Montclair Board of Education Issues Statement on Investigation

Assessments
Attorney Mark Tabakin an BoE President Kulwin

Barista Kids covered the Special Montclair Board of Education meeting on Friday, in which the Board passed a resolution to start an investigation on the breached assessments. Today, the district has just issued this statement about its authorization of attorney Mark Tabakin:

At a special public board meeting held Friday, November 1, the Montclair Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint attorney Mark Tabakin to conduct an investigation into the suspected unauthorized release of proprietary/confidential District assessments. The resolution also calls for Mr. Tabakin to investigate other incidents of conduct that may be contrary to the Board’s best interest, as may be disclosed by further investigation.

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-19 and 20, the Montclair Board of Education authorized Mr. Tabakin to issue subpoenas that require recipients to provide relevant documents or testimony. “The goal is to find out who was responsible for releasing the assessments. In addition, we will investigate who knew what and when they knew it as there may be conduct contrary to the Board’s best interest,” Mr. Tabakin said.

“District employees and others connected to this investigation should not destroy any emails or documents related to the investigation. That would be an obstruction of justice,” Mr. Tabakin continued. “As an officer of the court, I am legally and ethically bound to conduct an independent investigation and to turn over any findings of wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities. Those authorities may also step in before my investigation is complete and begin their own investigation.”

Board of Education President Robin Kulwin said “Mark Tabakin is the current general counsel for the Board. By asking our current counsel to conduct the investigation we can begin the investigation immediately.” Mrs. Kulwin continued, “As with any attorney we would hire, Mr. Tabakin reports solely to the Board and does not answer to any employee of the district. We have asked him to cast a wide net and to bring all evidence of wrong- doing, regardless of where it is found, to the Board’s attention.”

Dr. Penny MacCormack, Superintendent of Schools, said “Our teachers and Central Services staff worked long and hard this summer to develop assessments that will identify areas where students might need additional instruction. Leaking the assessments on the eve of their use is unfair to our students and to our teachers.”

MacCormack continued, “The assessments were password protected but of course we wanted them accessible to all of our teachers.  Their feedback was important in producing high quality assessments. We believed more restrictive security measures were unnecessary given our expectations about the professionalism and integrity of the staff.”

If the investigation concludes that any district employees released proprietary and confidential assessments without authorization, those persons could face disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Any district employees and any nonemployees found to be involved could also face criminal charges.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I have two questions about this news:

    1. Why did the BOE wait until now to launch this investigation? Why didn’t they launch it over a week ago, when the security breach was first discovered?

    2. Where exactly is the money coming from to pay for this investigation? In fact, where’s the money coming from to pay for all of the CQA related expenses (currently at $490K and counting)?

    In an examination of the current BOE budget, none of the line items that would logically cover the expenses are budgeted for such a significant outlay of funds:

    – Curriculum writing – department of instruction (2013/2014) – $46,000
    – High school curriculum writing (2013/2014) – $0
    – High school curriculum writing/small learning communities (2013/2014) – $0

    If the BOE didn’t find the $$$ to fund the CQAs from the above line items, does a specific one exist in the area of $490K+ that has anything to do with paying for:

    – Stipends for teachers to write the CQAs?
    – Curriculum coaches?
    – Scantron machines to process the CQAs?
    – Investigation fees to track down the perpetrator behind the breach of data and the leaking of tests?

    No. It’s nowhere to be found.

    So the big question here is WHERE DID THE BOE AND THE SUPERINTENDENT GET THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THE ABOVE?

    (BTW, calling all attorneys out there: do the residents/taxpayers of Montclair have a legal right to know this information?)

  2. You saw this coming when B-netkIds broke the story.

    And again, someone in town is realizing how dumb they are and how little this mattered.

    But the “wrongdoers” will take heart that a few will “support” them as whistleblowers. Just like a certain Principal who used to work in town.

  3. Adjunct profwilliams:

    What if there are no whistleblowers or wrongdoers? Imagine for a moment that it was a technical glitch – not incompetence (as I often argue), but a simple mistake. In your opinion, is that necessarily criminal? Should somebody be fired or disciplined? Who should ultimately be held responsible? Just think, if it turns out to be an unintended ‘leak,’ then someone in this town will realize just how…?

