Sunday, May 18, 2008

Long Branch Schools, Addiction, Recovery and Narcissism

The Asbury Park Press ran an opinion piece urging a redefininition of the formula used to distribute school aid throughout New Jersey. We at the LBA couldn't agree more but probably for reasons you might not guess.

You see, we believe that the Board of Education are all addicted. Yes, the Board of Education is addicted to State school funding rules and programs that routinely give the Board of Education millions of dollars they do not know how to spend.

Don't get us wrong though, we firmly believe that Superintendent of Schools Joe Ferraina knows how to spend it but we don't believe he knows how to spend it wisely.

Case in point, Long Branch has been on a school building bent over the last several years. New High School, Middle School, Garfield School, Anastasia School, Elberon School (on the way) and who could forget Joe's own monument to his own narcissism, the Joseph M. Ferraina Early Childhood Learning Center.

One need only look at the things the Board of Education spends its millions on to know that they have more than they know what to with. Joe Ferraina's total compensation package of more than $300,000 per year was the subject of a New Jersey State Commission of Investigation report in 2006. Despite being chided for "Questionable and Hidden Compensation" the Board of Education continues to not only employ Ferraina but also continues to allow him unbridled ability to hire and promote every stripe and flavor of administrator, manager, middle manager, assistant, principal, assistant principal, division director, etc.

Machiavelli himself would have blushed at the manner in which JMF has crushed opposition, silenced detractors and caused his entire teaching staff to cower at his very approach. When Long Branch's own "The Link News" began running articles that portrayed Ferraina in a not-so-nice light, Ferraina simply created a Public Relations post for the reporter in question and next thing you know, the stories stopped entirely.

All of this money, spent on all kinds of things, and what kind of results do we get? Schools that consistently fail to meet even the minimum state and federal educational standards for student achievement. Not one Long Branch School met the Annual Yearly Progress requirements for the Federal No Child Left Behind standards. The Long Branch High School alone has not made this standard in more than three consecutive years. Graduation rates are consistently below 90%. Drop out rates are consistently higher than state averages.

So, lets give three hurrahs to the good folks at the Long Branch Board of Education and their five star self-described "visionary" superintendent for their fine work.

Time for some new blood on the Board of Ed?

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