The Gap

Englewood has a very unique history of Gaps. Prior to 1895 there were no African Americans in Englewood, NJ. The haves and have nots had skin pigmented the same color. The Gap was clearly economical and was based on housing. Immigrants did carry with them the Language of the country of origin, but this does not seem to have been a problem back then. The town had some very clear lines that each group of people did not cross. Folks living in the 4th Ward were the very poor and then there were the very rich people up on the hill. The Gap was the space between the rich and the poor. The Gap was geographical, intellectual and emotional. The children of the servants went to school with the children of their employers.

Does economic status have anything to do with achievement? Does one's address or 'housing' situation affect the way a person learns? That concept is still the subject of many scholarly studies. What has changed in Englewood? We know that the pigmentation of the people has changed. What else has changed? What factors have made Englewood one of the most unique, controversial and puzzling School Districts in America?


  1. I'm sure we are not unaware of the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" and this stands true. All of the above mentioned factors are relevant in the success of a child (socio-economics, parental involvement, teacher's dedication and preparedness, guidance counselors, religious institutions, etc). Neighborhoods that are separated in such a way that economically challenged schools remain economically challenged will surely affect a child's education as far as having equal access to resources and dedicated, prepared teachers. However, even if millions of dollars is dumped into that school for improvement, the child is still at a disadvantage if when they go home there is no parent holding them accountable to complete hw assignments. Parent's involvement, or the lack thereof, is important in a child's educational development.

    As far as Englewood is concerned its the theory of white flight. As a black family moves into a predominantly white neighborhood, a white family will in turn leave (by theory, and in this case by practice). When these white families leave they are taking their resources with them. So here we have a neighborhood that underwent an economical shift for the worse. People do not realize but Brown v Board of Ed is becoming a thing of the past. Schools are in fact RE-segregating and legally so. There is no law stating that families cannot move place to place. I have a lot to say but I won't drown your blog with my views...but this is what I believe the issue is in many school districts.

  2. "How are the children?"
    When a parent drops a child off at school, the School becomes the parent..The school, in Englewood, has a $66 million budget to educate these students. There are less than 3000 students in the district. We spend $20k per student, then, Why can't Johnny read?

    Is it because his mother receives food stamps, is it because he lives in subsidized housing or is it because the educational system has failed to teach him...If it takes a village to raise a child, then all in the village must take full responsibility...

  3. @K.W."TheOneNOnly"
    Thank you very much for commenting. Few people have the nerve to say what they feel here. One of the reasons this Blog exists is because Englewood is unique. I have done the research. As a matter of fact, I am writing a book about history of the situation here. This is a very unique hardcore village. The details are much too complicated here. Parents who are involved have children who are not doing as well. The separation is causing the problems. The Elitist among the parents are the ones pushing it. Even the students see it. It is very volatile. I am a retired teacher myself and feel that some teachers & administrators are very good, some are good, some are bad, and some are very bad. And the children are the ones who suffer. Self assessment is key for all. I have spoken to board members about the fact that they do not follow the code of ethics of the school board nor do they adhere or even hold as important the recommendations of the state. So how is that a parent problem?

  4. Consider this:
    After reading the list of goals (out of order) and the second slide is introduced Dr. Carlisle says (1/19/2012):
    “I know that the board members have had a long day at work, so I am not going to go through all of the goals … plus I emailed them to you a couple of weeks ago. Any questions?” (Paraphrased)

    Not one board member says a word with the exception of Ms. Unger who states that she would like to see the same type of transparency applied to the data collection/analysis as is used on the budgetary issues. Dr. Carlisle acknowledges and agrees to comply.

    Not one parent or board member questions the educational leader of the Englewood Public School District, the Superintendent of Schools, concerning the following:

    1. Why Dr. Carlisle is allowed to present the district goals to our community for the first time after being here approximately 1 year?

    2. Why do the goals of the district lack the specificity so often required of his predecessors and current building administrators?

    3. Why was it acceptable to state that board members “had a long day at work” as an excusable reason to not have to fulfill his responsibility to the broader community who were not privy to the email that he sent out to Board members containing the aforementioned goals?

    4. Why is that no one on the current board, after having the goals for at least a couple of weeks (as was stated by Dr. Carlisle) CAUGHT A BLATANT PLAGERISM OF IDEAS that are so CENTRAL to the operation, educational health and Vision of our district?

    5. Why is it that even now the goals are placed on the district website inaccurately stating that :
    “These goals were presented to the Board of Education at a public meeting in January.”? When in fact the Superintendent could not get through the first slide without the assistance of the PowerPoint that contained what was supposed to be the goals he created.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the exact same language also appears in the 2005 goals of the Brandon School District Board of Education:
    Brandon School District Board of Education Goals

    A. Develop proactive hiring and staff retention strategies, with a special focus on nurturing leadership "up from within." B. Identify and address priority renovation ... (sound familiar)

    Also see the updated Miller Place Union Free School District (Same Goal Titles)
    “The Miller Place Board of Education has recommitted to three overarching goals, around which District efforts will be reorganized for the next two years. These goals will be reviewed and evaluated annually, with a special focus on the specified dimensions listed below.”

    The “ugly truth’ about this is that all of this information was ascertained without any real rigorous investigative research having to be done. By virtue of “Goggling” all of the aforementioned was found. At the very least, to question the Board’s vetting abilities should be up for discussion. And while we’re at it, I believe it is fair to openly question why our board is willing to publicly defy our Governor for a Superintendent who does not respect the children of Englewood enough to at least try to “match” up our goals with districts with comparatively like challenges? It is unreasonable to ask our Board to answer these questions—I believe they should.