Parent demands superintendent’s resignation

Joseph P. McAleer II

I have been an outspoken critic of Matawan-Aberdeen Schools Superintendent Michael Klavon for some time, so naturally when I see a full page article wherein Klavon takes issue with the state of New Jersey school assessment test results, I pay close attention.

As I read the article in the March 1 Independent., I once again recognized the usual Klavon inconsistencies and swirling answers. First Klavon criticizes the state standardized tests, suggesting a change to a national test score to show the individual student test scores rather than the test scores presently in use, which show the entire school district’s scores. I am sure that the national test scores would not reflect as badly on Klavon as they would not show the test scores for the district Klavon is in charge of. Is Mr. Klavon playing hide and seek with test scores, as though all of the parents should only be concerned with their own child? I, for one, want to see where all of the children have scored in the district. Klavon goes on to take exception with the state’s core curriculum in total, foreign language instruction and the elementary grade levels (which is already under way in many school districts), stating that "the way the state has it almost forces districts to choose a language, so many have chosen Spanish." Here is a hint for Klavon. The two main languages in use in America’s workforce are English and Spanish, and will be so, always. Why not have students learn the language that will most help them in their working lives? That makes sense to me, but not to Klavon.

The most disturbing comments from Klavon in the article come when the proficiency test scores come up for each school in the district. Klavon’s answers left me angry, very angry! I have observed Klavon’s process for answering questions. It is normally a swirling, long-winded, inconcise response and always lays the answer at someone else’s doorstep. As test scores district-wide are consistently below average, Klavon points to the tests as the reason the district scores low. When a $1.4 million accounting shortfall causes another tax increase, it was the fault of someone no longer employed by the district. When the Charter School money was spent and had to be raised again, and again, and again, it was the state’s fault. Now the Klavon answer for why the proficiency test scores in the Cliffwood Elementary School are the lowest in the district is, and I quote Klavon, "Cliffwood School is the one school where we have a high concentration of free and reduced-lunch students," so more of these children start school with less enrichment, Klavon said, explaining the low score.

I could not believe what I had just read. Klavon will now blame low test scores in his district on his assertion that because a student is poor and has his/her lunch subsidized means they are less enriched and unable to score well on state tests. My two children attended the Cliffwood Elementary unit until we moved to Strathmore last August. My children continue to be on the honor roll as they now attend Strathmore Elementary and the high school. But for Klavon to make such a statement about the entire Cliffwood community is a statement that I find insulting and ignorant, and I call on Klavon to tender his resignation immediately. We as a community have had enough of Klavon’s excuses, finger pointing, and the placing of blame everywhere but on his desk.

I urge the Matawan Aberdeen Board of Education to finally take the necessary steps to bring leadership to our school district. This board has allowed Klavon and his excuses to embarrass our community for far too long. This board rehired Klavon with a dismal record of financial leadership, poor test scores, and now this insulting and ignorant statement toward the students and families of the Cliffwood Elementary School. It is inexcusable and calls for only one solution, that Klavon resign — immediately.

Joseph P. McAleer II is a resident of Aberdeen.