Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ms. Demarest’s Theory of (Zero) Accountability

Last night, the Board of Education finally acknowledged that Ms. Rappaport had been a director of special education services during the 2007-08 school year and had been paid as such. Nor did the board attempt to explain why she held a position for which she lacked certification. The kicker, however, was when Ms. Demarest stated that, as a board member, she was only accountable for her board votes and nothing else. By her logic, she never voted for out-of-control spending, poor academic performance, or to retain unqualified personnel. No, she’s not the slightest bit accountable for any of that. How pathetic.

Let’s review some of the things for which Ms. Demarest, President of the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District Board of Education is not accountable.

How reassuring that Ms. Demarest isn’t accountable for any of that.

During the meeting, Ms. Demarest said she’d make herself available for any questions I had regarding her voting record. So, following the meeting I took advantage of her offer. She patiently listened to my questions, declared she wouldn’t answer any of them, and then launched into personal attacks against me. (Though the attacks were made publicly, they were not intended to be part of the public record.)

Using the “Demarest Method” of accountability, let’s review her voting record.Oh, let’s not forget the thousands she spent (including program fees) to attend the annual NJ School Board Association conferences in Atlantic City. Undoubtedly, the benefits to the district have been well worth the expense. Next time a student’s extra curricular activity lacks funding, just remember that Ms. Demarest considers it more important for her to attend “enrichment” programs in AC.

This coming April, don’t forget Ms. Demarest’s motto – High taxes, poor academics, I didn’t vote for any of those things. I’m not accountable. >>> Read more!

112 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not one bit surprised by her reaction to you. Ms. Demarest has a reputation to being hauty and rude to parents who speak out at board meetings.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener -

The beginning of the blog seems to have a typo in it. You wrote:

The second sentence starts "Nor did the board attempt..." however the first sentence isn't in the negative. So the "nor" seems out of place.

Did the Board refuse to acknowledge Ms. Rappaport's acting as a director of special education or should the second sentence actually start: "However the Board did not attempt..."

Thanks!

Aberdeener said...

You raise a good question.

Is an implicit or implied negative sufficient to use "nor"?

In the preceding statement, I said "finally acknowledged" to imply the board was "no longer stonewalling".

According to this site, "nor" would be permitted as used. However, if the consensus is otherwise, I can rewrite the opening sentences.

Thanks for the input. I'm glad to see someone out there is checking my English. :)

Anonymous said...

Its kind of funny to be having this discussion on a blog about the school board. According to the site you referenced:

""Nor" is occasionally used to introduce a sentence when there is no real or implied negative statement before it. "I believe the tobacco statement knew the truth all along. Nor do I trust the reports in the media, when all is said and done." But that use of "nor" is unusual and a bit formal."

I'm certainly not a teacher, but I tend to agree with the latter statement. The use of "nor" without a negative preceding it is a bit unusual. I just found it to be confusing as I wasn't sure if a typo existed in the preceding sentence. Whenever I see "nor" I expect it to be a continuance of something ie:

"I did not receive an answer to my question about the vote, nor did they acknowledge that a problem existed."

Whereas a sentence like the following just seems extremely awkward to me:

"They readily answered my question about the vote, nor did they acknowledge that a problem existed."

Maybe its just me, but the second example just seems confusing.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to take the topic away from its main point, NOR was I trying to turn this into a grammar discussion.

I was just honestly trying to figure out whether in fact the Board did acknowledge Ms. Rappaport had been a director of special education or not? From your response, I take it that they did.

Aberdeener said...

They did acknowledge that she was a director, she was paid as a director, and they never tried to explain why.

Thx again for helping me with my writing. I appreciate the critique.

Steve Prentice said...

Hello - just wondering on what basis you mention Walden University as being of poor repute?

Aberdeener said...

My opinion regarding Walden is based upon
- private discussions with education professionals
- their education program lacks professional accreditation
- online forums
- their masters program requires fewer credits than most programs

I'm also highly suspicious when an online university with a reputation for being cheap and easy is able to attract the overwhelming majority of our teachers. If the issue was convenience, how come nobody is using Seton Hall's online program?

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute- Mrs. Demarest has been president for 9-10 months and she is accountable for all you concerns? Who was the board president th previous year? No accountability for him? Come on Aberdeener- you really seem to be playing favorites.

Aberdeener said...

All board members are accountable, not just presidents. She's been on the board for six years and I fail to see her contribution.

As for last year's leadership, I suggest you re-read my earlier columns. I was sharply critical of O'Connell and Aitken when they were running the show.

NsectionJoe said...

While I attended the school board meeting last night but had to leave early I for one compliment Ms. Demarest on the manner in which she handles her role as board president and the way she conducts the meetings.

It does not make up for past mistakes and decisions or supportive choices she may have made, which are brought to light herein.

As I said last night this Mrs. Rappaport situation is far from over. My suggestion a month ago that our school district poll parents of former special needs children serviced by this district and under Ms. Rappaport was rebuffed. As I thought on it later it may have been on the advice of counsel that this school board may reject my search for accountability. Yeah I used that curse word of Accountability.

You see my suggestion, which may have allowed the school board to get a very clear picture of the services or in truth lack of services that were provided under Rappport's direction and may be a very serious and potentially expensive liability this school district does not want to bring up ever again. It was my hope that by polling parents as to their specific problems and experiences under Mrs. Rappport's tenure that we may not allow history to repeat itself again in this district. My suggestion seemed to be met with a "we are moving forward not backward" response. All too typical actually of such a authoritative assemblage of leaders.

God forbid we really learn how much pain a Mrs. Rappaport may have caused these students and their families.

I now wait the anonymous attacks on my input and concerns. Attack away you two from the dark recesses of "I believe everything someone on the school board tells me". I borrow a prior post sign off. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT !

$$$ for Skelton said...

A great example of Barbato and Zavorskas wasting our money. I thought the divided board only happened last year. Read on, to find out what they thought of 80,000 of your hard earned tax dollars back in 2001.

Matawan-Ab’deen board

Anonymous said...

No one can argue with your point. I would guess that even Barbato and Zavorskas would admit that they got suckered by Skelton. On the positive- he left. Middletown hired him to be a hatchet man which is his forte.

NsectionJoe said...

The list of people who have left this district only to go to another district and be an integral part of that new school system is a long one. Unfortunately their numbers are many that were pushed out by power hungry board members, small teachers groups allowed too much power, and others who saved their own asses blaming others for their own screw-ups. No superintendents were included as they just went to hack-ville for more money, to do less, and of course with zero accountability. That as it has been said before is New Jersey pure and simple.

That is unfortunately what the too powerful and single minded school boards got us before the change started. A change with the much criticized and maligned, that has recently occurred.

The Quinn and Co. selection process was mishandled from the start as they hired a politician not a school superintendent. That lackluster search for lack of a better term obviously failed miserably. Search firms as of late are just an exercise in futility for the most part and just reward connected firms and usually end with someone like Quinn who was a stones throw away all along.

