On January 24, 2017 members of the community are invited to vote on a referendum question to undertake significant building improvements and upgrades to the Weehawken Public Schools, namely Daniel Webster, Theodore Roosevelt, and Weehawken High School. These improvements are not just superficial in nature, they are targeted to be substantial and to comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations, improve technology and science laboratories, as well as lighting and heating upgrades.
This is an important vote, especially in our current political climate. President Trump has put forth Betsy DeVos, as the candidate for Secretary of Education, and if confirmed may have significant and long lasting repercussions for our public schools as we know them today. Ms. DeVos is a known proponent of school choice. This includes, vouchers, charter schools, and cyber schools. What Betsey DeVos is not is informed or competent to lead or make decisions impacting our public schools.
Ms. DeVos’ support of vouchers and charter schools hurts public schools by essentially taking monies away from the public school district. These charter schools are not necessarily better, and under Ms. DeVos leadership, there will be little oversight, existentially leading to corruption, abuse and violations of federal laws such as IDEA. Ms. DeVos has proven she has little knowledge about IDEA, educational policy, or even the difference between proficiency and growth when measuring student outcomes. Under Ms. DeVos leadership it is likely that public schools will be financially starved and many will close. This is why the vote to support Weehawken Schools for infrastructure improvements is so important, as we may not see state or federal dollars for any improvements in the foreseeable future if this referendum is turned down.
In closing, I urge you to call your state senator to ask him to vote no on Betsey DeVos for Secretary of Education. She is not the leadership we need to oversee this important position for our nation.
Cory Booker – (202) 224-3224
Robert Mendedez – (202) 224-4744
Christy Mulligan, Psy.D
Assistant Professor of School Psychology
Department of Counseling and School Psychology
School of Education at Long Island University- Brooklyn