On Hurricanes and Election Campaigns

What happens when a hurricane interrupts an election campaign? For me, the campaign instantly becomes a triviality.


What happens when a hurricane interrupts an election campaign? For me, the campaign instantly becomes a triviality. Making sure your family and neighbors are safe is all I've thought about since Hurricane Sandy struck Hoboken almost a week ago. And then we receive news, while we're still without power, on our wind-up radio, that the nation is determined to hold the election on Tuesday, despite the fact that much of Hoboken, is still recovering, still without power, still seeking refuge. With only two days until election day those of us who care about the outcome of the election find ourselves torn. Do we not campaign out of respect for our community's current predicament? Or do we turn our attention to an election that has been called without regards to our predicament?

Forced Into an Election

We're being forced into this election too soon. Nevertheless, I know that, hurricane or not, the outcome of this election has long-term importance for Hoboken Public Schools. If the Kids First reform slate of Ruth McAllister, Jean Marie Mitchell, and Tom Kluepfel lose this election then majority control of Hoboken's Public Schools will return to former School Board President Frank Raia's "Move Forward" slate. While the slate itself seems harmless enough at first glance, save for the slate's uniform unfamiliarity with Hoboken Public Schools, what is most alarming is who is behind the slate. To anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Hoboken politics, a glance at the photos of the Move Forward's kick-off party says it all. A consolidated who's who of politicians and supporters responsible for raiding the coffers at both the School Board and the City. But three ago Hoboken voters elected reform majorities to both the School Board and City Hall. And in that short time they've been cleaning up the corruption with a vengeance.

A Litany of Atrocities

At the School Board, the Kids First majority has uncovered a litany of atrocities: rigging the results for state education tests in order to obtain "Most Improved School District" status, providing hundreds of no-show and no-bid jobs and contracts, and running enormous tabs at restaurants. Meanwhile, school textbooks were long overdue for replacement and school buildings were falling into disrepair. All of this and much more has been rectified under a Kids First majority. Under Kids First the School Board has, for the first time, been honest about the financial and academic status of Hoboken's Public Schools. They've hired a new Superintendent, Dr. Mark Toback, who is implementing an aggressive plan to get Hoboken Schools back on track. They've eliminated the bogus jobs and canceled the contracts, successfully defending themselves against retaliatory law suits. Not only that, but our school district received an award for financial accounting excellence last year for turning the district's finances around and keeping Hoboken's tax levy flat for three years running, despite enduring severe financial cuts from the state.

Vote to Continue the Progress

Those behind Raia's "Move Forward" slate are desperate to regain control of the School Board. There is no question that under their control, Hoboken's Public Schools will quickly "Move Backward" to the sorry state they were in prior to Kids First majority control. If we must vote on Tuesday, before we've recovered from the disaster that has visited us, then we must vote to continue the progress that Kids First has brought to the Hoboken Public Schools. To maintain a majority the entire Kids First slate has to be elected. On the ballot please vote columns K, L and M, for Tom Kluepfel, Jean Marie Mitchell, and Ruth McAllister.


Kids First campaign page.

For a list of the financial atrocities we can expect under a "Move Forward" majority, see the KPMG audit of the Hoboken Public Schools from 2004 to 2006 that was buried by Frank Raia when he was President of the Hoboken School Board.

For an honest appraisal of the current academic state of Hoboken's Public Schools, I highly recommend reading Jason Yoon-Hendrick's two recent, extensively researched reports recently published in Hoboken Patch.

Photos of the "Move Forward" kick-off party.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