I am unsure if Dr. O'Malley was a search firm find or not. All I know is that he has put some school board members in their place, kept some out of schools and offices that was very detrimental to a positive work environment, which works for me. Now if he can only tackle the few remaining overpriced and under worked hacks, we may stand a chance.

Note: If I have offended anyone who feels they may have been included or made an example in this post I apologize in advance. I can assure you it is only due to my constant anger over a $64,000,000.00 school budget that is forcing people to leave the town they love. The $64,000,000.00 price tag for our test scores and lack of real progress in prior years has too high a cost.

I know that education is expensive but ignorance of the taxpayers plight is no less ignorant.

Anonymous said...

1. what are they doing in the woods on the old train tracks off of atlantic avenue? All of the trees are being cut down and I saw a utilty truck down there today.

2. NSection Joe, you said you were going to bring up the football program at the BOE meeting... what happened?

KarenS said...

Way to go again Joe. You tell it like it is once again. Attack away anonymous, but it is still the reality of this district pure and simple.

NsectionJoe said...

Sorry I goofed the last line. I meant to say-

I know education is expensive but ignorance of the taxpayers plight is no less expensive.

NsectionJoe said...

I apologized about the football field question I did not ask it.

As for the properties being cut near the train station it may be due to the power lines all over the state having to be trimmed back or it may be the county working on the bike path access.

Hold the Pickle said...

Can someone tell me anything the Board of Ed has done well? I realize every school district has areas it should improve on; however, this blog makes me feel like the children of Matawan-Aberdeen are part of the Camden School District.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that my child who is in the enrichment program has gotten a really good education.

And despite what many people think about it, most of that education so far has been done in Cliffwood Elementary (and now in Lloyd Road). She's been challenged, encouraged and done some great projects.

Anonymous said...

Karen S. PLEASE = you ARE anonymous TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edgeviewted07 said...

As has been said before by many it is the G&T talented students and the above average students that do well. The others however flounder. Additionally the monies spent and the lack of real progress on testing along with the teaching to the test mentality has failed miserably. Life is one big test that cannot be taught too.

Think about it before you attack.

Edgeviewted07 said...

Hold the big pickle I ask you to tell me something they did right. Start with the money then with the political hacks and finish off with Rappaport and the complete and total failure of our special ed program that just pushed those who need our undivided attention with monumental co for that type of program. Years ago our district should have started an in-house situation for many of the special needs children. Our districts leadership shipped them out.

The list is long as to the problems and deficiencies in our district so keep holding your pickle.

PRDTOTEACHMAMS said...

SNOW DAY WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !!!

A WHOLE DAY TO SURF THE ABERDEENER AND CATCH UP ON THE OLD TOPICS.

I ALSO AGREE WITH TED AS THE LITTLE "CLICKS" INSIDE SCHOOLS HAVE COST US GOOD ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS.

Anonymous said...

Edgeview - teaching to the test idea is very recent and ALOT of schools do it to raise scores to get more funding or whatever

But you are right that we should have set up an IN HOUSE program - maybe hire a few more teachers to work specifically with some of these kids instead of sending them out of district. Between the costs and bussing it have to be cheaper to do a program somewhere in the district...

Give me a break! said...

Somewhere in the district? How about in every classroom in the district? Differentiated instruction, I think it is called. We've sent a lot of teachers to a lot of workshops & spent a lot of money on training teachers to teach to all levels in their classrooms. There is a ton of reseach on this topic - feel free to Google.

Too bad we don't actually do it. Don't know who is ultimately resonsible for that - the BOE, Curriculum , Superintendent or the teacher's union - take your pick. The waste in the MARSD is dumbfounding.

Query: Has any MRHS validictorian come from the G & T Program? It starts in the 2nd grade & goes through to the 5th. It is funded ... wait for it... out of the Special Education budget & is essentially a self contained classroom of "bright" kids. I think they call it Enrichment now -an Enrichment classroom, I think it is called. There is also a pullout program for subject specific - Reading/ Language Arts or Math - if your child has a talent in only one area. All funded out of Special Ed dollars.

Also, has anyone tracked these kids after they leave the district? There have been several articles/ TV news shows about how High Schools (nationally) do not give college bound students the tools they need to succeed in college. It was cited in a couple of articles as one of the reasons that colleges are making so much money in "remedial" or "basic skills" classes that do not count toward a major.

This is another reason why the average college student takes 5 years to get a BA.

Very expensive!

astone said...

As I read about what's wrong with our school board I ask myself what are the characteristics of an effective one...from the Center for Public Education...

"Historically, school boards have been formed to keep the “public” in public education. They are uniquely American and provide the conduit that delivers the community’s values and will into its schools. Today, the relevance of school boards is dependent on doing what matters. A panel of educators from across the country recently convened by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the leading publisher of standardized achievement tests for children and adults in the United States, explored the role of school boards and outlined five characteristics of an effective board of education. Our direct experience in working with school boards over the years suggests the panel was right in its analysis.

*Effective boards focus on student achievement. The best school boards understand that student learning is job one.

*Effective boards allocate resources to needs. Not all students walk through the school doors with the same needs. Good school boards recognize this fact and allocate resources such as time, money, and personnel and adjust practices accordingly

*Effective boards watch the return on investment. We are all accountable to somebody. Effective boards are mindful of their own accountability to the communities that entrust their children to public schools; effective boards routinely and regularly measure and report the return on investment of the education dollars they spend.

*Effective boards use data
Informed policy making requires using data. Otherwise, effective boards cannot be assured that all students, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status, are progressing toward and reaching high standards.

*Effective boards engage the communities they serve. Effective boards have established mechanisms for community involvement in setting the vision for the school district, representing the values of the community, and identifying the district’s short-term and long-term priorities.

For the complete article, see...

http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/site/c.goJQI0OwElH/b.2119357/k.C66C/Five_characteristics_of_an_effective_school_board.htm

Aberdeener said...

Astone,

That's a terrific piece. One more question - How do you measure a school board's effectiveness?

I think the only way we can do that is to set specific goals and then compare our achievement to comparable school districts.

I wonder if we could set up an informal association with other school districts to share data.

Granola Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Very interesting. THIS WAS THE LAST PIECE OF ONE of the LAST COMMENTS from the previous post and it fits what Granola Mom just said about ineffective BOE:



" 4. For JD to say he voted to Quinn because he BARZA was going to hire him anyway is a cop out in plain english. He should have stood his ground IF THAT IS WHAT HE BELEIVED WAS RIGHT and I wouldnt want a person or less character to lead a BOE who votes because of others votes. -

5. Like BARZA or not, I never voted for them myself, but at least they voted no for OMalley as a matter or principle - I think they are wrong b/c he doing doing OK in my opinion.

6. LASTLY, shouldnt all BOE members who have been around and VOTED the 20 million is budget raises and projects all be held accountable - THE BOE signs the supers checks. If the last 6 years are that bad, then all BOE who served should be looked at and scrutinized not just supers. Everything IS VOTED ON - remember that."

