May 8, 2013

Recent Reports, Rankings of High School A Wake-Up Call for Change in the System

To the Editor:

The image of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand came to mind when reading your article [District Criticizes State Reports, Rankings, Town Topics, page 1, May 1] regarding Superintendent Wilson’s and the Princeton School Board’s responses to the demotion of Princeton High School’s ranking among other state high schools in recent evaluations from the NJDOE and the US News and World Report. Defensive official statements by the Board president and Superintendent Wilson aside, many in the local community have been aware of decreasing quality in the educational standards at Princeton High School for quite some time. While Princeton High School has some notable strengths, especially its music and jazz band programs, it remains seriously lacking in other institutional learning opportunities, such as science research programs, which are present in many other competitive high schools. Although Princeton High School certainly has many talented teachers, my experience as a high school parent has been that complaints about the questionable teaching methods of some of the faculty are handled in a superficial manner, if at all. Where is the accountability, on the part of the local educational leadership? If these reports were issued about a health care system, administrators would be scrambling to make changes, not responding in the manner used by this school administration. While health is not at issue here, is the education of our children of less importance? Great hopes are invested in true leadership from the next superintendent, for a demand for accountability and a system for improvement, in addition to the recommendations made by the DOE, and parents should be able to participate more fully in this process.

The US News and World Report’s status change was not a call to defensiveness but a true wake-up call for change in a school system that has become increasingly inert and unprogressive, and is not acting in the best interests of its excellent students.

Nina Belfor

Kimberly Court