Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Trouble in the Schools"- October 9, 2011 Letter to the Editor in the Hoboken Reporter

The following is a letter to the editor which was printed in the October 9, 2011 edition of the Hoboken Reporter under the title of "Trouble in the Schools" (note: titles of letters are given by the newspaper and not the author of the letter) . The letter is by Ms. Theresa Burns, a former member of the Hoboken Board of Education, an educator in her own right, and a parent who sent children through the Hoboken Public Schools. For those readers in my class, I would like you to read the original article and Ms. Burns response and come to class ready to discuss the matter from the perspective of educational policy and administration. All others should feel free to post comments to this article below. -Dr. Petrosino

Dear Editor:

The Sept 18, 2011 article entitled
"Schools must meet state test score requirements" focused in part on the recent Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) evaluation of the Hoboken School district, specifically in the area of Instruction and Program. The article stated that the Hoboken District is "only 11 percentage points away from becoming a high performing district." However, the current 69 percent QSAC score in Instruction and Program represents an 18 percent point drop since the previous QSAC evaluation; a fact not stated in the article. Additionally, when this drop in Instruction and Program is considered in light of the fact that as of August 2011 90 percent of our public school children attend a public school that has failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) - a troubling picture of the Kids First leadership at the Hoboken Board of Education over the past few years emerges. What has gone largely unreported is the current academic decline the district now finds itself in since the Kids First majority took control of the Board of Education. In my opinion, this decline has been fueled by inaction, bad decisions, a string of retired interims with no commitment to the community, and by being overly concerned about finances, politics, and personnel appointments rather than focusing on curriculum, instruction, and test scores. I believe the QSAC data supports this opinion clearly and objectively. To be very clear — The 18 percentage point drop in the Instruction and Program is attributable to a number of decisions by the Carter-Rusak-Kids First leadership team, not the current superintendent. I want to wish the best of luck to Superintendent Toback for the 2011-2012 school year and in getting the Instruction and Program scores as well as AYP numbers to pre Carter-Rusak-Kids First levels and beyond.

Yours truly,

Theresa Burns

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