Reader asks , Por favor hable más despacio

In Regina, Ridegwood Schools, Spanish Program on March 11, 2009 at 12:26 pm

On a separate note: Last night, there were 2 questions posed (at least) from the public. Where and when do these get answered. I could not watch the whole thing, but one of the board members mentioned that they have until before the next meeting to answer. I was wondering, in what forum? The questions were:

1. What (if anything) did Regina say to the language teachers and supervisor at the high school that prevented (threatened?) them from coming to the meeting tonight in support of trying to keep the elementary Spanish program
and 2.What exactly does the word reorganization mean? Is it a staff reduction and if so, who does is affect? What positions? How many?

To my knowledge, no answers were given, although I may be mistaken.

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  1. So Spanish is “adios” from the elementary schools?
    what are they planning on doing, using those horrific videos as a substitute for a teacher? A step backwards no doubt….

  2. I was the person who raised the issue of Ms Botsford employing threats against the 5 language teachers and their supervisor.

    I too am waiting for a response from Ms Botsford, Dr Fishbein or the BOE. Rest assured that if I haven’t receive one by Monday next, I’ll be attending that night’s meeting (unless they lock the doors as they did last Monday and prevent people from attending the meeting).

    Jeff Morrison

  3. No offense, but to make an accusation about a specific employee’s actions in a public meeting is inappropriate or at least a waste of time because the boe is legally not allowed to comment or act on individual employee performance. If your issue is with Botsford (and how is this your business anyway this conversation between other parties which it sounds like you were not present for) then you have every right to complain to her supervisor which is Fishbein not the boe.

    So don’t be surprised if you get a polite letter from Fishbein just prior to the next meeting. If I was him that’s all I would do because you sounded a little hostile my friend.

  4. Spanish is required by the state so it can’t be adiós totally. But there’s no law that says you have to have teachers. I’d rather lose Spanish teachers in the early grades than lose regular classroom teachers and have bigger class sizes. It sucks but that’s the kind of stuff they will probably have to start doing. Plus I had 3 kids go thru and they are not learning much actual spanish trust me!

  5. The doors were locked????Are you sure?

  6. Dear Jeff,

    You’ll be waiting for a while, and then you will probably be dismissed.

    Welocme to Ridgewood BOE politics.

    Truly sorry for you.

  7. Fishbein himself has been threatening. He wants all the principals to go along with whatever he delivers to the board, even if cuts can be made elsewhere so as not to harm the education of our kids.

    Wonder if any of this will reach individual board members? And will they actually ask what are the other options?

  8. I’m all for dumping Spanish if the trade off is funding real math.

  9. they locked the doors? what exactly went on here?

  10. Years ago my friend’s daughter had to make the decision between French and Spanish as her ‘elective’ language. He took her aside..and said, ‘honey…imagine yourself walking down the street in NYC some evening, and a few ‘youths’ are following you with evil intentions…do you think they are discussing their plans for you in French?’ Needless to say, she became fluent in Spanish.

  11. The elementary Spanish program, in its current form, is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

    You don’t plant a teacher in an English speaking school, let her teach by the immersion method, and get anything good.

    The immersion method would work great on our kdis if they were sent overseas to a non-English speaking country. Watch how fast they would learn, out of having no choice.

    But in a cushy, English-speaking classroom? Speaking Spanish to them goes right over their heads. They ignore it. Nothing compelling to make them speak it.

    All they’re getting is “Spanish Appreciation.” Just like the math.

    They come out of elementary school knowing little to no Spanish.

    Get rid of it. Go back to the drawing board, RPS. Start again.

  12. o,well dont need this its the usa,thank you.mr usa.

  13. Good for you, Mr. Morrison! Kudos for your courage to dare to ask the Queen this very forward question. I work in the district, and I too would like to know because I also pay taxes in this town.

  14. Wow 4:43 that’s quite a justification for learning Spanish over French — so that you can understand the people who might want to rob you or kill you as you walk down the street.


  15. Does Regina really not get that she is widely despised for advocating bad math and for being so terrible at her high paying job?

  16. hey 9:07,,,KNOW THY ENEMY! its called being aware=safety. unfortunately a reality in this world today

  17. It saddens me to realize the amount of bigotry that still exists towards Hispanics in one of the most educated and culturally diverse areas in the country.

    To the person who commented directly after my comment, you miss the point. I am hostile. Hostile towards bullies and those who have little regards for others 1st Amendment Rights (Freedom of Expression). BTW, I have many more facts about what went on than you know and I’m getting more for all time.