  4. It is bold to call something “proprietary” when it appears that large portions of at least two of the leaked tests were–according to the Newark Star Ledger–cribbed from a state website.

  5. I have never been apposed to assessments, but I really thought they were developed internally – not copied from the State’s website. Was the curriculum part of the project copied as well?

  6. @ jdmaccb, that’s INSTRUCTOR Williams to you!!

    As Obama has showed us, no one get’s fired over a “glitch.” But, as we’ve learned, it’s rarely a “glitch” and more like incompetence, ignorance and/or fear for “glitches” of these kinds.

    Here, me thinks “fear” will be found to be reason. And yes! I want the person found and will be disappointed if it’s something else. I’m in the screaming crowd, torch ready and I need something, someone, to direct my anger at.

    If a person isn’t found here, perhaps I’ll direct all this energy at Kraft for taking that beautiful orange dye out of its mac ‘n cheese.

  7. jdmaccb

    ” Imagine for a moment that it was a technical glitch”

    You cant possibly believe that, can you? There is no technical glitch that allows gobookee.org to have files uploaded to its site from the servers of MPS system. Sorry just not possible!

  8. What was stated in the postings over the weekend remains valid after this latest attempt by Superintendent MacCormack. the Board of Education and Mr. Tabakin to stir fear into this town and silence debate. Regarding the investigation, see https://baristanetnew.wpengine.com/2013/11/montclair-board-formally-begins-investigation-breach-assessments/

    Concerning the legal side of this announcement, N.J.S.A. 18A:6-19 and 20 have nothing to do with investigations (again, for which a BoE has no more power to initiate than do you or anyone else flying a broom). These two paragraphs concern “hearings” for contractual disputes between a NJ administrator and an employee (for example, between a school superintendent and a teacher). Since this investigation does not concern a contract dispute or contract controversy (and since no hearing is scheduled for such a dispute), these two paragraphs are not applicable. (In addition, these two paragraphs make no allowance for the delegation of authority to an outside person, including an attorney).

    So it may appear that President Kulwin and her friends are blowing hot air to stir fires under their witch’s brew or they have hired a really bad attorney (or both).

    What is interesting is that Superintendent MacCormack has determined that these tests were “leaked.” In this case there is at least a legitimate suspicion of criminal activity and she and the Board of Education members are under a legal obligation to file an official report with the police. If they have not done so by now (or a week ago) they may be considered to be in neglect of duty and also contributing to the obstruction of justice.

    The Montclair Education Association (MEA) would do well to provide strong legal advice to all its employees as soon as possible. Witch hunts are really dangerous: they often find witches to burn at the stake, whether or not you believe witches exist.

    @assessmentgate: Superintendent MacCormack stated on October 27th that “an investigation is underway.” She then told the news media, including the New York Times, that “a full legal investigation is underway.” She repeated this hours before the meeting on November 1st she mailed her (late) Straight from the Superintendent newsletter: “The unauthorized posting of the district’s planned first quarterly assessments onto a public website late last week required my time and attention and included the launching of a thorough investigation.” So a “full legal” and a “thorough” investigation was already underway. Where is the report?

    Keep in mind that when Superintendent MacCormack forced the resignation of Principal Miller, she also stated that an investigation was underway. Where is the report of that investigation?

    This “fear investigation” will serve for a long time to silence the community and distract attention for the real issues around the education of the school’s children.

    Is this the atmosphere the town wants for the education of its children?

  9. Principal Miller chose to shoot the gun off in his office. This lack of judgement was enough for him to need to be forced out. The fact that he didn’t report the incident to the police is just icing on the cake. IRB63. You continue to clutch at straws. You claim the BOE and MacCormack are on a witch hunt, but you’ve been on an anti-Broad witch hunt from the moment Penny MacCormack was hired by the BOE. I’m fairly certain that if Principal Miller was not terminated, you would point out MacCormack’s failure to not terminate him. Your agenda is overwhelmingly clear. Where were you when Alvarez made flub after flub. That’s right. Alvarez was a progressive. That doesn’t fit your playbook. When Alvarez spent $65,000 for a motivational speaker for 40 or so kids on the football team, where was your complaining? When Alvarez spent over a million dollars to move the baseball field a few feet. Where was your complaining? When Alvarez made claims of the closing of the achievement gap without any evidence to show for it. Where was your complaining? When MHS failed to pass AYP three years in a row, I don’t recall you calling for Alavarez’ head as if he was Satan reincarnate. You have the freedom to waste your time here. But those of us watching this debate can see right through you.