Anonymous said...

Granola Mom I love the post.

At the last school board election, Kenny and Aitken showed up and were asked those question by the public. They respectfully answered all questions from the public and stated their accomplishments and plans they wanted to continue.

Rubino, a BARZA incumbent was a no show, as well as Ruphret, a newcomer to the board. Both no shows, although this was lead by the "League of Women's Voters", and these two win!

There is something seriously wrong in this town, when so many are so willing to let the same nonsense continue!
Yes, I know this is past history, and we're soon to have another school board election, but when is the public going to realize that more of Barbato and Demerest and the rest of BARZA is causing permanent damage to your children and their futures.

Anonymous said...

I guess with the BOE elections not to far off, that most o fthe people that post here are going to run for office, especially you Mr Aberdeener. I do not agree with what the BOE is doing, but when it comes to the elections you only see 3 or 4 names, in other communities you see 10 or more. So either put up or shut up. If you could do a better job, run for the position and lets see. This blog is great for all those that like to put down elected officals, but are afraid to put themselves out thier so now its your turn to run or shut up

Anonymous said...

Its amazing all the negative comments. If you just read this blog you would think not one child came through this district and did well. I know plenty and if you want a good education for your children it is possible. Somewhere along the way an elitist attitude has come about when people disagree. Opposing points of view can be productive as long as their is some give and take. It seems now that when certain members are challenged it turns to name calling, arrogance, and an effort to get people against one another. It seems that has been the case for the last couple of years and that is why all this negativity. Just look at what the elections have turned into. Down and dirty politics. Hold members accountable, demand excellence from administration and stop whining.

Anonymous said...

I know plenty and if you want a good education for your children it is possible.

Are any of those people with disabilities?

I'll tell you right now, speak to ANY parent of a child with disabilities in this district, and you will know that WANTING a good education and GETTING a good education are two very different things for our kids in this district.

You will never find parents who are more dedicated to trying to get a good education for their children. Heck, 1/2 of the education they are getting, WE provide at home! We can't get the BASICS in this district, much less what the non-disabled kids are getting.

And, no, we are not a bunch of whiners. We are fighting for the very future of our kids, and most of us are MAD.

Aberdeener said...

To the anon who asked me to run for the school board, thanks for your support. It's good to know I'd get at least one vote. :)

As for the education, undoubtedly, many students do very well in our schools. However, as a district, as a community, we could and should be doing far better.

Anonymous said...

I AGREE THIS BLOG HAS VERY VALID POINTS, BUT IT IS JUST A BLOG. WILL SOMEONE RUN FOR OFFICE THAT IS THE ONLY WAY CHANGES WILL START. OR ARE WE JUST BLOWING OFF STEAM. YES THERE ARE MANY STUDENTS WHO LEAVE ABERDEEN AND BECOME VERY SUCESSFUL. FOLKS IT ALL STARTS AT HOME. AS FAR AS THE TEACHERS ARE CONCERNED, FEW MONTHS AGO I ASKED THE HOW MANY TEACHERS IN THIS DISTRICT RECEIVED THEIR MASTERS THRU ON LINE STUDY. JUST REMEMBER MOST OF THEM WILL RETIRE SOON AND WE WILL BE PAYING THEIR PENSIONS.
MR. ABERDEENER YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME EXPOSING THE BOE ISSUES ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE? I AM SURE YOUR FOLLOWERS WILL SUPPORT YOU.

Aberdeener said...

Last year, there was only one candidate representing the standards wing. I can assure you I'm working hard to make sure that this year has at least two.

Granola Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hold the Pickle said...

Apparantly EdgeviewTed cannot read. I asked him to tell me something that the Board of Ed has gotten right! Surely in the sea of negativity he spews there must be one good thing he can say about the Board, or is he stating that every decision made by the Board has been wrong?

By the way, I was not endorsing the Board in my previous post. I was just looking for a little positivity in this black hole of negativity.

Edgeviewted07 said...

Pickle come over into the light of reality. I asked you to show me one thing they did right.

You could have started with the $64,000,000.00 question. You didn't. Why?

You could have started with the political hacks in the district like Glastein and Gross. You didn't. Why?

And finally you could have started with the recently unfolding saga of the now to sick (or is it embarrassed) to come to work Mrs. Rappaport. You didn't. Why?

Once again you chose to be lame and hide from reality and not answer my serious questions in regards to the running of this school system.

I do not understand why all of you haters cannot accept the reality of the damage some of our supposed leaders have caused.

I Also responded as to your claim that we are all so negative, yet you could not respond and explain the realities of the money, hack held positions and an administrator with a bruised ego who fails to come to work since 1/5/09. You can be sure she has been working with her Attorney on the lawsuit she plans on filing against this district, which will cost even more money due to Barbato and Zavorskas and their bunch, who yes pickle man they caused that problem as well and now do not want to be accountable for that either.

So much for integrity.

KarenS said...

Pickle man it is time you went up up and away.

By the way the costs to ship our special needs students out of district is $7,000,000,00 a year.

How about that little pickle man.

Anonymous said...

What kind of special needs are "shipped out"? Are the places they are going better suited? 7 million?

I'm only asking - do not take offense.

cliffwood ave ricky said...

Karen,

Pickle should leave because you don't agree with him? Thats not how problems are solved.... He simply asked for someone to say something positive.... maybe your narrow mindedness should go up and away as you put it....

NsectionJoe said...

As the husband of a very dedicated special needs teacher with over 30 years experience I can assure you that our district unlike many others chose to place a great majority of special needs students in facilities outside of the district. In truth many of those placed out of district could have been facilitated within our school system and should have been long ago to be financially prudent but still provide the required services and instruction. This was a dirty little secret for far too long.

Many of our special needs students of course require many types of specialized instruction, assistance, therapy and other important instruction of varying types that cannot be offered in a district such as ours, for many reasons. BUT many other students for many years could have been serviced adequately had our school leadership pursued that course of action much more aggressively. Many other districts have chosen this course of action successfully and with significant cost savings, and more importantly much less travel time for the student, which of course allows for more instructional time by having the student in their districts rather than spending an hour each way or longer on a bus or van.

Additionally as I and others have stated previously, many students and parents were not treated properly by our districts representatives parents of students who in fact did require special needs instruction, which had been complained about for years. These frustrated and much maligned voices land squarely at the feet of the controversial Mrs. Rappaport. With additional blame for those who should have been monitoring her (Quinn and many others)and also properly answering these parents concerns and dissatisfaction as to the services provided.

Over the years my wife took numerous calls from from parents who were bullied by people in this district, parents who then had to pay for outside consultants, lawyers and more out of there own pockets. This occured to many parents just to get the instruction they were entitled to and mandated by the state D.O.E. to receive for their child from their own school district. It seemed to almost be a game to our school leadership and it was a game played for years with special needs parents. It was far more than cat and mouse when parents are coming out of their own pocket for lawyers and such all to fight for what they were supposed to receive. I certainly hope these parents were reimbursed when this district was found to be at fault. It obviously happened quite often.