pdq November 19, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Why should Ms. McAllister have to spend money to file a lawsuit? Why couldnt the prior administration just test all of the 11th grade students?
Passkey November 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM
pdq- you need to get your story straight. First it was Kids First who stopped this practice then it wasn't. Then it was cheating, now its not. Then it was scores are now honest but they haven't changed. You are all mixed up. You are even mixed up about who takes the HSPA test. Look for yourself: The HSPA administration is for: First-time eleventh-grade students (11) - March Only Retained eleventh-grade students (R11) Twelfth-grade students (12) Retained twelfth-grade students (R12) Returning students (RS) Adult high school students (AH) who have not yet passed all sections of the HSPA Reference: https://www.measinc.com/nj/Default.aspx Remember, MORE STUDENTS NOW take the alternative HSPA test in Hoboken then EVER before. What's that about? When is McAllister going to press formal charges? She "knows" cheating occurred. So, as a Board member McAllister (and Minutillo, Markle, Long, and the others...) are legally obligated to pursue formal charges, present her/their evidence, and make sure this issue is resolved. Or, of course, they (and you) could just be concerned with the current plummet and free fall the district is in in terms of test scores, graduation rates, AYP, school violence, state rankings, etc.....
Passkey November 19, 2012 at 10:40 PM
You are just cherry picking sentences and mixing them around to suit your own perverted interests. Look, Kids First have been in charge for almost 4 years now and there is no evidence of any progress on state testing or SAT scores. Also, there is no evidence that scores in math or english were statistically significantly different before or after the so called remediation program. Under Kids First here are the SAT scores from HHS. Who you going blame these on? ;-) SAT Math HHS 2010- 388 2011- 380 2012- 369 SAT Writing HHS 2010- 397 2011- 386 2012- 374 National Averages: Math (516) and Writing (492) New Jersey Average: Math (514) and Writing (497)
Passkey November 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Notice there are 2 trends concerning the SAT scores under Kids First, 1) abysmal scores AND 2) trending downward-- Who you going to blame these scores on? Heckuva job Brownie!
pdq November 20, 2012 at 01:40 AM
My story has always been straight- There were still 64 kids missing from the test in 2009. YOU say you put an end to 10r testing. You knew about and used the 10r scam from 2007 through 2009. WHile you added the "top 50% of the remediation student group 11th grade population for 2009- you did NOT test all 1th graders in 2009. I will now, and always, point out that you admitted that you did so in your letter to the editor. sound familiar? Lorenzo Garcia pleaded guilty in June to two counts of fraud and faces up to 3½ years in prison at sentencing Friday. Garcia admitted to devising a scheme to keep low performing students from taking the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. Some of the students would be held back in the ninth grade while others would be told to drop out so they would not be among the 10th graders tested. Six other co-conspirators helped Garcia. The investigation continues. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/05/former-el-paso-schools-superintendent-faces-35-years-in-prison-for-test/#ixzz2C18QJXNz
pdq November 20, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Passkey you spent the past 4 months claiming that test scores went down since 2009. Now you claim "Also, there is no evidence that scores in math or english were statistically significantly different before or after the so called remediation program. " Either get on you meds or dont post. Trying to play both sides having it both ways doesnt work - it only makes you look like a fool. Good luck if anyone in law enforcement ever bothers to follow up on this scam. They always have this post and the letter spelling out the fraudulent collusion in the Hudson Reporter. If you are trying to cover your a$$ , it's not going to work.
pdq November 20, 2012 at 02:05 AM
oh and give us a break with with the 11r , 12 th and 12r- That is for the kids who did NOT pass the HSPA test when they took it in the 11th grade. Since you didnt test all the kids in the 11th grade this is not applicable to YOU. ALL 11TH GRADE STUDENTS MUST TAKE THE HSPA TEST
Passkey November 20, 2012 at 02:21 AM
You are petulant and ill informed. From my reading of the letter it seems as if all 11th graders were tested. You can put that in capital letters if you want, it doesn't make it any more or less true. And you can try to argue who an 11th grader is-- but all 11th graders were tested according to my reading of the letter. BTW, what were the actual test scores before and after? I believe the data shows scores were not significantly different. But, what is clear is how poor the scores have been under Kids First. You really can't deny it and can't hide from it since the data is known. But, rather than criticize Kids First and their dismal oversight of the public schools-- you (and the Kids First supporters) need to look backward 5, 6, and 7 years into the past and make silly unsubstantiated accusations. The data shows Kids First are little more than a bunch of incompetent arrogant and ignorant politicians doing real harm to real children.
Passkey November 20, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Read the letter-- its all in the letter.
