Archive for September, 2007|Monthly archive page

"Dancing Under the Stars"

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2007 at 1:51 am

Fundraiser for Ridgewood Pool Project 9/29/07 “Dancing Under the Stars” is the theme for the Ridgewood Pool Project Fundraiser, Saturday, September 29th from 8 to 11pm. Event is casual and will be held Poolside at Graydon. Click Here


"it appears that U.S. achievement in mathematics is continuing to decline"

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2007 at 9:16 pm

September 25, 2007

Investigations is #2?

Filed under: From the Professors — vormathi @ 4:32 pm

The following are words from Jim Milgram (Professor, Stanford University); shared at the request of a parent in the Orchard locale.

In the case of the direct question in the letter – yes, Investigations is generally thought to be the #2 curriculum in the country. The last data I saw reported was that Everyday Math is being used by 19% of the students in the country and Investigations (TERC) was used by 6%.

However, this is no argument. International TIMSS and PISA data has shown no improvement in the dismal showing of U.S. students over the last 15 years. In fact, it appears that U.S. achievement in mathematics is continuing to decline relative to international expectations.

A common educationist response to this decline is to say “These programs are new. Give us time.” This is nonsense. Both of these programs are about 20 years old. Both were heavily in California in the early 1990’s and both were key contributors to the remarkable decline in outcomes in California that led directly to the math wars.

Investigations thought very hard about applying for approval in California in 1999, 2000, and 2007, but I think after an initial rejection in 1999,they realized that this program was simply not rigorous enough and didn’t apply again.

Everyday Math did apply all three years, and was entirely rejected in 1999, initially approved in K-3, but not 4-6 in 2000, but then rejected, and initially approved for most grades in 2007, but with reservations in all grades.

I would suggest that if California, the state with the largest high tech economy in the country, does not allow state money to be used by schools to buy Investigations, this should be a clear message to other states.

As to the implied question – “What do parents do in this situation?” – that’s trickier. What we’ve seen is that sometimes, though it is very rare, parental pressure has resulted in change. But what we’ve never seen is instant change. Usually, change takes so long that the original students are through the system by the time the curriculum is gone.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that curricula like Investigations are harmless. They are extremely dangerous.

Students virtually never come out of these programs with any interest in or capacity for math or math related areas.

I believe it is students from these curricula and curricula like them, that make up the bulk of the huge number of college students who have to take remedial mathematics in college. (Once this happens, college students have virtually no chance of ever majoring in any of the technical areas such as the hard sciences, economics, mathematics, or engineering. )

I would suggest that the best way to think of these programs is as training for jobs at Target or MacDonald’s. For example, we simply do not see students coming from this background in any advanced mathematics classes at Stanford.

What can parents do in this situation?

The first and most crucial thing is to make sure your kids are not in these classes even if it means taking them out of the school. Sometimes, schools will let you make special arrangements to just take them out of the math classes, but sometimes you may have to consider moving them into private schools, or home schooling.

Many parents have had LIMITED positive results with after school programs like Kumon and private tutoring. However, unless the kids are strongly urged not to participate at all in their Investigations math classes, there will be residual damage. These curricula are that bad.

So my advice, these days, is take care of your own children first and foremost. After that, if you still have energy, by all means try to get the district to see reason. But don’t let it consume you.

Jim Milgram
Feel free to quote from this message or send it on in its entirety.

Shared with permission of the Professor James Milgram, Stanford University. Originally posted on NYCMATHFORUM, a national discussion list sponsored by NYC HOLD : Honest Open Logical Decisions on Mathematics Education Reform – a national coalition of parents, educators, mathematicians and scientists, and concerned citizens working to improve mathematics
education in our nation’s schools.


Chamber of Commerce Seeks Relief from Police Overtime Charges – Duh?

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2007 at 1:54 pm

During what The Fly now characterizes as one of the most long-winded and confusing public comments ever directed to Village Council members, on Wednesday night Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce representative Barbara Kiernan requested that the Chamber be relieved of having to pay for police overtime charges associated with selected Chamber sponsored activities.

