After reading this, please consider sharing this with your fellow community members. Thank you.

Over the last three months I have made it my full time job to speak with hundreds of our Wood-Ridge residents, as well as stakeholders from Moonachie regarding our school district. During that time I heard about a lot of the problems that face our school district, and more often than not, many people had the same stories. While COVID-19 is obviously the most newsworthy part of this school year and the foreseeable future, we have issues that range from the arts being horribly neglected, our academic performance falling behind that of our peers, students who graduate and are under prepared for life after high school, and issues with cultural inclusion. I have been told too many times that if there are problems people need to bring it up to the Board of Education… but that’s wrong. The Board of Education, the elected leaders in this community, need to speak with and lead their constituents. It is not the job of the people to lead, that is the job of the leaders, no matter the position.

Sports hold top priority in this town, while they are important, there are far more important areas of development. Sure, sports develop leadership, teamwork, physical health, and many other great things, but the arts are a more probable career path, a means of expression, they develop creativity, and are a place to find friends no different from a football field. The only thing more important in education than the arts and sports, is the academics. Stop blaming things like a tight budget, Moonachie students, and other people… let’s start taking responsibility for once and recognize the real issue: lack of planning and poor priorities. What happens when we only focus on one thing and not everything? We have students who are ill prepared for life after high school, with the problem that is chief among them being math illiteracy. There is hardly an alumnus that I have spoken with that says they did well in math, but instead had to retake math classes in college to bring themselves to the level of their peers. But quite possibly one of our biggest underlying problems is the lack of community and collaboration. It is already a huge issue, but we are currently in the process of adding 3,000+ new community members, all whom have a wide array of different cultural backgrounds and economic situations, and from what I have heard is going on in the school district… we need to start forming an inclusion plan.

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No matter the outcome on November 3rd, I hope that at least one of the Board of Education members will read this not as my words, but that of those in this town. Discovering the issues is already done for you, now let’s focus on fixing the problems. For once in the existence of Wood-Ridge schools please form a Master Plan, and give us all something that we feel we can look forward to and work towards. It’s time to start doing better, and to stop making excuses. 

Please consider sharing this with your fellow community members. Thank you.