Monday, April 27, 2015

"OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER" MLK Jr.

I admire the Hoboken Board of Ed for not being silent!! 
Thank You!


These straightforward words are law. 

They prescribe what is required by New Jersey’s charter school legislation, and are the basis of the Hoboken Board of Education appeal to the New Jersey Department of Education. 

But the powers in Trenton struggle with these plain words. They inexplicably find loopholes in this simple sentence—loopholes that allow Trenton to advance its agenda at the expense of the educational opportunities and services on which so many of Hoboken’s low-income and special needs students depend. These are the very students facing the most challenging academic factors.

Twice, when asked to assess the serious segregative and financial impact of a charter school expansion on the Hoboken School District, the New Jersey Department of Education has turned a blind eye. Twice, the Department of Education ignored the obvious facts and completely shirked its legal responsibilities. 

The Hoboken Board of Education urgently needs your help to continue its challenge of the NJDOE decision. The goal is to raise $10,000 to get this landmark case before the New Jersey Appellate Division. 

This challenge is not against charter schools. This challenge is an effort to bring educational parity to ALL of the children in Hoboken, because that’s the law. 

Please donate to this important effort.

Make your check or money order payable to “Hoboken Board of Education” and write “Legal Fees for Appeal” in the memo section.

Send to:

Hoboken Board of Education
Business Office
158 Fourth Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030

47 comments:

  1. Over the last few years, I have been following your blog with great interest. I have to admit I was heartened by your introductory post on January 9, 2014. Your passion clearly shown through. In fact, your last few lines were particularly comforting: “My goal for the future is to provide you the information that parents are looking for regarding Hoboken's schools-be they district, charter or private-and to discuss the similarities and the differences. I welcome your comments.”
    In fact, even the title of your blog “Hoboken Schools” in a community that is home to three charter schools and numerous private schools suggested to me that your focus would be inclusive, community affirming, and CELEBRATE Hoboken SCHOOLS broadly defined. Afterall, when you do the math, the majority of children who attend Hoboken schools attend the three charter schools and numerous private schools.
    I had high hopes that your blog would be balanced, informative, and constructive, particularly as a parent of an HoLa student. Sadly, I was wrong. To date, 60% of your subsequent posts were critical of charter schools, more specifically HoLa. Conversations about one specific school on a blog takes the place of myriad other important conversations. In your heart, do you truly believe that Hoboken parents be they from district, charter or private schools only want to read about this matter? There HAS to be more to talk about. Allow me to reference the great Dr. Martin Luther King for a moment as I think he would ALSO agree that: "OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT ALL THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER BECAUSE WE ONLY ALLOW OURSELVES TO TALK ABOUT ONE MATTER"
    I invite you to be true to the words expressed in your initial post or consider rewording them to indicate that you are an avowed district school proponent and that your blog will therefore emphasize issues of importance to you. Clearly, that is what has happened.
    Alternatively, you may consider populating your blog with posts like February 7, 2014 about the theatre performance or February 10, 2014 about the HHS open house and perhaps a few that showcase some wonderful things that the OTHER schools are doing. But far be it for me to suggest what you should write about as this is your blog, but, with all due respect, perhaps your blog should be titled HobokenDistrictSchools.com or HobokenSchoolsSanstheCharterSchools.com. I am just a big believer in truth in advertising.

    David Celiberti

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  2. Also....

    I wanted to seek clarification on a few things as you are highlighting a very specific subsection of the "enrollment preference" section of the “CHARTER SCHOOL PROGRAM ACT OF 1995, N.J.S.A. 18A:36A”. http://www.nj.gov/education/chartsch/cspa95.htm. As you know, and cite above, the act states that "The admission policy of the charter school shall, to the maximum extent practicable, seek the enrollment of a cross section of the community's school age population including racial and academic factors."

    To use this specific statement as the cornerstone of your fundraising appeal is both unfortunate and incorrect for you imply that this part of the law is being broken. “Seeking the cross section of a community’s school age population” does not guarantee that such a cross section actually may actually result. There is a difference between breaking a law and following a law that has limitations and may results in some undesired outcomes. The potential donors who consider your appeal should understand that distinction.

