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Superintendent Fishbein Hinting at a Change Plans ?

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The following is an excerpt from a letter dated Monday, August 17 from Ridgewood District Superintendent Fishbein to district parents (Superintendent Fishbein appears to be hinting that he will change plans and ask the state to authorize the Ridgewood District to resume instruction this fall via so-called “Remote Learning” only, delaying an actual physical return of students to their schools until later in the school year):

“From the district’s perspective, we have labored over the development of the Ridgewood Public Schools Reopening Plan that will hopefully lead us to full-time, in-person education when it is deemed safe by our public
health officials. We recognize that this will be a long journey. Developing a safe and educationally sound plan for a district of our size has not been an easy undertaking. What works in one district may not work in another. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, we were told we would have a state plan to reopen school, but the Restart and Recovery Plan: The Road Back received on June 26 only provided a framework leaving specific plans up to each district. Then, on July 24, days before districts were required to submit reopening plans, the governor announced that families would be allowed the option to choose all-remote instruction, as outlined in the memo titled
Clarifying Expectations Regarding Fulltime Remote Learning Options for Families in 2020-2021.

“After districts had submitted their reopening plans to the Bergen County Executive Superintendent of Schools that detailed how we would meet a list of health and safety standards, the governor signed Executive Order 175 on August 13, granting permission for districts to reopen via remote-only instruction if they cannot adequately meet critical health and safety protocols outlined in the school reopening guidance. Districts reopening via remote-only instruction would need a plan that details the steps they will take to meet the standards and when they will return to in-person learning, which is still the Governor’s mandate for all schools. We are awaiting the criteria needed to determine if we should not return to in-person instruction and go fully-remote.

“I have been asked why the Ridgewood Public Schools did not have all-remote instruction listed as an option for parents when we sent our district survey. Simply, all remote was not an option at that time. I have been asked if all remote instruction is an option for the district at this time. The answer is that I really don’t know because all districts are waiting on a new health and safety checklist. When it is received, I will work with our administrators, the Board of Education, and our legal counsel to review it. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available. These constant changes in guidance and mandates from the State of New Jersey, in addition to the news reports of unsuccessful school openings in other areas of the country, have caused increased anxiety concerning opening schools in our own state. Our primary goal for our students and employees is the safe reopening of our schools as detailed in our reopening plan. We want our students and staff back in our classrooms teaching and learning.”

43 thoughts on “Superintendent Fishbein Hinting at a Change Plans ?

  1. This guy is a dictator and a compulsive liar.

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  2. Easy. Way. Out.

    Takin’ it since the sixties.

    Gotta love the public schools.

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  3. 88% of the parents that answered the Wyckoff BOE survey want their kids back in the classroom.

    Why you ask…?

    It’s free day care….

    130 UNC students tested positive last week. They are now 100% virtual.

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  4. Maybe our public sector employee teachers should have some private market pressure applied to see how strongly they really feel about safety, and how much of it is wanting their extra paid vacation to continue. Here are a few of the options our Board of Education should be considering to protect the students, parents and taxpayers if our “essential” teachers refuse to provide in-person services.

    – Furlough gym, arts and other teachers who can’t provide any meaningful services in a remote setting
    – For each duplicative middle and high school subject and class, furlough all but the best performing (not longest tenured) teachers. Remote learning introduces technology that allows unprecedented scale, and we no longer need small class sizes this year if in person classes are irrelevant. There is little difference between a 30 and 100 person online class. Give the remaining teachers a raise of 25% of saved funds, and stop paying the underperformers.
    – Consolidate the elementary schools for purposes of online learning, particularly at the K-3 level. Online classes are useless for students that age, and you might as well save the costs associated with having 15 different 1st grade teachers providing “online instruction” that the parents ultimately have to do themselves anyway.
    – With the excess saved money, either (i) refund property taxes, as parents are now forced to incur additional childcare and/or work tradeoffs, (ii) use the funds to address other underfunded areas in Ridgewood or (iii) use the money on the students – purchase the updated textbooks, supplies, building renovations, etc. we keep hearing is necessary. Funding the vacations of surplus teachers should not be a priority with taxpayer money.

