Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stop Whimpering And Fight with The Power of Your Vote!

Monday, July 30, 2012

What The Law Requires For Title I Districts!!!

The No Child Left Behind Act makes unprecedented promises to parents!
Some of those provisions affect all schools. The rest apply to the 93 percent of school districts that get Title I poverty aid (The Englewood Public School District gets Title 1 poverty aid. This is NOT part of No Child Left Behind that has been waived for any state.) 

States must publish report cards showing the Math and English performance of all students, breaking out results for all racial and ethnic groups, poor students, disabled students and limited-English students. The report cards must include qualifications of teachers, incliuding a comparison of teachers in high-poverty and low-poverty schools. 

School districts must notify parents if their child attends a "persistently dangerous" school and give  parents the choice to move their child to a safer school in the district. 

States must report progress in ensuring that poor and minority students are not disproportionately assigned to teachers who are inexperienced, unqualified or out of field.

Based on tests, states must provide diagnostic reports for every student.

School districts must notify parents at least annually about the timing of certain activities and give parents a chance to opt their kids out. Those activities include the collection of student information to be used for marketing purposes and any invasive physical exam that is not considered an emergency or essential to protecting public health.

School districts must give any parent of a secondary school student the option of requiring written consent before the student's information is given to military recruiters.

States that receive federal aid to help homeless children must seek to notify  parents or guardians of their rights. Those include the choice of schools children are eligible to attend and a promise that homeless children are not to be stigmatized by school personnel.

Title I districts must also:
Notify parents of their right to transfer their child if the current school has not made adequate yearly progress for two straight years. Low-income parents must be offered tutoring for their child if a school has not met progress goals for three years, and districts must help parents get information about the qualifications and services of tutors.  (Simply writing a letter to parents saying that, "we nailed it," is not sufficient or even  proper.)

Inform parents of children in Title I schools that they have the right to information about the qualifications of their children's teachers.

Give parents of children with limited English skills a package of information if Title I money is spent on programs for such students.

Give parents clear notice if their child has been taught for at least four straight weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified. (Now this one is indeed a joke. We had a psychology major teaching Math. Careful assessment of grades will surely reveal that too many of this teacher's students did not pass the NJAsk standardized test in 8th grade for Math.)

Hold meetings at convenient times for parents and give an explanation of the curriculum, tests used and the achievement levels students are expected to meet.

(Reprinted from the Associated Press 2004...extracted from NCLB law.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

21st Century Slavery Fueling An Apartheid Educational System

Although the full contingent of School Board members were not present on July 26, 2012, the members seemed intent on taking the crucial vote to outsource secretaries and paraprofessionals. Harley Ungar was not present. Amid the claims of having no money this board has not stopped hiring or creating positons. They persist in irresponsible spending even though  the auditor's report presented December of 2011 cautioned them against hiring and spending in general. 

No agenda was available when we arrived at Grieco School after our walk. Throughout the march the sky seemed poised to open up and pellet us with a deluge of rain and thunder. It seems the Board of Education expected more than a little thunder from the unhappy residents. Expensive security surrounded the residents on all sides once inside the cafeteria. Englewood residents and employees were joined by teachers and staff from Hackensack, Teaneck and Tenafly. The prospect of "outsourcing" is not a welcome idea in any of those towns.

In the video below, Minister Munir Muhammad speaks of long term employees and how they are being mishandled. No gold watches are being handed out to employees who have served the district for over 25 years. Minister Munir suggests that all alternatives have not been vetted. He mentions the fact that Dr. Carlisle is being overpaid. He does not mention that this over payment may have caused state aid  to be withheld from the district. Everyone is wondering about the other options that the Board had available to them. These options would have included redesigning the Academy Program at Dwight Morrow High School in 2008 when the Equity and Excellence millions ran out. It is very clear that our board created a "school choice" program that is not sustainable by taxpayer dollars. It is a very expensive program that is marketed outside the district and was originally created to integrate DMHS, but it did the opposite. 

