Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hoboken District Looking to add 7th Grade to High School

Claire Moses of Hoboken Patch reports that The Hoboken Board of Education is looking to move the seventh grade into the high school. A public meeting to discuss this with parents will be held.

The Board of Education is considering a plan in which Hoboken's seventh graders would move into the High School for the 2013-2014 school year. 
Rather than adopting a middle school model in the district —the district administration indicates they are looking into an option of a junior-senior high school.
The seventh graders would be able to use the high school's resources, but won't be in class with the high schoolers, according to administrators.
Before a decision will be made, parents will have the opportunity to comment. A forum will be scheduled for the last week of February.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Trouble With Online College

The following is a thoughtful editorial from the NY Times which was published on February 18, 2013. It provides some insight into online course and some challenges that such courses face. -Dr. Petrosino 
Stanford University ratcheted up interest in online education when a pair of celebrity professors attracted more than 150,000 students from around the world to a noncredit, open enrollment course on artificial intelligence. This development, though, says very little about what role online courses could have as part of standard college instruction. College administrators who dream of emulating this strategy for classes like freshman English would be irresponsible not to consider two serious issues.
First, student attrition rates — around 90 percent for some huge online courses — appear to be a problem even in small-scale online courses when compared with traditional face-to-face classes. Second, courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed.
Online classes are already common in colleges, and, on the whole, the record is not encouraging. According to Columbia University’s Community College Research Center, for example, about seven million students — about a third of all those enrolled in college — are enrolled in what the center describes as traditional online courses. These typically have about 25 students and are run by professors who often have little interaction with students. Over all, the center has produced nine studies covering hundreds of thousands of classes in two states, Washington and Virginia. The picture the studies offer of the online revolution is distressing.
The research has shown over and over again that community college students who enroll in online courses are significantly more likely to fail or withdraw than those in traditional classes, which means that they spend hard-earned tuition dollars and get nothing in return. Worse still, low-performing students who may be just barely hanging on in traditional classes tend to fall even further behind in online courses.
A five-year study, issued in 2011, tracked 51,000 students enrolled in Washington State community and technical colleges. It found that those who took higher proportions of online courses were less likely to earn degrees or transfer to four-year colleges. The reasons for such failures are well known. Many students, for example, show up at college (or junior college) unprepared to learn, unable to manage time and having failed to master basics like math and English.
Lacking confidence as well as competence, these students need engagement with their teachers to feel comfortable and to succeed. What they often get online is estrangement from the instructor who rarely can get to know them directly. Colleges need to improve online courses before they deploy them widely. Moreover, schools with high numbers of students needing remedial education should consider requiring at least some students to demonstrate success in traditional classes before allowing them to take online courses.
Interestingly, the center found that students in hybrid classes — those that blended online instruction with a face-to-face component — performed as well academically as those in traditional classes. But hybrid courses are rare, and teaching professors how to manage them is costly and time-consuming.
The online revolution offers intriguing opportunities for broadening access to education. But, so far, the evidence shows that poorly designed courses can seriously shortchange the most vulnerable students.

Picture: Firemen at work at Newark and Madison where a three alarm fire blazed through two residential buildings. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meeting Agenda for the Hoboken Board of Education's Meeting on February 12, 2013

The following is the Meeting Agenda for the Hoboken Board of Education's Meeting on February 12, 2013.

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feb 7-8 National Weather Service Blizzard Warning Hoboken, NJ

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for our area which is in effect from Friday 6:00am through Saturday 1:00pm. Damaging winds and snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches with localized higher amounts are possible.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the City website, or sign up to receive free email or text updates by visiting

For emergencies, call 911 or the Hoboken Police Department at 201-420-2100. Downed power lines should be reported to 911.

Emergency Snow Routes
Residents are reminded not to park along emergency snow routes. Emergency Snow Routes in Hoboken are labeled with street signs that read “No Parking When Road Is Snow Covered.” When streets are snow covered, no parking is permitted on these streets (a snow emergency does not need to be declared). Vehicles parked on snow emergency routes are subject to towing. This is necessary to move police, fire and ambulances throughout Hoboken in time of emergency for the safety and welfare of all our citizens. A list and map of emergency snow routes is available on the City website:

Keeping Sidewalks Clear
Property owners/occupants are reminded that they have six hours after the completion of a storm to remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property, along with adjoining wheelchair ramps or curb cuts. Residents are urged to assist elderly or disabled neighbors with clearing snow from their properties. It is illegal to shovel snow back onto streets or onto fire hydrants. The City is responsible for clearing sidewalks around City-owned properties.

