Saturday, October 31, 2015

6 Year Linear Trend of Per pupil costs of Educating Students in Hoboken's Charter Schools is Less than $13,000...and Dropping

Halloween 2015-Hoboken NJ 
Recent analysis indicates that the Hoboken Charter Schools are very efficient at utilizing the money they receive spending much less than $13,000 per student based on 6 year linear trend data*. The chart below shows clearly that as funding has increased per pupil spending has dropped. Why? This is do mainly to increased enrollment as well as some economy of scale related to staffing and resource utilization.

The dotted lines (blue dotted line---per pupil costs; yellow dotted line-- funding for Hoboken charter schools) represent longitudinal TREND lines over 6 years. That allows us to make much more substantial statements than year to year statements. The yellow dotted line goes up because enrollment is going up BUT the value added for the state is that there is great efficiency (lower per pupil costs) as we move forward. The TREND lines are going in OPPOSITE directions. The bump in 2010-11 is the advent of the Hola Dual Language School.

Click to Enlarge
Total funding vs per pupil costs 

With this graph we can see clearly that growth is NOT exponential growth as the district would like people to believe (a RIDICULOUS statement mathematically) AND charters per pupil costs are indicating great efficiency (educating more students, at a high degree of quality, for less and less money over time).

Funding vs. Enrollment- Hoboken Charter School 2009-2014

The chart presents a fairly clear indication of increased efficiency over time as well as value added should the trends play out over the next couple of years. In essence, as charter schools educate more students in Hoboken, they do so with greater financial efficiency and without compromising quality (some would argue INCREASED quality). Notice, per pupil spending actually GOES DOWN as the funding for charter schools goes up--- greater efficiency. 

*Depending on how your calculations, per pupil costs in the traditional Hoboken Public Schools ranges from $24,000 to almost $30,000

Ragamuffin Parade 2015- Hoboken, NJ 

Mayor Tom Vezzetti- 1980's 

Rosebuds- Hoboken, NJ 1983 

Hoboken, NJ Halloween 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT HIGH SCHOOL EDITION RELEASED - HHS College Readiness Scores 14.2 out of 100

"Proud of the Progress"- Kids First Members have been
in control of the Hoboken Public Schools since 2009
U.S. News and World Report recently announced the 2015 Best High Schools rankings, highlighting top-performing public schools on a state and national level. The 2015 rankings, available exclusively at, include data on more than 21,150 public high schools. The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas, earns the No. 1 spot nationally for the fourth straight year, followed by BASIS Scottsdale in Arizona at No. 2 and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, at No. 3. U.S. News differentiates high schools with gold, silver and bronze medals, using gold medals to indicate the greatest level of college readiness.

HHS was a Bronze Medal Winner in
2007-08 and 2008-09 (pre-Kids First)
It wasn't that long ago that Hoboken High School was a back to back winner of the US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT Bronze Medal Award (2007-2009). It occurred while I was the Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Jack Raslowsky (Harvard) was the Superintendent of Schools and Dr. Lorraine Cella (Columbia) was the principal of Hoboken High School.

1) While I was the Assistant to the Superintendent, in 2008 and 2009 Hoboken High School won the US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT BRONZE MEDAL AWARD:
2) While I was the Assistant to the Superintendent, in 2008 Hoboken High School was named the 2nd Most Improved High School in the State of New Jersey:

3) In May of 2009 the political group known as Kids First took majority control of the Hoboken Public Schools.

4) By September of 2009 both Superintendent Raslowsky and myself were no longer in the district (suffice to say "support our superintendent" was not yet an established practice of Kids First Board of Education members).

5) By February of 2010 Dr. Cella was no longer in the school district (a law suit was later settled involving the manner in which the situation was handled).

6) By May of 2010 the political group known as Kids First first achieved and have since retained super majority control of the Hoboken Board of Education and control of the city's traditional public school system.

7) Here is where things were by 2012 at Hoboken High School:  Among the bottom 50 high schools in the state. A perilous and needless drop in a few short years due in large part to Board leadership.

"The maximum College Readiness Index value is 100 (range is 0-100), which means that every 12th-grade student in a particular school took and passed at least one AP or IB test before or during their senior year." -US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT  
The College Readiness Index for Hoboken Junior Senior High School for 2015 is 14.2 out of a possible score of 100. (Weehawken 23.3; Secaucus 20.1; Paramus HS 37.2 and Montclair High School  31.1). 

9) Under the Kids First Leadership of the Hoboken School District Hoboken High School has gone through 5 principals in the past 6 years while the district went through 7 interim and "permanent" superintendents in 6 years (Raslowsky, Carter, Rusak, Romano (never served), Toback, Brockel, and the current superintendent). In addition, Hoboken High School/Hoboken Junior Senior High School went though 3 different configurations (Grades 9-12; Grades 8-12; and Grades 7-12) since 2010. Little wonder that the school's graduate rate is below the state average and standardized test scores lag behind even what might be expected from the socio-economic demographic the school serves. And little wonder the school is no longer a US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT BRONZE MEDAL AWARD WINNER.