I have a firm objection to my tax dollars supporting a failed educational model, especially one that is a tool for segregation. A very simple fix that would save a half million dollars right now is the elimination of the extended day in this Academy. The Academy day ends at 4pm. During this extra hour, teachers make a hefty stipend for sponsoring clubs. The students may be seen tossing frisbees during this hour. In other districts, clubs are quite often ran by teachers who volunteer their time. I sponsored a Dance club for over 10 years before the Administration in Teaneck decided to pay me. My dedication to the students in the program did not change with the fact that I was given a check after working 10 years for free. My attention to the activity and the children remained the same. Glenn Garrison and Henry Pruitt did not change the program in 2008, because they wanted to keep the status quo until their daughters graduated in 2011. How many more children are they waiting to graduate before they fix this failed educational model? It must be noted here that they themselves refer to it as an educational model that does not work in this district.

Minister Munir Muhammad

Delta T, a referral agency, that the Board selected has been exposed as a "Temp Agency" that has several class action suits against them from California and Pennsylvania. It seems that the classification of paraprofessionals as "independent contractors" with absolutely no benefits instead of as "employees" with full worker benefits is in question. The question that many "civil liberties" attorneys are asking is about the reclassification of workers in order to avoid paying benefits. It seems an obvious "human rights violation" to many, including this writer. We see it as a step towards re-enslaving America's working class citizens.

In the spring of 2011, we watched Dr. Carlisle hire nearly 70 people that were not included in the budget. Most of these were novice teachers without the  proper certification. At the time, no mentoring program was in place. The Board did not even know what the abbreviations CE and CEAS even represented. They simply smiled at the numerous white Barbie Doll types that were paraded before them. Glenn Garrison stood and hiked up his pants as they paraded pass him. The Board refused to listen to reason when Mr. James Olobardi (The former BA), Curtis Caviness (a former bd. member) and David Matthews (also a former bd member) warned them and implored them to stop hiring and stop spending. This Board had known since 2008 that the
Equity & Excellence millions that previously supported the Academy were gone forever. This demonstrated very irresponsible behavior. They mismanaged millions of dollars. News Flash!!! They are STILL hiring. Why? How? Where is the 5.8 million dollars paid to the Board by the City of Englewood for the sale of Liberty School?

The Unions...Teachers, Secretaries, Paraprofessional...Vince Giordano

In a conversation with Gabriel Bousbib, I realized that the primary objection for supporters of Glenn Garrison and his cohorts is that secretaries actually have the audacity to have a union. This objection to less than 30 women forming a bargaining unit to protect their jobs is a very interesting concept. Mr. Bousbib is an Executive at Gottex Fund Management, which was founded in 1992. Bloomberg Business Week lists his profile, but does not list annual compensation, stock options or total compensation. He is also one of the writers for Englewood FAST or Don'tBankruptUs.com. This is the publication that wrote the article about the swinging pendulum. I rather like the way a Tenafly resident reacted to the ideas expressed about the secretaries and paraprofessionals tenure. This tenure, by the way is nothing like that of a teacher. It does not in any way protect a secretary from being fired. It is basically a system of seniority. Based on the recent situation with the banking industry, it is quite clear that any of the rich folk on the hill may be one stock market crash from the poor house themselves. A bit more compassion would be more appropriate, instead of the disdainful way this man spoke of a paraprofessional. This employee was speaking as a homeowner and a parent.

Will Mr. Bousbib and his rich cohorts at Englewood FAST feel differently when the stock market crashes and their hedgefunds and banks fall into financial crisis? He was very adamant that the unions are crippling the City of Englewood with rigid demands to pay for their benefits. There was no mention of the children. When forced to speak of students, he blamed the low achievement on the teacher's rigid union. That was a very interesting twist. He seemed unconcerned when pressed to speak of the welfare of our most vulnerable students. He was only concerned with the fact that the lowest paid group in the district actually has the nerve to have a union.  It appeared to this writer that much of his disdain had to do with the fact that they are mostly single women. Now where have we heard that before? Susan B. Anthony, are you spinning in your crypt at this back to the future crap?