  10. @kyle41181 It is quite possible that gobookee.org gained access to the Central Services computers and uploaded the documents all electronically and without any human being being aware of it or doing anything at all.

    Central Services has posted documents to gobookee.org. For example, here is the newsletter of Superintendent MacCormack on the same website: https://www.gobookee.org/get_book.php?u=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5tb250Y2xhaXIuazEyLm5qLnVzL1dlYlBhZ2VGaWxlcy8yMTg1L1NUUkFJR0hUJTIwMm5kJTIwaXNzdWUlMjAlMjAxMCUyMDE0JTIwMTMucGRmCmF0IHRoZSBkaXN0cmljdOKAmXM=

    There are many many documents on the site from the Montclair schools, all of them most likely uploaded by Central Services. This is not a site a teacher, parent or student would use to upload a stolen test.

    Incompetence is still the leading theory on this “security breach.”

  11. Glenfield Dad–I can’t speak to the curriculum. I simply have no idea if it was lifted from the website or not.

    I think there are legitimate questions as to the nature of the claim that the assessments/curriculum were internally developed and teacher-generated. Some of these questions were raised in an earlier Baristanet article:

    https://baristanetnew.wpengine.com/2013/10/letter-to-the-editor-montclair-have-you-heard-the-remix/

    I have never been opposed to assessment either–provided it is done in a thoughtful manner, the tests are part of a general plan to motivate students and give them a path to success, and that the tests actually measure what it claims to be measuring. I have no confidence whatsoever that this is what’s happened here.

    The superintendent has made several contradictory statements as to the purpose of the assessment, which means it was not constructed with a clear goal in mind. It will undoubtedly measure *something*, but no one can say with any confidence what that something is.

    A test that has been constructed this way is also likely to be subject to having its results misinterpreted. There will be ascertainment bias. The data will be manipulated/cherry-picked to support preferred hypotheses. And I’m not saying this will be done with malicious intent, either. It’s something that happens when people don’t understand what they are assessing.

    In fact, I believe this is what happened in Hartford, CT–where test scored appeared to have risen significantly from an earlier test date to a later one. However, it was later revealed that the scores of a group of underperforming students were eliminated from the second test (I believe these students didn’t actually take the test the second time). Once these missing scores were adjusted for, the gains were found to be quite modest.

    Again, I don’t want to claim that there was a malicious/manipulative motive here. I have actually seen this exact mistake made elsewhere. It speaks more to the idea that no one in the CO actually knows how to design or administer an assessment–and that means we’re all just wasting our time and money with this one.

  12. Also, Prof Williams–regardless of what happens as a result of this investigation, please do direct your righteous anger at Kraft.

    I don’t want non-orange macaroni and cheese. It’s unAmerican!

  13. “I’m in the screaming crowd, torch ready and I need something, someone, to direct my anger at.” This is precisely what Superintendent MacCormack, the Board of Education and Mr. Tabakin wanted to create on Friday evening, the day after Halloween: a mob scene ready to lynch any scapegoat that could be found to cover ineptitude and incompetence. Send in the witches.

    @assessmentgate: your point #2 is correct. Superintendent MacCormack claimed recently that these assessments/tests cost “$400,000” to develop. When questioned during The Star Ledger’s investigation, after finding that it was nearly all (all in some cases) copy and paste, she claimed to have spent the money not on developing assessments but rather “$490,000” on curriculum development (to meet the assessments).

    So either we are talking about a half million dollars or a million dollars that appears to have been picked off the trees of Montclair taxpayers and then disappeared into thin air (or super expensive “consultants” and corporations) or . . . are we talking about anything real at all?

