Sunday, February 8, 2009

MARSD Fails the HSPA

Goals – By the end of the 08-09 school year, 10% of the partial proficient students will achieve proficiency on the state assessments while maintaining our advanced proficient student percentages.
--- Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District Board of Education, Special Meeting, June 12th, 2008

Research has shown that schools achieve best when expectations of achievement are high.
--- Matawan-Aberdeen High School Student Agenda, Page 9

Our shameless school board set a goal to “maintain” our advanced proficient student percentages. Not increase, not improve, but “maintain” the percentage of students able to score 75% on a state assessment exam. Are these the “high expectations” that research has shown to improve achievement? Is this leadership? By the way, what are the advanced student percentages the school board hopes to maintain?

I’m so glad you asked.

The goals were set in June, 2008, after the 2007-08 school year but prior to receiving the district’s scores for that year. The goals were likely intentionally ambiguous to allow the board the flexibility of picking and choosing whichever year was most beneficial to them.

So, let’s read it both ways, first using 2006-07 as a baseline, and then using 2007-08.

Click Here to view the 2007-08 New Jersey Report Card
Click Here to view the 2006-07 New Jersey Report Card

Advanced proficiency is a score of 75% or above. It is a level that School Board President Demarest considers “outstanding”. During the 2006-07 school year, the percentage of high school juniors scoring advanced proficiency on the state HSPA exam was 19.4% and 25.4% in Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics, respectively.

In other words, only a quarter of juniors scored 75% or above in math and only a fifth in English. Did the board truly believe that these were such exemplary achievements that we shouldn’t strive for more? Is 75% on a state assessment exam truly “outstanding”?

Well, if that is our goal, we’re failing miserably. For the school year, 2007-08, the English and Math percentages for advanced proficiency fell to 6.9% and 12.5%, respectively. That’s a 64% drop in English and a 51% drop in math compared to the state’s record of a 37% drop in English and a 2% rise in math.

Here’s another way to look at it. Our students are scoring advanced proficiency at half the state average. Half!

By today’s standards, the idea of seeing a quarter to a fifth of our juniors scoring 75% on the state assessments looks optimistic.

But wait. Maybe, when setting our district’s goals for next year, the board was using the 2007-08 school year as a baseline. Maybe they think 1/14th and 1/8th of our juniors scoring advanced proficiency in English and math, respectively, is sufficient for our district. Maybe they think this is enough preparation for the fewer-than-half of high school graduates who plan to attend a 4-year college. Maybe this is how they interpret our mission statement – “To provide every child with the highest quality of instruction.”

Remember how one-third of seniors took remedial classes for failing to score 50% on a HSPA exam? Looks like that number’s about to pop a bit higher for the upcoming year. The failure rate on the Language Arts Literacy exam jumped 33% higher to 12.9%.

Remember how African Americans were the only sub-group that repeatedly failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP)? Looks like their dropout rate doubled to 1.1%.

Ah, but the good news keeps coming.

Computer to student ratio dropped 17% and is now below the state average.

Attendance rates at each of the high school grade levels dropped from the previous year, except for seniors, of whom 7.5% are missing on any given school day.

27% of high school students were suspended during the school year.

The number of administrators per student increased by 23% but the number of faculty per student dipped slightly.

Faculty turnover jumped from 9.6% to 22.7%.

Despite the abundance of Walden graduates in our district, the number of faculty with masters degrees has decreased, suggesting that our Walden contingent has garnered a plurality.

The number of teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is the same as last year – Zero.

The median teacher salary dropped $4,500 but the expenditures for teacher salaries and benefits increased 10%, twice the rate of the prior two years. Looks like the wage gap among teachers is growing.

But here’s the most amazing statistic of all – Student enrollment is down, expenditures are up, yet the cost per student has decreased. Wow. Talk about creative financing.

Yet, despite all the doom and gloom, there are some bright spots. SAT scores are slightly higher and more students are taking and passing the AP exams.

Perhaps, and maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, things would be different if we had a school board that held itself accountable. Then again, school board elections are only two months away and not a day too soon.
>>> Read more!

82 comments:

EdgeviewTed07 said...

As has been said so well before

EDUCATION IS EXPENSIVE BUT SO TOO IS IGNORANCE.

Quite obviously the ignorance that is so expensive in this district is of those whose job it is to ensure that our students excel.

My grading for our district and their leadership is F as for failed the taxpayers, students and parents yet again.

Aberdeener makes us think. Thank you for doing so.

KennyCB said...

Late for the morning grind and its my first day back since surgery not a good way to start back to work.

All I can say is DITTO.

Anonymous said...

Will you send your kids to the local school or a yeshiva ?

Aberdeener said...

My oldest is only 4 yrs old but I'll be sending my children to whichever school has the best track record.

Anonymous said...

how do the scores of MARD compare to some of the other local school districts like Old Bridge, Hazlet, Marlboro, etc. and how important are these standardized test scores? I have no idea what I got on these tests when I was in school. All that really mattered was your grades and your SAT scores. Colleges don't care what you scored on this test. I understand it may impact the way colleges view the district though.

