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By the Numbers: WOHS Ranks in Middle of Pack

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The numbers are in for the best high schools in New Jersey, and two separate rankings place West Orange High School in the middle of the pack -- both in the state and county. 

In a new ranking of the state’s high schools published this past week by Inside Jersey, West Orange High School was ranked 14 out of 35 Essex County public high schools. 

The rankings for Inside Jersey were based on the most recent High School Proficiency Assessment data released by the New Jersey Department of Education. However, according to the website, Inside Jersey “weighted the test results to give advanced scores greater value.”  

Charter schools were also included in Inside Jersey’s rankings.  

Topping the list for Inside Jersey in Essex County was Millburn, followed by Livingston. 

Median house values were also included in the rankings. All but two high schools higher in the county rankings had lower median home values than West Orange, listed at $417,000. Conversely, all the high schools below West Orange on the list had much lower median house values. 

In another high school ranking by New Jersey Monthly, West Orange ranked 136 out of more than 320 high schools statewide in 2012. According to the website, West Orange dropped eight spots from the previous year. 

New Jersey Monthly compiled its data using the 2010-11 New Jersey School Report Card scores released by the state DOE. Charter schools were excluded from the rankings “due to a lack of data,” according to the New Jersey Monthly website.

In addition, other categories and indicators factored into the rankings were: school environment, student performance, and student outcomes, among others. 

Out of 29 Essex County high schools on the list, New Jersey Monthly ranked West Orange 11th. Again, Millburn was ranked the best out of any high school in the county, and came in 8th statewide. 