    More importantly, however, the donors who consider your appeal should ALSO understand that there is a distinction between the demographics of a “community’s school age population” and a “district’s school age population” since most school age children are NOT enrolled in district schools. This leads me to wonder whether the demographics of say Wallace matches that of say Connors. If not, will some of the monies raised in this fundraiser address THAT discrepancy or is HoLa just being singled out to adhere to a standard that the district is not enforcing for their own schools?

    As you are well aware, each charter school receives hundreds of applications, hundreds more than they have available spots. The law states that “If there are more applications to enroll in the charter school than there are spaces available, the charter school shall select students to attend using a random selection process.”

    I would like to pose a few questions:

    1) A lottery is indeed used to determine who gets in and does not get into a charter schools. Are you suggesting that a lottery system has been not used or that charter schools should not adhere to their existing lottery system? Again, the former suggests that a law has been broken and the later reflects your opinion about an existing law.

    2) Are you implying that the admission policy of HoLa does not SEEK a cross section?

    3) Are you aware that representatives of HoLa have knocked on countless doors in Hoboken’s public Housing communities to encourage families to avail themselves of HoLa's free educational alternative to the district schools? Do you support these efforts? If so, in the spirit of professional feedback, can you suggest specific strategies for improvement?

    4) Are you suggesting that the admission policy of the charter school shall ignore the existing laws (ie DON’T use a random selection process) in order to ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE the enrollment of a cross section of the community's school age population including racial and academic factors. If so, that is a completely different conversation. I just want us to be clear.
    Existing policies and procedures, when carried out by the letter of the law may inadvertently create some differences and that perhaps the laws should be changed (allowing charter schools to use “weighted lotteries”). Your potential donors should be aware that HoLa actually petitioned to offer preference to low income students and this was blocked by the Hoboken Board of Education. The old adage, “you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t” seems very apropos here.

    David

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    Replies
    1. There were plans to turn Connor's into the district middle school which would have been the perfect solution. However, many parents who live uptown and downtown were frustrated by the burden this would impose on them to get their elementary and middle school children to different schools at opposite ends of the City. Most of our public school parents cannot afford to pay for private bus service like so many of the Hola parents do.

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    2. Huh? is that all? why does every reply have to throw a dig at Hola school? are all in some drinking game?

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    3. Where's the dig? An acknowledgement of parents living in different financial sitiuations?

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    4. so hoboken district cant address the racial imbalance at Connors because most of the parents cant afford buses like the hola parents can? is that all ?

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    5. 1. I believe that the lottery process is flawed. I would support a universal application for all. It would be a much more simplified process for those families looking for choice and would give a greater opportunity to those families that may find the charter application process confusing. I would also support having dedicated spots to help with desegregation? Would you support either of these?


      3, Yes and yet something keeps many families from see the charters as an option for their family. I would like to understand why and discuss strategies that would increase access to all the choices. Would you be interested in that conversation?

      4, No one said Hola ignored the law. It is the DOE who has ignored the law. It is THEY who, by law, must examine and analyze the segregative and financial impacts on the local district. The HBOE asked the DOE last year to assist our small community in mitigating the imbalance and it was ignored as well.

      This was NOT blocked by the HBoE. The BOE has NO authority over any charters' lottery process. Hola asked the State for permission the day before Christmas Eve and their 10 day deadline included Christmas, NYE, New Years Day and a weekend. Pretty tight. I don't believe the State ever even replied. Had nothing to do with the BOE. I am curious why you think it did.Bd trustee Jen Evans outlined the time frame of your request at a public meeting not too long ago. I will find it and post it. The weighted lottery proposed one additional bingo ball per low/mod income family. So if the odds for a low income family was already 300-1 (or something like that) , the "weighted lottery" increased it to 300-2?

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    6. Well, I should preface all my statements with acknowledgment that I am just a parent, not a lawyer, board member, or anyone of decision making authority. I try to help where and how I can.

      1. I think we should all look at all the barriers that prevent families from availing themselves of the opportunities here in Hoboken. The application, at face value, seems straightforward enough but I have filled out so many over the course of my life that I may not have the perspective of those for whom it is daunting, confusing, or otherwise challenging. I would be very willing to help families complete the application. Your universal application idea is intriguing. I do hope one day that Hoboken can be in a place where school choice is a completely informed one and parents are selective based on the goodness of fit for their kids.