James Harris, State NAACP, Thomas Reynolds Montclair NAACP

Never was I more proud to hear someone speak as a policeman, as when Anthony Cureton spoke of the children that were not protected by our board of education. People in Englewood are so used to being bullied that they seem to help the bullies keep their actions secret. Anthony spoke of the 1,000 pound Gorilla lurking about the corners of Englewood... Roy Hermalyn, Roy Hermalyn. I too, am not afraid to mention his name. Hermalyn retired soon after his arrest with a fat pension (page 18 of the report) collection of nearly $250,000.00 upon separation from the district even in light of his transgressions. Where was Englewood FAST when this money was collected? A grave injustice was done to some extremely vulnerable young men in this town. The man that this board called hero, put his name on a building and built a shrine to most certainly had knowledge of Roy Hermalyn's actions. Check out how much money was paid to John Grieco's estate upon his death in 2004 mere months after the arrest of his friend. (last paragraph, page 17) Dr. John Grieco took the truth about what he knew and when he knew it to the grave with him. Why does it seem that those 2 white men may grab as much money as they like and "single women" who happen to be secretaries or aides are not even allowed to have a union? What is wrong with that picture? Note also that there will be no Penn State justice here in Englewood. Hermalyn will walk as free as the rest of us according to the papers and recent rulings. Regardless of the text of the official court document listed above, Englewood was ordered to share the burden of a 2.3 million dollar settlement with Bergen Academy in Hackensack where Hermalyn worked before he came to us.

Anthony Cureton, President Bergen County NAACP

Why is the Board of Education of Englewood forcing the Teacher's Union to settle in the middle of the summer? This is the burning question that many of us never got a chance to ask on Thursday, July, 26, 2012, because the "real" leader of the Englewood Board of Education abruptly called an end to the public session at the end of Sharon Vanterpool's passionate speech. Mr. Vince Giordano was wrong in his speech that extolled the harmony of diverse groups in Englewood. That harmony has never existed here. I moved here in 1967, 5 years after the town was torn apart by civil rights issues concerning schools and the right of African American children to an equal education. There was little harmony then and there is no harmony now. Many things have happened to rip asunder the fabric of life in the City of Englewood. Englewood is not a place to be emulated. It does not encourage the spirit of harmony when the "nobles" up on the hill still feel as if they may control the "peons" in the Valley who have less money.

Sharon Vanterpool is the President of the paraprofessional union. It should be noted that Mrs. Vanterpool is an Englewood resident who has used her time here to earn a Master's Degree with a  dual certification in Early Childhood/Students with disabilities degree. This Board of Education will most probably never allow her to use the advanced degrees in her field in this school district. This was a fact long before the passionate speech delivered below.

Most of the night was spent in trying to convince the Board of Education to do something that Dr. Carlisle had recommended them against. Somewhere down the line this Candidate for Superintendent changed his mind about the Barbie Dolls that he paraded before the Board last spring and for months afterward. On the first day of school Dr. Carlisle had more teachers than he had classrooms in which to place them. He told new hires that they were being hired for one year only. We have him on videotape admitting that he had overstaffed the district. We all wondered why he was hiring them in the first place. Of the many teachers that he paraded in front of the Board, only one stayed until the end of the meeting. I made a special point of thanking this person for showing that type of interest in our district and our children. I will not name that person here. 

You will notice that Stephen Brown called for a 15 minute closed session after Mrs. Vanterpool's speech. They had already spent 2 hours in closed session. Mr. Brown's 15 minute break turned into nearly 4 hours. Take a look at the Open Public Meetings Act and note why that this time spent in closed session was too excessive. (one should note also that security for the night was a gross waste of taxpayer funds. It was much TOO MUCH for a Board that claims to be broke. How many secretary salaries would the total cost of the security have paid?) 

At the end of the night this writer did not see much movement. All of the unions were in exactly the same spot. No vote was taken. It is questionable whether a vote without all Board members present would have been legally binding anyway. The action of taking the motion in the summer stacks the cards severely against all concerned parties, including the students in the district. It makes every single child a potential victim of callousness. 