    @stu Just show us the report of Superintendent MacCormack’s investigation in the gun incident. (It also appears inappropriate for you to accuse Principal Miller of certain actions publicly outside of the report.)

    I never mentioned until last week anything regarding Superintendent MacCormack’s Broad connections. You should read that post before you suggest what you have. I have only judged Superintendent MacCormack on what she has said and done (and what she has not said and done). However, it does seem that those who raised concerns about the Broad connection were more perceptive than me. More on this later.

    Your concerns regarding Superintendent Alverez are in some ways (not all) legitimate. However, if you would stop and think about it, you would see that the same problem is repeating itself. The Board of Education refused to hold Mr. Alverez accountable and today he is enjoying a huge pension paid for by the good citizens of Montclair. This is precisely the problem many see continuing with very much the same Board of Education and a new superintendent: the superintendent is never (really never) held accountable. Things now go from bad to worse to much worse. And the problems are far deeper than just plagiarized tests.

    Your wonderful Superman vision that allows you to see through people might be better directed at looking through those who are responsible for the well running of the Montclair School District. Either that or you could try applying for a job with TSA for airport security.

    Join the mob if you want. If the crowd is mad enough it can always find a witch to burn. Is this a behavior you want a share in?

  14. I spoke with someone very familiar with gobookee.org. The website is nothing more than a scam operation that “acquires” documents, texts, books,forms, instructional manuals, and practically anything it can get its hands on. It then offers the documents for “free,” as long as you first provide your credit card information. Then they go ahead and charge the customer anyway–and in the meantime, your computer is compromised with malware, trojans, etc. The malware then uploads files on your hard drive without your knowledge–some of which are then offered “free” on gobookee. There are literally thousands of complaints on the web about this site. The scenario of someone in Montclair willingly downloading assessments to this website is ludicrous. That’s not how this website operates. For the life of me I can’t believe we are wasting so much time and money launching a criminal investigation.

  15. Yikes, complainerpuss, I had no idea! I’ve been on that site before looking for automotive electrical wiring diagrams and refrigerator repair manuals (don’t ask). (No I did not find any assessments.) Guess I’d better run a full virus scan as soon as I get home!

  16. idratherbeat63 ,

    ” It is quite possible that gobookee.org gained access to the Central Services computers and uploaded the documents all electronically and without any human being being aware of it or doing anything at all.”

    That would be illegal, unless they had express written permission. Doubt a non profit website has the capabilities and if they did our IT head should be fired immediately.

    I was referring to another posters preposterous idea of a “technical glitch”, not incompetence as you suggested. Incompentence is definitely a possibility. Someone had to login to that site and upload those documents. That trail is easily traced. Now that its criminal investigation the truth will come quickly. IP addresses from the upload location and the users registration/login info is all that’s needed.

  17. Gobookee isn’t a non-profit website.

    Also, when I googled “Gobookee,” my fifth hit was a story entitled “Attention Craft Industry! Gobookee is a website that is stealing downloadable content and then SELLING it on their website.” So, it does look like it posts illegally obtained material–material which the rightful owners did not upload.

    And Gobookee is apparently a hotbed of computer viruses–so maybe some of the districts’ computers have been infected with spyware that automatically uploads information. And yes, this is conjecture on my part–but those who say it must have been a disgruntled teacher/student/employee/parent are conjecturing too.

  18. “It is quite possible that gobookee.org gained access to the Central Services computers and uploaded the documents all electronically and without any human being being aware of it or doing anything at all.”

    Wow. That changes everything.

    If the gobookee MO is to scoop up any document that could be of value from any place it can access and then post those documents for sale then this certainly changes my perspective on the whole “theft” angle. If the website is not a place where people upload content to the site, but rather a place that takes what it wants from open or hacked sites, then there’s a possibility, rather a likelihood, that someone may have unknowingly allowed documents to be stolen via virus or trojan. And that person may well be a district employee.

    If there’s a lack of an actual theft that may also explain why we’re not seeing the authorities involved, at least not publicly.