      So, with all due respect, let me just challenge your bolded statement that "these straightforward words are law." I believe you meant These straightforward words need work and are actually inadequate. If so, I would agree.

      2. By your omission, I will assume that you believe that HoLa's admission policy, congruent with all existing laws. does SEEK a cross section. That is very comforting as the implication that HoLa is not adhering to the law is both misleading and factually incorrect.

      3. Yes :) I know others would as well. We should have this conversation for it is an important one.

      4. To say that they ignored that law implies that the State broke the law. Are we at a point of agreement that the law was not broken it just sucks? The law needs to allow a bigger and broader tool chest? It is my understanding (I may be completely wrong) but a weighted lottery is not allowable.

      I did see a letter from BOE Attorney Eric Harrison specifically asking the State NOT to allow HoLa to amend its lottery process. I believe that Mr. Harrison was citing timing issues but nonetheless the letter was sent. In the spirit of accuracy, I should have just said that the Board of Education Attorney TRIED to block HoLa's attempt to change the lottery system to be more inclusive.

      Your point is well take about statistics. I think the better solution is one based on comprehensive outreach and public education about options.

      Very complicated matter. Thank you for taking the time to share your views.

      David

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    7. David, the state ignored the law. Among many other issues, It did not use proper student data. Understand the state has a history of ignoring its laws. This is no different.

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    8. Are we all in agreement that the current systems in Hoboken work in everyome's best interest and should be applied nationwide? Is this the desired future of education?

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    9. What student data are supposed to be used? Community data and district data are different. The law reference community data.

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    10. No, the law stipulates school aged population.

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    11. Yes, the school age population IN the community. And here in Hoboken that community includes all the of school age children including the hundreds and hundreds that attend the 5+ private schools , Elysian Charter School, Hoboken Charter School, and Hola School

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    12. It doesn't seem you've read heaped response to the application.
      The source he used was not appropriate. 1,2,3 and 4 year olds are not school aged and that age span nearly triples the school aged population.
      His use of such was beyond irresponsible. He knows better. He wasted taxpayer time, resources and money.

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  3. and finally ......

    Your blog contains numerous references to Martin Luther King, Jr. at one point even suggesting that he is looking down on Hoboken and affirming the efforts of our former superintendent. Dr. Toback. You even use the term apartheid (albeit poorly as blacks in South Africa were actively discriminated against and institutional discrimination was the law of the land).

    Let me ask you, how do you reconcile your focus on “segregative” effects created by random lotteries with the fact that Hoboken’s own Connors’ school contains a statistically significant number of minority and low income children in comparison to other district schools. Are there laws on the books that are shackling the district from addressing that racial and socio-economic discrepancy? If so, let’s work together to change those laws. Or are these district policies that allows white families to opt out of Connors?

    In a recent article, BOE President Ruth Tyroler is quoted “That does happen a lot. “It happens because it’s human nature.” http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/09/in_hoboken_a_fight_over_racial_balance_in_charters_moran.html.

    If Martin Luther King were actually looking down at Hoboken, I suspect he would be looking at Connors and shedding a tear “at the human nature” that is driving the segregative effects that we are witnessing in our own district schools.

    I look forward to learning more about your views on these matters. Thank you for taking the time.

    David

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    Replies
    1. Connors is a neighborhood school. The children who live in the HHA live across the street from Connors. This school works for many families because of the proximity to where they live. Also many of the student's parents also went to Connor's so there is a deep family connection to the school for many families. Hola's location, being housed in the B&G's club, if following this similar pattern of proximity to the HHA should have a similar population.

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    2. Theresa,

      1) But HoLa is NOT a neighborhood school so you are comparing apples and oranges. If there was a few more HoLas in town. Relax.....:), just speaking hypothetically, then one could hope that each HoLa would more closely represent the demographics of its neighborhood but there is only one and it draws applicants from the entire town.

