Education

Madison Parents Question School Board over Neglect of Martin Luther King Day

f35435682795f1d738a7_Madison_BOE_2-10-15_001.JPG
Credits: Liz Keill
f35435682795f1d738a7_Madison_BOE_2-10-15_001.JPG

MADISON, NJ – Several parents spoke up at the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night regarding the handling of Martin Luther King Day.
A Loantaka Way resident said she wanted to hear a compelling reason for not treating it as a holiday. “It wasn’t even noted in the calendar,” she said. “I specifically asked to re-open the conversation.” She said many communities participate and she wanted an explanation.
Superintendent of Schools Michael Rossi said there are a number of restrictions regarding the calendar, such as ending school the third week in June and a contract with teachers not to begin classes before Sept. 1.  “I’ll be glad to entertain suggestions for the entire scope of the calendar,” he said. “It’s not about one day. It’s the entire school year. No one’s side stepping the issue.”
Board President Lisa Ellis said that graduation day was set and that no one wants to go into the last week of June for school. “It has to be looked at as a whole,” she said.
Board member Dave Arthur said, “The spirit of the celebration is more important. What can we do as a community to honor Dr. King?” He said by combining the school day with special events, students and teachers would have ‘the best of both worlds.” He added, however, that not every class made a commitment to the day in educating students about the civil rights movement.  “We should have a broad program to address all of these holidays,” he said, such as Veterans Day.
Resident Steve Wells spoke up for the board, saying the calendar discussion was “as open a process as it could possibly be. The board weighed all the comments and considerations.”  He added, “People show up when there’s something they don’t agree it.”
Board member Debra Coen said she teaches in West Orange, where students had MLK day off. “But it was never mentioned,” she said.
Another parent said she had moved to Madison from New Orleans. “I was shocked,” she said of how little was done in terms of service programming. “Calendar decisions reflect values. You’re sending a message.”
Ellis responded, “You’re bringing a whole new perspective. This is not a very diverse community. Lots of kids are not as aware as you think they are.” She said none of the board’s actions were meant as a sign of disrespect. “This is not a vote we’re taking right now.  We have a window of time.”

Ellis urged those who spoke up to be part of the process.

In other school matters, Rossi gave a violence and vandalism report for Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. There were four incidents, he said, two at the high school and two at the middle school, resulting in two suspensions. They all took place on school property.  He thanked all those who took part in the World Café, which was the first component for the Strategic Plan. An Action Committee was appointed and comments will be published. He also addressed school closings. “Decisions are made exclusively on safety,” he said. Early dismissal is the most difficult for parents to deal with, he said, but his concern is that everyone arrives home safely, including employees. “We all look forward to spring,” he said.
The board also heard reports on district finances and curriculum. The next board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the high school media center.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Madison

The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey and the Madison Area YMCA present PhilanthrOPERA: A Musical Celebration of Philanthropy

July 19, 2018

Join the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey and the Madison Area YMCA for PhilanthrOPERA: A Musical Celebration of Philanthropy, a gathering that celebrates music while raising money for a nonprofit that serves its community on Saturday, September 29, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. PhilanthrOPERA will take place at Grace Episcopal Church, located at 4 Madison Avenue in Madison, with a reception to follow.

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...