PJ BLOGGER

we have a BOE that for the past 12 years, under the spell of social workers, in the process of trying to re-engineer our village via the school system

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2008 at 12:03 pm

If it were only as simple as residents not knowing a charlatan when they see one.

It is more than not being able to tell the wheat from the chaff.

There is a group of residents who wish to change the way Ridgewood functions. They see the Ridgewood of old as a place that was intolerant to diversity and wish to make “amends” for its perceived past transgressions.

They mistakenly see the Ridgewood of old as being conservative and close-minded and therefore are bent on reforming its image.

Hence, we have a BOE that for the past 12 years, under the spell of social workers, in the process of trying to re-engineer our village via the school system in a purely secular-progressive manner.

It starts with nonsense programs like Open Circle and then the administration of an illegal behavioral survey to our youth.

It continues with the hiring of “crisis councilors” for our schools and reform math based on the discredited assumptions about learning and a lack of competent math teachers from our mediocre teachers’ colleges.

It is about embracing the silly notion that “Cultural-all-a-day” can replace the study of cultures by doing away with geography classes in elementary school.

It is about banishing anything with a religious reference from our public square, like naming the town Christmas Tree a “Holiday Tree.” What’s next, should we refer to the Menorah as a candle holder for fear of offending the Christian?

In school Christmas songs are no longer sung at the Christmas concert, now named the politically correct “Winter Concert,” for fear of offending. And we wonder, as we remove the basis for morality in our schools, why our children become more detached and able to behave with cruel manners.

It is about banning things like playground tag and dodge-ball because some body will be “it.”

They implement and sell this social engineering in the name of maintaining Ridgewood’s “premier status.” But make no mistake about it; there is a concerted effort by a few to radically change the way Ridgewood functions.

The bills of goods they peddle sound wonderful on the face of it. However, a critical examination of the details too often exposes inherent weaknesses which are counter productive to the development of our children’s future and our community.

If this trend is not put in check it will be only a matter of time before we go the way of Montclair. Families will soon discover that the perception is not the reality in Ridgewood and they will no longer choose to live or move here.

One is not convinced that residents are so much “insecure in their own judgments that they happily relinquish their decision making power to any golden tongued “expert” touting some “shiny new” theory or idea,” as they are intimidated by those who call themselves “Doctor” and by politicians and wannabes who will publicly demonize and privately retaliate against their families for expressing a critical view of their social engineering initiatives in our village and schools.

Some times it is just more cost effective to buy into the prevailing fades and ideas than to fight for what you instinctively know to be right. The “social engineers” can make the price for opposing them pretty high.

On the other hand, many of us are just down right intellectually lazy and refuse to do the work necessary to guarantee the future well being of our community, leaving the heavy lifting to just a few brave individuals.

We get the government we deserve, witness the lack of participation in our BOE elections.

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  1. Bob “The Caddy” Hutton has been on the BOE for more than 6+ years….I’m just sayin’.

  2. Our town leadership is just plain embarrassing, especially the school board. I cringe at what they may do next.

  3. Check out the Monday 13 October post in this link:
    http://kitchentablemath.blogspot.com/
    Replace ‘Washington’ with ‘Ridgewood,’ ‘WASL’ with ‘NJASK,’ and ‘Bergeson’ with ‘Botsford’ and it will sound more familiar.

  4. It’s not just Ridgewood going down the toilet. It’s the entire metropolitan areas around all of our cities. Historically the raving lefties lived in the cities. Now they live in the suburbs and work in the cities. There are (was) so much new money around that each and every passing fad was embraced by the suburbs where the new money just squandered itself trying to be trendy. Old money would protect its money and grow it cautiously. New money thought there was a never ending supply but that has ended abruptly. The longer the financial miasma goes on, the more you’ll see a return to more conservatve thought. Liberalism costs money, usually other peoples’ money.

  5. From kitchentablemath.blogspot.com

    Monday, October 13, 2008
    Ted Nutting on the math mess

    I’m a high-school math teacher in Seattle. When I hear Mark Emmert, president of the University of Washington, say that this state is “at the bottom in the production of scientists and engineers,” and warn that our graduates “will be washing the cars for the people who come here for the best jobs,” I know what the problem is. It’s math. We are failing to educate our children in mathematics. I know how that came about, and what we can do about it.