      If you sat in kindergarten classrooms across the various public and private schools here in town distinctions may be observed but I suspect there would be tremendous overlap. I hope you would agree that HoLa has a very unique curriculum. When I participated in open house in my son's kindergarten year I was actually stunned by how much spanish was spoken and how rapidly (and the kids were happy and following along). My 4 years of high school spanish did me no justice.

      2) Let's be honest though, the area around Connor's is not exclusively public housing and that neighborhood is mixed with respect to ethic and SES factors. The population or Connor's school does NOT match the demographics of the surrounding community. So then we have to ask why? I heard one argument that affluent families have cars and like to drive their kids to school. That falls flat. A community that truly wants to help economically disadvantaged children needs to have tough conversations about segregative effects that are easily observed not only in out community but within district schools.

      I hope this made sense and was typo free...rushing out the door!

      Best,

      David

      If you wanted to start a fundraiser to pay for bus service so that schools can be better integrated, sign me up. I am completely serious.

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    3. David, As I wrote to my good friend and Hola parent Jim Obrien, do you really mean to belittle the argument about transportation. Being a student who receives free lunch means they are living in poverty, do you think cab fare is more important to the discussion than being able to buy food? I think this comment shows a tremendous lack of understanding (and compassion) of the student population in the Hoboken Public Schools.

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    4. Theresa,
      Please don't attempt to assassinate my character just because my views differ from yours. This is a sensitive matter and I would like to believe that mature, intelligent adults can discuss it without accusation and insults.
      This conflict, which is really ripping apart our community is being presented as a "David" versus "Goliath" with sometimes "Goliath"being framed as the State DOE and sometime HoLa. That playbook is getting old and most people understand that regardless of how many children go to school where, we still have scores of underperforming children living in poverty regardless of where they go to school. Multiple solutions are needed, perhaps ever some that are out of the box. My point, and I stand by it, is that if transportation is a barrier that is blocking some families from choosing another district school, then we should look at how we can fund that. If we can fund litigation we can fund other things.
      At the end of the day the Board of Education has to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are doing all they can do to address the salient segregation in its own schools. All ideas should be put on the table. There are a tremendous amount of eggs being put in the HoLa basket, there is a tremendous amount of your blog time focusing on Hola, and there is many other things that needs to be tackled as a community.
      David

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    5. "But HoLa is NOT a neighborhood school so you are comparing apples and oranges"
      Hola is a public school. The population of Hola "school does NOT match the demographics of the surrounding community. So then we have to ask why. "

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  4. Donated! Thank you for providing this link and information.

    It is of no surprise that judicial action is needed. Recently the legislature indicated it's distrust of the Commissioner of Education to follow through and properly protect all children equally and the Assembly unanimously passed many bills in an attempt to force the commissioner ,and by proxy the state, to do so.
    The state needs to be held accountable to follow the laws it sets forth and to act in the best interest of all children. According to state laws, a district school cannot usurp the law of the state; so if, as David asserts regarding the lottery, the commissioner acted in such manner, it is one more example of the state conveniently ignoring state law.

    As David suggests laws should be modified to better deal with the financial, segregative, approval and oversight issues relating to choice, in the meantime districts will be forced to represent themselves.

    David, one quick question I was wondering if you knew the answer to as many wait-listed parents wonder how their spots can be taken by out of district students.

    d. If available space permits, a charter school may enroll non-resident students. The terms and condition of the enrollment shall be outlined in the school's charter and approved by the commissioner.

    Hola has always had a wait-list yet they have many out of district students. How does that happen?

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  5. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for using my name as it feels more like a conversation. Unfortunately, I do not know yours. I think it is always best that we keep sensitive conversations at the conversational level, particularly since our kids may play on the same team or we may go to the same church. I am trying to understand what you meant when your wrote:

    "According to state laws, a district school cannot usurp the law of the state; so if, as David asserts regarding the lottery, the commissioner acted in such manner, it is one more example of the state conveniently ignoring state law." Are you suggesting that a law was usurped? by whom? I can try to address your question once I better understand it.

    In the meantime, can we all be clear that a flawed law and a broken law are different things? Legislative bodies should take up the former and judicial entities should take up the later. There is NOTHING that has been done by HoLa that violates the pulled text that opens up Theresa's recent blog post. To suggest otherwise is potentially libelous.

