Go Home

daily dish

July   1

Magnet Matchup

Montclair It appears that today's the day -- the day that Montclair parents receive those all-important kindergarten assignments in their mailboxes. After carefully touring and reviewing the programs at Montclair's public elementary schools, not everyone is happy with the end result. A reader writes...

The kindergarten placement letters for the Montclair Public School system has been sent out...and not everyone got their first choice. (shocker!) The Superintendent told my girlfriend that "only 10 people didn't get their first choice." So, my friend didn't get her 1st choice (she got her 6th- Nishuane) , and I didn't get my first choice (third- Nishuane) - I was wondering who the other 8 are!? Could we possibly represent 20% of Montclair families with kindergartners? I doubt it.

So 'fess up and help Barista do the math. Did you get a letter today? Were you part of the select club who didn't get their 1st choice? For those who are disappointed, I know plenty of kids, (my son included) who ended up at Nishuane and couldn't be happier.

Meanwhile, other folks are hoppin' mad about the letter itself, which contains awkward grammar and phrasing as well as spelling errors, such as "successfully" with only one "C."

July 1, 2005 in Buzz | Permalink


only 10 didn't get their first choice? The whole point of this excercise to to balance enrollment by race and sex. So the people, on their own, did that just fine? This is good news!

So, now, can we save some money and do away with all the attendent "administration" of the magnet program and meerely "monitor" for possible inbalance in the future?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 1, 2005 2:11:33 PM

Awkward "grammer?"

Posted by: Writerchick | Jul 1, 2005 2:23:51 PM

We went thru this 3 years ago. We got our sixth choice (Nishuane). In fact in my son's pre-school classs of 5 kids, 4 got their sixth choice and one got her 3rd choice. The district told us that 90% got either their 1st or 2nd choice. What would the odds be if that were really true, that all 5 kids in our pre-K didn't get their first or second choice????? I think the whole thing is a big lie - I don't know how much money is spent to spin the fabrication that there is choice, but it seems there's a cover up.

To anyone who didn't get their choice-people who made themselves a real pain in the ass to administration, and bugeed them constantly - we saw that those people all ended up getting their kids into the schools they wanted.....

Posted by: No real choice | Jul 1, 2005 2:29:25 PM

oops -- fixed it (grammar). Knew I shouldn't try to drink beer and type at the same time...

Posted by: Liz | Jul 1, 2005 2:32:09 PM

It isn't about choice is it? Isn't it about race and gender balance? Everyone is committed to that, right? What has "fair" got to do with it?

Wouldn't "fair" be to allow anyone to choose their own school regardless of race and gender? And if more wanted to go to Northeast than it could accommodate then you have a (blind) lottery. That would be "fair", right?

But the object is to make the outcome good and not fair, right?

Frankly, I am a little shocked to see such lack of faith in "progressive" principles...

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 1, 2005 2:44:12 PM

Regardless of how unhappy people may be, the object is to keep the schools diverse.

Posted by: gg | Jul 1, 2005 3:51:32 PM

"Regardless of how unhappy people may be, the object is to keep the schools diverse. "

And to that end in Montclair the people cannot be trusted to do that without governmental oversite.

(well, excpet for this year anyway, where all but 10 people got their first choice...)

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 1, 2005 3:53:57 PM

Do you really think that ths schools would be balanced racially if residents could all get their first choice?

Posted by: gg | Jul 1, 2005 3:57:23 PM

Montclair initated magnet schools in response to court ordered desegregation. It has nothing to do with trusting people, it has everything to do with compliance with a court order.

Posted by: Just Saying | Jul 1, 2005 4:00:22 PM

The court order mandates integration not the "how". Just sayin'.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 1, 2005 4:10:57 PM

Sorry, I meant to say court ordered "desegregation"

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 1, 2005 4:13:52 PM

We've gotten our first choice every time-- that's 2 elementary and 2 middle schools.

Guess we're just lucky.