Aberdeener said...

I'm not a fan of the state assessment exams, nor do I know anybody who is. However, the scores do have significance for the following reasons:

1) Excluding SAT scores, they're the only measure we have to compare our students with other districts
2) Failure to make adequate yearly progress could impact state/federal funding and oversight
3) They're one of the only means we have to measure and track student education
4) Students are required to pass HSPA or use an alternative track to graduate

Compared to other districts in our DFG, we're in the bottom half.

My anger is that the HSPA exam is not a difficult test. By the time our students graduate and enter college, they should be way beyond the state's minimalist requirements.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener,

I'm not sure I understand your assertion that poor test scores are the BOE members fault. These folks are not educators-the superintendant and adminstrators under his responsibility are. My guess is that board members rely on the recommendation of the super and vote on issues accordingly. If we are looking for improvements it seems to me the question should be to the school administrators - "What are you doing to improve the academic programs for our kids."

Aberdeener said...

I respectfully disagree. If the school board members are not accountable for student education, what are they accountable for?

School board members have the power to make personnel decisions, negotiate contracts, establish school policies, fund or de-fund school programs, and set the tone for our school district.

As our elected representatives, they have the responsibility to ensure the education and safety of our children.

The test scores were not a one-year fluke. Our district has been failing for many years and, were it not for Dr. O'Malley's appointment, the district would likely still be failing.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener,

In your opinion is it a preparation issue with regard to this one test or is it just an overall lack of educating these students and therefore they're not prepared well for this test? How do the better districts get their students ready for this test?

Anonymous said...

Better districts don't have to make silk purses out of sow's ears.

Anonymous said...

Are we no longer failing since Dr. O'malley has arrived?

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

The problem is ubiquitous.

Anonymous said...

The district is still failing under O'Malley and his spending. The system is broken and his promises are not becoming reality. Uncovering some of Quinns mistakes was the easy part and made him some friends. Lets see some real academic improvement.

NsectionJoe said...

I am once again amazed that we as a society seek such immediate results or at least as one prior post starts me thinking, are we as a society unrealistic when it comes to test scores versus common sense? Personally I feel common sense is more necessary throughout most peoples lives.

I will agree with a prior post that finding what damage Quinn had done to the district was much easier. It is always easier to find fault rather than give compliments, not that all Quinn did during his time here deserved anything close to a compliment. The man damaged our school district and he was wrongly manipulated, controlled and was not monitored as he should have been by many who now criticize his replacement. A replacement that has only been here a very short time while those who controlled or manipulated Quinn stand in the dark pointing fingers because difficult changes were made and they were not pulling the strings any longer. Where were the pointing of fingers when computers were not working? Where were the fingers when we bought a football field instead of more prudent educational needs? Where were the fingers pointing when test scores were always in the basement administrator after administrator? But many seem so willing to point fingers at a man so new to this district and the fact that because his changes hurt some peoples feelings or took away some control from those whose repeated failures kept test scores in that basement or cost taxpayers millions rather then making in-house changes. Far too often failure is rewarded in our educational systems, with our tax dollars to get the bad out.

Our society as a whole is based on wanting instant satisfaction and we routinely as a society expect it to happen without much of our own involvement or sacrifice. Ask yourself honestly when was the last time you thanked someone for a service they provided for you. Whether it be the mailman, a utility worker or the school crossing guard. We as a society expect it done correctly, immediately and without having to be involved ourselves. For the most part many parents in society are too busy with their own lives to really keep track of those we entrust with the education of our children, from the superintendent on down. But they will not blame themselves when their child comes home with low test scores.

As the old saying goes "education begins at home". I prefer to look at it on a broader and far more realistic scale which I call "education starts to fail at home". I myself have been blessed to have children who worked hard and were watched over very closely by their mother a professional educator of over 26 years. Our situation is not the norm and I understand that.

Likewise I understand that many homes and family situations across every socioeconomic and cultural background have parents who do not check the homework, attend conferences and never know what their child is really doing in school. While the reasons are many society and most clear thinking people understand the basic dollars and cents of education. The sad fact is that the more money you dump into a school does not guarantee smarter students, as is the case in the overpriced political football known as the Abbott Districts, which are most often are nothing more then green (money green) holes created by Judges and politicians, which fail in most every area they are used. The largest bonus packages for school administrators are in Abbott Districts. The same areas where test scores fail due to the levels of violence, students who do not show up for classes and far worse. That politicians will not recognize but the same politicians will be the first to say each and every election season "we gave the big money to educate your children". Unless the parents are really involved no amount of money will make student's learn in any district.

Sure teachers teach,administrators administer and most of our students go to school each day. It is unfortunately far to easy for most people to just blame teachers, administrator's and their student/child for test scores. 10% of people do not test well but do excel in practical or hands on applications. 35% of students function in most school districts above a grade of 85.

That leaves far too many in limbo with poor or failing grade levels or low scores on many tests for far too many reasons. Scores that no school board, administrator, counselor, principals or anyone else in a school system could bring up realistically if the first wave of education is not started and monitored at home.