The Board knows that the teacher's union is at a disadvantage in summer. There is no way a vote of all teachers may be taken in the summer time. The Board is fully aware of this fact. The very act of putting the unions in this position is disingenuous. The Board and Dr. Carlisle are bullies. Dr. Carlisle isn't even a legal Superintendent and he wields such awesome power. The very thought of it is disgusting. It is time for the full wrath of the state to come down upon the true "POSTER CHILD OF GREED AND ARROGANCE."   I am still waiting for our Board to reveal the obscenity of Dr. Carlisle's contract in a public meeting. I am still waiting for Governor Christie and the now Commissioner Cerf to exact some damages from this man. How much longer must we watch this man take actions that rip apart our school system? Dr Carlisle has taken numerous ACTIONS that the statues and regulations of 18A and the Administrative Code (6A) says that he shall  not take until his contract is signed by the County Executive Superintendent and accepted by resolution in a public meeting. Why was he even listed as the Superintendent on the state website? I do not recognize him as the educational leader of this district. He has already been allowed to dig us into a financial hole that threatens to take away the pupil support staff that nurture our most vulnerable students. When all he really has to do is keep his promise to lay off all of the Barbie Dolls that he hired throughout the year. It is the nature of the beast. Even the new tenure reform bill agrees that it takes more than one year to determine if a teacher is a good effective. The length of time required to determine tenure will be increased to 4 years, not reduced to 1 year. Henry Pruitt suggested that these teachers are not being laid off, because they may be better teachers than those who have tenure. Well, I declare. How was this determined with only one year to make this presumption? Were they even evaluated?

In all of the other districts that Dr. Carlisle has wreaked havoc there was one constant. Each of those districts had an Assistant Superintendent. The Assistant Superintendent position is the stable one. Superintendents come and they go. Port Chester's Assistant Superintendent was a beloved individual that is still there. That district was not brought to it's knees when Dr. Carlisle left and neither was Miller Place. Jersey City's Assistant Superintendents are also persons who have served the district and have the trust of many residents. As the war was waged over whether Lyles was a good choice, I thought about the fact that they have people in place to fall back on regardless of the outcome. What will happen here? We must have a leader. I am very disappointed that the teachers did not take "a vote of no confidence" in Dr. Carlisle before the end of the school year. Perhaps they were still mesmerized by that Cowboy charm. That inaction may cost a lot of people their jobs.

How are the children?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mean Spirits: Not Everyone Is Afraid To Speak Out Against the Rich Oppressors!

Letter Was mean-spirited
I read with revulsion the letter published in the July 19 edition of the Northern Valley Suburbanite signed by Raphael Benaroya, et al ("Come to School board meeting") First, I don't live in Englewood. I am not, nor am I related to any of the support staff in the Englewood schools, nor am I a member of any union. Moreover, I've never been a particularly big believer in tenure for tenure's sake.

Having said that, this letter was one of the most mean-spirited, condescending things I've read in a long time. Why does this lot, none of whom I'd wager are more than four generations out of the shtetl, think they are entitled to pontificate on the value of anyone else's labor?

Being a "brand consultant" or a hedge fund executive doesn't bestow the right on any of them to state, in a patronizing tone, that "the pendulum has swung too far." Has it occurred to this group that the reason Englewood real estate hasn't "recovered" is because it was grossly overvalued to begin with? Finally, I don't recall ever seeing in the U.S. Constitution the inalienable right to low property taxes. Any given dinner party at the Turen home, the former estate of actress Gloria Swanson, probably costs more than the average Englewood school secretary makes in six months. They should be ashamed of themselves.       Jason Paskowitz ....Tenafly

All I can say is thank you Mr. Jason Paskowitz for saying what we could not in those words. You are more right than you know. I do not recall ever seeing Mr. Benaroya at a single board meeting. Any information that he has came from board members themselves. The information in the letter is not only condescending, it is not factual.

Read the letter that is the subject of the above comments from the Northern Valley Suburbanite: http://www.dontbankruptus.com/efast/?p=462&cpage=1#comment-230

Delta T, A Hotbed of Controversy and Litigation: Why is EPSD Signing a Contract with them?

Delta T describes itself as "a referral agency for independent "contractors of services: - a broker" that brings together independent behavioral healthcare professionals with clients who need their services." That is very odd since they depend on the services of CareerBuilder.com to supply them with applicants. So why does the Board need Delta T again? 