Posted by: latebloomer | Jul 1, 2005 4:25:43 PM

P.s. Look at the decision.

Racial segregation was found, rightly, to be unconstitutional. That's it.

Allowing anyone of any race to choose any school would fit the bill constitutionally.

The problem with "progressivism" is the constant crossing over from government insuring "fairness" to government enforcing "goodness".

(As in what I would agree is a good result: diversity).

Diversity is a good thing. I like it for my children in the schools. But it shouldn't be enforced any more than we should enforce people not to eat poorly or smoke or drink. The government should not be in the business of deciding what is "good" for us. The government should enforce "fairness" so that anyone desiring to go to any school is not prevented from doing so for unfair reasons.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 1, 2005 4:47:51 PM

And lets remember the child of the "girfriend" noted above did not get into the school of his/her parent's choice based solely on their race or sex. How is that any better?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 1, 2005 4:51:10 PM

Sounds like Principal Orsini of BHS has a summer job in Montclair. And how did the Board of Ed meeting in Bloomfield go Tuesday night, when some posters indicated they'd be raising questions about "Orsinigate?"

Posted by: cathar | Jul 1, 2005 4:52:13 PM

The administrators in the Montclair schools are so full of it, and they actually believe all the crap they shovel out. I am so glad my kids are through the public school 'system' relatively unscathed. Don't get me started.

Let me tell you from personal experience, a sure way to NOT get your first choice is to be white and female -- it is the worst quadrant to be in.

Liz, if you truly drink and type, then I am a BIG fan! If you have a glass of Pinot and write your postings, wonderful. But it is disturbing to see the well-paid idiots who run the schools writing letters to parents as though they are tipsy.

Posted by: Person of Interest | Jul 1, 2005 5:05:54 PM

A little history:
Montclair used to have neighborhood schools. There was defacto segregation. Southwest School (now the Sawtell Center) was built so that the children from the Estate Section didn't have to go to school with the children from the South End.

Students from some neighborhoods were unable to take certain advanced courses in the High School because the middle school that they were assigned to schools didn't offer the prerequisites. The town had to be sued (Rice et al. vs. the Montclair Board of Education)to force it to offer equal educational oportunities for all. The courts ordered that the Montclair School system had to be desegregated.

After trying bussing, and redrawing boundaries Montclair set up magnet schools in Upper Montclair (Bradford) and the South End (Nishuane), since the schools in the middle could be integrated by redrawing boundaries. These proved to be so popular that the magnet schools were extended to the whole system.

Posted by: Bitpusher | Jul 1, 2005 6:31:21 PM

It would seem obvious that the person who composed that letter and cannot correctly spell nor use a spell checker . . . went to the wrong schools.

Posted by: Dean Landsman | Jul 2, 2005 4:15:27 PM

We got my soon-to-be kindergartner's letter on Friday and it was our SIXTH choice, Nishuane. This was our last choice mainly bc it's the furthest school from both our house and my job, and we didn't even tour it during the open house period. I am SO disappointed but trying to be positive so my son continues to be excited about his kindergarten experience. He's very sociable and I'm sure he'll do well in any of the schools. It just seems really unfair. I would have been happy with ony of my first four choices, but #6? :-o

Posted by: Nancy Masterson-Newkirk | Jul 2, 2005 6:52:37 PM

In most towns you get NO choice.

Posted by: Bitpusher | Jul 2, 2005 8:52:39 PM

Govt decides what's good for us all the time -- think speed limits and restrictions on who can manufacture drugs and sell them for use on humans.

What's wrong with deciding desegregated schools save us collectively on lawsuits challenging the quality of services should neighborhood schools happen to perform differently and race seem to be a factor?

One would imagine the "starve the beast" types might prefer defensive legislating. Oh, no, that's what tort reform is supposed to accomplish, isn't it?

Posted by: imogene | Jul 2, 2005 9:11:23 PM

Some 12 years ago, when my daughter was applying to the magnet system, we got our fourth choice and were told that we were one of only ten who didn't get their first choice!! I guess some things never change, huh -- only ten per year don't get their first choice ...

