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Topic: Board of Ed #4
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Barron, Alfred [PRI]

Posts: 200
Registered: 12/3/04
Board of Ed #4
Posted: Mar 9, 1999 10:51 AM
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=====( To Win a Board of Education Election, Part 4 )=====

February 22

My writing on curricular issues has continued. As one of my
primary resources, I have used the new recommended NJ
math standards. They are documented at:

The State of New Jersey Standard and Assessments page
contains material on all proposed Core Curriculum areas -

One important proposal is that all kids have some proficiency
with a second language upon graduation. (Isn't it about time ?!)
Another new issue will be the future of GEDs. No longer will
they be accepted as equivalent to a HS diploma.

I have worked in committee with one of the senior authors of
the math proposals, and briefly audited a course given by the
other some 15 years ago at Rutgers. I mention this out of
respect for their contribution, certainly rare among academics
these days.

Note that these are recommendations and not law. As struc-
tured, NJ has almost 600 (!) school districts with 600*9
opinions on how to do just about everything, from graphing
a straight line, to which kind of batteries to use for a calcu-
lator. While there are many critics of the NCTM material, just
imagine for a moment all the conflicting opinions within NJ.
Each school Board has the final authority on curriculum
policy. So "Mathematically Correct 2+2=4" take at ticket and
wait in line !

February 23

Sunday I celebrated two weeks of door-to-door campaigning.
I've become comfortable with doing this immediately after
work for about 35-40 mins. in a predesignated section of town.
I have mapped out the streets into groups of four. I can't go to
everyone's home, so I've begun skipping some. Others "feel"
empty, so I either skip those or slip the rolled-up flyer by the
door knob. Mailboxes, I've been advised, are for the proprietary
use of the USPS. So don't slip up as I have on occasion. No
need getting hit with a fine from an Election Commission,
especially one filed by an opposition supporter.

By my count, I will have covered 1/5 of the town by the end
this week. My target is 1/2 by the end of March.

Yesterday I distributed flyers among 75 teachers exiting en-
mass from the Board of Ed meeting. There was tension as
their contract has not been settled. It's been 7 months since
they began negotiations. Most are friendly, aware of my
public call in support of a settlement. One of my running
mates has gone out of his way to avoid the issue. Three years
ago, the incumbent called for laying off teachers and only
hiring them back to work on a need-to-basis. Moreover, he
called for jailing of the local teacher's union leadership.
I doubt he has changed opinion in three years.

February 25

This Sunday will be the end of the 3rd week going door-to-
door. In some neighborhoods I've covered met everyone (who
was home). In others, maybe 20%. I'm slowly working out a
style for doing this as well as a strategy. Basically, I've divided
up the town into 50 regions of about 3-4 streets, each requiring
about 1-2 days to complete. Either way, It's very subjective.
The fact remains, that if I want to cover the town, I must cover
six block/day, which is physically impossible as I work.

* * * March 1 * * *

The final results are in. Only four of the eight people who
circulated petitions for Board election turned them in ! So
now it's two other friends of education, one anti-tax incum-
bent, and, of course, myself. At work, people are quick to
point out that I could win by chance alone - 75% . However,
we're up against a block of opposition with one "great white
hope". So this may still be tricky.

After meeting with my "running mates" - we informally agreed
to run more or less together this past weekend, the new
concern will include support for the budget, a perennial stick
in the ground.

Ours will be a coalition or sort; a real unity of opposites. We
appear to have differing ideas on almost everything except
unseating the incumbent and the need for supporting some
form of quality education.

March 8

Two more of my letters have appeared in the local press. A
few people have remarked that they were glad to meet me,
to "...match the name with the face". So writing intelligent
issue oriented letters helps. The weather has been very hard
on me all week. So I'm slowing down a bit.

Good news for our teachers. A tentative agreement has been
The writer is a candidate for Board of Education of Metuchen,
a community of approximately 14,000 in New Jersey. Aside for
concerns about effective and accountable district management,
an affordable budget, and increased communication with the
community, I'm calling for strong upgrading of mathematics
and science education K-12.

By sharing these thought with you, I'm inviting all to consider
to do as I have. Public education needs the input of scientists,
math and science teachers, not simply businessmen and
politicians. Please consider running for Board of Education in
your hometown.

I have chosen to go door-to-door with an issue oriented leaflet
in hope of reaching the electorate.

This is an experiment to see if we have the power to change
things, and not simply interpret them.

Al Barron
Metuchen, NJ

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