Gary Englert August 23, 2012 at 01:36 AM
wohopeful remains remarkably consistent; all nonsense, all the time.
Gary Englert August 23, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I have no doubt that's true. The idea that you'd have difficulty understanding what I wrote is rather patently obvious.
john anthony prignano August 23, 2012 at 01:45 AM
wohopeful Shakespeare said , As brevity is the soul of wit, I shall be brief " That is a wonderful statement you wrote, and so true . This is difficult to say, but the Rule of Socio- Economic Inevitablity just took a major hit . I counted at least 30 High Schools in lower socio - economic districts than West Orange that rank ahead of West Orange High School in New Jersey Monthly Magazine !! Surrender Dorothy ! Dorothy ? Who's Dorothy ? To the Wizard ! The Wizard will know ! wohopeful , there MUST be some logical explanation for all this . The Rule of Socio - Economic Inevitability is inviolate, sacrosanct, beyond reproach, and has stood the test of time - did I miss anything ? Like I said, let people write. Let them show over and over again their overt { and growing } contempt and their utter disdain for their EMPLOYERS, the people who struggle every day to pay them. Can you imagine how twisted you have to be to tell hard working honest families who want the best for their children that there is no hope for them or their heirs based solely on median family income ? AND in the next breath, demand and get more money from them.? How cruel. Many of the employers are in a free-fall, while many of the people they pay are rising up the economic ladder . OF COURSE they see the inescapable connection . They don't care One of the biggest lies ever told to the American people is , " Democrats are for the poor people "
Gary Englert August 23, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Self-actualization, huh? Well, my guess would be that you're as lacking in credentials in psychiatry/psychology as you are in education.
Adam Kraemer August 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM
The state of NJ puts school dsitrcits in groups from A thru J so state funding for schools is based on the economic and demographic factors of the schools at issue. The A group includes Camden and Newark. These schools get the most sate aid. The J group that includes Milburn and Princeton gets the least state aid. West Orange is in the GH group with Wayne and Parsippany and other districts. If you look at the GH Group alone: West Orange trends low in test scores and high in per student spending. To me this is very problematc data and shows we need to do things differently with in our schools
mckay21 August 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM
No poor children! Please we have them and that's a fact not like your posts.
john anthony prignano August 24, 2012 at 10:50 PM
wohopeful The Star Ledger had an article today which discussed possible incidents of teachers cheating to improve student scores on standardized tests .The number of possible incidents is relatively small { 27 }. That's not what caught my attention . The end of the article said this; Bruce Baker, an assistant professor in the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, said he did know whether schools are focusing on test security more, but said he believes they are publicizing it more.HE SAID THE PROBLEM IS THAT TEST SCORES SHOULD NOT BE USED TO MEASURE QUALITY OF INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS OR TEACHERS - AND " WE"RE PUTTING UNDUE PRESSURE ON CERTAIN SCHOOLS TO CREATE NUMBERS SO THEYY CAN KEEP THEIR JOBS. "This is part of an ongoing and aggressive campaign by people in public education to destroy measurable standards . Everytime I read this kind of statement , I see something that is quite noticeable by it's absence; there's never any alternative to testing to measure student progress. It's not an error of omission .There's no alternative offered,because they don't want any alternative to exist. Destruction of any and all measureable standards is the clear goal of these people. These are the people whom we have entrusted to prepare the children for the " high- tech ,hyper - competitive global economy of the twenty - first century" If this garbage isn't malpractice,what is? Not only don't they want anyone keeping score on them ,they don't want anyone to KNOW how to keep score on them.
Gary Englert August 25, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Adam Kraemer: Start with a faulty premise and you'll wind up with a faulty conclusion every time. District Factor Group pairings are based on economics and, specifically, median household income. If you can find anything remotely similar in the rest of the commonly examined demographics of Parsippany, Wayne and West Orange, I'd love to hear you expound upon them.
Adam Kraemer August 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM
As per the NJ Department of Education here are the six factors that make up the District Group Factors and the A thru J ranking determination: 1) Percent of adults with no high school diploma 2) Percent of adults with some college education 3) Occupational status 4) Unemployment rate 5) Percent of individuals in poverty 6) Median family income. You can read about this at: http://www.state.nj.us/education/finance/sf/dfg.shtml. Controling for these six factors makes comparsions of test scores and per student spending within the a designated group a valid comparison. It is not just median household income as Gary Englert indicated in his post that determines school districts grouping. Again within the GH Group West Orange trends high on per student spending and trends low on test scores. I use this data to back up my claim that we have management problems in the West Oragne Public Schools.
Ralph August 25, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Thank you for that information Mr. Kraemer.
john anthony prignano August 25, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Adam,Educating children is too important a job to factor in median family incomes, or median household incomes, or the unemployment rate, or occupational staus or anything else when looking at results .That creates a not so general predetermination of success or failure i.e. You're beat before you start.The latest missive aimed at destroying measurable standards appeared yesterday in the Star - Ledger; Bruce Baker,an assistant professor at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education said, "The problem is that test scores should not be used to measure quality of individual schools or teachers. We're putting undue pressure on certain schools to create numbers so they can keep their jobs " What alternative does he offer to measure student progress ? The educrats are engaged in an ongoing and aggressive campaign to destroy standards. I spoke to Administrators 4 times about teachers who were grading papers but not correcting them. They tried to use the "self- esteem " ploy .I asked, "How can a child learn if no one corrects them ? " There was never a reply. Dr. Cavanna approved 2 field days, fitness testing, and lectures to the children on healthy eating by a representative from West Orange's food vendor service. An Anti- Bullying program was State mandated in the last school year. Less core-curriculum time, and of course,less instructional time required of teachers. Superintendent O' Neil won't try to change a damn thing. Adam, we MUST stop this. There is too much at stake .