Don't get me wrong we must always monitor from the top on down but to criticize a man who has just started to make changes is ridiculous and short sighted.

Dr. O'Malley is undoing the damage and juggling a district with many problems within and without. I think realistically that it will take until June 2010 to really gauge his changes as successful, in the works, taking hold and improving or more before he can be criticized. Give him a chance but keep a better eye that was put on the former superintendent Bruce Quinn and those who controlled him who sit in the dark now as spoilers not as participants in the changes this district needs for its students and its taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone aware of what the district will give as tution reimbursement? Unfortunately, this amount is not anywhere near what a MA program costs for a NJ university program. Most employees are compensated for the entire cost of their advanced degrees. Teachers from this district are not, including those with an "A" average. Online programs are far lesss costly.

Anonymous said...

I believe that The Aberdeener would find it next to impossible to make a judgement about himself based upon a single day's effort and it's results. Why then, would The Aberdeener impose judgement upon a student's? I am sure that The Aberdeener has bad days, as well as students do. Thank goodness we are not our mistakes, nor is our worth based upon one day's efforts. Rather, we are the sum of our educational wholes, not test scores.

Cliffwstan said...

The questions about teachers having all or most of the costs of their masters degree programs or possibly other educational tuition costs reimbursed is a rarity in most every district in the state. It is also a contributing reason for our out of control taxes. Also you may like to know that only until I think last year did our school districts teachers and its other workers did not have to contribute one dime to their health care costs.

So when you cannot sell your home due to the high taxes you can thank the same school board that sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil. Until they caught that is. Don't get me started on what is purported to be our town leadership either. They are no better as they are giving away the store to their professional buddies. Politicians are the devils workforce and need to be exorcised out of our lives.

STOP THE INSANITY!

HadenoughBSyetfromBARZA said...

Once again the thought that school teachers and others are the root cause of all of our school districts problems is false. I agree with the previous post that education begins with the home structure. Do not get me wrong I do not believe that Hillary Clinton "It takes a village" bullshit but Joe is right that education and the responsibility to ensure our children, their own children and more begins at home.

Not enough emphasis is placed on some of the things Joe brings up. If parents do not care and enforce or keep watch on their own children how can we expect the rest to learn anything. Very often those whose home life is non-existent or broken at best are often disruptive and act out in class taking considerable amounts of time from the rest who want to learn. Many factors like Joe said work into the problems in our schools and our society. And money most of all is not the thing that will make students learn. Unfortunately it is merely an overwhelming consideration and as has been the case historically, the thing politicians will use in an oft failed attempt to cure most of societies ills. It like most other such experiments fails miserably and always no matter how often they try and just throw money at this problem or that one.
Government never learns from its previous mistakes it merely repeats them over and over again.

Aberdeener said...

Only 6% of our high school juniors were able to score 75% on a state assessment exam in English.

As a community, we are all accountable.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, do not blame the teachers for the testing situation. I'm not sure that there are many who actually do. What the teachers teach, how long they teach it, and how they teach it is largely based on what the Superintendent and the BOE decide.

I am not a fan of state testing, nor of "teaching to the test". I believe there is a too much pressure on teachers everywhere to do this these days and not enough emphasis on teaching kids what they need to really learn to go out, go to college and earn a living as adults.

Though I know that the testing does give us a point of reference for how kids are doing overall, I'm not sure that it's a 100% accurate indication, as a general rule. The abysmal scores in our district are really saddening though.

TRUTHABOUTKAUFF said...

SORRY FOR GOING OFF SUBJECT BUT..

IF ANY OF US WONDER HOW LEECHES LIKE NORMAN KAUFF CAN CONTINUE TO BE SO CORRUPT AND ACT IN HIS OWN BEST INTEREST OR THAT OF THE POLITICAL PARTY HE CONTROLS ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LOOK AT THE FRONT PAGE OF THE ASBURY PARK PRESS TODAY.

HEADLINE..
JUDGE LETS SCHOOR AVOID JAIL FOR PAYOFFS

THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT IS THAT HOWARD SCHOOR ONE OF THE AREAS MOST NOTORIOUS ENGINEERING COMPANY OWNERS DOING BUSINESS WITH ALMOST EVERY LOCAL MUNICIPALITY IN OUR AREA FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS WAS ONE COUNT FOUND GUILTY OF BRIBING MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS IN OCEAN TOWNSHIP. BUT WAIT HE DID NOT BRIBE THE OFFICIAL HE "GAVE A GRATUITY" NOT A BRIBE.

SAY WHAT? I THOUGHT BILL CLINTON'S "IT DEPENDS ON YOUR DEFINITION OF WHAT IS, IS" WAS THE WORST POLITICAL DEFENSE I EVER HEARD. BUT NOW "A GRATUITY NOT A BRIBE" TAKES THE TOP SPOT.

HE ORIGINALLY FACED TWENTY YEARS IN PRISON ON THE ORIGINAL CHARGES FILED THEN FACED FIVE YEARS IN PRISON AND A $250,000.00 FINE FOR PLEADING GUILTY. SO WHAT DID HE FINALLY GET FOR THIS ONE CRIME?