That was truly a shame. It was far more of a shame that no one in this district was truly held accountable for the contempt shown to these parents. It seems as though those responsible were just shuffled around, which is all too typical.

Once again accountability is non existent. That needs to change now.

$7,000,000.00 could have paid for a great majority of services for those who require specialized and specific services. I feel that many others could have been properly taught here in our district. Controversial as this statement will be this in my opinion should have been a priority before other programs that Quinn started and then left...

Aberdeener said...

To answer pickle, the board did a great job in appointing Dr. O'Malley and Ms. Irons.

As for the special ed program, these kids are just shipped out. Out of 70 placements, the district didn't initiate a single change from the prior year's placements. It's inconceivable that every child every year is placed in the optimal program. The district just doesn't care. And many of the children, particularly those suffering from autism, could be educated within our district if we developed the programs for them.

Hold the Pickle said...

Since EdgeviewTed cannot read, maybe the rest of you can tell me what is wrong with my original post.

Here it is:

Can someone tell me anything the Board of Ed has done well? I realize every school district has areas it should improve on; however, this blog makes me feel like the children of Matawan-Aberdeen are part of the Camden School District.


If you take a look at his reply, he has failed to answer this question. All he has done is attack me and continue to point out the negative. He also broke the old adage my mother taught me which was to never answer a question with a question.

So Ted, I ask again, tell me something good the Board of Ed has done, or do you believe EVERY decision made by the Board has been detrimental to the children and tax payers?

Please remember, don't answer a question with a question. I know you can do it!

Anonymous said...

To the Anon. who asked where the special ed kids go to an out of district placement - there are lots of different places they get sent to - we have about 20 kids in the Bayshore Jointure Commission - mostly younger kids.

There are a lot of different schools - for various disabilities - most, in my opinion, do not effectively prepare these kids to be part of their community. Usually, no academics are addressed - except for the kids that we send out of district because we have not taught them how to READ.

Yes, we are sending kids out of district - at 70K plus busing a year, because our staff does not have the tools they need to teach a kid to READ.

Most of the behavioral or emotional out of district placements - again, just my opinion, are kids that have not been either properly evaluated by the district's CSTs &/or they are kids that are so frustrated that they haven't learned to READ & feel (& are called) STUPID - that they pick up a chair & become " a danger " to others.

Parents need to ask a lot of questions when a CST tells them what schiool their kid should go to. Many times, our district does NO FOLLOW UP about the academics being taught at these placements.

Anonymous said...

I personally know 2 families who have kids in out of district placements who pushed to have their kids put in these schools, just to get away from our district. Their children's home schools were so ill-prepared and the district so unwilling to work with them, that they would rather have children who could be served by a public school placed somewhere that they really don't belong.

THAT'S how bad it's been here for some of these families.

EssieDrIndy said...

Pickle Ted put it all back on you and you refuse to answer the big questions.

You do not answer about the money, the hack positions and more. What you discuss is minimal.

Have a nice day.

NsectionJoe said...

I have to agree it is the big picture as to special needs programs and services as well as the fact that every dollar counts and should be spent wisely and effectively. Certainly our need to send a large number of special needs students out of district is understandable for the services of varying types they deserve to have provided. But the failure in prior years to take steps to set up such programs in the past could have facilitated educational instruction within our district, with out all of the associated costs for other placements. Some of these placements have transportation costs as high as $35,000.00 alone per student.

If any child requires specialized or medically supervised instruction at another school it should be provided. But there seems to have been a secretive or selective effort to move the entire process elsewhere with significant time for travel and more not being a consideration. The management of this program by the individual recently replaced may have also contributed to the mess that our districts students and parents endured as well.

It is not all about the money I assure you, but it is something the taxpayers deserve to know was truly considered as both a service and significant cost savings.

What is going on? said...

Pat Demarest voted to pay herself for being a poll worker in a school election. This is nuts! What the hell are these people doing as public servants. How can this be ethical or legal? I hope the board is going to take some action against her. Is their someone we can complain to in the state?

Anonymous said...

STOP AVOIDING THE QUESTION. HOW MANY TEACHERS IN OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT HAVE ON LINE MASTER DEGREES? ARE THEY CREDITED? SIR ARE YOU AFRAID TO GO UP AGAINST THE TEACHERS' UNION? YOU KEEP AVOIDING THE QUESTION. REMEMBER PENSIONS..... LOOK AT THE PROBLEM WITH FREEHOLD THIS IS VERY SERIOUS.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, this really is nuts, Pat Demerest not only voted to give herself a raise as a poll worker, the bigger problem is why was she allowed to be a poll worker at a school board election? She is president of the school board, she shouldn't be anywhere near the polling site on election day. Isn't it illegal for her, or anyone on the school board to be working the polls on election day?
She as a member of the school board was putting forth issues to be voted on, as well as her support for Rubino and Rupheret. I'll ask again, isn't this illegal?

Anonymous said...

Everyone on the board at the time including both wings was in full support of the RTI program. Where is the $400,000 number coming from? It cost over $600,000 at the time it was put in and would cost way over that now with all the teachers that were added. All board members at that time promised accoutability and to this day, still none. This was at a time when most boards were trying to cut budgets, we were adding teachers and payroll. If its working, good, prove it and support it. I have not heard that from O'Malley. If not, get rid of it and give the taxpayers money back. Hold all accoutable for these major decisions that are costing us taxpayers plenty.

Aberdeener said...

A couple of corrections.

1)I misspoke regarding the RTI budget. It is, as noted, $600,000 a year.

2)Over three-quarters of our teachers pursuing masters degrees are using Walden University or other online programs of similar caliber. The program does have regional accreditation but has a poor reputation and lacks professional accreditation.

3)It is legal for a board member to work the polls. It is not legal for a board member to vote on any item where there exists a conflict of interest such as voting on your poll worker wage rate or voting to pay yourself.

I've reviewed all payments to the current board members since 2003 and, during that period, Pat Demarest is the only board member who ever voted to either set his own wages or pay himself.

Husky Special Ed said...

I'm not aware of how parents on non-disabled children rank the RTI program, but I can tell you, as a parent of a child with a disability, it's frustrating.

I know of children who are struggling in a subject have one-on-one tutoring and support in a class to get them back on track. However a child who is already classified will either get in-class support (in a room with many, many other children who are also getting it) or they will be in the resource room.

Many parents of classified children struggle to get into any tutoring situation - almost none of which are conducted by anyone with a special education background. Most of us end up doing a lot of teaching at home or hiring private tutors.

I do believe that it is very important to help all the children in the district who are having struggles in their academics. Once again, however, a program is set up that leaves the children with disabilities out of the equation.

Aberdeener said...

I wonder how much it would cost to implement a certification and training program for retired professionals to tutor our children in small group settings.

TRUTHABOUTNORMAN said...

