Open Forum on Communications

In math wars, public education on February 25, 2009 at 1:24 pm


I would like to invite you and the readers of your blog to
attend the Open Forum on Communications presented by the
Communications Committee of the Ridgewood Board of Education. The
Forum will be an open conversation to discuss school district
communications, including:
— how the district communicates to parents and the non-parent community
— how the public/parents communicate to the schools/district
— ideas for the best communication in the future

While it may seem that we have “bigger fish to fry” right now, such as
the budget, math programs, school election, possible referendum, etc.,
successful and open communications will play a big part in how we make
it through these challenges.

The Forum we be held on Tuesday, March 3, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
at the Education Center, 3rd Floor.

Any questions, email me at lgoodman@ridgewood.k12.nj.us


Laurie Goodman


  1. If the residents are concerned about high property taxes partially due to the school budget, now is their chance to get involved and see for themselves what is going on, i urge you to attend.

  2. Laurie,

    We've been down this road before. But the more things change the more they remain the same.

    The BOE does not like to have input from the community. It recoils at speakers at the microphone and simply ignores comments it doesn't like with a highly defensive attitude. How is this going to change?

    Can the BOE refrain from using our HSAs as its very own propaganda tool? The result of this policy is that the HSAs are not trusted beyond their insular parent community — a limited group of people, not representative of the taxpayers who finance our school operations, but of parents who simply want everything you're willing to give them.

    The BOE reports monthly to Federated and members sometimes attend HSA meetings, but has it ever considered reporting to citizens in a similar manner beyond the parent community? This would be input that could be of real value to the BOE. The BOE asks for their taxes and votes on referenda but has never even considered creating an ongoing forum where they may express their views on how their money is being spent. A real Q&A; as opposed to, "I speak at the microphone and you get to ignore me."

    This is communication, but the BOE won't have any of it. Is this because the larger community includes parents and taxpayers without school-aged children and the BOE only wants to hear from parents who they believe will simply nod and rubber stamp every spending scheme?

    As for communications — the BOE has a misguided view of what that entails. Communication is a two-way street, an ongoing dialogue between leaders and those who are being led. It is not a PR effort to put the best spin on news, events and calamities. It is not a selective revealing and withholding of information. It is not untimely reporting of issues that are of major concern to citizens. It is not just getting the BOE's point of view out and everyone else's position be damned. It is not making a major change to a math program at the middle schools and then announcing it as a fait accompli, absent any justification. It is not encouraging an antagonistic relationship with critics of BOE policies. It is not fostering an "us vs. them" mentality throughout the community.

    First and foremost, communication has to be honest and welcomed. I fear this is too high a hurdle for our present BOE.

    But thanks for trying.

  3. 9:46pm and 9:48pm

    The BOE does not want to wake the sleeping giant of taxpayers who don’t have children, or their children have graduated, or they their children to private school.

    If everyone who had a kid in private school voted “no” on the school budget, it would fail.

    The BOE will always communicate with the currently enrolled parents, threatening to cut teachers and services to the kids, in order to get the budget passed.

    Every notice the BOE never says pass the budget or we will have to let go of 6 secretaries and 1 administrator? It’s always 1 teacher so you will have bigger classes for your kids.

  4. Imagine that!
    Brainstorm idea of 12 year olds Inspiration from recyclables (trash) to invention of
    a Dome Home shelter. Enlightening story for all students of the potentials of what creative trash can do. He even won $10,000.



  5. why would ANYONE want to purchase a million dollar home in Ridgewood when the streets and sidewalks are so filthy?? We walked around the town. Does NO ONE pick up after their dogs?? Or are the residents too superior to stoop? Possibly they all came from a farm? ewwwww. totally gross. Not to mention the trash caught in the shrubs along the streets and parks. Other less pricy towns are MUCH cleaner.

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