After more than three years on the school board, I have decided not to seek a second term. Thank you to all the people who went out of their way to try to persuade me to run again. I deeply appreciate your trust in me. But it’s time for me to move on once my term expires at the end of the year. I have learned so much during my time on the board and I plan to continue to advocate for education reform.
I am proud of my accomplishments on the board. I ran in 2008 and then was elected in 2009 by voters who recognized that Hoboken will never be a great city until we have schools that are as exceptional as the children who attend them. As anyone who’s heard me speak at a meeting or gotten one of my lengthy emails knows, I feel passionately about the importance of educating every child to their limits and beyond. I fought to keep “fuzzy math” out of our schools, to oust teachers who couldn’t or wouldn’t bother to teach, to advocate for exceptional educators such as Paula Ohaus and Cheng-yen Hillenbrand who lit fires under every student they encountered. Needless to say, I don’t always win. In fact, I’ve lost dozens of 8-1 votes. In my remaining months I’ll continue to push to turn around Connors School by making it an academy, with uniforms, a longer school day and year, and a rigorous traditional education based on E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Curriculum. I believe that’s a better solution than the plan to make it the district’s middle school.
In addition, I never forget that you, the hardworking taxpayers, supply just about every dime of our $62.5 million budget. Just this spring I was the lone vote to let the taxpayers keep $165,000 that was over-budgeted. But the majority decided we could spend your money better than you can. Yes, I yelped, but just as in Trenton and Washington, they don’t realize the problems with building up the size of government. I have advocated for contracting out non-educational services such as payroll, janitorial and transportation as a way to cut costs sharply, but there’s no support for that. I have fought to make our meetings more open and our process more transparent. I never forget that just a few years ago I was the distraught mother on the other side of the microphone upset with administrators and board members who were sometimes hostile to parents and indifferent to what was going on under their noses in our schools.
I will pass up the opportunity to run for another term knowing that my friend Liz Markevitch, a long-time advocate for Hoboken’s schools, is running. Like me, she’s not one to accept the status quo, and I endorse her whole-heartedly.
For the remainder of the year it will continue to be an honor and privilege to serve the people of Hoboken. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.