TWO YEARS PROBATION, 250 HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE AND A $7,500.00 FINE. THAT DID NOT COVER ONE DAYS TAB FOR THE USE OF THE COURTROOM.

OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM IS A JOKE !

SO ASK YOURSELF DID SCHOOR GET A SWEETHEART DEAL FOR TURNING STATES EVIDENCE AND COOPERATING IN OTHER INVESTIGATIONS? DID HE TELL OF ALL THE OTHER BRIBES HE HAS GIVEN MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES TO GAIN TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, TAXPAYER DOLLARS, IN MUNICIPAL CONTRACTS DURING HIS THIRTY YEARS IN MUNICIPAL BUSINESS? AS THOUGH THIS WAS THE ONLY TIME HE BRIBED A MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL IN HIS OVER THIRTY YEARS DOING MUNICIPAL WORK. SURE WE BELIEVE THAT ONE.

IF YOU WONDER WHY DEVELOPERS AND OTHERS LIKE NORMAN'S CLOSE PERSONAL FRIENDS AT C.M.E., CAPPOLA AND CAPPOLA AND MANY MORE CAN JUST KEEP DOING THEIR CORRUPT WORK WITHOUT FEAR OF EVER GETTING CAUGHT. HOWARD SCHOOR IS THE POSTER BOY FOR THE KAUFF MANTRA:

"GET INTO POLITICS IT REALLY PAYS".

THE JUDGES STATEMENT WAS REALLY THE MOST DISAPPOINTING AND TELLING:

"THERS'S JUST NO WAY THIS MAN SHOULD BE IN JAIL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO PUT HIM THERE."

JUDGE DENNIS CAVANAUGH
FEDERAL JUDGE NEWARK DISTRICT

JUDGE CAVANAUGH SHOULD BE THROWN OFF OF THE BENCH AS SOON AS HE SITS DOWN TODAY AS NOW THE POLITICAL SCUM ALL AROUND NEW JERSEY AND "ABERDEEN'S OWN" NORMAN KAUFF HAVE LITTLE TO FEAR WITH INCOMPETENT JUDGE'S LIKE CAVANAUGH.

ONCE AGAIN IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR KAUFF AND THE OTHER SO EASILY CORRUPTIBLE COCKROACHES HE ASSOCIATES WITH.

WE ARE DOOMED !

ANYBODY WANT TO BUY A COUNTRY CLUBBER CHEAP? BEAUTIFUL VIEWS OF THE DEMISE OF ABERDEEN'S TAXPAYERS
AND SCHOOL SYSTEM ALA NORMAN KAUFF AND "HIS CLOSE PERSONAL FRIENDS" INCLUDED AT NO EXTRA CHARGE.

Edgeviewted07 said...

Thank you TRUTH as i just read the article before heading off to work and I agree. The Judge in this case should have to step down off of the bench immediately for his contemptible actions.

People who are not so politically connected go to jail everyday. If you have FRIENDS and have greased the palms of politicians your whole business life its just probation, small fine and 250 hours of community service. Probably performed at Howard Schoor's own private country club.

Don't grow up to be doctors, firemen or police officers boys and girls so study hard and go into politics. It really pays better and if you get caught stealing from the taxpaying public you there is always some idiot judge to hear your case and maybe take your money.

I can imagine the words "after much consideration and phone calls from supporters of the defendant" yeah phone calls from all of the municipal powerful who Schoor did not rat out who called the Judge asking for mercy. Hey Judge how about some mercy for the taxpayers Schoor robbed all of these years.

Give me a break.

Justice is spelled p-a-y-o-f-f-s.

Cliffy said...

The answer for the poor performance is obvious!

Our former Supt. Quinn bails out on his job right at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. We then had that nincompoop, Gladstein as an interim Supt.. He was too busy trying to deal with the fiscal mess left by Quinn to be bothered with making sure that instruction was actually taking place. The board of education was busy trying to get a new Supt.

What did all this lead to? The teachers took full advantage of the situation since they were in contract negotiations. There was no leadership in place, so the teachers did whatever they wanted. They took advantage, and our children got thrown under the bus. I will be interested to see this years test results when they are released, under O’Malley scores can only go up.

The damage done to the quality education in this school system by BARZA and Quinn is astounding. Watch carefully as they change into flag waving supporters of O’Malley for the school election this year. Just remember, they voted against him.

Anonymous said...

How much can scores really go up in 1 year or even 2? This district didn't get into this mess over a years time, and it will likely be over time that we get out of it.

Many students who are struggling are not going to magically "get it" over a few months time. If a kid can't do math at grade level, are they going to relearn it all in one school year?

Hopefully scores will take an upward swing, but we can't put too high of standards on one man to turn the scores around in a big way in a short time. Especially with all the (Quinn based) fires that he is having to put out all over the district.

GordonColumbus said...