    The problem is national in scope, but in Washington state our difficulties can be traced principally to Terry Bergeson, superintendent of public instruction for the past 12 years. She oversaw the writing of our state’s weak, vague math standards, basing them on a “reform” idea to promote “discovery” learning. This has turned teachers into “facilitators” who “guide” children in learning activities. It has promoted “differentiated instruction,” placing students of wildly differing abilities together where some students cannot do the required work, often to the detriment of those who can.

    She has moved away from rigorous testing. The “reform” math she champions encourages such things as journals, portfolios and group projects that tend to form large parts of classroom grading systems, while test results are relegated to a lesser role. The math portion of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), aligned to her faulty standards, tests math skills at a low level. Even so, about half our 10th-graders fail it.

    She has wasted millions of dollars on “professional development” to encourage teachers to put “reform” theories into practice. These theories are supposed to make it possible for all students to learn math. But few students know significant mathematics, and most know very little. About half of our students entering college now have to take remedial math. Many of our students who do succeed use private tutors, and the racial achievement gaps have widened. “Reform’s” emphasis on equity and fairness has been revealed to be empty talk.

    My experience tells me that we can fix this, and quickly. I am the Advanced Placement calculus teacher at Ballard High School. I don’t teach Bergeson-style. I tell my students what they need to know, they do problems to understand how it works, and they demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through testing. Up until this year, we’ve insisted that our students who take AP calculus actually be able to do the work.

    We at Ballard have by far the best AP calculus program in Seattle Public Schools, based on AP test scores. I have no special magnetism or charisma; I’m not a cult figure for teenagers. I have high standards and I require the students to work. If they don’t work, they know they will probably flunk. But they do work, and I am proud of them. I also have the benefit of having an older textbook that doesn’t fit the “reform math” model, and most of my students have had an excellent pre-calculus teacher the year before.

    In most of our other math classes (and I doubt that Ballard is unique in this), we’ve tended to follow a “reform” model. We’ve passed students on from class to class; there is no meaningful threshold they must cross to enter a more-difficult class. Since we find that many students in our classes cannot do the work, we dumb down the courses. We say we are admitting unprepared students into our classes in order to “challenge” them.

    But students should be challenged in the classes that they are qualified to take, not sent on to classes where they cannot do the work. Unfortunately, things are changing, even in our school’s AP calculus classes: We’re starting to admit unqualified students, and our program will soon begin to deteriorate.

    It’s not just Ballard’s AP calculus program that is successful, and it’s not just the top students. North Beach Elementary in Seattle [was this Niki Hayes’ school? will find out] switched its math curriculum to Saxon Math in 2001. This excellent series teaches real math and does not follow Bergeson’s fuzzy, reform-oriented ideology. North Beach did this with reluctant agreement from Seattle Public Schools because the PTA paid for the books and because the superintendent supported site-based decision-making. North Beach’s passing rate on the WASL rose from 68 percent in 2000 to 94 percent in 2004 — and yet, every year parents worry that real math will be scrapped. Recently, the school has had to seek waivers to avoid having to teach the district’s “reform” math.

    Legislators have begun to understand the problem. At the Legislature’s direction in 2007, the state Board of Education reviewed our state’s math standards, finding they were failing. The Legislature set up a system to fix the problems, but that system gave Bergeson the opportunity to sabotage the process. She stacked the committees selected to rewrite the standards with like-minded ideologues. The results were so bad the Legislature refused to accept the rewritten standards, sending them to the Board of Education to fix.

    Bergeson then stacked the committees set up to select curricula for state approval. That process is not complete, but the first results are discour-aging. The Legislature had required that the new mathematics standards be based on (among other things) the standards of Singapore, consistently a leader on international tests, but Bergeson’s initial submission of texts ranked Singapore Math, that country’s official curriculum (and a superior one), dead last out of 12.

    Most school-district administrations have gone along with Bergeson and share responsibility for this mess. Even as an uproar arose nationally against the programs Bergeson promotes, Seattle started using two of them in elementary and middle schools.

    None of this is necessary. Students can learn math. My students learn it. If our education leaders would follow the lead of our Legislature, stop ignoring obvious successes and support what actually works, we would see major improvements in just a few years.
    Ted Nutting is the Advanced Placement calculus teacher at Ballard High School in Seattle.

    Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

  6. Earlier this week, the principal of Hawes School notified parents that “touch football” would no longer be permitted during school recess. Why? Unexplained by the principal, but I assure you it has nothing to do with football.