PAY ATTENTION BOYS AND GIRLS.

YOU REALLY HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION AND YOU MUST TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO READ THE BAYSHORE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER THIS WEEK.

BIG ARTICLES ON MATAWAN AND ABERDEEN WHICH ARE VERY INTERESTING, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT CALL BY PRESIDENT OBAMA TO PUT THE CITIZENS FIRST AND STOP THE UNETHICAL POLITICAL PRACTICES OF THE PAST.

I GUESS ABERDEENS DEMOCRATIC STRONGMAN NORMAN KAUFF AND MAYOR BUCCELATO OF MATAWAN DID NOT GET THAT MEMO OR JUST REFUSE TO FOLLOW THE NEW PRESIDENTS BRAND NEW DIRECTIONS CONCERNING THE CONTINUAL CORRUPT CONDUCT OF POLITICIANS AND THEIR POWER BOSSES IN THE UNITED STATES.

THE ARTICLES IN THE NEWSPAPER SHOW THAT PATRONAGE AND REWARDING THE POLITICALLY CONNECTED IS ALIVE AND WELL IN OUR LITTLE HAMLETS. IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT THE PLANS ARE ALREADY IN THE WORKS TO FUND THIS YEARS ELECTION SEASON BY REWARDING LOCALLY CONNECTED CONTRACTORS AND OUR FAVORITE C.M.E. WITH MILLIONS IN PERCENTAGES FOR WORK THAT REALLY IS FOR THE MOST PART A BIG WASTE OF OUR TAX DOLLARS. GRANTED SOME OF THE PROPOSED WORK LISTED IN THE ARTICLES IS NECESSARY. SOME OF IT YOU MAY AGREE IS A GIANT WASTE OF TIME AND MATERIALS. JUST TAKE A LOOK AT THE SENIOR CENTER THEY WANT TO FIX UP OVER ON LLOYD ROAD. THEN THERE IS MATAWAN WHOSE LEADERSHIP WANTS TO HAVE SOME COCKAMAMY CONTRACTOR APPRENTICE PROGRAM. WHAT MAGIC HAT DID BUCCELATO PULL THAT ASSININE IDEA OUT OF?

MORE TO COME BOYS AND GIRLS ONCE THE O.P.R.A. REQUESTS GO IN AND THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED.

STAY TUNED BOYS AND GIRLS.

THE TRUTH IS ABOUT TO HIT THE FAN.

RIGHT NORMAN?

sotiredofbspoltcns said...

Didn't they propose spending $600,000.00 on that senior center a couple of years ago and then shut that idea down? I used to take my father-in law over there years ago and it was falling apart then. I can only imagine what shape it is in now. This one I will watch very closely. This will also be a big test for this new town manager aberdeen just hired. Will he play the game and award contracts to the plague that is kauff and his protected engineers from middlesex county. Maybe the new manager will turn out to the man that Sobel proclaimed as being the second coming citing integrity and experience? Only time and possible indictments will tell.
Looks like the aberdener has his next assignment thanks to kauff and his henchmen and thanks to the independent. Unlike most every other part of my town I have to buy my copy every week.

Anonymous said...

Truthaoutnorman please note:
Mayor Buccellato of Matawan VETOED the Responsible Contractor Ordinance (which contained the stipulation regarding the Class A apprenticeship program). The ordinance was originally introduced by outgoing Democratic Councilman Malley. Mayor Buccellato vetoed it. The ordinance had to be reintroduced at the Jan. 20th council meeting but did not have enough votes to pass. The only council person who expressed support for the ordinance at the meeting was Democtrat Bud Mullaney. Mayor Buccellato is NOT in favor of this ordinance.

Granola Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Granola Mom

The issue is not with an apprenticeship program. The issue is that if the ordinance was adopted it would force the town to ONLY use contractors who participate in a Class A apprenticeship program (for contracts over 25K). This basically translates to UNION ONLY Contractors being eligible.

Granola Mom said...

Oh, now I see. Thanks for the explanation!

Anonymous said...

What is going on in this district?

1) We have board members asking district employees for money so they can purchase campaign signs and pay for their campaign postage

2) A board member who was in the schools during the school board election and voting to pay herself for her services with our tax dollars.

Who is watching this on a higher level and when will the it stop?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I agree with you, where is the accountability. We vote for these board members and can only assume they will use integrety in their positions. It is like asking my 4 year old to stay out of the cookie jar when I am not in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I agree,
3. A board member who gets his wife a job and then votes every year on her raise.
Self serving hypogrites.

Anonymous said...

Did you mean to say hypocrite, I do not know what a hypogrite is....

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener-
To answer your question about setting up a program for retired educators to be trained and to tutor--- on the high end, about 45,000.00 the first year.
It would cost about 5,000.00-7,000.00, including materials to have a group of say... 10 retired educators trained in a reputable, researched based, multi-sensory, structured, reading program, including materials. That would also get each tutor 5 surpervised practicums with a certified trainer. Then if you tutor 20 children, twice a week for an hour, and pay these retired tutors $30.00 an hour, for 30 weeks, your talking another 36,000.00.
Depending on how you want to look at it, that is either a very big price tag for twenty children. Or... its a bargain, about what we pay for one out of district placement. You be the judge.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify my above post- you referred to retired professionals, I incorrectly limited the hypothetical to retired educators. Any professional person would be great, not necessarily a retired educator.
Second, you mentioned small group, which would be even more cost effective to implement, but more difficult for the person doing the tutoring. My numbers were a one-to-one scenario.

Anonymous said...

An average out of district placement is at LEAST $50,000.00, plus the cost of busing. Most cost closer to $70 K plus busing.

Any kind of mentoring / tutoring program would be a welcome relief for parents who are probably paying $50.00 to $60.00 an hour for non-curriculum based programs like Huntington & Sylvan.

I don't know anyone who has been happy with these programs - even the SAT prep provided by these places are considered a major waste of money.

If your child only has a deficit in reading & math skills, these types of programs (Sylvan & huntington)MIGHT work - but if your child has any kind of disability or a major deficit in skills - like a bad 1st grade teacher - these things are - my opinion- a waste of money & time.

MUCH BETTER to have a program that matches what we test on & how our teachers teach.This would be a gift from heaven.

Fire a Secretary & help 20 kids to be successful.

Do I get a vote on this??

Aberdeener said...

Only a small minority of our students can score 75% on the state assessment exams.

Given the above numbers, hiring and training retired professionals to tutor small groups of three sounds quite affordable.

Hiring 100 retired professionals to each tutor 10 hours a week for 30 weeks would cost under a million dollars to provide 1500 students an average of 60 hours of near-individual attention. A lot of money but not compared to the $64 million we're already spending.

The cost could likely be offset by educational grants.

Certainly something we should consider.

Anonymous said...

1. we dont have enough people to run for BOE and town council let alone SHOW UP...... so now we are going to find 50 -60 retired professionals????

