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.

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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