Mayor should support schools, parents' choices

Mayor should support schools, parents' choices

11/24/2006  HR

Dear Editor:
In a recent column in a local newspaper, Mayor Roberts has indicated that he wants to change the process of selecting School Board members from an elected to -appointed Board. The reasoning given in the column is that the Mayor feels that the District is not responsive to the community. Apparently the Mayor thinks the public is incapable of making decisions facing our children. This is another not so veiled attempt by the Mayor to grab power for political gain.

I again find myself in the position of defending the school district against the very person who should be an ardent supporter of the progress being made in our system. If Mr. Roberts would take the time to look around, he would see a district that is rapidly gaining the confidence of our long time residents as well as newer community families.

It's no secret that the Hoboken Early Childhood programs are considered to be among the best in the State of New Jersey. Nor is it a secret that the advanced International Baccalaureate has begun to take hold in our Middle Schools. Test scores are rising across the board, and our goal of re-instituting a full technical curriculum is well on the way toward implementation.

Mr. Roberts is acting like the child who got almost everything he asked from Santa Claus but remains unsatisfied. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Roberts actively supported every sitting Board member with the exception of one' Knowing that the majority of current trustees were.elected with his support makes one wonder whether he can ever be satisfied. If the Mayor is given the right to hand-pick School Board trustees, will he be dissatisfied with them too when they fail to follow his some-times bizarre ideas?

Recent testimony by the former State Attorney pointed to Hoboken as one of the most successful Abbott District middle schools. It is the ability of the sitting trustees to ignore the political ranting of the mayor that has allowed the District to make great strides forward.

Education in the 21st Century is a challenge that requires the involvement of all stakeholders who share the common desire to provide only the best for our children. Meeting those challenges requires focus and dedication. This is the time for the community to be joined together with one common goal which is to assure successful entry of our students into' a competitive world.

This is not a time to turn attention toward polarizing and dividing our residents. I urge the Mayo! to either support the Hoboken Public Schools or if he cannot find it in his capacity to do so, recognize that those elected to protect the interests of our students along with District Administrators and stafl will continue to move this District forward. This is a time for concentrated educational effort, not political posturing.

Patrick Gagliardi
Hoboken Superintendent of Schools

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