Friday, October 13, 2017

Why Are our Children forced to Vet their Own Teachers?

A parent called me today with some very real concerns about an incident with his child. It seems, a Geometry teacher, Miguel Tactuk employed in the Englewood Public School District was removed from the building today, October 13, 2017.  This teacher was allegedly verbally abusive with a group of female students. One young lady was insulted that he was speaking to them in ways that she had never heard from a teacher. She decided to google  him. What she found will shock you. 

It seems that this teacher has a history of being verbally abusive to female students.  He had in fact gotten into trouble in New York for sexually harassing a 12 year old female student when he taught    7th grade there. At the very least, this Geometry teacher was removed from the building.

What has our School System come to when the children must police their own teachers? We were assured that our new Human Relations Manager with her law degree was a top notch person for the job. How did she miss this? The former Human Relations Manager did not have the credentials to do the job, yet was kept in the position for many years. 

Why are employees not being vetted more closely now? Is this the reason so many teachers have been found teaching outside of their certifications? In light of recent developments one would think that every new hire would be vetted more closely. Who is watching the store?

It appears that the employees who have tenure charges against them are not the problem. The current system which is still status quo is. The new HR Director is part of the Corrective Action Plan. Perhaps the "exhaustive certification audit" should be expanded to include issues such as this.

Unfortunately teachers in Englewood and other school districts around the state and the country sometimes run afoul of what is right and good. They forget that children are people too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Phantom Candidate

Save the date: The League of Women Voters' School Board Candidates Night- Tuesday, October 24th at 7:30 pm, Public Safety Building, 73 South Van Brunt Street.

Bill Feinstein
Column 5
We started this School Board Election season with a record number of 10 Candidates vying for 3 seats on the Englewood Board of Education. Candidates in the 9th and 10th columns dropped out of the race prior to September 6. Their names will not be on the ballot. We now have 8 candidates competing for those same 3 seats. 4 of those candidates are still a mystery to "we the people". The 4 candidates here are off and running.

April 2012 School Board Elections were a bit odd with unexplained events throughout. 2 Candidates ran who did absolutely nothing to win. They simply put their names on the ballot and became Spoilers.

One, we know. His name is David Popkin. Mr. Popkin was one of a few people who attended every school board meeting and challenged anything mathematical. He and I were once the only 2 residents who waited out a Board meeting that lasted until 2:00 am in the morning. He was a Math teacher in his early years and has lived in Englewood a very long time. He is known to keep the Board on its toes about many issues including accepting gifts from vendors. He was his very own Board Watch for many years. 2012 was not the first time that Mr. Popkin had run for the Board. He told me that he never campaigns and never signs petitions. 

Dierdre Paul
Column 7
When asked why he runs, he said that he just wanted to make it interesting.  I didn't try to understand, for fear of a math problem that I would never be able to comprehend. Mr. Popkin got over 200 votes without doing anything other than putting his name on the ballot.

The 2nd candidate was literally a "Phantom". We never saw her. No one knew who she was. We thought she did not exist. We searched the registered voter list to make sure that she was a real person.

She is a real person. Her name is Jennifer Kim. She never revealed herself throughout the campaign. She did not attend any of the debates or "meet the candidate" events. On Election night, the Asian news media was there with cameras waiting alongside us for the outcome of the election. I assume they wanted to see her also. She never showed. We call her the "Phantom Candidate".  She got votes from every single ward and district in the City. Jennifer Kim earned 233 votes. She did even less than Mr. Popkin. She and Mr. Popkin simply took nearly 500 votes from other candidates who may have done better had the Spoilers not participated. One will never know whom they were both set on derailing.

Last night a friend and I went over the voting patterns in Englewood School Board Elections for the last 6 years. It came to me that we have not seen or heard anything from 4 of the 8 Candidates. We have no photographs of them. School Board is very personal and somehow closer to the people than other elected officials. They make decisions that are closer to our hearts. They have the power to change the futures of our children. Yes, they do.

Betty Griffin
Column 4
Phantom candidates become what the political world calls spoilers.

We have not heard from 4 of the 8 Candidates. Matthew Garrison, we have seen in and around town as a child and a teenager. He did not attend Dwight Morrow High School. Most of us have not seen nor heard from Matthew since he went off to college. Did Matthew really want to be on the Board of Education? Did he personally carry a petition and get signatures? One wonders....

And who is Brent Watson? He has attended 2 of the same Board meetings and has a face.  He holds the #1 Column on the ballot and may join the ranks of those elected simply because of that. Voters, please read the names and attend the events scheduled to give you a chance to meet and question the candidates.

Did Michelle Marom and Dalia Lerner really want to throw their hats into that ring of fire? Who knows? Perhaps the 3 of them will show up at the League of Women Voters "Meet the Candidates event scheduled for Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm, Public Safety Building, 73 South Van Brunt Street.

Howard Haughton
Column 3
In years past, published candidate photographs and campaign statements prior to the election. This blogger has no idea what the protocol will be this year. As it stands, the people should not have to wait. There are very important decisions to be made.

Do we have 3 "Phantom" Candidates in 2017?

.....And how are the children?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

“Claiming a Future for our Children”

My name is William Feinstein and I am a candidate for the Englewood Board of Education. I was raised in Englewood and attended the Englewood Public Schools from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. After graduating from Dwight Morrow High School, I attended Johnson & Wales University, where I obtained my BA in Hospitality Management. 

I am currently the Director of Human Resources with a boutique hotel company in New York City. I have previously served on city boards and committees, including the Englewood Rent Leveling Board, The Englewood Board of Adjustment and the 1999 Englewood Centennial Committee.