    If this is the case then I’m concerned that the BOE-only investigation may not end up revealing the full details of how the leak occurred, as it may be a district employee who is responsible. It will be very hard for the Super and the Mayor, with their pronouncements about how despicable it was for someone with ulterior motives to leak the assessments, to turn around and admit that it wasn’t a leak after all, just human error.

  19. It remains mind boggling that the BOE (and now their attorney), Super and even the mayor will throw accusations around that this is theft, most likely an employee, blah blah blah…and they have not done their due diligence as to how gobookee.org in fact works.

    I can’t WAIT for it to come out that it was actually downloaded from a Central Office computer and that this “investigation” was a complete sham to begin with. Oh…and a complete sham that will cost us taxpayers a lot of money.

  20. @kyle41181 The “investigation” cooked up by the BoE is not a “criminal investigation.” The BoE has no mandate to launch a criminal investigation. Mr. Tabakin is a labor disputes and school board lawyer. He is not a criminal lawyer. Nor is he a lawyer specialized in cyber crime.

    This investigation may only become criminal if someone reports a crime to the police. Seeing that Superintendent MacCormack, the Board of Education and Mr. Tabakin have not done the right thing for a “leak” of valuable “proprietary” school property, no criminal investigation has been launched. You can be sure that if competent police do investigate, the first thing they will tell Mr. Tabakin is to stop his posturing and stop tampering with criminal evidence.

    That no crime has been reported to the police (and by the way kyle41181, you can report this just as anyone else) seems to indicate incompetence.

    @State Street Pete Superintendent MacCormack stated last week to the press that she was not going to improve security because of this leak. Above she states “We believed more restrictive security measures were unnecessary given our expectations about the professionalism and integrity of the staff.” Whatever the security breach, even if the tests were stolen, she has taken responsibility. If she fires someone in Central Services because the security was not secure enough, after publicly stating that she believed it was, she is again scapegoating someone else for her failures.

    Superintendent MacCormack has handled this appallingly. This is an enormous blunder affecting the children’s education and at least a half million dollars. Few people could possibly be deceived by this witch hunt.

    By the way, it may not have been illegal. If someone was anxious to show off to the world the wonderful transformation she was bringing about to the Montclair School District, and she was using (among other things) goobookee.com to show off her newsletters and other things, then she may have also given permission for other uploads. We don’t know.

    We also do not know if there was anything “proprietary” about those tests/assessments. We do know that the vast majority of them were copy and pasted from a public state government website. It may be that even before the Montclair assessment were made public that proprietary information in them had not been legally obtained or not appropriately referenced.

    From Mr. Tabakin’s investigation we will likely never learn what is needed to be learned. The report will only be made to the BoE and there is no promise to make that report public (not that there would be much of interest in it for reading).

  21. Something of a tangent here:

    Several commentors seem not just surprised but somewhat appalled by the fact that some questions on these quarterly assessments were copied from the state DOE website. That they were copied and pasted is not, these days, considered a bad idea or plagiarism; this is what the state and the Common Core advocate. Taking sample questions from the state website or the Common Core website itself is seen as a smart move in preparing students for the rigors of the upcoming PARCC assessments.

    The entire movement toward implementing the Core and increasing the number of high-stakes tests is aimed at diminishing the role of the teacher and implementing top-down, mandated curricula. Those who support the new Core standards and increased testing believe, essentially, that teachers are not to be trusted to write, implement, and assess curriculum on their own as trained professionals.

  22. Test Question #1: Answer this question by filling in the circle next to the number; remember not to make any stray marks on your pre-coded answer sheet
    HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE SECURE PASSWORD PROTECTED SITE, TEACHER PORTAL?
    1(0) 3(0) 5(0) 8(0) 10(0) more than 10(0) ALL OF THE ABOVE (0)
    Test Question #2: IF TEACHER A POSTS AN ASSESSMENT TO THE SECURE PASSWORD PROTECTED SITE, TEACHER PORTAL, AND ADMINISTRATOR B CHANGES 10 QUESTIONS ON TEACHER A’s ASSESSMENT (on secure password protected Teacher Portal), AND ADMINISTRATOR C CHANGES 15 DiIFFERENT QUESTIONS ON TEACHER A’s ASSESSMENT (on secure password protected Teacher Portal); WHAT KIND OF ASSESSMENT IS THIS.
    1 Teacher A made (0) 2 Central Service made (0). 3 Cut and Paste made (0). ALL OF THE ABOVE (0)

  23. Georgette,
    Can Baristakids investigate some of the questions brought up in the comments section?
    1. did the BoE report this crime to the police and if not, why not?
    2. can the BoE issue subponeas or not?