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  6. Hi David, I agree I don't see anything listed that suggests Hola violated or caused the issues of legal concern.This is a state creation,issue and legal concern. It's unfortunate that the state doesn't follow its own guidelines and regulations which in turn forces local districts and charter schools to have to appeal decisions made by the state.
    This isn't the first or last time the state has been brought to court. They have a long history of bypassing and ignoring state laws. One only need look at the funding laws and over 20 years of ABBOTT suits to see how inept or willful the state can be in an attempt to avoid following educational laws. It's unfortunate that children and parents cannot be protected as law stipulates and that legal intervention must be seeked.
    Regarding you inquiry, I meant only the state can approve variances based on vetting of laws, this includes your noted request for weighted lottery. The state must use statute not word of mouth. Either weighted lottery can be done or it can't. The state makes such decisions after vetting through legal re: policy. which, if you are correct about your assertion, it is apparent that this administration again did not follow its own guidelines for approval/disapproval of the lottery request and again indicates yet another area where the state avoids following its protocol.

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  7. I'm curious where you are getting your stats on out of district students? My children both attend Hola and the only friends they have that are out of district moved after they were accepted to Hola and had attended for several years. This amounts to maybe 2 or 3 friends of theirs… I've been at Hola since the beginning, and this idea that it's filled with out of district kids is wrong.

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  8. There are about 7 other towns are listed on the application. It happens in most charter schools that have been around for a while but Hola is new, and always had a Hoboken wait list. thought David might know, he seems to know a lot of the details and seems open to clarifying questions. Thought he could clear up some issues for parents who wonder how out of district students get in and subsequently younger siblings take more seats away from other Hoboken kids. It seems the 2 or 3 you know of moved away.

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  9. I believe those towns are listed on the application as non residents are allowed to apply; however, I suspect they would not get in as there is always a wait list at the kindergarten entry point. The wait list is much smaller at the higher grades. Some charter school children do leave the district and funding follows the child. So, to be clear, out of district kids typically do not get in (Hoboken Charter School High School may be the exception); however, once in, you can remain a student if your family moves out of Hoboken.

    Sibling preference is allowable by law and does reduce number of spaces available for new students.

    Hope that helps!

    David

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  10. As long as there is "preference for sibling admission", there will continue to be a segregative effect, thus creating a private type of school at public expense. Just because something is allowable by law, doesn't make it right. Laws can always be amended in various ways. If people believe so strongly in their charter schools - then why does the one Charter with a high school, see a mass exodus after 8th grade?

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  11. Thanks for responding, David.

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  12. While I'm mentioning my friend Jim. He and I have decided to remain friends and understand that we are both advocating for our children's schools. Doesn't make one of us right or wrong, good or bad, just makes us committed parents. Why is it that most Hola parents won't give this same understanding to the district parents? Why the threat from some Hola parents to "out" anyone that wants to donate? This level of hostility and bullying is unproductive to the issues.

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    1. Theresa,
      A wise public school teacher once told me that when you use the word "most" you need to stop, breath, reflect because you are often inaccurate. Some of your writing perpetuates an "us" versus "them" mentality that will never pave the way to understanding, synergy, and a resolution with which we can all live and enable us to get on with our lives. Your third sentence does not even follow logically from your the first two. Jim is an awesome man, incredible Dad; however, he is not an HoLa exception. The school is filled with committed parents who love Hoboken, serve on boards and councils, help to build parks, coach, tutor, fundraise for our community's poor, and even create innovative public school affirming movements such as Residents for Red Wings. With all due respect, please don't clump them into a politically convenient box or bastardize them by using the word "most."
      I do not condone "bullying" on any level and it goes both ways. HoLa children have heard that people got fired because of HoLa. I have had parents tell me that bus aids were lost because of HoLa. I am sure if people expressed their voices we would hear that every not so great thing about the district schools is HoLa's fault. Is global warming next?

      Let's be the change that we want to see in this conversation.

      Thank you,

      David

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    2. and OF COURSE there are incredible parents in the district. I just felt the need to clarify who HoLa parents are since you were mischaracterizing them with blanket statements. There is nothing in any of my writing that was ever disparaging to district parents.
      David

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    3. Have you attended any BOE meetings with the full rage at the BOE on display? There is some precedent for Theresa's comment.

