Myth # 1. Paterson schools were better in 1991 than they are now.
Were our test scores better? Yes. But the level of educational performance they were testing at the high school level was about our current 4th grade curriculum. Consider that in 1991, only students who were in the college prep track took algebra. Today, algebra is a requirement for ALL students to graduate. And note that in 1991, fewer than 40% of Paterson students graduated from high school. Now, more than 55% graduate. Not nearly good enough, but much better than 1991. Our problem-if you want to call it that- is that we now have much higher expectations for ALL our students.
Myth # 2. Paterson will lose money if we return to local control.
While the first version of the takeover law permitted the state to give additional monies to the takeover districts, by the early 90’s that was eliminated from the law. Paterson does not receive any additional funding for being state operated. When we return to local control, we will still operate under whatever funding system is in place at the time.
Myth # 3. The state of New Jersey will leave the Paterson Public Schools.
You wish. However, since more than 80% of our funding comes from the state of NJ, we will have substantial involvement with NJ Department of Education officials for oversight. Our rule of thumb must continue to be: Follow the money. Here is a good question: how are we assured that State Department of Education oversight adds value to Paterson’s educational progress? See the next myth.
Myth # 4. It’s not political.
If it’s public money, it’s political. We have to push for equity, quality and transparency to constrain the politics. After all, we don’t care if he’s a cousin so long as he can do the job at a high level and works for the benefit of ALL our children.