Friday, October 31, 2014

TRAIN STATION CAMPAIGN SIGNS IN VIOLATION, TREATED AS LITTER

Do we really need this clutter at the Maplewood train station?

Candidates littering up this public space with campaign signs?

Well, according to NJ Transit, it is also a violation of their policy.

NJ Transit spokesperson William Smith said candidates are allowed to hand out literature, but placing campaign signs on the train station property is illegal. He said it can be reported to police as a littering offense.




MAPLEWOOD VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARTY TODAY

Halloween in Maplewood Village:

3-5 pm.

Streets close for trick or treating at 3 pm. 

Costume contest and judging from 3-4:30. 

Prizes awarded at 4:40.

VOTERS LEAN TOWARD KILEY, DE LUCA IN ONLINE POLL


Our online survey of residents finds that most would vote for Challenger Kurt Kiley and Mayor Vic De Luca in the Township Committee election Tuesday.

Findings below:

Kurt Kiley............................75%
Vic De Luca.........................43.75%
Angel "Bob" Perez...............37.5%
India Larrier........................12.5%



Our survey had 75 responses, which is a high statistical amount given that about 6,000 Maplewood voters turned out in the last mid-term election in 2010.
Considering that most presidential polls use a sampling of under 2,000 for an election in which more than 125 million people vote, statistically it is pretty valid.

However, it is less scientific given that respondents can vote from anywhere in or out of town.

Still, we will see Tuesday what happens.



HALLOWEEN USED TO BE FUN AND EASY AT SCHOOL

We've been following, or trying to follow, the disjointed efforts to limit the number of parents in classrooms at Tuscan school, and perhaps elsewhere, for months.

Principal Malikah Majeed has claimed the school is working with fire and town officials to fashion a uniform limitation. Either way, it is clear that only a few parents will be allowed into classes during events.

The first test of this will be today when schools have their annual Halloween parades and parties. Several teachers at Tuscan have already warned parents that no more than two or three can come into the classes. 

Majeed issued a notice to parents last week that stated only that parents need to obtain a pass from the class teacher to get into the classroom, it provided no specifics on limits.

Other longstanding rules limit when students can wear costumes, and others such as at Maplewood Middle School, ban wearing costumes at all.

We reached out to the district seeking some kind of guidance on what can be worn to school and how many parents can be in classes but have yet to hear back.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

WHY ARE THESE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES HAPPY?

We thought we would take a little break from the politics of the Board of Education race and offer a fun interlude.

We present the school board candidates 'Happy' song, with a guest appearance from Board president Beth Daugherty:

video



OUR LOUDMOUTH BULLY GOVERNOR AT IT AGAIN

Chris Christie down the shore yesterday shows again he is a loudmouth bullying jerk



ARRESTED CHS TEACHER MAKES BAIL IN SEX ASSAULT CASE

Nicole DuFault, the Columbia High School teacher charged with having sex with up to five students, has posted bail, according to NJ.com.

DuFault, 35, reportedly posted the $500,000 bail Oct. 19. Her attorney had argued for a lower amount, but to no avail.

More on her case HERE.

LAST DAY TO VOTE IN TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE POLL

Today is the last chance to vote in our Township Committee poll.

Click HERE to cast your free, anonymous choices for Township Committee.

Results on Friday.

MAPLEWOOD INVENTOR MAKES STATE'S 25 BEST EVER

Maplewood's famed inventor Seth Boyden, for whom a school, a street and plenty of other things in town are named, was listed among the top 25 inventors in New Jersey history this week by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

The listing is part of year-long efforts to celebrate our state's 350th anniversary.

See the list HERE.

More on Seth Boyden HERE.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FEDS: DISTRICT BLACK STUDENTS "SIGNIFICANTLY" UNDERREPRESENTED IN TOP CLASSES


We reported earlier today that the U.S. Department of Education had come to an agreement with the school district to correct problems with equality in advance placement.

A review of the letter from federal officials to the district detailing the findings of its investigation finds the district had a "statistically significant underrepresentation of African American students in the District’s high school AP courses."

It also stated that, "While African American students were 51.5% of high school enrollment, they were enrolled in only 18.7% (148 out of 791) of AP learning opportunities."

