Wednesday, November 25, 2009


After lobbying the school district for two years to provide any data justifying RTI (Response to Intervention), we finally got the information at Monday’s school board meeting. Looking at a two-year window and comparing our district to the rest of the state, we see broad advances in math and mixed results in English. However, the math advances are largely from the Everyday Math program, as demonstrated by the large jumps in advance proficiency. The main test for RTI was in Language Arts where it uses specialized programs such as Reading Recovery. Given the program’s expense, over $2.2 million a year, the costs cannot be justified by the results.

Below are three tables that include all grades and schools that implemented RTI. The first table shows the current percentage of total proficiency and advanced proficiency for the classes of 08-09. The next table shows the change in total proficiency and advance proficiency since RTI began in 07-08. The final table shows the net change compared to the state average. For example, if the state’s proficiency rose by 10% in the past two years, and our district rose 20%, the net change is 10%. This should cancel any changes in the state exams or measurements, such as increasing the pass score for proficiency from 40-45% to 50%.

08-09 Test Results
Cliffwood66.7 % 2.6%86.1%36.7%
Ravine Dr82.4%13.5%94.5%54.1%
Lloyd Rd (4)69.2%9.5%82.1%35.5%
Lloyd Rd (5)69.2%9.6%80.2%37.2%

2-year Progress
Cliffwood-22.0% -1.2%-2.9%14.5%
Ravine Dr-5.2%-1.1%-4.5%20.8%
Lloyd Rd (4)-10.5%1.8%-1.0%-0.1%
Lloyd Rd (5)-24.6%-4.2%-11.3%6.0%

2-year Progress vs State
Ravine Dr15.5%-0.9%7.6%21.2%
Lloyd Rd (4)7.1%1.8%10.7%13.4%
Lloyd Rd (5)-1.6%0.0%-4.4%3.3%

RTI was hatched by Superintendent Quinn and designed by Assistant Superintendent Kim Honnick. The two former administrators were quick to promote the program’s virtues and downplay the costs despite the absence of any evidence of success. According to the APP, “Quinn said he is honored to have made positive contributions to the district. Some of his unforgettable moments, he said, are the $660,000 [sic] initiative called Response to Intervention . . .” Honnick joined the speaking circuit - “Participants will learn how a small district in central New Jersey researched, designed, and implemented the response to intervention (RTI) framework . . . designed to employ scientifically based programs.”

Well, here are the results of their handiwork, over $4.5 million dollars later. Given Dr. O’Malley and Ms. Zitarosa haven’t been able to salvage the program after two years, it’s fair to say RTI is beyond salvation. Students who need extra help should receive extra help that actually helps. Compared to advances made by simply changing the math curriculum, RTI has failed that basic test. >>> Read more!


Anonymous said...

V I N D I C A T I O N ! For many of us who knew it would not work before dollar one was spent. RTI and the same program under different names historically did not work in many learning environments on a national level even before we wasted our money.

Too bad we didn't have leadership that looked at the reports that were available without much difficulty before we wasted millions in taxpayer dollars that we could ill afford to waste.

BARZA lives and we are still paying for their mistakes. Quinn you too you knucklehead.

Anonymous said...

I see the results. Interesting. I will not defend what was done or what was spent.

All I will say it that they tried. It would have been a sin to do nothing. The program was designed, had a purpose and a goal - but failed. Point taken.

Just imagine the reaction if nothing was done. Just my opinion.

And I guess that 2.2 million spent/now saved, will make up for the Chris Christie $2 million dollar shortage in our district's aid on the horizon?

Aberdeener said...

If Dr. O'Malley suspends the program, there will be a savings but far less than expected. First, there still needs to be a student assistance program of some sort so long as we have a significant number of students failing to reach proficiency. Secondly, if there's any staff reduction, it will likely only affect our non-tenured teachers who are far less expensive than our senior faculty.

So F'n fed up said...

The educational system and its strong arm lobbyist organization are soon to get what has been coming for a long time. They are until they misspent $2,000,000.00 backing that idiot Corzine. $2,000,000.00 of their union members money wasted. We may not have the NJEA monkeys on the back of the taxpayers in New Jersey much longer.

The NJEA are a disgrace as a union and are equally as flawed in their logic and in their tactics. Tenure and all the costs associated with that protection for laziness and ignorance is a crime. They have forgotten the purpose of their membership and have been nothing but Bullies against the taxpayers. Their abuse of bargaining agreements with their professional negotiators and other pressure tactics fall just short of being criminal offenses. Well there is a NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN and he won't be a pussy like Corzine.