    It seems to me that there have been valid comments and questions posed here and regardless of where you stand regarding the BoE, it would be helpful to get some answers to these questions in the form of reporting and not comments.
    thanks!

  24. stu –

    witch hunts are about hysteria and lack of evidence… when people like myself were sounding the alarm from day one because of her broad connections, that’s not a witch hunt, it’s based on research and evidence re: the broad agenda and broad’s actions…is it passing judgement before she started? yes, perhaps. but was that baseless? no – it’s based on knowledge and research if you are well-versed in education policy…it’s like predicting what someone from fox news will stand for, or like hearing someone is a socialist (like me) and making educated guesses on where they stand on a variety of issues. most importantly, were we right? unfortunately, yes. we have seen dr. m and the BOE take all-too-predictable actions people like me (whom you call witch hunters) predicted with accuracy.

  25. “The resolution also calls for Mr. Tabakin to investigate other incidents of conduct that may be contrary to the Board’s best interest, as may be disclosed by further investigation.”

    and speaking of witch hunts, how about this disclosure…is there one target on the board generally known to not be in lockstep with The Plan?

  26. Questions, questions, questions.

    I have nothing but questions, questions which I never receive answers to. People should understand, I never stop, until my questions are answered. I have successfully sued the district because they have refused to answer, questions.

    The district, after a full week, has authorized board Attorney, Mark Tabakin to launch an investigation.

    Why did it take so long to authorize an investigation?

    If getting at the truth, quickly, was so important, why did MacCormack and Kulwin take time out from their busy schedules, to plan a side trip last Thursday to Washington, DC, to attend the swearing in of Senator Cory Booker?

    How many full time IT people work for the Mtc BOE? I count one. West Orange has nine. Perhaps the blame for the leaks is the result of under staffing in the IT dept.

    Are there others who do IT stuff for Montclair? Who is Alan Benerza who lives in Denver, CO? And what services does he provide to Montclair at a cost of $100,000?

    Is he a consultant, if so was a bid put out?

    And what about Sue Young, and what services does she provide for the BOE? Is she also a Web Site consultant?

    My concern is Transparency and honesty.

    Leadership-Leads.

  27. ““I’m in the screaming crowd, torch ready and I need something, someone, to direct my anger at.” This is precisely what Superintendent MacCormack, the Board of Education and Mr. Tabakin wanted to create”

    This is as silly as much of the other posting on this topic. If you want to see a screaming crowd, look to some of the audiences disrupting some of the BOE meetings. There, we don’t need to refer to metaphor or hyperbole.

    I hope that this incident was reported to the police, though local police departments are not generally well equipped to handle “cyber crime”. The FBI is, but they only get involved under certain conditions. I’m not sure whether or not these apply.

    There are companies that specialize in this type of investigation, but they are not cheap. This creates another no-win situation: spend money on the investigation and be accused of waste. Don’t spend money on the investigation and be accused of a cover up.

    As for Sue Young or Alan Benerza: I cannot speak to job description details, but I know of both these people (and have met one) just from attending BOE meetings. I mention this because it leaves me wondering whether questions are being asked to solicit answers or merely to contribute to the noise.

    …Andrew

  28. Andrew,
    No need to wonder why my questions are being asked, whether to solicit answers or merely to contribute to the noise.
    I never ask, just to ask. Actually everyone should be asking the same ? that I am asking. Who are these people, what do they do for the district. Each and every tax payer should be asking the same questions. After all, it’s your tax money too. Or do we look the other way, depending on who it is. Another question, does either or both of these individuals have, or have had access to our “secured” servers.