They don't come around here. They get their friends to tell us how they care about kids in our neighborhood. They could care less they only take care of their friends. A friend told me that school board president Demerast wants to charge Aberdeen Soccer and Pop Warner for using lights at the field. I heard that they want to charge us a fee just to use the field. This just shows that they don’t care about our kids. I'm not listening to who our councilwoman tells us to vote for. I don't know why she likes those people. They give our kids nothing. I think that that doctor guy on the board at least helped one of our pastors with the afternoon program for our kids. I will vote for him when he runs. I showed up with my friends at meetings to help them get that field, and this is our reward? I hope someone new runs, and will give our kids some respect. We need change. I wish someone from the neighborhood would run.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above poster. The damage done to the students in this district took many years to create under Quinn, Barbato, Zavorkas,Demerest and Rubino. One year of finally having a competent superintendent, as we have in Dr. O'Malley is only the begining.

The damage done to the children is going to take a few years, to finally bring the kids up to the level they should have been performing at. They are children, they are learning, it takes time.

Believe me, I am outraged at the damage these clowns (Quinn & BARZA), have caused my children, but we have to be realistic. Dr. O'Malley seems to be heading us in the right direction, it is just going to take some time for the children to finally catch up.

And you can certainly expect, if there are any set backs along the way, BARZA will immediately start pointing fingers at Dr. O'Malley, meanwhile, they are constantly working against him.

Anonymous said...

Only 6% of our high school juniors were able to score 75% on a state assessment exam in English.

Can you please tell me where you found this statistic?

Aberdeener said...

Click on the link in the article to the 2007-08 report card. On that page, scroll down to the table for Language Arts Literacy. Advance Proficiency is defined as anything 75% or above.

If you need supporting documentation for how that cutoff is defined, click on the link in the article about "failed to make annual yearly progress". The level is defined on page 2.

Anonymous said...

A 64 million dollar budget and folks who volunteer their time, recieve no pay,i.e. Board Members, get the blame for our dismal results. Poor test scores are not new- we have not performed well since the inception of the state test.I am not a fan of all our board members, but am appreciative of the time they devote to our district.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious- I attended the Mr. Matawan event this past friday. Only 1 administrator was present and it wasn't the principal. doesn't she get a rather sizeable stipend to attend these events?

Anonymous said...

Principals do not get stipends - at least not that I saw on the BOE stipend list. Different union from the teachers union? Maybe??

As to why Ms. Ruscavage didn't / couldn't attend Mr. Matawan; why don't you e- mail her & ask? I've seen her at about everything else. And where were the assistant principals?

There does seem to be a general lack of pride in our students;a lack of support for their events & a lack of willingness to attend events w/o being paid for it.

Not all teachers & adminstrators are like this; I've seen plenty of teachers at events & principals too.(Pat Janover, principal of Ravine Drive School, has not missed one Special Olympic event, from what I'm told!)

I am more upset about paying teachers $25.00 / hour to attend graduation ceremonies at MAMS & MRHS. Same w/ the school dances.

Disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

The administrators work events on a rotating schedule. They take turns working events.

Why shouldn't teachers get paid overtime to come back in the evenings and work events? Would you work overtime in your job for free? Why are teachers expected to do it? They work with us all day long and they have families too.

A lot of the teachers do these events for free(Mr. Matawan, plays, concerts)but sporting events they get paid for. they also get paid to do testing on Saturdays(SAT, PSAT)should they do that for free as well?

As a student that attends the HS it really makes me wonder why anyone would want to teach in the school here in Matawan after I read the comments here. Maybe that is why we have such a high teacher turnover rate?

tiredofexcuses said...

Could not believe my good fortune the other day when I happened to be at the same restaurant as none other than NORMAN KAUFF.

I was tempted to just walk up and tell him what a political scum___ many think he really is. But I am ashamed to say that proper decorum got the better of me. Had I been there a little longer and had I had a few I would have unloaded and embarrassed the hell out of him until he left the place with his head down low.

I and many of my fellow taxpayers deserve that right, no different then someone like O.J. would get in public. Yes I hate him that much. Don't you?

Anonymous said...

If you read the comment careully, it said nothing about teacheres

Anonymous said...

Teachers at the middle school do NOT get paid to chaperone the dances, for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

I think Dr. O'Malley has done a good job so far fixing Quinn's mess. However, we'll see what his budget is like before we give him any credit. If he follows Quinn's spending spree and high taxes, then he will be no different. Let's see his budget!

Anonymous said...

"A 64 million dollar budget and folks who volunteer their time, recieve no pay,i.e. Board Members, get the blame for our dismal results."

Tell me anonymous, if a board members kid gets special treatment, gets into a top class that maybe some other child deserved more, gets a higher GPA or Class ranking because they are in that higher level class that maybe they shouldn't have been put into in the first place, or gets a paid student work study job, or gets a college scholarship based on all the above, at what point do you start to see dollar signs?

You don't think these board members are benefitting from their "volunteer " positions? We have some of the most unethical board members, and you're saying they shouldn't be blamed?

knewherwhen said...

Obviously the last post is unhappy with Cathy (all for me and mine and screw everyone else) Zavorskas. I am certainly glad that people are finally waking up to the realaity that she has acted in this manner all of her time on the school board.