Enjoy what little time your have left under the very expensive NJEA. Their costs and their gravy train are reaching the last stop.

As for the RTI program and who should be blamed all I can say is those low life scum have left their positions with their tails between their legs and should be shamed by the taxpayers every time they are seen in public. Next stop for me is the Hobby Shop in the Aberdeen Shopping Center to see what Kathy Zavorskas has to say about the wasted monies and low test scores. I want to thank her and BARZA for wasting another 5 million dollars of money many of us can ill afford to waste on their bird brained liberal projects.

Matawan and Aberdeen taxpayers are once again casualties of idiotic leaders.

Anonymous said...

Playing the blame game will solve nothing. Kenny, O'Connell, Donoghue, Gambino, and Rubino have all been around long enough and all voted in favor of this misguided program. Many spoke against adding teachers when this was first implemented and they still all supported it. The question is what is going to be done about it now. It is time for O'Malley to admit a change needs to be made and give us a cost effective alternative.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with you that this program is a failure, are Dr. O'Malley and the rest of the board in favor of getting rid of it? This district does not have a good history of admitting its mistakes and moving on to something more productive.

Anonymous said...

to the above post.

The names above HAVE ALL BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH FOR THE VOTES> but Aberdeener rarely admits that now since he is in KA-HOOTS with these people and the criticism of them has stopped.

But this has nothing to do with Joey W. IT IS about those listed above and how they ALWAYS escape any kind of blame.....!!!!!!!!!!!


Screwed again said...

Once again our students suffer because of pompous arrogance. Not only did all of the above support it they each gave enumeration on how they would demand accoutability and make sure it was a success. Here we are over two years later and only after much urging for a progress report do the facts point to failure. This assemblage uncommonly admits failure and never follows up on its promises if it illuminates them in a bad light. Only after Mr. Warrens perserverence for answers can we see the mistakes they made. Once again more money does not produce better results. The only question now is how and when will it be fixed and how will the taxpayers recoup the money that was wasted once again by adding more teachers. After watching the pod cast it is amazing to see the money that is wasted. They pay teachers extra to communicate a few hours a year before and after school. Wake up people, we are being screwed.

Anonymous said...

Just like Obama they are just making love to us. Bend over.


So'F'n fed up has it 100% right.

Doubt it?

Bet your a teacher or administrator.

Main St. Matawan ???? said...

Maybe this will be a good test for our new School Attorney? Now that gross is not gouging us any longer I am anxious to see this years legal bills versus Gross's thievery.

Anonymous said...

I know too little about any specifics of the program or its history in the district to comment except to admit that I pray some intelligent person who does have such knowledge will add to the discussion here so I can read something other then these tiresome insults posted in the now familiar thuggish communication style. Can't you hear how very ugly you all sound?

Anonymous said...

The true facts that the RTI program was a dismal failure in many other areas of the country was unfortunately true even before Superintendent Quinn instituted the program here in our district. Now we taxpayers have once again paid a significant price for something that leadership knew or should have known was not a resounding success elsewhere. To say nothing of the costs, time, training of staff and the precious instructional time with students that proved somewhat futile now.

Those in management or on the school board for the most part who pushed this program and its flawed results are gone for the most part. I say good riddance to them as they are not missed in the least and are sadly still leaving their marks of failure. I certainly hope they are proud of themselves.

To those who remain in supervisory positions or on the school board, it is a time to learn an important lesson. Just because someone says it's so does not mean it is so.
Too often leadership entrusted, is leadership confused or far worse.

More money wasted is nothing new in education, for many of the reasons posted above and many more we have seen over and over again in this district and in this state. As an example the school construction debacle costs each and everyone of us $350 each year off the top in school taxes. It cannot be said enough that $38 million dollars was not spent wisely or supervised closely enough. A total and dismal failure was that referendum without a doubt. It is not that construction was not needed along with more learning space, technology and to bring our district marked improvement and more. But millions were wasted or spent haphazardly on the say so of supposed professionals in their field. These of course would be the same professionals who made money on both ends quite often illegally as was found by state investigators who prosecuted not one of them. Welcome to the reality that is our New Jersey.

The most upsetting fact was and still remains, is the fact that the moneys wasted and more were not watched by those we pay and trust to watch out for those of us who pay the bills and to implement the educational process. The same goes for those in leadership at the local, state and national level.