Finally, "African American student were underrepresented to a statistically significant extent in the District’s advanced math courses at the District’s middle schools, in which only 23 students (11.7%) were African American, while 407 (42.9%) out of 949 total students enrolled in seventh and eighth grade were African American.  OCR also determined that African American students were underrepresented to a statistically significant degree, in fourth and fifth grade math enrichment programs offered at the District’s four elementary schools, Clinton, Jefferson, Seth Boyden, and Tuscan."

See the full letter HERE.


CYBERSECURITY EVENT TONIGHT

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

1 Hour to Savvy Cybersecurity: 10 Threats Every Person and Business Faces—and How to Fight Them Now
Main Library – Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats we face— nearly every day we are hearing news of a new data breach, hack, or attack targeting our personal information. The numbers are astounding:
  • 144 billion spam emails are sent every day…
  • 500,000 children’s identities stolen every year—and they don’t discover it until adulthood…
  • 100,000 new malware attacks released on the Internet every day
  • 1 in 5 businesses are the victims of business ID theft and 60% of those go out of business in just six months after a data breach…
  • 1 in 4 data breach victims later suffer ID theft
Learn the biggest threats out there and the best prevention methods you can take today.  This workshop will also help you create an action plan to improve your cybersecurity and will also provide a cybersecurity checklist to follow.
Presenter  Sean M. Bailey is editor-in-chief of Horsesmouth and the creator of the creator of the Savvy Cybersecurity program.

SCHOOL DISTRICT CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED

From the U.S. Department of Education:

U.S. Department of Education Announces Resolution of South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., School District Civil Rights Investigation

Black Students to be Afforded Equal Access to Advanced, Higher-Level Learning Opportunities


The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the School District of South Orange & Maplewood, New Jersey, to resolve a compliance review that examined whether black students are provided an equal opportunity to access and participate in advanced and higher-level learning opportunities.

OCR's investigation revealed that the school district's nearly 2,500 black students are significantly underrepresented in advanced and higher-level learning opportunities at the district's elementary, middle and high school levels For example, in the 2012-13 school year, black students had only 148 of the nearly 800 spots (18.7 percent) in the district's Advanced Placement (AP) courses, while they represented more than half (51.5 percent) of the district's high school enrollment Black students were also underrepresented in elementary and middle school math enrichment programs and advanced courses.

"I applaud the district's efforts to reinvigorate its course and program offerings to ensure that all of its students have an equal opportunity to reach their academic potential and equal access to a high quality education," said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights.

The district has taken significant steps to expand the advanced and higher learning opportunities for all of its students (over 6,600), including reducing tracking for many courses All fourth- and fifth-grade students now benefit from the English Language Arts enrichment program and the district is in the second year of phasing in the rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum in its new International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program to prepare its students for college preparatory courses at the high school.

The district has also revised the criteria for AP enrollment at the high school level In addition, the district has taken steps to support effective teachers and leaders through enhanced and targeted professional development These efforts are part of the district's implementation of a multi-year Transformation Plan to provide enhanced instruction and increased educational opportunities for its students, which OCR will monitor as part of its monitoring of the resolution agreement.

As part of the agreement, which the district agreed to enter prior to any OCR compliance determinations, the district committed to take specific actions to ensure that it is providing an equal opportunity and equal access for black students to participate in its college and career preparatory programs, in particular its advanced courses and enrichment programs, IB program, AP courses, honors courses, and dual enrollment courses.

Specifically, the district will take the following actions:

  • Work with an expert consultant; obtain feedback from students, parents and staff; and conduct a comprehensive self-assessment of its current programs and courses to identify any potential barriers;
  • Consider expanding criteria to determine eligibility and selection for enrollment;
  • Expand student, parent, and community outreach about the available courses and programs;
  • Make improvements to the academic counseling services at the middle and high school levels; and
  • Provide training for relevant district and school site administrators and personnel.
 A copy of the resolution letter is available here and agreement is posted here.
OCR's mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001.
For more information about the Office for Civil Rights, see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html For details on how OCR handles civil rights cases, visit http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintprocess.html.