2. It is a NICE idea yet impractical. Many of those kids being sent out are done that for a reason. Many severe behaviorly challenged kids are out of their parents control so what is sweet old Willy retired from AT&T going to do?

3. From the posts here, it sounds as if many of our BOE members have questions about how they act with their positions......

Anonymous said...

Consider this -

About 1/3 of every class - general ed - not special ed, because of the state defined sub groups - fail to pass the standardized tests.

We are not asking "Old Retired Willie" to tutor or mentor special ed kids - who's "behavior is so out of control their parents can't handle them"( I have paraphrased you & acknowledge & apologize in advance for that for interpreting your implication.) No one has suggested that anyone untrained tutor special ed kids.

We are talking about general ed kids that do not make proficiency on standardized tests. Supposedly, all these kids should be educable, because if you can pass a test, your character must be exemplary.

Some thing to consider:
Only the stupid criminals are in jail; I was an honors student &
was never even detained for questioning:)

Aberdeener said...

Yes, I believe we could find scores of retired professionals eager to help children and earn an extra $9,000 a year (enough to pay their property taxes). And, if we can't, there was no harm in trying.

No, I am not talking about special ed students. I'm talking about all students that don't require specialized instruction. Some students may need help in their AP classes. Others may be trying to improve their language skills before taking the SATs.

The idea is to help every student who seeks help. God forbid we ever deny a student assistance because he scored 50% on an assessment exam.

Anonymous said...

OK

I see your point and I will agree that it does sound like a good idea.

But consider this:

The school has free tutorial EVERY DAY for students and it is not fully taken advantage of by our kids.

The school also has state testing prep courses that are not fully utilized.

Sweet old retired Willy will show up BUT WILL OUR STUDENTS?

This is the problem I have with some in this area.... complain complain complain yet Back to school night has 1/4 of the people that it should. I show up but my neighbors don't. Parent conferneces are baron by the second go round.

It is time for people to take control of what goes on in their kid's lives and stop pointing fingers in every direction EXCEPT back at themselves.

Could the school system improve? Yes. But there are pieces in place and they are not utilized and UNTIL THEY ARE, I cannot go nuts for all these other ideas.

After school tutorial - SHOW UP
State testing prep - SHOW UP

THere should be a line out the door. When this happens - We should call old retired Willy.

Aberdeener said...

Are parents aware how poorly many students are doing or do they hear proficient and think it means proficient?

Anonymous said...

I agree with both the previous Anon. & the Aberdeener.

Many times, parents do not understand the data that they are given & what it REALLY means. The schools certainly aren't going to explain it to you!

& I agree that parents have to make the kids show up for the tutorials that they need, but please consider this:

The parents would have to know that tutorial were available & effective.

School by school, in my experience & my observations:

At Strathmore, your teacher had to INVITE you to the state prep tutorials. It was not something that was general knowledge, or for that matter, encouraged. It was all very secret, like it was a bad thing if your child needed help.

Some teachers would stay after school & were available to help their students, but that was not the rule. Again, a parent would have to ask for this help.

I know that at Ravine Drive, before & after school tutoring is mandatory, based on testing data (AimsWEB, NWEA,etc.) & teacher recommendations. Letters go home to the parents.

This is also the school with the best test scores in the district - not surprising, huh? They must be doing RTI correctly.

I cannot speak to the Cliffwood School's policies or programs for tutoring; I hope they are more like Ravine Drive than Strathmore.

I know of no such tutorial program or policy currently at Lloyd Road School. Perhaps it exists, but is "shameful", like Strathmore?? My child could use tutoring, but I haven't heard that it was available, before or after school.

The Academic Assistance program that is held after school at MAMS is a joke; it is a place to do your homework so you don't have to carry your books home from school. Guess that eliminates daily studying, huh? Another skills set that is not taught to our kids & probably should be. Little to no actual instruction goes on. & your child is SOL if s/he has a math question & an Reading teacher is behind the desk; they won't be able to help, usually. Aren't these people certified K-8?

Yet the teachers get a stipend for doing nothing. MAMS is the main swamp of the loyal & faithful crocodiles of the teacher's union, so no real surprise there!

Do you know of other after school tutorial programs at MAMS? I think they have one that goes on during school, but I don't know how effective it is.

The teachers at the High School, however, are there; they let the kids know what days, times & rooms they will be in. However, if the teacher does not post this info on their web page, parents do not know about it. Your teenager isn't going to tell you!

The personal web page is something every teacher in the district has access to & many do not have any kind of info on their page at all - another waste of tax dollars on technology that people refuse to use! But I digress in my ranting.)

I have found the teachers to be extremely accessible, when you can actually contact them - (the voice mail system is a shambles also) - & from what my child has brought home, they actually do try to re-mediate whatever your child didn't "get" in class. I don't know if they get a stipend for having "office hours", I'll check my saved BOE agendas.

So, yes, let's have the kids show up - but let's keep parents better informed also.

Granola Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aberdeener said...

Granola Mom,

The only issue seems to be cost. If we get a lot of bang for the buck, why not?

Granola Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey, isn't the MARSD funding the MOST program - recreation, tutoring& counseling for kids on specific days - grouped by age? I am sure that they need interested adults to volunteer. If it becomes effective & successful, why not expand it to other locations?

If we, as a community, get behind this program, why entice only those people that need to be paid to help kids?

Aberdeener said...

The MOST program has a different focus - mentoring.

Also, their tutoring is handled by certified instructors who are paid through a grant. So, no savings there.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the anon poster above (Feb 1, 5:37pm). Strathmore certainly never let it be public knowledge about tutoring help, I too never heard of any at Lloyd Road. MAMS basically has a babysitting and homework period, where the teacher only sits at the desk to babysit a group of children that need help in every possible subject, and recieve none. But the best is... if your child is at risk of being left back for failing two subjects, such as science or social studies, or spanish, they need to go to summer school not to be held back the following September. The kicker is, guess what subjects they will be taking in summer school, NOT Science, Social Studies or Spanish, they'll be taking Math and English in summer school. Can someone please explain this reasoning to me! Yes, it is important for every child to know Math and Reading, but if they didn't work on the subjects they actually failed, do you think they will pass them the following year either, or just be in summer school again.

Anonymous said...

My son, who was struggling at the high school in a math class, was told by a guidance counselor to go to the MOST program for tutoring.

I'm not saying that's good or bad, I'm sure they are doing a great job there, but shouldn't the high school try to help kids that are actually in the high school themselves?

This, I think, is where part of the problem lays. So many want to blame the parents or blame the kids. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of parents and kids who seek out help, but are given the run around on how to get it.

Anonymous said...

I thought the High School teachers were supposed to tutor the kids themselves. Ask the teacher when math tutorial is, unless you child unfortunately has a math teacher that is one of the bad ones. I'm not saying all the math teachers are bad, my child actually has a fairly good one this year, but has also had many poor ones in past years.

Anonymous said...