      I do not know enough to say most, but there are a lot of HoLa parents angry at the BOE for honoring their oaths as trustees and trying to protect the district. As you probably know, unlike the rumor that continues to circulate, the lawsuit against the NJ DOE is not an effort to close HoLa. A realization by certain HoLa parents as to the decisions and limited options available to the BOE would help calm the waters, as you are currently attempting to do. Threats do not elevate any discourse.

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    4. In a zoning project if there is legal standing in the face of such project and the owner of the property felt zoning department didnt follow the proper procedures, they would seek court intervention.
      It is a legal issue.
      Many times it seems somehow, those who are "filing the zoning application" which may or may not be outside of the code, blame those who question the legal standing almost to the point of demonizing them.
      Regarding such legal challenge, an applicant can apply for whatever they choose.The reality is the authority overseeing and abiding the rules is being questioned not the applicant.

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    5. I want to chime in for a sec. The prior Superintendent did want the dept of education to set aside the renewal and the expansion. This is documented in one of the April 2014 posts and in the attached letter from the board lawyer to the state If you cant renew you are essentially closed.

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    6. Lets be clear here. He specifically was forced to not the document. The document was the renewal and expansion. Hola chose to go outside the process and place its expansion in the renewal. This is not the norm. Furthernore, Toback specifically noted this was not for the k-6 grades. Anyone suggesting otherwise is doing so in an attempt to create a divisive situation and explosive situation. Completely unnecessary and morally repugnant..

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  13. David, My daughter has many close friends who attend Hola and I have many dear friends who are Hola parents. We value their friendship. But I have attended numerous Hoboken Public School Board meetings and listened to the Hola parents that attended and I am disappointed by the hostility and threats that are so casually thrown around. You're right, there's an us against them. I encourage you to watch the past meetings to understand what I've witnessed. I would like to think that true adult behavior would reflect the understanding of the right of each school, it's board, it's parent's and staff to advocate for their own school. No double standards. No David & Goliath references.

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  14. Theresa,

    My son also has many close friends who attend district schools and I have many dear friends who are district parents. I wish I did not feel the need to parrot that back to you as it reminds me of when Sarah Palin announced that she had a gay friend or two when justifying her lack of support for civil rights. For the record, just comparing the tactic not the people....I look nothing like her :)

    More relevant, perhaps, is that I also continue to donate several hours a month to support the district. I started doing that before my son entered the Abbott program and have continued to do so even 4 years after his graduation. I have skin in the game. I have attended numerous board of education meetings and even presented some of our work last year.

    There are some parents who may have crossed the line but there are scores of parents who were passionate yet respectful and gave testimony from a place of deep concern. I also invite you to examine the tone and body language of board members as well. There is video footage of eye rolling and raised voices (sometimes yelling). A few parents have shared with me how stunned they were that an 8 year would go to the microphone and speak and meet some expressionless faces (I don’t think I would ever be able to speak in front of a panel of adults with a camera on me, and a crowd behind me when I was 8 years old). This can even be observed on video.

    We both agree that there is an “us against them” climate now and debating which side is MORE guilty of that would be unproductive at this time (I think and hope you would agree). Let's focus our attention on future behavior for this matter remains unresolved, the best resolution will likely come from collaboration, and when it is resolved we must not only co-exist, but live together as neighbors and friends, play soccer together, work together, worship together in our respective faith communities, trick-or-treat together, and so on and so on. Hoboken is a small place, our lives intersect all the time.

    I agree that true adult behavior must reflect the understanding of the right of each school, its board, its parents and staff to advocate for their own school without innuendo, threats, and name calling both spoken and written.

    I will do all I can to help set that tone and hope you will do the same.

    Thank you again!