john anthony prignano August 25, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Millions and millions of uneducated , impoverished, non- English speaking people from vastly different cultures passed through Ellis Island . I wonder what ever happened to them.
Gary Englert August 25, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Mr. Prignano asks an interesting question and the answer is simple: They assimilated, learned English, were educated to the best of their abilities and obtained marketable skills...then either succeded and made great successes of themselves...or eked out a meager existence and died in poverty...or lived their lives somewhere in between...and that is precisely where our society (with its still significant immigrant population) finds itself today. Point in fact: the population of the USA in 1910 was 92,228, 496 with 13,500,000 (14.6%) non-native born among them. In 2010, with a population of 308,745,538, non-native born numbered 39,900,000 (12.9%). Ergo, the educational/assimilation challenges have remained remarkably consistent for 100 years. Professional educators and researches are not seeking excuses or justifying failures when they identify the problems that need to be addressed, or when pointing out the foolishness of comparing the incomparable; what they're are trying to do is to direct the focus where it needs to be and where examination using scientific method has concluded it should. Public education has evolved over time to do just that. Unlike 150 years ago, It's no longer accomplished in a one room school house, by a single teacher lacking any formal training. Clearly, the apparatus has become far more sophosticated than that and so it will continue. To hand it over to dilettantes would be a mistake of enormous proportions.
Gary Englert August 25, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Adam Kraemer: While wonderful to actually get a reply from you, and that you're actually doing some research (which you clearly don't understand), here's the US News and World Report: Education level and status, occcupational status, unemployment rate, and people living in poverty ARE all economic factors that directly contribute to, and ARE ultimately summarized as, median household income. West Orange may be as wealthy as Wayne or Parsippany but, that wealth is NOT reflected in the school population...and it's racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences with theirs are legion.
john anthony prignano August 25, 2012 at 11:23 PM
American Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene, who never won a battle or lost a campaign , wrote, " We fight, get beat, rise and fight again " Sir John Harington ; " Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason ? Why, when it prospers, none dare call it treason "
Gary Englert August 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM
^ Ranthony: You definitely need some new material; this is probably the fifteenth time you've posted the same quote...which remains neither germane nor relevant.
Laurie August 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Quite a rollercoaster ride of comments. And, Leanna, Millburn is clearly a more affluent town than West Orange. We couldn't afford a home there, and we ended up in West Orange. Statistically, more affluent towns have better-ranked schools. We can't change the earning profile of West Orange, but we can get better teachers; insist on parental involvement; have a zero tolerance for misconduct; and get this school in a competitive ranking. I expect to send my son to Harvard one day and he will be a WOHS grad. I will not accept mediocrity from my town. Step it up!
Michelle Cadeau August 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM
John, It is fact that income and socioeconomic play a big role in school. I personally think it is VERY important to look at that and see why it, in fact is so. There are so many cultural differences in an affluent family and one from a lower economic family. But I think we can help. I think we (starting with each school) can create programs so that all parents can be involved, we can be more welcoming and change our school culture (PTA etc) to make sure we help the family behind the child. To state that there are no poor kids in WO is so false and sad that people living here would think so. I too know people how should not have kids on free lunch but that is not at all most of the cases. Talking about those students (the under poverty guidelines) I think that a field trip will be something where they will learn A LOT. They might never have a chance to get to Ellis island for example by themselves. Health and fitness we need to teach not only the students but again involve the parents. It is not the students cooking themselves crappy food. I am sure that if we as a town start to work together, not only the administration, then we can help the students in need and create a better school system in as a result.
Michelle Cadeau August 26, 2012 at 11:41 PM
This is a great way to start: The WO African Heritage Organization runs a tutoring program for all the elementary schools. I encourage people to sign u, anyone can do it. It is elementary English and Math. here is their website and more details: http://www.woaho.org/ Instead of just complaining I think we all can look deeper within and start take our responsibility to make a better town. 5 people on the council and 5 on the BOE can't do it by themselves. While volunteering to make the town better you will understand a lot of the things going on and see all parts of town with their different demographics, needs, cultures and sub-cultures.
Gary Englert August 27, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Education surely is important enough that its guidance shouldn't be left to those lacking credentials or expertise in the field.
john anthony prignano August 27, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Laurie Great ! People love to point to socio - economic factors as reasons for failure.West Orange is the poster child for cronyism and nepotism. Many of the teachers are poorly trained and apathetic. The people who tout the West Orange Public Schools can't convince the teachers who live elsewhere and/or have moved out of town how good the schools are. Public school teachers put their children in private schools in a ratio of 2 to 1 to the general public. Doesn't that speak volumes about what they think of their own work product ? On 2 occasions ,I showed Superintendent Tarnoff several papers that had been graded but not corrected..He thanked me for bringing this problem to his attention .I had seen other children's work - same situation as mine .I asked him "Hasn't any other parent ever spoken to you about this ? " He replied "No " Laurie ,why do 30 schools from towns less affluent than us rank ahead of us? I believe the main reason is the people in those communities simply will not accept mediocrity. West Orange does, big time. What is it, we don't spend enough ? Nonsense. Besides, the educrats and their minions tell us family median income always trumps per pupil spending . 14 days LESS yearly instructional time at WOHS than the State average, and the P. T.A. says what about that ? Too many people are looking for JOBS, not quality education .We must not accept any thing less than excellence ." The fault dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves" .