And she looks so untouched. But there have been times she is just on the verge of losing it emotionally and worse. She needs to go the pressure is obviously too much for her and the damage and monies she has cost us is likewise insane.

FEDUPSTRATHMOREPARENT said...

SO TRUE. ZAVORSKAS MUST GO ALONG WITH ANY OF THE OTHERS FAITHFUL TO
BARZA.

THE REVOLUTION HAS STARTED.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Zavorskas is like those old Cray Eddie commercials all of those years ago.

She's INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how people are taking about Ms. Zavorskas ,in such a negative way.

Don't get me wrong she deserves it.

Every word.

Anonymous said...

Come on people BARZA is out and we all must concentrate on moving forward with the new Superintendent Dr. O'Malley.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

"As to why Ms. Ruscavage didn't / couldn't attend Mr. Matawan; why don't you e- mail her & ask? I've seen her at about everything else."

This is SO untrue. She has been to a FEW. Those few she attended were due to the fact that it was her turn to be there. The few that she attended she left ASAP.

There were 2 administrators at Mr. Matawan 1 was an assistant pricipal and the was 1 other who was actaully one of the judges, along with about 10 teachers who all volunteered their time to be there with us kids.

Anonymous said...

The H.S. principal gets an additional $6,000 dollars per year to compensate her for all the additional hours she should be putting in for after school activities. If she is taking turns with the other administrators she has a real sweet deal since I'm sure she doesn't share her stipend.

Anonymous said...

That can't be right. Where can a copy of her contract or any administrators be found?

KarenS said...

PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE

MUCH THAT IS DISCUSSED ON THIS SUBJECT ARE NOT THE BIGGEST THINGS WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT WHEN TEST SCORES ARE AGAIN MISERABLE AND TAXES THROUGH THE ROOF. QUESTION AND CONTROL THE MONEY AND THE PATRONAGE THAT WILL GET RESULTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY WHILE YOU WILL BE HELPING YOUR FELLOW TAXPAYERS.

SUPPORT THE CHANGES O'MALLEY IS MAKING NO MATTER WHO OR WHAT SMALL TEACHERS GROUP DOESN'T LIKE IT.

BRING POWER BACK TO THE SUPERINTENDENT AND NOT BARZA AND WE WILL GET THE CHANGE WE NEED.

BARZA AND DEMAREST o u t !

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how student enrollment could go down, expenditures went up, yet the cost per student went down? This is not creative financing, this is impossible. How do they get away with these lies and expect us to believe them when this makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

The MRTA is not a "small teachers' group". Rather it a strong, collective bargaining unit that commands the respect teachers deserve. These teachers are far more appreciated by the students than thay are by the community. These are the people the teachers really do "work" for.

Anonymous said...

Not all teachers or administrators "work" for the students. Many "work" more for their paychecks and benefits.

If all teachers and administrators "worked" for the students, many more in the community would be much more appreciative of them. After all, the community is the parents, grandparents, and neighbors of the students.

Anonymous said...

Not for nothing, my child appreciates one of his teacher's because the teacher can draw Mario and Luigi. It doesn't mean that the teacher is doing the job. It doesn't mean that the teacher isn't doing the job, either.

But the fact is, just because a teacher is well liked by students doesn't necessarily mean they are a good teacher.

Anonymous said...

My 3 students in the district have some good teachers, some fantastic teachers, and 1 or 2 not so good teachers.

My 3 children all do extremely well in school. 2/3 are in the advanced proficient range in testing and the other close to it.

I make my children work for their success. I hold them responsible for their grades, and I work with them when needed. If I need to get something more from the classrooms I ask for it and I get it 90% of the time.

I have to laugh at the many "work" for their paychecks. Maybe some kids work hard for their education and MANY children and parents don't. Maybe if people stop blaming others for their problems or their kids lack of effort scores WOULD go up!

Anonymous said...

Let's get serious. I'm responsible or feeding and clothing my kids. I pay taxes for my kids ti be educated. That is not my job-it is the teachers job and the board members. After all, I'm too busy and will have no guilt about the poor job I'm doing raising my children if I can blame them.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener,

Is what I read about the stipend for the HS princiapl true?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how the weight the classes? AP and Honors?

YOURCRAZY said...

First off, you're grammar and spelling is terrible. Secondly, what you wrote is a terrible, horrible thing to write. I cannot believe you would write such a thing about your children. I feel sad for your kids that you feel this way. Yes, it is the teacher's job to teach the children but it is also the parents responsibility to help their kids. A teacher cannot work miracles and if my child struggles I am going to help my child the best I can. You are too busy for your own children, how pathetic.

The child learns from their home environment. If the parents don't demand certain expectations for their kids then the children won't meet them. It is our responsibility to teach our kids how to be responsible, how to learn and appreciate school, and how to ask us or the teacher for help.

Anonymous, you should be ashamed at yourself.


Anonymous said...
Let's get serious. I'm responsible or feeding and clothing my kids. I pay taxes for my kids ti be educated. That is not my job-it is the teachers job and the board members. After all, I'm too busy and will have no guilt about the poor job I'm doing raising my children if I can blame them.

Anonymous said...

