Kids First candidates and supporters would like you to believe they have significantly improved a floundering school district in disrepair. They rode to success in 2008, 2009, and 2010 with such an argument. Since that time, Hoboken High School rankings have eroded from a near 50 percent mark in 2007 to bottom 10 percent in the state, a situation completely unacceptable for the town with one of the highest median household incomes in the state (see graph, http://www.schooldigger.com/go/NJ/schools/0735002746/school.aspx.)
Moreover, Hoboken was deemed “America’s Least Attractive School District” by The Wall Street Journal. More than 3 out of every 5 families leave Hoboken by the time their children are school age, according to the WSJ. Kids First would have you believe that lack of family housing is the culprit. The truth is families leave because there is no light at the end of the tunnel, just question marks on a grade by grade basis until the high school payoff of bottom 10 percent. Families don’t want to pay taxes and pay for private school. How many families would find a way to make their living situation work, if Hoboken had a top 10 school district? Kids First has no plan to address the reality that parents face; either get into a charter school or move. Instead, they demonize the charters as taking resources from the district and they demonize the charter supporters with accusations of discrimination.
Parents on the whole don’t specifically want charter schools, they want an environment where learning is at the forefront, where test scores show it, and where school facilities show it. Time and again, Kids First has opposed parents trying to bring new approaches into the same old school system only to have these parents rally around charter school creation. Lastly, in November of last year, the Hoboken Public Schools under Kids First stewardship was officially designated a “District in Need of Improvement” by the New Jersey Commissioner of Education. The Kids First majority has shown what it is capable of: bottom 10 percent. Since when is that good enough to keep your job?