    David

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    1. David I think your final paragraph is exactly what is needed. I also think people need to be aware of the fiscal restraints within the district and recognize that financial resources are the mainstay of education. The public and needs to be aware that there are scarce resources and that the state set up a situation where opening or expanding one school comes at the detriment of another and as you so perfectly stated; the community must reflect and understanding that each school has a right to advocate for themselves without innuendo, threats and name calling.
      I sincerely hope this community will have the discussion needed about the realities and gravity of these situations and stop the finger pointing at each other. Afterall, our children will grow and have their own children one day and protecting public schools is in everyone's best interest.
      The state set up a financial situation that puts in play a series of fiscal crisis. This fiscal crisis leads to increased local taxes, cuts in services alongside cuts in maintenance, which leads to an educational and ultimately a political crisis. The aformentioned came directly from our former NJ director who wrote Wave of the Furture,which details this specific course for full take over of public schools and is exaclty what the state is doing now. Its a good read for one to understand why the laws and policies are set the way they are- Author Andy Smarick.

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  15. Hola was originally approved for K-5. How did the 6th grade quietly appear?

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    1. As usual, the state ignored the laws it set forth. Just like the funding laws

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    2. all over this blog people are talking about laws being ignored. exactly which part of the law mentioned in the box uptop was ignored? if you ignore the law about stopping at a red light it means you broke that law. if the law is bad, let's just say that and not that it was ignored.

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    3. Check holas news letter. The state is not supposed to expand a charter until after the first four years, but they made an excuse for us...

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    4. The state of nj was brought to court for under funding districts and was forced by court order to repay the abbot districts. It was directed to fully fund the funding law. Subsequently, the state partially repaid the Abbott districts and continued to ignore the funding laws thenceforth. Pension payments are another arena where the state ignored the policy and contractual agreements regaring pension reform law it set forth. Ditto SDA , transportation, epa and the list goes on.

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  16. 1) Why are the majority of Hoboken’s school-age children not enrolled in the public school system?
    The majority of Hoboken's school aged population are enrolled in the public school system. The only area where there is not a majority is the white affluent population. Were you only referring to such population?

    2) Why do many families leave Hoboken when children become school age?
    That would be a question for those who leave. Given the extreme costs of 3 bedroom units or one family homes at over a million, I'd guess many have space issues. I am sure each person has their own logic

    3) How can we have a mature, compassionate conversation about poverty and its impact on educational achievement, and not just hint at it when it is politically convenient?
    This conversation has been had and studies abound, though for some the facts don't matter.

    4) What specifically are the barriers facing low income children who are underperforming?
    Lack of resources. Thousands of studies done. People should educate themselves.

    What does research tell us about how to maximize learning?
    Nearly every study notes learning is greatly affected by home life and resources. It is the number one determinant of educational outcomes.It tells us that there needs be equity funding so districts can meet the needs of all children especially those who most in need. It tells us that the whole child must be supported always.

    5) What can we learn other communities with the same financial resources?
    We can learn that diverting money and under funding their schools has a detrimental impact on providing necessary programming. .Districts that can raise funds to make up cuts in aid or money diverted for other programs have more resources.More resources provide more assistance to educational learning.

    6) Who are the individuals and organizations in Hoboken that possess the talent and expertise to make a difference?
    Licensed, experienced persons with a track record of proven positive outcomes.


    7) How can we better articulate needs to the State Department of Education in a way that comes from a place of "we" and not "us versus them"?
    We start by educating ourselves on laws and funding at the State and Federal level and how that ultimately effects students, taxpayers and public education for all.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous,
      See below!
      MY QUESTION: 1) Why are the majority of Hoboken’s school-age children not enrolled in the public school system?
      “ANONYMOUS’” REPLY: The majority of Hoboken's school aged population are enrolled in the public school system. The only area where there is not a majority is the white affluent population. Were you only referring to such population?

      RESPONSE: Just to clarify, I meant to say that the majority of Hoboken’s school-age children are not enrolled in the DISTRICT schools. Otherwise stated, only a minority of Hoboken’s school age children are enrolled in the district schools. That is a fact.
      I must admit that I was taken back by your reply. To conflate “white” and “affluent” is both inaccurate and prejudicial. I strongly urge you to avoid that in the future. You comment fails to recognize that affluence is not restricted to whites. Your comment denies that there are scores of families of modest income (including single parents) who do without so their children can attend private school. Your comment suggest that Hoboken’s private schools are not diverse and ignores the incredible number of scholarships that are provided to students of mor modest background who are attending them. If you like, I would be happy to reach out to all the private schools so that they can share with your enrollment statistics that may make you think twice about suggesting that they cater to white affluent families. Let me know.

