Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ridgewood parent involvement: the EARLY years

Live from the RHS HSA:
At tonight's meeting of the RHS HSA, incoming president Rola Baddoura just told a great story from Ridgewood's past.

In 1894, when the town decided to build a central school, there were two options under consideration by the three-member (three-MAN) board of education: an all-wood building for $35,000 or a brick building for $47,000. The board decided on the wood option, and a special meeting of voters approved the money-saving plan.

When the women of the town (who, by the way, did not have the right to vote) found out what the men had decided, they were outraged. How could their husbands agree to build a fire-prone wooden school, endangering their children? The mothers wanted the safer brick school. They organized, they argued and they made their case -- until the school board called a special meeting and the voters authorized the brick building. The brick school was built, and today is the Ed Center at Cottage Place. (An interesting footnote, after this victory, the women tried to get the voters to allow women to vote in school elections only. Not sure if that was successful.

(Another footnote, according to the Celebrating a Centennial history of Ridgewood): the controversy was enough to cause some of the outlying residents to withdraw from Ridgewood, rather than send their children all the way to the Beech Street school. Apparently this is why the southern boundary of Ridgewood is irregular.)

Rola described the brick school story as an early example of Ridgewood's tradition of parent involvement!

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