As the husband of a school teacher for almost thirty years I have also heard the stories and facts of questionable management and administrations over and over again. Similarly as an area resident since 1963 I cannot
say that vast amounts of money have not been spent time and time again in a similar manner or worse on the say so of leadership that leaves us worse off then when they took control.

NsecJoe above post said...

Sorry meant to put my name on the post above. I hit the wrong button.


Anonymous said...

Kenny, O'Connell, Donoghue, Gambino, and Rubino-

Mr. Nsection - the names above are FIVE people, I will say it again, FIVE PEOPLE who were on the BOE when RTI was VOTED on and IMPLEMENTED. They share no blame? You are going to put it all on JB, CZ, and PD? That is only 3. The 5 above could have voted NO and WON!!!! A 5-4 majority wins- just so you know.

How do these people always get away scott free. I just dont get it. Most of them also voted for the large amounts of money spent for construction and the field you always complain about.

Will anyone go out on a limb and push any blame toward people who have been on the BOE for a long period of time and seen things go on and still vote the way they did.

I am Joey W could, but won't, find the voting records of his new friends. But that is imaginary thinking.

NSectionJoe said...

Firstly Matawan defeated St. John Vianney 34 to 0 today. Great job kids.

As for the school board I agree that many sat and listened to the district leader Mr. Bruce Quinn praise this RTI program. I do also blame those other members and officials other then BARZA for not checking and merely taking Quinn's word on RTI and far too many other things that went wrong or were not cost effective in this district under Bruce Quinn.

I do blame BARZA quite often as they were the driving and pressuring force on far more negativity, failed or costly projects, hiring of personnel and more, coupled with their personal animosity and treachery that divided the school board for years.

I do as stated before by some blame BARZA for far more long after their departures. This as those failure soundly rings up the costs of yet another expensive failure.

Far too often some think tank type person comes up with something that educational leadership thinks will revolutionize the educational process world wide. But when it does not work we taxpayers are left holding the bag for the costs, while those who voted on the installation of the program find it far too easy to throw their hands up and say, well we tried when it does not work.

Many of us who do not have all the answers, but the RTI program did not work or had significantly mixed results elsewhere before it was tried here. That should have been an indication to the school board to wait and research this further before expending millions of dollars on an already overburdened tax base. Just because Superintendent Bruce Quinn thought it was a good idea did not mean it would work in this district. Millions spent and still the test scores are far below.

What overly expensive plan or program is next?

Aberdeener said...

When Quinn initially proposed the program, he said it was a $600,00 program that would be covered by a grant, not an over $2 million program. Still, I don't know why other board members didn't object to how the program was implemented - i.e. no targets or criteria of success and no objection to the types of instruction.

Aberdeener said...

I'll be raising the issue of legal fees in January, after we've had a six-month window with the new attorney. However, I can tell you that, so far, they're dramatically lower than in years past.


Raise that point on the Aberdeener in regards to all fees so comfortably paid to the same connected people. While you are at it do the same with the municipal budgets and professional services provided to the similarly same connected type people.

Appreciate your help on this one.

Anonymous said...

Do any BOE members know how the program is used in the schools? Did you know teachers were against parts of the RTI program from the beginning and were vocal from it's inception. Once implemented (incorrectly) the teachers were again vocal about the flaws in the IMPLEMENTATION not the program itself. Teachers knew from the beginning that the program was doomed from the way they were scheduled to work with students. Complaints fell on MANY deaf ears. Here's a thought...teachers, being the professionals, should be included in any educational program that involves remediation. They often know better and cheaper ways to work with the resources they already have without adding additional programs for "sale", supervisors and costs to the district.
In RTI's defense the program would have given better results had it been used correctly, but it was doomed from the beginning due to scheduling and teacher's access to the most needy students. It could still be turned around but teacher's complaints can't fall on deaf ears. Form a committee that has actual RTI teachers on it and revamp it. It might save some money and would definately save some students' educational futures.
Question: What are go going to put in it's place?

Aberdeener said...

Speaking only for myself, I had no idea that ANY teacher was opposed to RTI's implementation. Perhaps we should implement an "anonymous" email feature for staff to voice concerns without risking reprisals?

Hold the Pickle said...

There are many things you have no idea about when it comes to teachers.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, Quinn is not a knucklehead, You joe are the real knucklehead. You hide behind your stupid blog as you are afraid to do anything like a real man. I am unbiased however i feel your little blog is embarrassing. You really don't have anything to do in your life do you. If i ever met you in real life i would kick your ass. You are a small weak coward.

Aberdeener said...

I plan to be at Monday night's school board meeting. See you there. :)