Bayonne Board of Education candidate Gina Irizarry, seeking a two-year term, spoke to Hudson County View about the need to restructure board members hiring practices, teachers’ contracts and the special needs programs.
Irizarry, an English teacher at St. Kenmare High School in Jersey City and whose children attended schools in the Bayonne district, pointed out what she views as the decline of the standard of Bayonne education for the last year.
“Bayonne has been on the lower end of the scale for a number of years,” said Irizarry, “the school report card, you will see that Bayonne has been on the lower end of the scale quite a number of years.”
It has been 35 years since the Bayonne BOE has held elections and part of Irizarry’s motivation to run is because she believes that there is a need for “some fresh new ideas, some new voices and some educators on the board.”
In addition, Irizarry stated that there is need for fair hiring practices.
“I just don’t know if we are always making the right choices as far as our children are concern. “
Irizarry has taught in Bayonne schools, holds a Master Degree in Education, as well as a New Jersey Teaching Certification, so becoming a board member with this insight will be valuable to the board members that have no real hands on experience within the walls of the schools themselves.
As a teacher, she uses the high school’s Common Core standards in her classrooms: “I love them because they help me facilitate the teaching, they help formulate my lessons,” she said.
But as far as PARCC is concerned, she admitted that she noticed that parents have increasingly chosen for their kids to opt out of the test.
“Seeing that so many citizens that are anti-PARCC and not sending their children in for the test, I couldn’t say that’s it going to be a very positive experience at this point.”
When asked her thoughts on the teachers’ contract that was settled last fall, Irizarry criticized the negotiations for the teachers’ contracts regarding the 16-step program.
During teacher contract negotiations, “there is a bargaining where you are adding another step. Step 14 has now three components to it: I think that’s unacceptable and I would really like the board to address it.”
If elected, Irizarry also discussed her plans to address the heavily underfunded district and improvements for the special needs programs.