    Jeff Morrison

  18. Jeff,
    Open your eyes and cut the CRAP about bigotry. Its a typical liberal copout. Honest law abiding citizens have the RIGHT to walk down the street without haveing to be concerned about their safety. The poster’s comments are based on well documented facts. Look in the courthouses and jails. WHO are the defendants? Despite their smaller percentage of the general population, They are the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY in PRISON. Facts speak. we know who commits the crimes. now if only you liberals would take off your blinders and admit the problem, we can move towards a SOLUTION. A good start would be to round up those here illegally and send them home. Those who come here legally and abide by the LAWS are more inclined to OBEY THEM. That is MY right to be left alone and not have MY RIGHTS infringed upon by some scumbag criminal.

  19. I speaka da english no needa da spangish

  20. Jeff Morrison has every right to be pissed off because his wife is one of the elementary Spanish teachers.

    I love when educated individuals have their claws out, ready to attack, and are missing key points of information.

    Jeff seems hostile not because of the cuts, but instead over the manner which they’re being doled out and the dirty politics which are accompanying them. In this economy, everyone is well aware that cuts will be made and is ready to accept that – even the Ridgewood teachers. However, the current situation in the Ridgewood schools are that staff members are frequently hearing the news from other sources – ie school gossip – before learning of their termination from the person they report to. Several of the world language staff received news of their termination through colleagues rather than their supervisors. Once they confronted Queen Regina she cornered them and told them not to come to the meeting. Who wouldn’t be pissed about that?

    It’s a terrible thing to lose a job, but most people would swallow the news with a bit more grace and a little less anger if administration treated the effected staff members with dignity and respect.

    Go get ’em Jeff!

  21. Thanks to the prior poster. But let me make this clear, my wife will NOT lose her job no matter what is the fate of elementary school language program.


    Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent the Board and Administration this evening:

    As you are aware, last Monday, March 9th, I spoke of Mrs. Regina Botsford’s behavior in dissuading the World Language Department Chairperson, Joan Lipkowitz, from attending that night’s meeting, and through her, dissuading numerous High School language teachers from coming to that meeting. Whether her behavior was intentional or not I cannot say, only she can answer that. The fact remains that language department personnel were not present because they felt intimidated.

    During the week I had email correspondences with Mr. Vallerini. In one of these correspondences, he wrote “I believe fully that anyone has the right to speak, but I know that others do not agree with my perspective. Clearly this is an issue that is under the control of the superintendent.”

    Mr. Vallerini concedes that there is internal disagreement about freedom of speech in this forum. I urge any Board members who believe that Ridgewood Schools’ personnel do not have the right to attend and speak at public meetings to reconsider their positions. It’s my opinion that under the First Amendment neither the Board, nor the Superintendent, nor any of his staff have the right to limit attendance at public Board meetings.

    At another point in this correspondence, Mr. Vallerini wrote, “Please understand that the Board has no authority or ability to direct the superintendent about how to handle this. That’s his job. Ours is to assess his performance in his job.”

    According to the district’s web page titled “About the Board/FAQ” it states that among the Board’s roles are “Setting district policies and goals.” One of these goals is surely to insure that all federal and state laws are complied with. Dr Fishbein is in effect the CEO of the school system, but that certainly does not give him the right to ignore the laws and Constitutions of New Jersey and the United States. He must not allow his Assistant Superintendent to create the impression, intentional or accidental, that employees cannot attend, nor speak at any public meeting. Such a prohibition would be, I believe a clear violation of the First Amendment.

    On Friday March 13th, I met with the Superintendent in his office at his invitation to discuss the concerns I raised at the meeting on the 9th. I proposed that the he issue a memo clarifying that all school system employees have the right to attend and speak and are welcome at all public Board meetings. This would incur neither expense nor loss of face. Immediately, he rejected this proposal. He stated that this problem was cause by others, who I took to be Mrs. Lipkowitz, who seems to be the designated scapegoat. He indicated that she must handle any “miscommunication” she had started. This was her problem and she must clean it up. This was disappointing; I sought and continue to seek, leadership, not bureaucratic finger pointing.

    Later in the day, there was a letter from Dr. Fishbein stating “I spoke with Mrs. Botsford and she reported to me that no one was told they must not attend the Board meeting nor was there any discussion of what would happen if someone did attend the meeting.” This explanation was both perfunctory and unsatisfactory.

    Both Mr. Vallerini and Dr. Fishbein have indicted they support teacher’s First Amendment rights. What I ask for are meaningful steps to reassure teachers and other staff, in writing, that their First Amendment rights are respected by the Board and the administration, so that we can avoid this kind of miscommunication in the future.

    Jeffrey Morrison

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