Ididn't take anon serious about their kids- I think(hope) she was being sarcastic.

EssieDrNolan said...

Of course she was being so. This is 2009 and we do not live in a third world country. Yet that is.

Anonymous said...

His or her comment was a sarcastic one.

Anonymous said...

That anon. poster SHARES THE SAME SENTIMENT that many do - push kids off on others.

If you don't think that students in Rumson, Colts Neck, or Middletown South do better because they have parents THAT PUSH THEM AFTER school - then you are missing the boat.

Parents in this town want to be their kid's friend not ADULT FIGURE OF DIRECTION.

Some have to work crazy hours or simply do not have the education to help and THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE.

But that poster who thinks their job to educate their child is in the hands of the school only is just the same B.S. rampant around here.

And I don't want to hear that you cannot talk socio -economics either. Some say that it is irrelevant but then on the other hand cry about their taxes and 64 million dollars.

Face facts - this district, as has been commented on here before by several other posters, gives students plenty of opportunity to do well and secure a spot at the next level - whatever that may be. But look around, when things go wrong we all point away from ourselves and at others.

Anonymous said...

I think we should all keep in mind that some kids have become aware of this blog and are reading it. So, please, we need to refrain from any name calling or insults at all. Let's pretend that we're rational, responsible people who strive to model civilized discourse for our children. And show them they can always count on us for a secure foundation of stable adult behavior, at the very least!

Anonymous said...

Are these the same kids that watch r rated movies with their parents?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter who they are. It should only matter how we act.

Anonymous said...

I've said it many times before, our children need more homework to reinforce the education they are getting in school. Homework also gives parents insight to see what their child is excelling at and what their child is weak at and needs help in. Everytime I speak of homework, many complain they want thier child to have time for sports, friends, etc. Well my child does participate in school athletics, at least 1-1/2 to 2 hours of practice a day, but doesn't get more than 1/2 hour of homework per day in high school. Priorities in this school district are backwards!

BTW, my child does OK in school, but not prepared enough to get into a top college.

Anonymous said...

More HW?

Come sit in one of my classes and see how many kids actaully do their HW.

Guess what? When the kid gets a bad grade or fails the class who do you think gets blamed? Not the kid.

Anonymous said...

Anon above,
I don't know if you are a teacher or a student, but my questions are;

If kids are not doing their homework, does that mean the teacher shouldn't assign enough for the kids that are doing the homework. My child always does 100% of the homework, but it is never much homework.

Secondly, what are teachers doing about kids not doing the homework, other than assigning less?

Thirdly, many status quo supporters, teachers, school administrators, BOE members, etc. like to point fingers at the parents. Claiming they are the problem. Well, I'm a parent, and I want my children to be assigned more homework, and especially more challenging homework. I've even assigned my own children work because the school doesn't assign any. So who is it, not doing their job?

The funny, or sad thing is, every school has a homework policy defining how many hours each grade should be receiving in homework, but the policy isn't followed. My children never had teachers that assigned enough to meet the school's policy.

I know many concerned and responsible parents who want their kids to be challenged more. We welcome our children being given the work, or getting extra tutoring if needed. Every teacher and every school is not giving it! Thats the truth.

Anonymous said...

As I read the comments and concerns as it relates to homework I think we are all in agreement. Parents are frustrated because they want the best for their kids and they want them challenged. Teachers want the best for the kids in their class, and school board members want the best for the kids and the families they represent so they don't have to listen to the windbag Nsectionjoe-sorry-could'nt resist that one. Seriously, if we all want the same thing why don't we start delivering. Believe it or not more parents complain that their children get too much homework. I don't believe too much is assigned, but they are calling the office and complaining all the time. Then they go to central and everyone is running around trying to quiet the squeaky wheels. Teachers get frustrated and wonder why should they place a target on their backs when they try to have high standards but aren't supported by administration. The answer seems to be to adhere to the hw policy and raise your standards. Now when many of the kids don't live up to those standards that is where we have a problem-because if they fail it's the teachers fault and we are back to square one.

Anonymous said...

The MRTA is a strong union. It appears that any time teachers are criticized for making "too much money," sexist men fail to add "for a woman." If the majority of MRTA members were men, there would be no salary questions. This is not an issue in other powerful unions. Hatred for teacher salaries is based upon the antiquated way of thinking that women "do not need to work." Teachers have advanced degrees and deserve to be paid well. Almost all the people who have been written about on this blog, and criticized by name, are WOMEN. I wonder, Aberdeener? Is it your concern with teachers, or just women? Do you respect them? Would you prefer life before ERA? How will women voters respond?

LloydRdMomNTeacher said...

This is not about men vs. women. To assert that is, in my opinion, an attempt to distract and convolute the situation. The Aberdeener has never criticized women.
He has talked about about groups, like MRTA, the BOE, policies,and administrators.
Their gender has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

The "Sexist" Anon is just a fool, so I'll ignore that post.

But to the Anon in reply to the homework, who are these squeaky wheels complaining about too much homework? Why are we listening to them? Moreover, why isn't the administration backing up the teachers?