The City performs proactive inspections and also relies on citizen complaints to help us identify those property owners that are not meeting sidewalk safety requirements. The vast majority of property owners comply with these regulations, but the City will issue fines to those who do not keep sidewalks clear.

Reporting Problems
To report an unplowed street, unshoveled sidewalk, or other problem, residents can submit an online complaint via During normal business hours, they can also call the Department of Environmental Services at 201-420-2012.

Discounted Garage Parking
Due to the predicted storm, a special rate of $5 per 24 hour period is being offered in Garages B (28 2nd Street) and D (215 Hudson Street) to residents with a parking permit decal or Temporary parking permit placard beginning at 8am on Friday, February 8 through 8am on Sunday, February 10. In addition, Hoboken residents with disabilities who possess either a handicapped license plate or hang tag for their permitted vehicle may also park in the Midtown garage (371 4th Street) for the same reduced rate. Garage space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Regular rates apply at other times.

Residents who have a parking permit decal or Temporary parking permit placard are reminded that overnight parking (8pm to 8am) is available at a rate of $5.00 in Garages B, D and Midtown every day of the year.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Judge Rules Texas' School-Funding Method Unconstitutional

The following is excerpted from the Texas Tribune and was written by Morgan Smith. This post also contains the official ruling by the Judge as well as the judge's remarks. This is a very important decision concerning the funding of education in the State of Texas and will have far reaching impacts across the country. In addition, the judge also ruled on 3 issues related to charter schools which will have statewide and potential national impact. -Dr. Petrosino
In a decision certain to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, state district Judge John Dietz ruled Monday in favor of more than 600 school districts on all of their major claims against the state's school finance system. With a swift ruling issued from the bench shortly after the state finished its closing arguments, Dietz said that the state does not adequately or efficiently fund public schools — and that it has created an unconstitutional de-facto property tax in shifting the burden of paying for them to the local level.

"There is no free lunch," he said. "We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price, or we don't."

Dietz said that issues raised by another party in the lawsuit, Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education — a group representing parents, school choice advocates and the business community that argued the current system was inefficient and overregulated — were better solved by the Legislature. He also declined to find the state cap on charter school contracts, or the charters' lack of access to facilities funding, unconstitutional.

Moments after Dietz spoke, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams issued a statement emphasizing that the ruling is "simply one step on this litigation’s path."

“All sides have known that, regardless of the outcome at the district level, final resolution will not come until this case reaches the Texas Supreme Court," he said. "I’m appreciative of the strong case presented by the Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the state. The Texas Education Agency will continue to carry out its mission of serving the students and educators across our state.”
Though he did not rule in favor of TREEE's claims, which challenged the statutory cap on charters, the alleged overregulation of public schools and the state's system for rating for financial accountability, Dietz said that they should "bear the Legislature's scrutiny."
The judge, who is expected to issue a more detailed decision in several weeks, did not elaborate further on his ruling against the charter school plaintiffs. He said that it was within the Legislature's discretion to fund charter schools differently than traditional public schools, and that any disparities in funding "do not rise to the level" of unconstitutionality.
The executive director of the Texas Charter School Association, David Dunn, issued a statement in response to the ruling Monday evening.

“We are disappointed that Judge Dietz ruled against charter school students and their parents, denying them constitutional protections,” he said. “They have the same constitutional right to facilities funding as every other Texas public school student.  Parents and students do not give up their right to facilities funding by choosing the best public school option for their child.  However, we are thrilled that the judge ruled the overall public education system, of which charters are an integral part, inadequate.”
After a 12-week trial, Judge John Dietz took only moments to agree with schools that the current funding mechanism violates the state Constitution.
"It was a great relief," said Wayne Pierce, executive director of the Equity Center, an organization of some 675 of the school districts arguing that the system is "hopelessly broken."
Texas does not have a state income tax and relies on local property taxes to fund schools. A so-called "Robin Hood" scheme, enacted in 1993 as a result of an earlier lawsuit, requires schools with more resources to share with those in poorer districts.
Plaintiffs such as Wayne Pierce say lawmakers should not wait to act.
"The longer you wait before you fix the system that funds [kids'] education, the more you hurt them," Pierce says. "And if we have to wait two more years before this goes through the full process, there are sophomores in high school right now that will not benefit one day."
Some state lawmakers had already begun making contingency plans, setting aside some money in case they need to increase funding. But even after Monday's ruling, Republican Sen. Kel Seliger — who sits on the state Senate Finance and Education committees — says the debate on the nature of the fix will continue.
"The judge said [the current system] was unconstitutional, but he did not prescribe any remedies," Seliger says. "We're just going to have to come up with a remedy that may not be a preferred one but that it is constitutional.

Judge John Dietz's Remarks In School Finance Ruling: CLICK HERE