East Orange School District Failing in 2016

Editorial by Jim Gerrish
jimgerrish@yahoo.com

01/06/16

The mayor of East Orange will be giving a "State of the City" speech on January 19th, 2016. He will be expecting to give the citizens of East Orange the usual "snow job" spins to make himself and his mis-administration look good. Those attending this speech should be prepared to ask him questions he doesn't want asked: Why, after three years of your being in office, are the schools continuing to fail to teach our students reading, writing and mathematics?

The towns all around East Orange have begun to reverse the downward trends in their schools. Here are the statistics from the Niche School Rankings for 2016 - https://k12.niche.com/ and how we compare to our neighbors.

#43 Montclair Public Schools is centered in Montclair Township, New Jersey. It has 6,678 students attending 11 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 80% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $119,938,000, spending an average of $18,104 per student. There have been 272 reviews written and they have been mostly positive.

#51 South Orange-Maplewood School District is centered in Maplewood Township, New Jersey. It has 6,759 students attending 9 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 83% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $124,848,000, spending an average of $19,163 per student. There have been 284 reviews written and they have been mostly positive.

#82 West Orange Public Schools is centered in West Orange Township, New Jersey. It has 6,869 students attending 11 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 76% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $141,427,000, spending an average of $20,823 per student. There have been 252 reviews written and they have been mostly positive.

#86 Bloomfield Board of Education is centered in Bloomfield Township, New Jersey. It has 6,173 students attending 11 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 72% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $96,134,000, spending an average of $15,866 per student. There have been 190 reviews written and they have been mostly positive.

#226 East Orange School District is centered in East Orange, New Jersey. It has 9,465 students attending 20 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 48% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $244,570,000, spending an average of $25,190 per student. There have been 327 reviews written and they have been mixed.

We spend more per student than any of our neighbors. Each year we spend more and more per student, and each year our students remain at the same level of proficiency in math and reading, or lower.

Let's look at the rankings for each of our two East Orange high schools that are listed:

#307 Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing & Fine Arts - Secondary School is a public school in East Orange, New Jersey. It has 775 students in grades 6-12. According to state standards, 60% of students at this school are considered proficient in math and/or reading. There have been 153 reviews written and they have been mixed.

#371 East Orange Campus High School is a public school in East Orange, New Jersey. It has 1,653 students in grades 9-12. According to state standards, 43% of students at this school are considered proficient in math and/or reading. There have been 125 reviews written and they have been mixed.

Most of the money spent by East Orange School District is NOT being used to teach our students, but is simply paying large numbers of administrators, who have little or no contact with the students, huge salaries that are increased each year whether they have earned the increases or not. The members of the Board of Education are all appointed by the mayor based on their "connections" and "cronies", not based on any knowledge they have of education.

The entire Board of Education system needs to be dismantled and replaced by a Board of Principals from each of the East Orange Schools. Get rid of the useless layers of vice-principals and other administrators who are not classroom teachers. Any student who is not 80% or more proficient in reading, writing and math at his or her grade level should ONLY receive instruction in reading, writing and math to the EXCLUSION of ALL other subjects and activities. Once proficiency is up to 80% or above, then and ONLY THEN can they receive instruction in other subjects and engage in other school activities.

The only way this can be achieved is for you, the taxpayers and voters, to demand change and accountability from those in elected offices. Otherwise, you are getting what you deserve... nothing but continued failure.

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