Summary: Board Leadership matters and Board of Education elections really matter. We can see how, in a few short years, Hoboken Junior Senior High School went from being the 2nd most improved high school in the State of New Jersey and a back to back national recognition award winner by US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT (2007-2009) to being ranked in the bottom 50 high schools in the state (2012) and a college readiness score of 14.2 out of 100 three years later (2015).

Kids First members Ruth Tyroler (McAllister),
Jean Marie Mitchell, and Thomas Kluepfel  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Candidate Forum- Hoboken Board of Education Thursday October 29th from 6:30-7:30pm

On Thursday October 29the NJ Charter School Association will host a public forum for the current Hoboken Board of Education candidates to discuss their views and answer questions from community members. The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 29th, 6:30-7:30pm, in the Rue Gym at 301 Garden Street (flyer attached).

The election is coming up on November 3rd, so this is a great opportunity to be as well informed as possible before casting your votes.

Free childcare will be available for children 4 years and older, overseen by HoLa Aftercare staff members. Pizza and water will be served, and donations to defray the cost of pizza are welcome.  Space is limited to 50 children so please register in advance:

Please bring children to the HoLa Cafeteria on the 4th floor for childcare. Students already registered for HoLa Aftercare may be taken directly from 123 Jefferson to Childcare at Rue at with a staff member; email to coordinate.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quality of Life Coalition Debate- Hoboken Board of Education

Some current Board of Ed candidates claim that the "lawsuit
was not about Hola, it was about the Commissioner"
Some of the current Hoboken Board of Education candidates claim that the lawsuit was not against Hola but against the "funding formula" or "against the Commissioner of Education". Clearly, the HBOE lawsuit seeks for the NJ Dept. of Education to set aside Hola's expansion AND its original charter. 
 Election day is right around the corner. If you have not viewed the debates we encourage you to take some time to hear from the candidates themselves. Charter schools and the ongoing litigation against HoLa's expansion were addressed. See Part 2 first question at 0:19 and minute 43:30 respectively.
One of the candidates indicated that she did not like the question about the HoLa lawsuit- that it was not necessary. As a community that has been terribly distracted by this lawsuit......the question is not only necessary but relevant. 

There are 3 Hoboken Board of Education candidates who are against the Hola lawsuit and FOR ALL the children of Hoboken. Vote for A Smarter Future on November 3rd of Britney Montgomery-1F John Madigan -3F Alanna Kauffmann-5F.

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hoboken Board of Education Meeting- October 13, 2015 Full Agenda

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 7:00 P.M.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

7 Hoboken BOE candidates, seeking 3 seats, square off on budgets, charter schools

The seven Hoboken Board of Education candidates squared off on issues such as budget cuts, Hoboken High School and charter schools at the debate at the Church of Our Lady of Grace.
Written by   See full article on Hudson County View

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition Board of Education Forum- Oct 5th 7-9pm OLG School

View of Hoboken- Circa 1838
Hoboken Board of Education forum – Monday, October 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace School Auditorium, Willow Ave. at 5th St.

These will follow an established format: Written questions will be solicited from the audience and submitted to a three-person panel who will select the clearest and most concise questions on a wide range of topics. On most occasions, board members of the non-partisan Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition will be the selectors. Our Lady of Grace and St. Joseph Parish are co-sponsors for the Board of Education forum. Each candidate will have an opportunity to make opening introductory and closing remarks, and a timekeeper will ensure that time limits are respected in answering questions.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Cognitive Development of Young Dual Language Learners: A Critical Review of the Research

Parents Night 2015 at Hola Dual Language School
Hoboken, NJ
The research is clear and consistent on the positive outcomes associated with dual language learners and has been for some time. The following review examines in some detail the existing research on the cognitive development of Dual Language Learners (DLL's) and synthesizes the resource into a fairly concise and digestible format. Findings indicate that despite the variability in the questions asked, measures used, and definitions of bilingualism, a relatively consistent pattern of positive results emerge in certain areas of cognitive development that includes executive control, theory of mind and brain function. While there are also many other reasons for dual language instruction that have been known for some time, the cognitive developments of our youngest learners is especially noteworthy. 

It is this research as well as the many other positive aspects of dual language instruction that first led me and the then Superintendent of Schools to recommend a dual language program for the Hoboken School District in 2009. Unfortunately, that possibility was voted down by the Hoboken Board of Education in a vote of 4-3. Thankfully, the dual language program was eventually established as a public and free charter school in Hoboken, NJ and now enjoys an excellent reputation as well as meeting the needs and wishes of the community and enjoying statewide recognition as an exemplary dual language program in New Jersey

"The children that we have to worry about are these children that are failing now." Hoboken resident Ruth McAllister* asks the Board not to pass Hola at tonight's meeting. (click here) February 10, 2009  *Ruth McAllister is now known as Ruth Tyroler and is currently the President of the Hoboken Board of Education.