 Delta T employees call them a "temporary staffing agency, supplying temporary staffing relief to the mental and behavioral healthcare industry. 

 We call that a "Temp Agency" where I live.

“As corporate budgets continue to tighten, more employers are looking to classify workers as independent contractors in an effort to reduce costs, such as overtime compensationemployee benefitspayroll taxes, unemployment compensation, and workers compensation,” 

 At this juncture, we must remember that we are not a corporation. We are a public school district. Hidden within the decision to "outsource" is the desire to reclassify former Board of Education employees (paraprofessionals) as "independent contractors" so the Board of Education will no longer be responsible to:
  • to fill out income tax forms (Delta T employees must file 1099 forms themselves)
  • to pay social security deductions
  • provide medical coverage
  • provide dental coverage
  • pay for lunch breaks or meal breaks
  • provide rest breaks
  • provide reimbursement for business related expenses
  • evaluate the work of the employees
  • supervise paraprofessional personnel
  • communicate with workers on a day to day basis
  • pay for sick days or vacation time
  • pay overtime
  • pay unemployment benefits
  • pay worker's compensation
The million dollar question right now is to whom does this "independent contractor" report since the  Delta T agency claims to be a "referral agency?" Who, pray tell, is the responsible party here? Who is going to protect the children entrusted with "independent contractors" who are slightly less than happy with the short straw they have drawn. The Board is no doubt depending on the current paraprofessionals who have already proven themselves to apply for the jobs through Delta T because the job market is devoid of positions.

Through the smoke and mirrors the "real deal" pokes it's ugly head. The jury is still out on whether or not the employees of Delta T are "independent contractors." The class action suit that is still in litigation in the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA is still going on. Read lines 22 - 28 on page 7 and judge for yourself whether Delta T Group is a good fit for our schools. Read what employees of Delta T have to say about this "Referral Agency."

Note that the current advertisement by Delta T (for Englewood workers) promises to get applicants whatever they need, yet they testified in legal proceedings included in this legal document page 9 lines 5 -11 that they do not train, supervise or evaluate anyone. So if they don't, who does? Do the parents of the Special Needs children of this district deserve to know this? Yes, they do.

This is an update on the Delta T federal class action case :
March 2009 http://www.nka.com/case/delta-t-group/#.UBC64ATWTJY.mailto
March 10, 2009 http://www.nka.com/news/delta-t-update/
November 9, 2009 http://www.nka.com/news/delta-t-update-2/
October 1, 2010 http://www.nka.com/news/delta-t-update-3/
December 13, 2010 http://www.nka.com/news/delta-t-update-4/

Another individual lawsuit: Delta defendant: IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

An Obama bill seeks to clarify the "independent contractor" controversy but this bill has not made it into law yet. Why is Englewood willing to throw our most vulnerable students into this fray of indecision and controversy? Are they invariably drawn to litigation? Haven't our tax dollars paid enough in lawsuits? Read the text of the bill introduced by President Obama in 2007 while he was still a senator. Why is the board willing to sabotage a bargaining unit that has proven itself worthy through the testimony of concerned  parents of the children nurtured by these individuals?

 Why is the Englewood Board of Education so determined to place our children in the hands of this Delta T Group that has obviously demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they care very little about the people they call "independent contractors?" What does this say about the integrity and character of the men and women on the Board of Education? Once again, they are demonstrating that children do not come first. They are proving that they do not deserve the trust of the residents and taxpayers of Englewood. Do they have knowledge of this litigation? Is our Board of Education attracted to litigation?

Read a few of Delta T Group reviews completed by the so called "independent contractors" who work for/with them.

I have a few questions for the Board as always.

  • When will Carlisle's contract be brought into compliance with state law? 
  • What happened to the 5.8 million dollars from the sale of Liberty School? 
  • Is the Englewood Public School District being sanctioned by the state of New Jersey, because they refuse to comply with the CAP on Superintendent salary? 
  • Why is Dr. Carlisle's salary more important than the achievement and safety of our children? 
  • Why is the Englewood School District still building an office building in a flood hazard area and calling it a shed?
  • When will the children come first in this town?

Delta T Refugees: You might end up needing this guy before long. Delta T is making this lawyer famous.