To the Editor:
The Princeton Board of Education Facilities Referendum is actually a vote on open plan buildings that drastically changes how students will be taught. The changes will especially affect students with learning issues, psychiatric problems, and with attention deficit disorder.
I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist and have done evaluations of children in the West Windsor/Plainsboro school district where they had a school with open classrooms. It was a disaster!! Even I could not concentrate to evaluate the children for their issues. Their newer high school has closed classrooms.
In the past week, I spoke to staff and students. They said that open classrooms were extremely unpopular. It was very difficult for most students and teachers to hear and focus. There was enough clamoring that they put up walls wherever they could. One example: A math teacher had a great deal of difficulty holding her students’ attention, especially while the health teacher nearby was teaching sex education.
When our three children attended schools in Princeton, I attended school board meetings regularly. I was often upset by the process by which decisions were made without appropriate professional oversight. Too often, the taxpayers paid for projects poorly planned and administered.
I recommend that the Princeton Board of Education reconsider their plan to create a new classroom environment for our students, which is likely to have negative results.
I am also concerned that more people will move out of Princeton as our property taxes increase yet again.
Dr. Naomi Vilko
White Oak Drive