Why am I running for the Englewood Board of Education? 
I am very passionate and committed 
to the success of the Englewood Public Schools. I was fortunate to receive a great education that prepared me for the world outside of Englewood and I want every child today to receive that same great education and experience. As a community we have a responsibility, to ensure that each child is given that same opportunity from day one. We must put a very strong emphasis on early education. When a child falls behind in the early grades, it becomes extremely difficult, if not sometimes impossible, for that child to catch up. 

That is unacceptable.

As a School Board Member, I will take my responsibilities very seriously. I understand that my role is not to be involved in the day to day operations of the district, but to work collaboratively with the administration and other board members to develop policies that support the district goals and follow the law. Our goals must be focused on one objective: to offer the best education possible to every child.
We must get our house in order so that we can attract the most qualified and experienced individuals for the district at all levels. We need to start thinking outside of the box and become more creative to increase parent and community involvement. Regular “listening sessions” where the board, administration and community can come together to have a real dialogue and discussion would be a great start. We also need to reach out to successful school districts and share best practices.

A strong successful school system benefits our entire community. We need all stakeholders to participate, parents, teachers, administrators and residents. I am an independent thinker that has only one special interest, the Children.
I ask for your support and your vote on 
November 7th, ballot position #5.

“Claiming a Future for our Children”

Paid for by Bill Feinstein for Englewood Board

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Shall We Talk?

I am Dr. Dierdre Glenn Paul. I am full professor at Montclair State University where I have worked for 24 years. I am a teacher educator, a published author of 4 books and multiple journal articles; and a former New York City Public School Teacher. I am result-oriented, as well. I am a divorced, single mom who raised 2 adult children alone. I am a daughter, a breast cancer survivor, a homeowner, an active member of St. Cecilia's, an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Inc., and a tough and resourceful African American woman.
 Most importantly, I am someone who cares deeply about education and children. I understand that, regardless of race, ethnicity or the amount of money you have, there's one thing that binds all parents/caregivers. We all love our children and want to see them do better in life than we have. 

As a member of the School Board, I will be available to you to talk about any school related concern you might have or meet with any group that is focused on improving the quality of education Englewood students receive. You will be heard. And I will be responsive to your needs. In those instances where we disagree, I will be honest with you...sooner rather than later.

 We all know that quality preschool and early literacy instruction set children on the path to academic success. In fact, they are the great equalizers. Even when the conditions for academic success aren't present in children's homes, quality preschool and early literacy instruction give them the boost needed to keep up with their classmates. So I will fight to make our recently approved preschool expansion work.

I have also spoken to several parents of children with special needs. In most instances, they are unhappy about the services their children are receiving. That's the reason I will be focused on making sure this this group of the most vulnerable students receive the accommodations that are legally required and will lead to successful learning opportunities for them.

Lastly, a failing school system is costly to taxpayers. It is common knowledge that a high-quality school system draws new residents to a town or city. Conversely, a failing school system does the opposite. Until we get our schools working effectively, downtown Englewood will continue to bleed ratables and young families will continue to flock to other towns with better school systems. As a result, there will be more reductions in direct school aid.
The success or continued failure of our public schools impacts everyone and needs all of us working together. Thank you for your time. 

Englewood voters, I am asking for your confidence and your vote on November 7th, Election Day
Find my name, Dierdre Paul in Column 7 on your November 7th Election ballot. 

Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY; M.Ed., Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY; M.Ed., Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, NY; BA, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Read Alouds, Presentations, Workshops, Forums and Panel Discussions

Presenter, PARCC: An underfunded mandate. Testimony delivered before the NJ Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearing, Paterson, NJ, March 18, 2015.

Presenter, PARCC: An underfunded mandate. Testimony delivered before the NJ Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearing, Paramus, NJ, March 10, 2015.

Coordinator with Pastor Jovan Davis, Lucy Walker, Alva Fogle, Sharon Bernstein on the inaugural READ OUT ENGLEWOOD Family Forum, September 12, 201

Facilitated Englewood Children’s Book Donation from Read to Know, September 2015

Participated in Planning of Englewood’s School Survival Summit, June 14, 2014

Read Aloud Presenter, with children at Bergen Family Center & Quarles Early Childhood Center

Presenter, Advancing Understandings about Managing the Achievement Dilemma. Delivered for Englewood, NJ Elementary School Teachers. Lincoln School, Englewood, NJ. March 7, 2005.

Presenter, Advancing Understandings about Managing the Achievement Dilemma. Delivered for Englewood, NJ Middle School Teachers. Janis Dismus Middle School, Englewood, NJ. March 7, 2005.

Presenter, The achievement gap: What is it and how can it be closed? Delivered to Englewood Board of Education Task Force on Affirmative Action, Englewood, NJ, January 13, 2005.

Keynote Speaker, Creating Enthusiasm for Summer Reading: A Parent/Caregivers’ Guide. First Baptist Church of Englewood, Englewood, NJ. June 2003.

Presenter, Developing a Home-School Partnership-The Parent’s Perspective. Passaic Community College. Paterson, NJ. June 2001.

Presenter, What Does the Bush Education Plan Really Mean for Black Parents? Kente Cultural Center. New London, CT. February 2001.

Presenter, Multicultural education/Anti-bias curriculum. White Plains Child Day Care Association Inc. White Plains, NY. November 1999.

Presenter, Literacy Development and Long Distance Parenting. Bergen County Jail. July 1999.

...And how are the children?