Michelle Cadeau August 27, 2012 at 02:13 AM
John, why would you think that wo residents accept mediocrity? i surely don't! My kids are both straight A students but I am also very involved in their education. If I see something I don't like I will speak up. I am not sure you if you know this but there is not A PTA in WO ... there is one PTA for each school that works for the students of that school. There is of course a state PTA and a National PTA if it is them you are asking about. I think that the students need the non-instructional lessons as well as the instructional. In fact I have been at ever school trip they have ever taken and I have seen first hand, the stuff they learn.
Michelle Cadeau August 27, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I am sorry Mr Tarnoff didn't correct the problem you had. At our school the class usually go over the tests as a class and each student can chose to correct or not correct there own tests.
john anthony prignano August 27, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Michele I did not say field trips are bad And, I was talking about 2 field DAYS.You seem to be talking about the value of this progam or that program.I am simply asking,where is the time for all this stuff. Debating the value of the programs offered in the WO public schools is an argument for another day. Multiculturalism, a Character curriculm, anti - bullying training ,many days of standardized testing, the D.A.R.E. program, the S.A.L.E.s program, computer science, health and sex education, 2 field days,Black History, New Jersey Social Studies, World Languages,and more. I am not arguing here that any of those programs are without merit. Where is the TIME for all this AND core- curriculum? How could the School Board approve a High School schedule that offers 14, yes,14 days less yearly instructional time than the State average? How could they schedule many early dismissals, in- service workshops , and one mandatory daily free period for teachers..AND, there is no attempt to make up hours lost because of bad weather. Remember legible handwriting ? Remember when a child could do basic arithmetic in their head ? Remember when we didn't need shows like " Where in the World is Carmen San Diego "to learn geography ? Michele, don't you have a problem with the School Board not even maintaining a schedule that's based on an agrerian society,but actually cutting hours when it's painfully obvious that they should be adding hours? "The most important classroom resource is time"
john anthony prignano August 27, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Michele, I believe that many people in West Orange accept mediocrity. That you are not one of them is terrific. Read the letter I just wrote to you .I am not criticizing field trips, or Turkey Trots,or any other program the schools offer . Those are discussions for another day. the High School offers14 days less yearly instructional time than the State average. the grammar school schedule includes several early dismissals, in- service workshops, a mandated daily free period for teachers { They are not required to prep anything, it's a free period } and hours lost because of inclement weather are not made up at a later time .Where's the P T...A. on this issue ? With dozens of State and Distict mandates added over the years , why isn't the P.T.A. publicly calling for a longer school day and year ? The cost per pupil figures were terribly inaccurate. Didn't what West Orange taxpayers spend on the public schools being grossly underestimated mean anything to the P.T.A.? When I looked at teacher attendence numbers, I could see immediately they were inaccurate . For one nonsensical reason or another, many absences are just excluded. I have seen too many people involved in the schools who were not looking for quality education but were instead looking for a job. And indeed, many of them have been hired. Michele, where's the class time the children need? .
john anthony prignano August 27, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Michele Where do I say Mr. Tarnoff didn't correct the problem ? However, the fact that those teachers began to correct papers proved to me that they had not been doing their jobs previous to my complaint.
Gary Englert August 27, 2012 at 03:48 AM
John Anthony Prignano: The bottom line remains that your barrage of complaints lodged here accomplish absolutely nothing. Michelle Cadeau's suggestion has considerable merit; why not pick a cause, make it your own and light a candle instead of incessantly cursing the darkness. Actions speak louder than words.
Michelle Cadeau August 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I don't have time to read through the posts but I thought you said that twice you had gone to him and he had said something about it. I got the feeling you felt he didn't listen. Good that he listened to you.
Michelle Cadeau August 27, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I am not at all on the same page as you. You suggest to take away the world languages? That would handicap our students when they go out in real life. So would cutting computer science. Anti-bullying is mandated by the state so it the testing. Lessons like Black History month and sex education is important and health is really important in this society in particular. AS I said I am very involved in my kids education and to say that the teachers don't need to prep anything is just ignorance. They have their hands full with prep work. Much more than they have time to do during prep time. There are 3 days designated to bad weather and if they are used we HAVE to make it up. Again, I think if we concentrate on helping the families more I think we can get stuff done here.
john anthony prignano August 27, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Michelle Let me try one last time .I've said several times that anti - bullying instruction is a State mandate. Where do I say World Languages and computer science and Black History Month and Health and Sex Education should be eliminated ? It's OBVIOUS I am talking about the lack of instructional time to adequately provide for all these curriculum mandates - many more mandates, LESS TIME. I did not say teachers don't have anything to prep .Teachers are not MANDATED to prep anything on their prep period - It's a free period, They have half the number of students of their predecessors and they have aides and Scan Tron to correct papers.,One only has to glance at the schedule to see there are days when they get more than one free period. How about a student teacher too? I wasn't talking about the 3 days designated for bad weather .I was refering to the early dismissals and late starts because of bad weather .The State considers those abbreviated days full days .You know what Michelle ? I don't think you care if the High School provides 14 days less instructional time than the State average. And I don't think you care that the grammar schools provide hundreds of hours less core- curriculum time than they used to. I think you do accept mediocrity. You're very obvious Michelle. What you really want to do is have an ongoing debate with me so I don't write directly on the subject of public education..So we conclude our discussion here. Michelle, please ignore me, I'm ignorant.

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