Good day to you.
Due to snowfall yesterday, there was a two hour delayed school opening in Montclair, and the PARCC was postponed from today, to tomorrow, 3/3/15.
While we gather links, press clips, blog posts, and pictures from yesterday’s amazing event in Montclair with filmmaker Michael Elliot, we’re jumping back to last week’s BOE meeting on
We collected a few pieces you might want to read before this evening’s budget meeting. One thing on so many of our minds is:
Here’s the BUDGET WORKSHOP MEETING info from the MPS website on 3/2/2015 at 1:30pm:
The MBOE Budget Workshop meeting on March 2, 2015 will commence at 4:30 pm in the George Inness Annex Atrium at 141 Park Street. It will then go immediately into Closed Session and reopen at approximately 7:30 pm for the Public Session.
The MBOE Budget Workshop meeting on March 5, 2015 will commence at 5:30 pm in the Atrium and go immediately into Closed Session reopening at approximately 7:30 pm for the Public Session.
The MBOE Budget Workshops will air live at 7:30pm on Mon., March 2, 2015 and Thurs., March 5, 2015 on Comcast/FiOS 34, FiOS Channel 33 and will stream live.
Parent, Laurie Orosz made these comments at the BOE meeting on 2/23/2015.
We are adding a link to the Noam Chomsky piece she referenced in her comments and include here via Creative Systems Thinking blog:
My son, a third grader at the Charles H. Bullock School, will not be taking the PARCC exams.
Noam Chomsky, in a recent interview for The Progressvie Magazine, stated “The assessment itself is completely artificial. It’s not ranking teachers in accordance with their ability to help develop children who will reach their potential, explore their creative interests. Those things you’re not testing.. it’s a rank that’s mostly meaningless. And the very ranking itself is harmful. It’s turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank. Not into doing things that are valuable and important.”
The PARCC assessments are especially harmful and meaningless. Having taken a practice exam at a Montclair Cares About Schools, Take the PARCC event, I can say these tests are confusing, needlessly wordy, at least two grade levels too advanced and measure nothing but one’s endurance to sit through a frustrating, tedious test.
The PARCC is just one of several, unfunded mandates, recently imposed on our schools by bureaucrats and the wealthy elite. Under the pretence of closing the achievement gap and leveling the playing field, these reforms are designed to demean and demoralize our teachers, fail our students, chip away at public education and legalize institutional racism.
Montclair doesn’t exist in a bubble. What is happening nationwide and statewide is happening here.
Almost three years ago, a Broad Superintendent Academy graduate, without any public input, was appointed Superintendent of our schools. The Broad Superintendents Academy isn’t certified, has no state approvals, isn’t subject to outside monitoring, doesn’t require a background in education and trains people in corporate disruption techniques. Broad Superintendents have consistently devastated school districts.
When Dr. MacCormack assumed her position, we had a significant surplus in our budget. Now, as she announces her resignation, we are left with a deficit of millions of dollars and our schools in ruins.
Montclair, once envied for our progressive and diverse schools has become an embarrassment. Class sizes have swelled, curriculum has been narrowed, test prep has run rampant and our schools are now facing horrendous budget cuts.
I want to know what happened to cause this situation and who is going to take responsibility for such an egregious and destructive lack of oversight.
An independent, internal audit should be conducted and Dr. MacCormack should be immediately relieved of her responsibilities. An interim Superintendent should be appointed who is familiar with and respects our magnet program and who values and respects public education.
The search for a new Superintendent should be open and involve input from our Principals, teachers and all stake holders and should lead us to an individual who will help rebuild our schools and return Montclair to its position as a leader in public education.
And this Letter to the Editor:
FEBRUARY 26, 2015 LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2015, 12:32 AM
THE MONTCLAIR TIMES
Superintendent and her budget must go
Board of Education President David Deutsch has announced Superintendent Penny MacCormack will stay in place until an interim is hired through a paid search. This is unacceptable.
The Principals’ Association has called for MacCormack’s immediate removal, dumbfounded by her insistence that millions of dollars of cuts must come from school programming and staff, leaving them “uncertain of how we possibly got to this place.” The Montclair Education Association and community have echoed that call.
With no confidence, MacCormack’s preliminary budget proposal (which she did not bother to come to present) has no credibility. Her budget claims a projected $10.9 million shortfall. The budget requires that certain unnamed classes be cut and others be combined, that related arts (physical education, art and music), middle and elementary school electives, and athletics be cut. The budget cuts books and supplies, makes kids with special needs give up current paraprofessional support, cuts speech and occupational therapy, cuts teachers and healthcare, and proposes that taxes be raised.
These are false choices framed by an untrusted leader with no vested interest in what happens to Montclair going forward.
Millions have been diverted from the classroom into support for continual assessing, PARCC testing, evaluation, data collection, consulting, legal fees and Common Core curriculum. That money lies hidden in layers of Central Office hires, unhelpful professional development, over-purchased and unplanned tech, and hidden off-budget-line expenditures like the $860,000 unbudgeted tech expenditure disclosed at the Nov. 17 BOE meeting.
This budget deprives children of education to pay for testing and reforms.
We don’t need to wait and pay to search for an interim.
We need to install Felice Harrison today as the NAACP has requested.
Get an independent auditor to look at the books.
Cut the money tied up in the reforms that are wreaking havoc on our schools and budget.
Will we see you at the meeting tonight? Bring your questions and comments.
Stay well and warm,