Posted by: MontclairMom | Jul 2, 2005 11:00:26 PM

I feel bad for the people who did not get their first choise. Fortunatly both both pof our children did go to our first choice.

Magnet schools are one of the things that make Montclair a special place to live. They allow for parents to choose (within limits) how there children will be educated. The number of people who choose which schools every year provides immediate feedback to the BOE as to how each school and program is doing. By encouraging people to send their kids to schools in other sections of town, it helps brings the town together, as opposed to forced bussing which creates resentment.

Posted by: Bitpusher | Jul 3, 2005 1:44:13 AM

Thank goodness that preventing some families their first choice of school because of the race of their children does not cause resentment! When the Kansas Board of Education denied Mr. Brown's children admittance to the school of his choice because of their race and outrageous injustice was done.

When the Board of Ed denies a child their parent's choice here because of their race I don't seem much difference.

Fairness and equality mean treating everyone the same, exactly the same. The policies of our educational system should be colorblind.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jul 3, 2005 9:10:00 AM

Last year my daughter got her first choice, Nishuane, and it makes me sad that for so many it is 6th choice. Nishuane is a school that houses 1/2 of the district. All the programs are tailored for their young ages. The building is huge and not only has a seperate gym, dance studio, cafeteria, 2 language rooms, music studios, 2 art rooms, and auditorium, it is a wonderful community. The kids on the buses are only up to 2nd grade, there are no 5th graders picking on your kindergartener (friend from Bradford had that all year to deal with). It makes no difference which school you got into, the teacher and your involvement, makes all the difference. We are all fortunate that the Montclair schools have gotten so much better, I have lived here for 30 years and 20 years ago, they were not. Balance in a classroom is key. You don't want a class full of boys vs. just girls, just like having a class of just white vs. black is not helping either. Parents that didn't get their 1st choice are disappointed but last year the numbers were worse. There were only 5 openings at Northeast, 12 at Bradford, 10? at Watchung... because of the number of siblings already in the school. Get involved with your child's school and it will be a great experience no matter which building your child is in.

Posted by: Birdwoman | Jul 3, 2005 10:16:36 AM

Click & Jump to our INSIDE PAGES:

· In Case You Don't Look at Our Announcement Box
· Window Painting
· Flatulent Friar
· Ballyowen -- The Best $140 a NJ Golfer Can Spend
· Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action
· Open Space Call For Action
· Closed For Renovations?
· Thrill Seekers
· Heroic Dudes
· Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof

May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004

A Friend Writes
April Fool's!
Bada Bing
Barista Does the Math
Barista's Sunday Poll
Betty Says
Brand New
Civic Virtue
Comings and Goings
Culture Club
Current Affairs
Cute as Hell
Don't Ask: Dating in Baristaville
Flu Shot Central
Food and Drink
From the Crazy Mixed-Up Files of Raymmmondo
Funniest Home Videos
Good Reads by Neil Baldwin
Growing pains
Help Your Barista!
In Your Dreams
Intersections We Hate
Karma Violation
Lights! Camera! Craft service!
Lights, Camera..... Roll Tape
Major Dudes
Marlboro Inn
Movie Mojo
Only in Montclair
Our Favorite Diversions
Paranoia Beat
Parties We Crashed
Party With Baristanet
Photo of the Week
Pop Culture
Postcards from the EB
Really Freaking Weird
Scooped by Phil Read, Again
Scot's Photo Journal
Seasonal Decorating Violation
Seen around town
Seen in Cyberspace
Shopping With Barista
Songs We Can't Get Out of Our Head
Suburban Archeologist
The Daily Chat
The Sunday Barista Poll
The View from Her Pickup
Those Crazy Kids
Time Capsule
We All Bow to Java
We Ask Random Strangers
Where For Art Thou?
Win Stuff
Yard Sale Treasure Map