There is alot of discussion about the school board and getting additional people to run for it. Our first issue should be to actually get people to show up to vote. I am sure my numbers are wrong but I thought I heard something about 17,000 registered voters in Aberdeen and only 2,000 people bothered to vote in the BOE elections. By my math that is less than 12% of us voted.
Things will not start to improve till more us take an active roll and use our right to vote to make a difference.
Mike Vail lost the BOE election 3 years ago by a mere 23 votes. If more of us voted the changes might have already started.

Husky Special Ed said...

While agree that getting people out to vote should be an important issue, if there is no one running against the incumbent, I doubt that people will feel the need to vote at all.

Here's hoping that there will be several people running for each board seat, and that everyone in the community will be inspired to vote.

Anonymous said...

There is a math tutorial 2 days a week at the HS. It is announced EVERY week and is in the same classroom every week. My teachers have always said that they would stay after school to help us or we could go to tutorial. The funny thing is only 5 or 6 kids show up.

Anonymous said...

My child has a math teacher this year who still, midway through the year, calls my child by the wrong name. That isn't exactly conducive to him wanting to spend extra time with her.

Anonymous said...

Have your son try the tutorial, it might be with a different teacher than his usual teacher. My child had a terrible teacher last year, (I don't think she was even renewed), and went to the tutorial twice a week and thankfully learned everything from the other teachers. If I remember correctly, it was a different teacher for each day, and they were very good.

Anonymous said...

I posted the potential cost of a specialized reading program tutorial, and yes I was referring to both special ed and general ed students. The specific program I was referring to targets at-risk readers, kids who are struggling to read at grade level or who are far below grade level, regardless of whether they are classified. A training the likes of which I referred to would equip the person with the requisite skills, but the training would probably work best with a retired teacher. However,it could also be implemented by a dedicated professional. There are similar types of programs available for teaching other areas as well, including math, although I couldn't speak to their cost.
The point is, there would be people willing to do it, if we could find the money.

Here is an interesting tidbit--
Schools who don't make AYP in a particular subgroup for multiple years are flagged by the state, required to offer supplemental instruction, etc. (Supplemental instruction is in fact after school or before school instruction.) Usually that would happen if the school didn't make AYP three years in a row, in a particular subgroup.
All three elementary schools have made AYP though-- ask how! There are not enough kids in each subgroup to be counted! When the district moved the 4th and 5th grades to Lloyd Rd, it would seem the numbers in the subgroups went below the required number that the state looks at. I wonder if they knew that when they did it?

Anonymous said...

Actually, to correct my above post, they redistricting would not affect the AYP because the numbers are looked at per grade level, so there still would be the same numbers per grade, actually less in each subgroup--oops

Anonymous said...

So, did anyone read the Independent yet? There is finally an article published in at least one paper which highlights the inept, incompetent and apparently unconscious administration/BOE (barza & co.) who allowed an unqualified person hold a position which paid $126,720 last year not including benefits...in case you haven't guessed, Ms. Helen Rappaport is the one in question.

The one who Bruce Quinn allowed to stay in her job even after he knew she wasn't qualified, the BOE demoted her in 2003 and then lied about her title to the County for 5 years so they wouldn't get caught.

Funny how, no matter the # of times the Aberdeener questions them, this BOE has no answer for how in the hell they let that go. Dr. O'Malley ends up having to answer for them...yet he doesn't own any of this mess.

When are the voters/taxpayers of this town going to care enough about the fraud and theft of their money and vote these crooks out?? 18 years, 16 years ??? Some of us haven't lived here that long yet we are paying for their arrogance and power hungry insanity! Can any of us afford to let them have the chance to do it for three more years? The answer is NO!

STOP THE MADNESS! Vote these idiots out and give some new blood a chance!

Anonymous said...

I dont get it. Can someone explain it to me like I'm three? When hve we become a society that allows people to do what ever they want and nothing goes unpunished? I have had two childern graduate in the district and four more a still in the district. It totally amazes me that our high school does not perpare our kids for the real world. I know that most of responsiblity is ours as parents but lets face it some childern need outside help. It amazes me that alot of these kids can not fill out a job application or write a check, know what to wear on a interview. These are life skills that are very important and no matter what your sat scores are you are going to have a hard time in life. This new math program drives me crazy. What is the reason behind it? Why make something harder than it needs to be? I have three kids at the elem level and one in the middle school and I have noticed that when they have spelling words or vocabulary then are not required to know the meaning of the words. How can they use these words in a correct sentence if they don't even know the meaning? How can they do well on state tests? I'm sorry if it seems like I am rambling on but it just fustrates me. We pay high taxes toward the schools and they seem to be failing. Yes I know that as a parent we are to check homework and make sure that they are doing what they are suppose to be doing in school. When does the school and the district take responsbilty?

Anonymous said...

Ugh! Everyday Math! Horrible, horrible, horrible!

I have a child in Lloyd road who has had to unlearn all the math that she's been taught and try to use this drawn out, confusing system. Even her teacher has told me privately that she HATES it.

Not only is it confusing to my child, when she needs help with her math problems, I have no idea how to help her the "right" way.

Everyday Math is a huge FAIL.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the problem starts with the teacher who tells how tells you privately SHE HATES IT. First of all, where is the teacher /parent professionalism on her part. Secondly, perhaps she doesn't understand how to teach it properly. And thirdly, maybe her attitude toward the material is showing through in her teaching.

My child is at Lloyd Road also, and has also had to learn some new methods for doing the math. But at no time was he instructed to forget methods he previously learned. Everyday Math gives those children that don't understand the traditional methods, a simpler way of doing the math because it breaks the math problem down into smaller pieces. It gives those children who never had a problem with the traditional method the ability to manipulate the numbers in their mind, and inevitability teaches them to handle more complex math.
It actually teaches math the way most people do it in their minds everyday.

At times it has also taken me a few minutes to understand the new method, but if you use the Student Reference Book that every kid has at home, I'm guessing most parents can figure it out. Everyday Math introduces many higher levels of math such as algerbra and geometry earlier. But it doesn't introduce them at a high school level, it introduces them at an elementary school level.

I think you need to look at it again from a different perspective. Perhaps your childs teacher isn't your best source.

Aberdeener said...

Everyday Math is a terrible program and I'm very sorry that Dr. O'Malley introduced it to our district.

I have spoken to Dr. O'Malley about Singapore Math and he is considering introducing it for grades 6-8. I'm hoping he'll reconsider and introduce it to all elementary grade levels.

Anonymous said...

What are you basing your conclusion of "terrible" on? I personally know of other towns and students doing extremely well in their higher level, high honor, middle school and high school math courses, and their elementary school preperation was Everyday Math. Yes, the parents complained at first, but the students took to it and did well.

I don't know of Singpore Math, please explain it.

I'm for whatever works and prepares our students the best.

Aberdeener said...

Any program that allows (not to mention encourages) calculators for basic elementary math is a terrible program.

Singapore Math is based upon drills of increasing difficulty until basic calculations and methodologies become almost instinctive.

