from the Equity and Excellence millions that were given to the EPSD for the purpose of integrating DMHS. How did that work out for us?  School Choice does not earn money for the Englewood Public School District. Those False Rumors have been dispelled.

A Focus School Designation has a negative impact on our HS and our district. 

The burning question on the lips of taxpayers.....
Would DMHS have been designated a Focus School if there was no School Choice Program in our district?   

In the words of one of our Board Members, "We are who we Are!" 
And that includes Englewood Cliffs. 
Solve your problems and we will solve ours.

So that is what I think...

...And how are the children?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Maquette Finds A Permanent Home

Gearing  up for the Campaign
These 3 Englewood School Board Candidates
attended the Celebration and Presentation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Maquette to the 
Englewood Public Library by the Mayor and Assemblywoman Valerie V. Huttle.

George Garrison III, Betty Griffin, Kevin Lake pose in front of the
Maquette of Martin Luther King, Jr. created by the Artist Richard Blake
and commissioned by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Committee.
The Commissioned work of Art will be unveiled on Sunday, October 12, 2014
at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
November 19, 2013
The Artist, Richard Blake poses with
his work at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
November 19, 2013

May 20, 2014
The Maquette arrived in Englewood.

May 20, 2014
4th Ward Council Wayne Hamer delivers the
Maquette to the Mayor to be presented to the
Library at a later date.

May 20, 2014
He won the bidding war. His opponent wanted the
Maquette for Teaneck High School. They have a
Multicultural Studies Center that contains an
African & African American Studies Center.
Englewood does not have anything
that remotely resembles that, yet.

May 20, 2014
The Maquette was informally presented to the Director of the
Englewood Public Library.
September 28, 2014
The Marquette is formally presented to the Englewood Public Library.
Theodora Lacey, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, Mayor Frank Huttle III and Arnold Brown
At the risk of getting stoned later, this writer sincerely hopes that this is not the last we hear of this Maquette and what it means to the people of Englewood. It is hoped that the Armistad Curriculum will be dusted off and actually used in the classrooms in the District. We embrace the idea that this will infuse renewed interest in making sure that African & African American History is not ignored or changed to suit the teacher who happens to occupy the seat at the time. 

Some of us happen to believe that Martin would have been more interested in how his life's sacrifice translates into the classrooms of America. I believe, that the man embodied in the monument would be most happy to know that our schools have become places where all little children will live, play, laugh, study and learn in educational environments where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, zip code or parent's bank account, but by the content of their character.

- Vote November 4, 2014 - Make the Dream A Reality -