pdq November 20, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Aww...you seem a little upset. Is it that the chance of getting your job back at the hoboken board of education is slipping away before your eyes and you just can't bear it any longer or is it that you can't believe that you actually penned a letter to the local newpaper admitting that you perpetrated a "scheme" to hide those pesky 11th graders from taking the test? read here "all EITHER eventually took the HSPA test OR the Special Review Assessment (SRA) now known as the Alternative High School Assessment required by the State of New Jersey." Clearly it does not say all took the HSPA test. It clearly says they took one or the other. Read more: Hudson Reporter - No one ‘cheated’ on state test scores tsk tsk tsk.... Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/05/former-el-paso-schools-superintendent-faces-35-years-in-prison-for-test/#ixzz2C18QJXNz if I were you, I'd be stressing a little myself. Maybe you should have a little glass of red with some pepperjack cheese and crackers.
pdq November 20, 2012 at 03:50 AM
One more thing, can you please read these sentences and explain it to me BTW, what were the actual test scores before and after? I believe the data shows scores were not significantly different. But, what is clear is how poor the scores have been under Kids First. You really can't deny it and can't hide from it since the data is known If the scores weren't statisically different then what the heck are you complaining about? The 10r stopped (according to you) - in 2009, the same year kids first had majority.They had majority for 3 years directly after 10r stopped (according to you). So if they werent statistically different after 10r stopped in 2009 (according to you), then, how is this sentence true- "what is clear is how poor the scores have been under Kids First." You are winning the dunce cap award this evening. sound familiar? "In the short term, the strategy worked. Test scores improved in most high schools and the district's overall rating improved from "academically acceptable" in 2005 to "recognized" in 2010 - the second-highest rating possible." ""Other large districts have been ensnared in scandals to raise test scores, most recently in Atlanta, where educators gave answers to students or changed answers after tests were completed. But none has been so brazen as to cast off low-scoring students""
Passkey November 20, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I don't know....when I hear you complaining all I hear is about the number of students taking the test, not the actual scores. I don't think there's much evidence the scores differed all that much- not as much as you would like people to believe. What IS clear is that the test scores under Kids First have gone down steadily over the nearly 4 years they have been in control. That's the problem isn't it? There's really no excuse for the test scores under Kids First except for the pathetic explanation that, "at least they are honest"-- ugh. Ridiculous.
Passkey November 20, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Under Kids First here are the SAT scores from HHS. SAT Math HHS 2010- 388 2011- 380 2012- 369 SAT Writing HHS 2010- 397 2011- 386 2012- 374 National Averages: Math (516) and Writing (492) New Jersey Average: Math (514) and Writing (497) Notice there are 2 trends concerning the SAT scores under Kids First: 1) abysmal scores AND 2) trending DOWNWARD-- Got excuses for this?
pdq November 20, 2012 at 09:02 AM
dope- the SAT scores are the only scores that remained statistically insiginificant- with typical gains and losses for each subject year after year. why spin something that is so easily disprovable? did you want that cap in yellow or red? http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc11/rcreport.php?c=17;d=2210;s=005 Why dont you provide the SAT scores for three years prior to 2009? Let me guess you don't want to talk about the past?
pdq November 20, 2012 at 09:06 AM
One more thing, I noticed you forgot to mention- the entire state has gone down. In fact the entire state avg has "failed AYP" benchmarksu in Elementary, Middle and HIgh School. Why haven't you noted that?
CuriousGal November 20, 2012 at 01:13 PM
The whole state has gone down? Maybe HSPA scores have gone down but NOT the SAT's---but don't let that get in the way of using the drop in HSPA scores for the consistent drop in SAT scores under KF (an entirely DIFFERENT test)....is this the NEW EXCUSE? SAT's in NJ have actually gone UP a few points--- got more excuses? "The state (NJ) average is 1,511—three points higher than last year." -http://cinnaminson.patch.com/articles/high-school-sat-scores-rise-for-the-class-of-2012
CuriousGal November 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
The data passkey posted indicates SAT scores in Math are down 19 points and in Writing they are down by 23 points in 3 years. I'm not a statistician but I don't believe those are insignificant drops. In addition, EACH YEAR of Kids First control has seen a drop in scores from the previous year in EACH subject.
puzzledone November 20, 2012 at 03:35 PM
CG, why is it when half of the 10th graders disappear in a given year, you call it random statistical noise, but when the SAT scores drop by about 5%, you guesstimate statistical significance?
CuriousGal November 21, 2012 at 12:38 AM
puzzledone, First, its more than 5%. The minimum score on the SAT's is 200 not 0. So, the effective rang is 200 points lower that what you calculated. Therefore, the two 20 point drops in SAT scores at Hoboken High School under Kids First represent an 11% - 12% drop in 3 years. Certainly not trivial and likely significant statistically. Second, according to the latest data on the NJ State Report card (2011-2012), the percent of HHS students who graduated by AHSA, Appeals or Other (NOT taking the HSPA test) is 41.7% while the state average is 14.3% -- over 3X the state average (!!!) I reiterate, the damage these students are receiving due to Kids First is literally criminal. Parents can thank Ro Markle, Theresa Minutillo, Leon Gold, Ruth McAllister and the rest of the Kids First Board members.