    Similar to aggressively taught math, english and science courses in Ridgewood, where better students excel and lesser students fall behind, football (as well as other sports) encourages a meritocracy. On average, bigger faster kids are, by definition, better athletes and probably better touch football players. Slower, smaller kids just the opposite. How does Ridgewood ensure that everybody becomes the same? By placing artificial restrictions in the arena. The upward surges and downward troughs on the graph of life become flattened, no one reaches for the brass ring and no one worries about falling off the edge into an abyss.

    Is real life like this? Any of you managers or company owners think that hiring an “OK” performer is just as good as hiring an excellent one? Would you like to be forced to hire the “C” student and not the “A” student?

    I am at a loss as to how the education experts in control are able to perpetrate this fraud on a seemingly intelligent town like Ridgewood. Yet, they do and do and do and do.

    As stated in the original post, first it was dodgeball and tag. Now it’s football and numbers-based math.

    Wealth redistribution must be somewhere on the horizon. Oh wait, I think I heard that concept espoused by The One this week.

    Swedish meatballs, anyone?

  7. One is not convinced that residents are so much “insecure in their own judgments that they happily relinquish their decision making power to any golden tongued “expert” touting some “shiny new” theory or idea,” as they are intimidated by those who call themselves “Doctor” and by politicians and wannabes who will publicly demonize and privately retaliate against their families for expressing a critical view of their social engineering initiatives in our village and schools.

    Incorrect.

    One is convinced that our fellow Ridgewood parents are responsible adults who vote for Board of Ed members based on who they think is best for running the public school district. They are not intimidated, but rather informed & responsible citizens.

  8. Good morning Charlieanna!

  9. "Ridgewood parents are responsible adults who vote for Board of Ed members based on who they think is best for running the public school district. They are not intimidated, but rather informed & responsible citizens." 8:52 AM

    I laughed out loud when I read your spin.

    Way to go.

    Now, go wipe your nose, there is something brown on it.

  10. The elitist, condescending tone of voice in the original post — "we few know what's best for children, but the unwashed masses of parents in Ridgewood who vote are intimidated & uninformed" — is one of the reasons most people in the Village do not listen to the Lunatic Fringe.

  11. 108 the only elitist’s in this town are the scholl board hell bent on destroying our once great school system ,I hate to inform you but adding is not elitist is necessary for a JOB we all cant live on cozines welfare programs some of us have to pay these taxes..

  12. 10:31 – Of course, that's where you're wrong.

    The BOE and the folks who voted them in represent the vast majority & mainstream of this Village.

    The elitists are those who think they're too good & too smart to work with those mere "bottle blondes" on HSA/Federated.

  13. Charlie/Not Charlie/Charlianna 10:08:

    It is not the original poster, but rather you, who has assumed an elitist, condescending tone by invoking (unprompted) the terms “unwashed masses” and “uninformed.”

    The poster merely used the word “intimidated.” Nothing in this word suggests ignorance to me.

    Why are you so quick to jump from the term “intimidated” to the term “uninformed?”

    I frankly wonder whether you yourself are one of the intimidators.

  14. 12:27 – Did you read the entire original post? It continues:

    On the other hand, many of us are just down right intellectually lazy and refuse to do the work necessary to guarantee the future well being of our community, leaving the heavy lifting to just a few brave individuals.

    There you have it. The mass of Ridgewood’s populace are intellectually lazy. Only a “few brave individuals” are capable of doing the thinking that is required to “guarantee the future well being of our community”.

    All of the elitism you could ask for — as well as heavy dose of Chicken Little sky-is-falling melodrama — is right there in the original post. Read, and enjoy it.

  15. same old pat answers always trying to twist things around

  16. The majority of Ridgewood Voters selected the Board. If someone had a better platform they would have been elected.

    To rationalize your candidates loss by implying that others are not intelligent is third grade debating.

  17. “On the other hand, many of us are just down right intellectually lazy and refuse to do the work necessary to guarantee the future well being of our community, leaving the heavy lifting to just a few brave individuals.”

    This has been true throughout history. It is not until things reach a critical mass do the masses actually lift their noses from the grind stone to take notice. and that is when it can become dangerous for then they react out of fear or desperation and be manipulated to do and believe horrible things.

    Let’s see there was the French Revolution, The Russian Revolution and now Islamic fantaticism.

  18. Thomas Fitzgerald was one of those brave souls. RIP

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