While I was Assistant to the Superintendent, Hoboken High School enjoyed a fantastic amount of independent, third party positive recognition from state and national media sources. During that period of time, we were voted the second most improved high school in the State of New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly and we won back to back Bronze Medal Awards by US News and World Report. All three awards were unsolicited. All three awards were well deserved. And all three awards were due to the coordinated work and cooperation between the teaching staff and by consistent leadership from building and district administrators.
Under the current Board majority leadership of the Hoboken School District (in place since May of 2009 and known by various names including Kids First/Reach Higher, Hoboken/Forward Together), Hoboken High School has gone through 5 principals in 7 years while the district has gone through 7 interim and "permanent" superintendents in roughly the same time period (Raslowsky, Carter, Rusak, Romano (never served), Toback, Brockel, and the current superintendent).
Perhaps more telling, Grade 9-12 enrollment of Hoboken resident students (omitting "choice" students, which I helped bring to the district in 2009) has plummeted -41.7% since 2009-10 school year, the first year of the Kids First/Reach Higher, Hoboken/Forward Together era.
|Figure 2: HHS Grade 9-12 Resident Enrollment|
Data 2007-08 to 2015-16
Click to Enlarge
The trend is even more telling when we look at enrollment data over a much longer period of time at Hoboken High School (see Figure 3). Before the Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Together era there was a noticeable uptick (2003-04 to 2008-09) in Hoboken High School enrollment of resident students in Grades 9-12. Once the Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Together era began (see red bar graphs in Figure 3), Hoboken families have been abandoning Hoboken High School at an alarming rate.
|Figure 3: HHS Grade 9-12 Resident Enrollment|
Data 1998-99 to 2015-16
Click to Enlarge
A few things supporters of Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Together may not realize that may have an impact on these enrollment numbers:
1) lower SAT scores than expected from economic status of student families,
2) designation of the Hoboken School District as a District in Need of Improvement;
3) low rating of the Hoboken School District by independent news organizations;
4) violence, vandalism and bullying in the Hoboken Public Schools; and
5) five consecutive years of failing INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM as evaluated by the New Jersey Department of Education;
6) recent teacher effectiveness ratings;
7) High School graduation rates;
A quick summary:
The Hoboken Public School students obtain SAT scores lower than expected by their socio-economic status, they are in a district that was designated by the New Jersey Department of Education as a "District in Need of Improvement" and this district has failed the New Jersey QSAC DPR for Instruction and Program for the past 4 years. The Newark Star Ledger gave the district high school a "D". In addition, the district was rated the 9th most violent school district in New Jersey by HobokenPatch.com and the rate of violence and vandalism incidents in the schools remain very high compared to schools in Hudson County and around the state. Add to this 6 superintendents in 7 years and 4 different district configurations in the same period and we can see reason why the quality of education the poor and disadvantaged students of Hoboken are receiving under the leadership of the "Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken!/Forward Together" political group might be considered a threat to their civil rights. Especially if one considers the quality of an education to be a civil right.