Students, parents at Paterson schools rally against teacher shuffling amid educator shortage

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, February 9, 2024
Students walk out of Paterson schools to protest teacher shuffling
Darla Miles has the story.

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- About two dozen parents and students rallied in front of the Paterson Board of Education Friday afternoon against a plan aimed at addressing the district's teacher shortage.

The plan is known as 'rightsizing' and it would move some teachers to new classrooms, some students to new classrooms, and eliminate some classrooms altogether.

The parents say they understand the district has to address the shortage, but they question the timing.

"To do it in the middle, that's the problem. To do it in the middle of the school year, come on, it's not right," mother Manal Musbeh said. "We just know that they're being moved and then others are being switched to different classrooms. Some classrooms are completely gone."

Paterson Schools Superintendent Dr. Laurie W. Newell says the district is trying to plug more than 100 vacant teaching position with those already in the system.

"We do have students who have been here almost two years without a certified teachers," Newell said. "Although we identified about 47 teacher who could be considered excess we're only moving about 15 to 17 teachers in the next two to three weeks."

With fewer teachers, students' test scores have suffered.

Last year, just 18.3% of third grader were proficient in english, just 10% of sixth graders were proficient in math, and only 5.5% of eighth graders were proficient in science.

Newell said for that reason it was critical to get certified teachers in front of as many students as possible, as soon as possible.

"I do understand the parents who are very, very, upset that they could be losing a valued teacher. I didn't feel comfortable waiting until the next school year. I do think giving them four months of instruction is better than nothing at all this year," Newell said.

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