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  5. Huh? Morning sessions half the kids are in class, other half are home online in the same class. Afternoon session is 100% online. How is offering a full-time option an issue.

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  6. “Huh? Morning sessions half the kids are in class, other half are home online in the same class. Afternoon session is 100% online. How is offering a full-time option an issue.”
    _____

    Why is it that offering at least some inside (i.e., in-building), in-person academic instruction, every day of the school year, however few students may be accommodated at any given time, from the first day of the school year onward, not being guaranteed?

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  7. Easy way out. No plan from the governor = no plan from RDWD school. No initiative from the CEO! Or the union. Or the BOE. Even worse, they refer to kids staying home with parents as “inconvenience” to the parents. It’s not merely an inconvenience. It’s us – parents – spending a ton of money on school-related taxes and getting very little in return. Whether it’s quality education or daycare services.

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  8. Require all the teachers to teach from the classroom to the students at home. Then you will really get a protest – only from teachers.

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  9. Teachers can teach from the classroom much better then their bedrooms.

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  10. Hopefully the taxpayers and their representatives remember this the next time our teachers complain about what martyrs they are and how underpaid and underappreciated they are. What, with their predictable and routine schedules, ridiculous benefits, 4 months of annual vacation, simple commutes and middle class salaries. Please, tell us again how essential you are as you simultaneously tell us our kids don’t need school. Just remember, if that is true 1 teacher can do the job of 5 teachers in virtual format.

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  11. The teacher’s cabal, the REA, wants pay without work. The superintendent has finally met his match and is now a feckless leader. If we don’t clean house now, they’ll be here forever. Honorable mention to the prior BOE who hired this guy.

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  12. They keep the Liberal superintendent in charge. First of all. Ridgewood has all the play grounds open. At the grammar school every day tons of kids play basketball. Why can’t they go back to school??
    Why is like 85 percent of ridgewood taxes going to the schools? How about not having made a turf field and instead uses that money to so called safe guard the classrooms.
    I pay taxes. No kids I. The schools and from what I can see with these brain washed protesters and attitudes of teachers the school system has failed.
    Definitely not the same from the 80’s.

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  13. Donkey Murphy kept flip flopping. First in person or remote if remote meets certain criteria. Then he said yesterday. No. All must be in person and remote only if not safe. What the heck.

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  14. So basically my property taxes are paying for what?

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  15. Why does everyone on this blog harbor such visceral hatred towards teachers? Are teachers controlling the decisions to go remote, not go remote, etc? Are all teachers lazy, awful, scheming bandits out to dupe everyone in this town and harm their children?

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  16. Remind me again why people move to Ridgewood?
    .
    Is it the failing and flailing school system?
    The BLM marches?
    The unnecessary, oversized and underutilized garage?
    The low income housing?The high taxes?
    The decaying roads?
    .
    Oh right, I remember… it must be for the pretty trees…
    .

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  17. The state The Road back plan came out on April 27th . Check your facts. What were they doing for a month.

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  18. I’m not sending my kids back to school the first month. Let’s see what happens. I’m worried about their health. I don’t get two shits about anything else except my family’s health comes first.

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  19. I’m not worried about the virus for me or my family. Why, cause we’re not at risk of dying! Only senior citizens and those with very poor immune systems need to take extreme precautions and they should.
    But you don’t stop 100% of the population to from working. This creates unemployment, depression, suicides, domestic violence and what for? Cause under 0.009% of non seniors and poor immune system Covid-19 patients die. That’s 99.001% that live!

    You do the science, I’ll stick with the math that tells me when can still work our every day lives like we used to and be safe at the same time.

    If we live in fear, we already lost.