      2) Why do many families leave Hoboken when children become school age?
      That would be a question for those who leave. Given the extreme costs of 3 bedroom units or one family homes at over a million, I'd guess many have space issues. I am sure each person has their own logic
      RESPONSE: Yes, these factors are legitimate explanations for why some families leave Hoboken but these are not the only explanations. I am disappointed by the comfort level with such benign, superficial explanations for uncomfortable questions. Why do so many leave? “It’s expensive to live here” Why is Conners so racially segregated? “It is a neighborhood school” Why do some white families not send children to Conners? “It is just human nature.” Such unidimensional explanations fall flat and truncate more honest conversations.

      3) How can we have a mature, compassionate conversation about poverty and its impact on educational achievement, and not just hint at it when it is politically convenient?
      This conversation has been had and studies abound, though for some the facts don't matter.
      RESPONSE: WOW!!! I am actually stunned by this response. To limit rhetoric only to “we have the tough kids” without laying awake at night wondering if all is being done is actually quite sad. In fact, this shallow responses make my point for me. If the conversation “has been had” then clearly it was not a good conversation.

      David

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    2. 4) What specifically are the barriers facing low income children who are underperforming?
      Lack of resources. Thousands of studies done. People should educate themselves.
      RESPONSE: Gotcha…..Poor kids lack resources. I was actually hoping that we can develop a more sophisticated understanding predicated on identifying specific barriers with multicomponent solutions that attenuate those barriers. People should educate themselves on THAT!
      What does research tell us about how to maximize learning?
      Nearly every study notes learning is greatly affected by home life and resources. It is the number one determinant of educational outcomes.
      DAVID RESPONSE: I see you are only comfortable with the research that describes the problem and not the research that outlines the solution! Again, you make my point for me. Are you interested in maximizing learning or are you just interested in reducing expectations because the students live in poverty.
      .It tells us that there needs be equity funding so districts can meet the needs of all children especially those who most in need. It tells us that the whole child must be supported always.


      5) What can we learn other communities with the same financial resources?
      We can learn that diverting money and under funding their schools has a detrimental impact on providing necessary programming. .Districts that can raise funds to make up cuts in aid or money diverted for other programs have more resources.More resources provide more assistance to educational learning.
      RESPONSE: Please tell us more about this necessary programming that you can NOT be funded. Maybe fund raising could target that~

      6) Who are the individuals and organizations in Hoboken that possess the talent and expertise to make a difference?
      Licensed, experienced persons with a track record of proven positive outcomes.
      DAVID RESPONSE: I suspect that is some type of HoLa jab that falls flat and is another superficial response to an important question. How do we engage those entities and work together? How do we look at what we are doing and ask if it is enough?. But let me ask you……do you feel that the district already has the licensed, experienced persons with a track record of proven positive outcomes?


      7) How can we better articulate needs to the State Department of Education in a way that comes from a place of "we" and not "us versus them"?
      We start by educating ourselves on laws and funding at the State and Federal level and how that ultimately effects students, taxpayers and public education for all.
      RESPONSE: Let’s do just that and come together as a community to enact the change needed so all children will benefit.

      David

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  17. "Ongoing litigation directed at HoLa focuses the conversation extensively on HoLa and not on the more important conversations that will lead to a brighter future for Hoboken's public school students."

    Ongoing applications for expansions, under funding by the state and diversion of money from public schools year after year is a major issue that needs to be focused on not to mention the myriad of other major issues. Support for public schools needs to be the priority for the above to be remedied.
    The creation of a division of public schools creates a divisive system of schools which divides parent interests and advocacy to fight for public schools. This was not created by mistake and will be the downfall of public education for all students The current arrangement not only removes local control from taxpayers, it allows the state to shortchange both systems and weaken all systems while simultaneously increasing costs to local and state taxpayers. Adding to that this sytem further burdens the pension and benefit system by creating inefficiencies in staffing which adds more employees onto the pension rolls.

    ReplyDelete