FAP November 21, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I do not believe you know what the word "literally" means. Perhaps your education is lacking in other areas as well.
XJS November 21, 2012 at 01:47 AM
19/600 (range) = 3.1% 23/600 (range) = 3.8% Next.
XJS November 21, 2012 at 01:50 AM
So based on math, the results are LITERALLY <5% difference. Statistically irrelevant, perhaps. But certainly nowhere near 10%. You're LITERALLY incapable of doing math, curiousgal. Are you among the 2012 student takers of the SAT from HHS?
Passkey November 21, 2012 at 03:02 AM
For percent change you need to use the formula ((y2 - y1) / y1)*100 = % change SAT Math HHS scores: 2010 (388); 2011 (380); 2012 (369) Difference: 388-369 = 19 pts Minimum SAT score = 200 (not 0, minimum score for SAT is 200) So, you need to subtract 200 the SAT score. Difference: 388-200 = 188 = y1 // 369-200 = 169 = y2 19/188 * 100 = -10.1% So, under 3 years of Kids First leadership, SAT scores in Mathematics have gone down 10.1% There is also a parallel slide in SAT Writing under Kids First during the same time period (-11.68%) but I'll leave that calculation up to XJS to verify.
puzzledone November 21, 2012 at 04:00 AM
If it's literally criminal, why don't you press charges? Why haven't they been arrested yet. Allow me to restate my question: When for almost 10 years, the number of 11th graders was about half of the 10th graders, you claimed it was a statistical aberration. I provided a rudimentary statistical analysis showing you were, quite frankly, wrong. You never accepted any argument of significance, instead just hand waving around it. You have the changes over three years, without estimation of a standard deviation to determine significance. You conclude that the results are likely statistically significant, without any estimation. Your only consistency in argument is being a complete shill for Move Forward. Also, absolute and relative changes are both valid when you have a ranged score. It's like if Kid's First had a 20% lead that fell to a 5% lead, that could be a 15% (absolute) or 75% (relative) drop.
Passkey November 21, 2012 at 04:44 AM
A 10%+ drop with a population of about 125 students taking the SAT's is significant. Furthermore, a 3 year trend of SAT scores going down each year over 3 different subjects (math, reading, writing) is more than a coincidence. Finally, don't talk to me about absolute and relative changes when you have range scores. As I said, the range of SAT scores begins with 200 not 0 and I already explained in detail how to calculate percent change.
puzzledone November 21, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I shouldn't do stats when I am tired. Population SD for the SAT is 100 points. That's calibrated. Using the difference of means formula for identical standard deviation is s*sqrt(1/125+1/125)=12.6. At a 5% level, we would need a 25.2 score change for statistical significance. In other words, the change is NOT statistically significant. Of course, the change in student population under the Old Guard was significant at .1% level, year after year after year. http://stattrek.com/estimation/difference-in-means.aspx Can we stop this charade of speculation now that I took the 5 minutes to do the math?
Journey November 21, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I will reply in detail when I can view and crunch the numbers from the state DOE site. But for now please consider this: more students are taking the SATs now than in the past, that will have an effect on the averages. Just as all 11th graders taking the tests has. If there was a better option running for BoE, they might get my vote. But anyone tied to Mr. Raia is not a better option. I've voted against Mr. and his associated since 2007, and I'm not going to stop now.
Passkey November 21, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I came up with these confidence intervals- Mean of 2010 Math minus Mean of 2012 Math = 19.00 90% CI: -1.88 to 39.88 95% CI: -5.91 to 43.91 99% CI: -13.83 to 51.83 Mean of 2010 Writing minus Mean of 2012 Writing = 23.00 90% CI: 2.12 to 43.88 95% CI: -1.91 to 47.91 99% CI: -9.83 to 55.83 The downward change is not statistically significant. I also did an effect size calculation and came up with about .2 (small-medium effect). As an aside-- while I realize the s.d. of the SAT's is 100-- that is for the entire population of SAT takers. I wondered what the s.d. is within a particular non-random population like we are talking about. I ran the numbers with an s.d. of 50 and 150 and the confidence intervals weren't much different.
puzzledone November 21, 2012 at 03:35 PM
PK, I was thinking about that as well. In general, when there is a sample from the population, I thought it was appropriate to use the population standard deviation unless you believe that the sample is not representative of the population. If anything, smaller samples can lend themselves to outliers and larger standard deviations, hence the advantage of using a full population. Given that we can't get the data anyhow, that's as good as we'll do. Also, CG's claim probably requires a 1-sided test and CI, which I believe fails at all significance level, and even with a tighter sd. I've about reached the end of stats I'm willing to do without consulting faculty and without charging.
XJS November 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
The numbers above indicate a 19 point change and a 23 point change. There is a 600 point range. 800 (perfect score) - 200 (minimum score)= 600 The % change is therefore 19/600 or 23/600 depending on the test. Passkey, here's a question for you: I have 10 apples. I sell 1 apple. How many apples do I have?


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