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  20. Children belong in the classrooms; classrooms like the ones across the country with social distance placement of desks and wearing of masks. Incredibly high taxes should cover cost of necessary sanitation.
    The children and parents managed everything for three months. Can’t the School Board figure this out? Why pay the teachers who will not be fulfilling their job description?
    Figure it out. The children are victimised and the family structure is understandably under great stress and struggling. Why wasn’t a contingency plan under development, beginning in March VS this, last minute floundering ?
    Save the children!

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  21. Hey person not worried about you or your family getting covid-19, GET EDUCATED. Not just people with poor immune systems and the elderly die from this virus. Also people who get the virus and don’t die, many of them have health issues from the virus. Maybe you should be back in school.

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  22. It’s not last minute floundering as much as it is the realization that the teachers’ unions have succeeded in establishing dominance over the governor’s office, can no longer be reasoned with, and will impose their will on everyone involved in this charade, including the Ridgewood district.

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  23. It is very evident that the response fera don’t understand how very difficult this situation has been on educational leadership and teachers . I agree that for college stridents you can scale up class sizes in a virtual platform. But adult learning is very different from K – 12 learning. It’s a shame people haven’t learned the primary lesson that the virus is teaching: we are all intimately connected. When will we work together instead of playing the blame game?

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  24. Princeton Public Schools announced on Tuesday, August 18 that the district will begin classes in September in a fully-remote mode. No in-person classes will be offered until October, when the district hopes to begin a phased-in plan to bring some staff and students back to school buildings in person.

    The hybrid option (a combination of remote and in-person learning) is scheduled to start on October 12 for elementary school students and October 19 for middle and high school students. The district will also provide a fully remote option for all students who select that plan.

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  25. My family health comes first. It is impossible to teach elementary school kids to keep masks on and social distance. As much as I want my kid to be back to a normal school environment I will keep my child home for the first few weeks. I would feel more comfortable if I was convinced that all the parents of RW are in same page about the situation but past years have shown me that there are many irresponsible people who drop kids at school even when they’re obviously sick with flu and colds.

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  26. The superintendent needs to do his job. And that is all schools in the village at least all of September should be homeschooled. Sorry. And then go from there. Do you really one of your children getting sick. Do we need one of the staffing of the schools getting sick absolutely not. Let’s be smart. If you know anyone that got sick and then you would have a difference of opinion.

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  27. In a normal society, this virus would be handled by having the sick or vulnerable stay home for as long as necessary, while encouraging the young and healthy to go about normally with life. Teachers that are sickly could stay home and go on unemployment like everyone else in the country. Young college grads with education degrees can temporarily Take their place. Very simple. How are parents that are not teachers or other government employees supposed to work and feed their families if they have to stay home and care for their children who are doing remote learning? This point is rarely brought up. How have day care centers and summer camps in NJ been open since June, but schools cannot reopen? Why are day Care workers and summer camp workers lives valued less than teachers lives? I drove by the Ridgewood YMCA parking lot last week and witnessed large numbers of children, of various ages, over the age of two years old, standing very close together and not wearing masks. Why is this permitted when masks are required in NJ outdoors when not social distancing?
    Locking down everyone is actually making everyone more sickly in mind, body and soul. Why is it that the government and their followers only care about people sick or dying from covid19, but not from any other cause, like the annual flu, being killed in riots, or from not being able to receive necessary medical treatment? Yes there is a pandemic, however, like it or not, the fact is that less than 0.5 percent of all people will die from it. It is obvious that the pandemic has become a convenient, catch all excuse, which is being massively abused. This is to the detriment of all humanity, the effects of which will be ever lasting. Wake up people! Please please start thinking for yourselves and you will realize what is actually going on here. Only when teachers and all government employees are treated the same and feel the same pain as small business owners have, during this pandemic, will people actually see the truth, be on the same team and be able, willing and ready to work together.

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  28. “Only when teachers and all government employees are treated the same and feel the same pain as small business owners have, during this pandemic, will people actually see the truth…”

    College grads are not equipped to swoop in and effectively educate your children – and if they miraculously could they are not immune to the virus, take a look at Notre Dame, Michigan, UNC – all examples within the last 24 hours of how contagious this thing is in the very age group you think will replace teachers in your scheme to inflict ‘pain’ and send them to unemployment.