Specifically, Ms. Kiernan complained of requirements that the Chamber pay a premium overtime rate for 15 police officers to cover the upcoming “Downtown for the Holidays” event. However, Ridgewood Police Chief William M. Corcoran, who was present during the Council’s Work Session, advised Ms. Kiernan and Council members of his opinion that police overtime charges for “Downtown for the Holidays” are borne by taxpayers (“it’s on me,’ said the Chief), not the Chamber.

A shouting match of sorts then ensued at the podium when Ms. Kiernan tried to pin Chief Corcoran down regarding his “it’s on me” statement, with Mayor David T. Pfund having to jump into the fracas as referee. Even the Mayor got a little testy, advising Ms. Kiernan that he did not appreciate her coming before the Council publicly with such an issue without first having attempted a private resolution before Village Manager James M. Ten Hoeve.

Chamber President Edward Sullivan, Ms. Kiernan, and Chief Corcoran were last seen in engaged in heavy discussion regarding the issue in a hallway outside of the Council’s meeting location. At this time, The Fly still can’t figure out whether Ms. Kiernan had no idea what she was talking about, or the Chief didn’t have his facts straight. Hopefully, the public will be told at some point who is actually paying for all police overtime required to adequately provide security at Chamber sponsored events.


Police Chief Says “No Way” to Request for Parking Lot Attendant

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Despite Councilwoman Kim Ringler-Shagin’s insistence that regular deployment of a uniformed police officer to monitor the Library/Village Hall parking lot would be appropriate, Mayor David T. Pfund recommended defeat of the contested ordinance that would have made it unlawful to park in the lot while using Veteran’s Field.

Ridgewood Police Chief William M. Corcoran advised Ringler-Shagin and other Council members that his department is currently operating at a “minimum staffing level,” therefore would have no officer available to routinely cover such an assignment. When asked by Ringler-Shagin if he could get a patrol officer to watch the parking lot on a volunteer basis, the Chief politely responded “no way.”

Despite his recommendation to defeat the contested ordinance, Mayor Pfund directed Village Attorney Matthew S. Rogers to draft a new ordinance that would make it unlawful for team buses and large capacity passenger vans to park in the lot. Mr. Rogers indicated that the new ordinance would be ready for introduction at the Council’s Public Meeting in October.

J&R Computer/Music World

Back To School Night – RHS – Authentic Assessment

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2007 at 4:30 pm

A meeting will be held from 6:45PM to 7:20PM in the main cafeteria on Back-to-School Night at Ridgewood High School to discuss the new Midterm and Final Schedule and policies.

Apple iTunes

Pease Library Update

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Village Council members were briefed last night on three separate and unrelated topics regarding the Pease Library building.

First, Councilman Patrick A. Mancuso introduced the members of his volunteer group, who for the past several months have been investigating options for restoring and using the facility. Mancuso’s committee members outlined their work, which has led to a possible long-term use interest by County of Bergen officials. The County has interest in using Pease to house the Bergen County Historical Society, which is currently homeless. Mancuso suggested the formation of a four person task team to finalize negotiations with County officials. Members of the team would be Mancuso, Mayor David T. Pfund, Village Manager James M. Ten Hoeve, and resident Frank Del Vecchio.

Next, Councilman Jacques Harlow suggested that the Village Council has waited too many years to restore Pease, and outlined his multi-phase plan to begin fixing the building immediately by using taxpayer generated revenue. It is reported that Harlow is still bitter over Mancuso’s role in calling an end to the Council’s relationship with a possible tenant, the consortium led by architect Jeff Wells. The final phase of Harlow’s proposal is directed at finding a suitable tenant.

Lastly, it was revealed that local philanthropist David Bolger has offered to fund a feasibility study focused on the design and construction of a parking structure in the front of Pease. It is believed that Mr. Bolger’s motive would be to gain parking so that the building would then be appealing to potential commercial tenants (with rental income funneled to the Library Board). Bolger is a known supporter of many Library initiatives.