I know it can't be easy for the teachers, but I as a parent would have so much more appreciation and respect for them if they would stick to the reasons they became teachers in the first place, to be educators and do what is best for the kids. They might not have the administrators behind them, but I can tell you, they will have the parents behind them!

Anonymous said...

I agree to disagree with the sexist comment

In regards to squeaky wheels, they have historically been with those with the ear of the superintendent. He gives them audience and thus credence. Sometimes he does this as a form of protection- the wheel might have a board member friend - board members evaluate him and i'm sure you can figure it out from there.
I'm particulary concerned that our new super has allegedly allowed this to happen with a small,yet vocal group of parents.
I am not advocating that parents voices not be heard, my concern is that often times decisions are being made regarding classroom instruction and rigor based on polictics and not what is best for kids.

Saraswati said...

So who is that small vocal group? Do you have names? When does the Supt. meet with them?

Anonymous said...

Just because the Aberdeener himself does not respond to the post about sexism does not mean that it does not exist. Women voters care. Check the blogs and you will indeed see that several women are listed by name. Calling someone a "fool" is not a very convincing arguement. Dignify that statement with a response, Aberdeener.

Anonymous said...

I called you a fool for the sexist comment, because it is not based in any fact. I know there have been some women named on the blog. They are basically named because they haven't done the job they were either elected for, or hired for. That is why they were named. There were also some men named, such as Bruce Quinn, and many other males on the town council. I don't see any of the Aberdeener's comments as sexist. You're attempts as trying to paint it as such, only shows how desperate you are.

And by the way, I AM A EDUCATED, WORKING WOMAN VOTER!

Anonymous said...

opps, typo! signed
"An" Educated Working Woman Voter

As you can see, I was never a secretary.

Anonymous said...

You are one educated woman voter. Regardless of your opinion, mine is stated, too. I wonder why you are so quick to refute the sexism claims. How are you sure that the reports were correct about the performance of these women? I continue to maintain my original position, as a teacher. Teachers are short-changed monetarily because the majority of us are women.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think teachers make fairly good salaries for 10 months of work. Most of us on a salary work many more hours, including unpaid overtime, pay into our medical package, and our retirement funds. And we in the private sector have been doing that for many years. Teachers have a great deal in my eyes. We can't even fire a slacking or lazy teacher once they have tenure. I'm certainly not saying all teachers are slacking or lazy,many are excellent, but a few are slackers and we're stuck with them. I don't know of any teachers afraid of losing his or her job in this down turned economy, do you?

Secondly, I've heard so many horror stories from many parents in this community involving those named in this blog. And furthermore, I don't remember reading any teacher's name on this blog. I've seen administrators names, board members names and town council names.

Thirdly, at no time did I read any sexist comments by anyone on this blog. And for you to try to create something that simply just doesn't exist, in an attempt to stir the pot in this election. Do you think we are that simple minded?

If you want to have a conversation about inequity of pay between men and women, fine, but what does this blog have to do with that.

Signed,
Educated Working Woman

Anonymous said...

Teachers get paid based upon a ten month salary. In effect, without pay for eight weeks. I am not sure if you understand the exact job of a classroom teacher; the hours spent doing more than leaving at 3.
Tenured teachers are absolutely fired, with due cause. The general public may not fully be aware of this, as most firings are resignations in the BOE minutes. Clearly, your experiences with teaachers have been negative ones. Your education has nothing to do with that. Trade places for one day with a teacher. Most people who are so negative would leave and thank the next teacher they saw. Bad employees work everywhere. Who knows how profiicent you are?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am aware that when a teacher is fired, they are allowed to resign, therefore their record appears as a resignation, rather than a firing. I know a few teachers in MARSD without tenure have not been renewed. But to your knowledge, how many tenured teachers in MARSD have been fired? What would be considered due cause? Would that include a teacher that is ineffective in teaching the material based on student performance? The private sector is based on performance, productivity, and value one brings to the company. What is considered "due cause" to remove an ineffective teacher?

Anonymous said...

No matter how well educated, innovative, and creative a teacher is, the student is the only person responsible for the actual test results. Many students do not or cannot care about their performance. You can lead a student to the test, but you can't force them to do well. Some problems that these students have are bigger than testing. They are children, essentially; they can't just put it behind them. Due cause includes a documented record of failing performance, based upon the factors within their control.

TRUTHABOUTKAUFF said...

You can be sure Aberdeen Councilman Drapkin's daughter will get her tenure. Right Norm?

Anonymous said...

Do you want teachers to teach to the test for good test scores or teach the curriculum so that students actually learn something? You KNOW these are not the same, right? Do you know what is actually going on in our classrooms? The teachers do not pick the curriculum (which changes with each hiring of a new curriculum director/supervisor) for each subject area. Teachers do not decide how long, what time of day and how often each subject is taught. They are told to all teach the same way at the same time. For some subject areas teachers are not allowed to slow down so all students master the information- they are told to "expose" the student to the material and MOVE ON leaving many students behind. If our district's education was better in the past it's because teachers were allowed to teach their way- which worked! Do your own homework and uncover the truth.