    It is not about doling out the ‘pain’ equally – it is about safety and risk. There is a vast difference between outdoor camps and being cooped up in a poorly ventilated, small classroom for 7 hours.

    Perhaps instead of investing in turf fields and planning proms and graduations this shit could have been addressed allowing us to send kids back to school. An HVAC system was not as sexy as the instagram content / graduation pics you sought out earlier this summer. Deal with it and stop trying to make sure others are feeling pain. ‘Feel the pain?’ – really?

    Look at whats going on around you. Schools have opened up all around the country and now 2 weeks later kids and teachers are SICK.

    Hoping to ensure ‘pain’ is levied evenly – wtf?

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  29. Such excellent commentary from fair minded people calling out Fishbien and the REA for what they truly are… have never been”doing it for the children” as they tell you every other second but just concerned for their over the top pay and how to continue getting paid for half an effort..the teacher as hero myth had truly been debunked forever now…”Sorry Billy, Mrs Jones doesn’t really care if she ever sees you again” the children will quickly learn this and remember for their lives..no memories of nice empathetic classroom leaders just a money grabbing union worker…disgraceful.
    How NOT ONE teacher feels it in their soul that this set up is unfair to the parents and taxpayers of Ridgewood belies their collective greed and union fueled expectations of more more more…NOT ONE voice calling for some sort of give back to the generous community during these highly stressful family conditions is unconscionable and sad.

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  30. Hey Doug….

    Why don’t you do one of your #BLM protests in Patterson and see how that works out.

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  31. Please give Dr. Fishbein a break. The NJEA (who own Gov. Murphy) has said its not safe for teachers to return to school. Teachers are also entitled to the CARES act relief, which is 17 weeks of paid leave at 60% of full pay. If we can’t get our old schools up to revised codes of air filtration in time, that’s also an issue. So if he can’t staff the schools with teachers, how can we have physical classes?

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    1. time for a major scaling down of public education

  32. Just to be clear, so long as the NJEA maintains their stance that its not safe for teachers to teach, and so long as the CARES Act allows teachers 17 weeks of paid leave at 60% of their salary, how will it be possible to staff the schools for hybrid learning?

    Realistically, it sounds as though we should just assume synchronous learning will be the status quo until those issues above are resolved, i.e. when a vaccine or cure is discovered?

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  33. The school should be shut down in September. Let’s see what happens go from there. Let’s be smart not stupid. We need to keep everyone safe. If you want to go you can go. I’m outside of my kids screw that.

  34. Found this nice letter from George Washington. On schools, go back if so desire but keep option for home learning. Think that is the bestest solution.

  35. The unions control the Governor in NJ. Whatever they say goes. How can teachers expect to be paid without actually being held accountable for their work?

    Basically if the NJEA says they don’t think it’s safe, then the teachers won’t go back to physically teach in the schools. The CARES Act complicates staffing further by allowing teachers paid leave for 17 weeks at 60% of full pay. Local tax payers and the kids are the losers.

    What more can we do to make schools safe? The transmission rate curve has flattened right down in NJ, the schools are cleaner then they’ve ever been, protocols to keep the schools clean and hygienic are in place. They’re even talking about HEPA filtration systems and ionizers.

    If the teachers won’t agree now, what is needed to make them return to the schools? A vaccine or bust?

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  36. Orwell’s ghost is hard at work trying to tap as many of the minimally intelligent as possible on the shoulder to recognize the brutal mangling that is taking place with respect to our language as the “feardemic” grinds on.