Ringler-Shagin Throws Wrench into “Make a Difference Day” Plans

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Councilwoman Kim Ringler-Shagin single-handedly burst the bubble of Ridgewood Community Center Director Nora Muzio’s plans for “Make a Difference Day” by scrubbing any possibility of activity participants working to raise money for the “Habitat for Humanity” organization.

Muzio had hoped the fund raising theme for October 27th’s “Make a Difference Day” in Ridgewood would be raising money to build a house, as was done in neighboring Glen Rock, but Ringler-Shagin squashed the idea by stating it would be inappropriate for a government sponsored event to raise money for a private organization.

So, back to the drawing board it is for Ms. Muzio with respect to developing an overall fund raising theme for this year’s event.

The Fly wonders when it is that Ms. Ringler-Shagin will just shut up.


Dam at Habernickel Park May Be Structurally Flawed

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Village Council members learned last night that the dam at Habernickel Park is now showing signs of leakage, and could be structurally unsound to the point of a potential failure. However, Village Engineer Christopher Rutishauser assured Council members that no homes (in Ridgewood?) would be damaged if the dam did fail.

Remediation options now being considered by Rutishauser and members of his engineering staff are a replacement of the dam, or its complete removal with coincident conversion of the associated retaining pond into a flowing stream. But, any planned action related to the dam would require what is expected to be a time consuming and thorough review by representatives from the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection.

Village officials recently received a $356,620 grant from the Bergen County Open Space Fund to assist with dam repairs. Total project costs for repairs were estimated at over $800K. There was no indication made by Rutishauser during last night’s Village Council Work Session as to how much dam replacement or removal costs would amount to. The Engineer did state though that no one on his staff possessed the qualifications necessary to handle such a project, so he would need to contract with a professional engineering firm with respect to this project.

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

Village Council Demands Investigation of James C. Rose Center Activities

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Concerned that on-going operation of the James C. Rose Center may constitute a violation of the property’s current zoning status, Village Council members last night directed Village Attorney Matthew S. Rogers to take whatever legal action he deemed appropriate and necessary to ensure full compliance with all local land use ordinances. The Center currently pays no property taxes, and is situated in an area zoned entirely residential.

Deputy Mayor Betty G. Wiest suggested that the Council members visit the location as a group, but Councilman Jacques Harlow said that he’d already been there and “the place is a big mess.” Attorney Rogers was directed to begin his work expeditiously, and to include representatives from the Village’s Building and Zoning Department in the investigatory process.

Located on the corner of Southern Parkway and East Ridgewood Avenue, the James C. Rose Center provides authoritative lectures and tours, professional historical documentation, modern landscape preservation consultation and research; as well as internships and awards for qualified student assistants. The mission of the James Rose Center is to educate and preserve the modern landscape architecture of James Rose; as well as other works of modern landscape architecture.


Netflix, Inc.

Valley Hospital is here. I am glad they’re here.

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2007 at 11:43 am

the people opposed to this are not paying attention. It’s not about just adding space or floors…it’s not about just buying Pascack and having more real estate. It is about revising (or renewing) the hospital to meet today’s standards of care. It is proven that the most current hospital standards — which can be oversimplified to say single rooms and higher ceilings, among many other things – are BETTER on a number of important levels. It is a FACT that patients receive better care…they have better surgical outcomes…they are in the hospital for shorter stays…they are less likely to have complications…and thus their healthcare actually costs less. Why wouldn’t you want that? And in a pretty attractive building on existing hospital real estate? If we’re going to have a hospital — which we DO, regardless of what you wish (that ship has sailed) — then it MUST modernize. There isn’t really an option that would just keep things quaint and small and non-changing.

Valley Hospital is here. I am glad they’re here. I honestly do count the presence of Valley as one of the TOP reasons that I love living in Ridgewood (on the East Side, with kids at BF). I consider my family extremely lucky. Now, I want my town to do the smart thing and enable OUR hospital to provide the level of care that has been mandated by the STATE of New Jersey (and other states), has been studied and proven more cost effective and healthier by the American Institute of Architects (whose standards all hospital construction must follow) and the department of Health & Human Services, and which is desired by many friends and neighbors who feel like me.