I'm a member, though not active participant, of the New Jersey Coalition for World Class Math. You may want to look at their site for more information.

As for any suggestion that Everyday Math adequately prepares our students for advanced mathematics, I have yet to witness a single example of a leading mathematician, physicist, engineer, architect, financier, or even bookie, using Everyday Math techniques.

Anonymous said...

My child has been told only to do the math using the Everyday Math system - and they have to show their work. They are not allowed to use the "old" system.

I do not believe that I should have to look up how to do multiplication or division to explain it to my child. I am fully capable of doing so, though, thanks.

Also, my child's teacher is a great teacher - very enthusiastic, very experienced, who loves teaching and takes a real personal interest in her class students. I do not for a second believe that she would let her personal feelings toward the math program get in the way of teaching.

I know of many, many towns and schools who do NOT use Everyday Math and have students who do excellent work. In fact, my older children did not use this system, and went on to do very well in their math classes.


And I can hate the math program if I want to. Neener neener.

Anonymous said...

Agree, I don't like the misuse of calculators either. It is one of my pet peeves.

However, my child in 4th grade at Lloyd Road has not used them yet, at least not for homework. Some of the work that has been done to this point is measuring angles with protractors, performing complicated word problems, plotting points on a graph, probability of outcomes, fractions, addition and subtraction of decimals, several multiplication methods and division methods. All concepts that are used in the higher level middle and HS courses.

Yes, I find the lattice multiplication confusing, but it is not the only method they teach for multiplication.

Back to calculators, I think it is the misuse of them. But that is where the teacher and/or parent needs to supervise and make sure calculators are used when appropriate. At the high school level when you are working with powers and exponents and the child already knows multiplication, I don't see the problem with calculators for that part of the work, if the child only uses calculators for multiplication.
In elementary school, children need to be taught how to use calculators, the same way they need to be taught how to use computers, but not rely on calculators for the basics.

Anonymous said...

I should have directed my comments above to the Aberdeener's concerns about Everyday Math, not the parent who refuses to look up something new to benefit their child. Grow up!

Aberdeener said...

Is your child doing drills of increasing difficulty? I know teenagers who struggle with the multiplication table.

When I was in 6th grade, we were timed how quickly we could do single digit multiplication. We were expected to do 100 questions in under two minutes. The better kids did it under 100 seconds.

There was no time to calculate. You had to have the multiplication table perfectly memorized.

You can argue whether that's needed but I don't know of a single math-based professional who hasn't memorized the multiplication table.

Everyday Math focuses on projects, not drills. Children are learning a little of everything but mastering nothing.

If parents disagree, let me know and we can put it to the test.

Anonymous said...

I do not refuse to look it up. I did not say that I didn't use the book, or that I do not help her with her homework. I said I don't know how to do the Everyday Math as it comes home. Of course I look it up in the book and help her try to figure it out.

I wouldn't let my child suffer over my dislike for the type of math they are teaching.

As for "Grow up", my "neener neener" comment was made because of my dislike for being condescended to, as if I was too dumb to figure out how to use the book or to know the "advantages" of Everyday Math.

Let me assure you that I have looked into it, and as with many other people, drew my own conclusions as to whether I think it is the best program for the children in this district.

And yes, it is the only form of math being taught in my child's class, and they have been told only to use the new form of math. Apparently our children are not in the same class. And no, my child did not struggle with math before this year, nor is she struggling with it this year. She has merely come home confused on occasion when something new is introduced that she already new how to do the "old" way.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener,
The children are timed from the second and third grade, depending on if they are in Enrichment or not, on single digit multiplication. They call it minute math. In fourth grade, my child is still timed. They are constantly being told to memorize their math facts.

Then they go on to additional work, (as you say a little of everything, but not all at the same time. They still concentrate on one section at a time). I get a report every couple of weeks tracking the progress. The grading system is "B" Begining, "D" Developing, and "S" Secure in the material. I don't have a problem with it at all.

It takes a little to get used to it, but I like it. I find the biggest fear only with the parents that don't feel comfortable with the new method.

Then, later on the material is taught again. And the supposedly the level of mastery goes up to "S" Secure. I think we need to at least give it one full year before we throw stones.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
I never spoke condecending to you, if you took it that way, thats on you.

If your child's teacher is refusing to let them use the traditional method when they are doing word problems for example, then I believe she is wrong. We were all told at the Everyday Math Parents Orientation, that children were allowed to use the method they were most comfortable with.
Now, if she must use "partial sums" method when the "partial sums" method is being taught, then, that is understandable.

I interpert it as, the children are taught many methods at arriving at the same answer, and which ever method works best for them or for the situation, ie: mental math or complex word problem, they use what they are comfortable with and what is appropriate.

Anonymous said...

LOL, and the neener neener is on you. That's fine.

I'm not going to further discuss what my child's teacher is doing or not doing with someone who is not in the room with them, or a school official who knows what's "wrong" with what the teacher is doing.

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry - but does anyone get that these teachers rarely want to teach "something new"?

How effective can any program be if teachers stonewall it.

They - in a general sense - will not do anything that is not specifically described in their contract - evidenced by the picketing of selective board members and their public support of Rappaport.

UNION RULES!

For any teacher to tell a parent that they "hate" any aspect of a BOE approved curriculum is at least unprofessional & at most collisional with the board factions that exist in these two towns.

There have been thousands of dollars spent on professional development that NEVER get applied to the classroom. Teachers go the workshops, read magazines, get their certificate for their 100 hours & laugh at us taxpayers.

Some of them actually live in our towns & pay the taxes that pay for this nonsense. How sad is that?

Aberdeener said...

Thanks to the parent who took the time to describe his/her child's learning experience with Everyday Math. I believe this is the spiral method I've read about.

However, I still question whether students of Everyday Math are being adequately trained for the rigors of calculus and hardcore sciences that require strong foundations in basic mathematics.

If you're correct, the students' achievement scores should be reflected in international exams but they're not.

Does anyone know of a district that has been using Everyday Math for several years? Maybe we could look at their scores.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the teacher is not in "collusion" with the Board, but just understands that it can work against students to switch how they are learning math mid-stream? Or maybe she's read up on Everyday Math and just doesn't think it's in the best interests of the kids?

Not all teachers are Union flag waving, picketing crazies. Some of them actually want to teach our kids, do the best job they can, and just make a fair wage for it.

Shocking, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

If you are going to compare scores between districts make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Anonymous said...

Actually tho poster that accursed parents of being "collisional " with the board may be correct. From reading many of these posts it seems that many folks would rather point fingers than work them to the bone.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, this teacher does work her fingers to the bone. She has more programs going on in her class for the kids than the school has. She encourages the kids in every way, tries to boos their self-esteem, and really actually wants them to learn.

As a parent, I couldn't be happier with this teacher. And believe me, I've had teachers in the past that I have emphatically questioned and disliked for the way they've treated one of my kids. I'm not one to easily jump on the teacher-loving bandwagon.