    “Social distancing” was the among first of the violently self-contradictory doublespeak phrases that was roughly jammed into our collective mouth and down our throats by the Ministry of Truth.
    “Distancing” until March was something one did to display public disdain toward notorious or radioactive or even fashionably or simply currently disfavored individuals and groups like: Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, Bad Orange Man (ask Mitt Romney, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff), the Knights of Columbus (ask Senator Harris), the Catholic faithful (ask Diane “the dogma lives loudly in you” Feinstein), lepers (ask everyone but Jesus and Father Damian), Father Damian (ask Alexandra “Occasional Cortex”), slave owners George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (ask AnTiFa, SBLM), etc.

    Now practically everyone literally “distances” themselves from everyone else. Face it everyone…there is nothing “social” about “distancing”. We are being told to “engage in” social distancing as if it is the latest dance craze. But “distancing” is inherently antisocial. The phrases “social distancing” and “socially distant” are thus perfectly internally contradictory. Orwell, while rolling in his grave, might simultaneously or perversely be impressed with how rapidly we all fell in line with the use of this one phrase.

    Another phrase on this hit parade is “passive activities”. Here in Ridgewood in late March and early April, the electronic municipal sign was flashing this phrase.
    We were literally being encouraged to keep busy (activity) by remaining home and doing nothing (passive). Whooosh! That’s irony, zooming past our local municipal sign programmer, both lanes!

  37. It’s physical distancing not socially distancing

  38. Mr. Politically Correct far left Fishbein with his monthly politically charged emails and scheduling of reverse-racists to come talk to the schools needs to go. This guy is an over paid buffoon who doesn’t care one bit about the students.

  39. Joss, you juts don’t get it. It’s not Dr. Fishbein. Its the NJEA and REA saying they don’t think its safe for the teachers to physically return to teach in the schools. So how is Dr. Fishbein supposed to physically staff his schools? He’s done everything possible to make the schools clean and safe for teachers and students. But his hands are tied because the teachers’ union has us all under their thumb. You should direct your anger and complaints to the REA and the NJEA. They own Gov. Murphy.

    You also seem to come from the vocal “big in municipal politics” group with an agenda to fire Dr. Fishbein. Good luck. You’ll have to buy him out of the remaining three years of his contract at a huge cost. A move which would just create even more uncertainty and chaos at this time of crisis in our schools. But then again, the cabal of jackals calling for his head on the Village Council hasn’t shown any regard for taxpayer dollars, so plus ca change….

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  40. Dr. Fishbein, whatever some may say of him, has presided over a period during which the corrosive influence of constructivist teaching methods has waned somewhat and may now be losing its mojo. At the time Dr. Fishbein was hired, a huge push had been underway for years in the Ridgewood district in favor of denuding K-12 curricula of content and emphasizing process instead. As part of that push, the Trustees of our Board of Education put us on the brink of hiring for our superintendent the then-high priest of Constructivism and Reform Math (late of a Long Island district he conveniently abandoned rather than face the unmitigated displeasure of a growing army of pitchfork-bearing parents and taxpayers) together with his “man behind the curtain” wife as a kind of Bill and Hillary “two for one” deal. Like Hillary, who put her husband to shame in terms of her determination to promote the marxist/socialist agenda, the dedication our incoming supe’s wife had to the cause (as demonstrated by her history of hoovering up large amounts constructivism-promoting grant money and writing books on the subject), to say nothing of her radical street cred, probably exceeded that of her husband. We dodged a huge bullet when that zealot thankfully quit a couple of weeks before his scheduled start date and took his egghead wife with him to parts unknown. Within a few months, Superintendent Fishbein was hired. Within a year or so after that, we witnessed with enormous relief the resignation and apparent professional disappearance of long-time Assistant Superintendent in Charge of Curriculum Regina Botsford, whose radicalism and utter devotion to constructivist teaching methods was itself the stuff of legend among her K-12 curriculum development industry colleagues (Bill Ayers eventually went into that line of work, if that tells you anything). So the constructivist storm seems to have passed, at least for the time being, and Ridgewood was not established as the Mecca for constructivist teaching methods among U.S. K-12 public school districts. Your mileage may vary, but we might want to pause and at least thank Dr. Fishbein for what he isn’t!

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