  29. Andrew,

    With all due respect, some of us asking questions have never raised our voices at a board meeting. When you dismiss everyone you don’t agree with based on the behavior of some people in some situations, you are not actually listening/participating in the conversation. It seems to me there is already enough of this going on with the schools. If you think the comments are silly, then please explain.

    Now, here are my questions for you. I am concerned that using an attorney to investigate the situation is not going to be any less expensive than hiring a cybertech firm. The difference is that the cybertech firm is much more likely to know what it is doing. Have I made a mistake here? Does Mr. Tabakin cost nothing? Does he know how to investigate cyber crime? If the investigation becomes as extensive as he indicated it might become, is he still free?

    I am concerned that the police have not been called because reporting crimes to the police is a logical first step toward getting *actual* subpoena power. Am I wrong, or does the school board really have the jurisdiction to issues subpoenas and search the computers of suspects (some of whom might be parents, students, or people outside of the Montclair community.)

    I am concerned that the tests were posted on Gobookee’s website not by malicious intent, but because the website uses “scraping malware” to upload and post protected information. The website does seem to have a history of posting information it has no legal right to post, as well as being a source for computer viruses. I would hope that this is something that was considered by the BOE, the mayor, and Mr. Tabakin before they began making threatening noises toward school employees, parents, and students. Is this silly? The FBI doesn’t seem to think so. Cyber crime involving data mining is increasingly an area of concern for them.

    Why is asking what Sue Young or Alan Benerza do for the district “contributing to the noise?” What does the fact you met them have to do with anything? I’m quite curious why the district is paying them too, not because I necessarily assume that something is wrong, but because I like to know how taxpayer dollars are being used. Is this silly of me?

  30. FYI: There is a district tech coordinator; each school has a tech coordinator; network/email coordinator; skyward coordinator; statistician/testing coordinator; the coordinators who service the servers; most if not all of these people can acceess teacher portal; skyward links to teacher portal as well as the township; servers are in all of the buildings as well as central service/office/support.
    And while we’re all looking over our shoulders for the Tabackin Cyber Swat Team, what are we letting fall to the wayside:
    The ongoing confusion regarding the assessments (grade no grade, percentage if graded, etc.)
    Is Dr. McCormack/BOE ever going to address the fact that when hired, Dr. McCormack lacked the proper NJ certification, and why she was even interviewed, and why there was no public vetting of finalists?
    Is BOE ever going to address lack of principal Evaluations by Dr. McCormack as required by law?
    Where the almost $500K spent on assessments came from, since it was not a budget line item?
    The lack of parental/family involvement with the assessments until damage control?
    What has happened to personal data collected from students in the first tripod survey, and why parents were not notified of survey and allowed to preview it as required by law?
    Inquiring Minds want to know while BOE is running around like the Queen of Hearts croquet party!

  31. Just how in the world do Superintendent MacCormack and Board of Education President Kulwin go together to Washington, DC, on Wednesday and Thursday last week, to watch a politician being sworn into office? What has that to do with education in Montclair? Why was Superintendent MacCormack, on her quarter of a million dollar salary, in DC during school hours?

    Who paid for these two trips?

    This is really the height of insult. And then to tell the town that her 1 and a half page newsletter was late because of an “investigation” that in fact hadn’t even started.

    Best friends out politicking. What a bunch of prima donnas when it comes to public responsibilities.

  32. @agideon How did you know that Mr. Tabakin was involved in the firing of Principal Miller? How did you receive this information?

  33. @montclairpublic “[anything] contrary to the Board’s best interest.” I spotted that too. Just too much BS flying around to hit with a broomstick. Glad you pointed it out.

    As if this is about “the Board’s best interest.” Where or where did the teachers and the children and the schools go to? And, please, do not even pretend that these things are anywhere near “the Board’s best interests.”

  34. it seems that the actions of the board are expressly prohibited by the same statute which they site for the subpoena..

    see 18A:3-30 Actions prohibited by institution of higher education.

    2.No public or private institution of higher education in this State shall:

    a.Require a student or applicant to provide or disclose any user name or password, or in any way provide access to, a personal account or service through an electronic communications device.

    b.In any way inquire as to whether a student or applicant has an account or profile on a social networking website.

    c.Prohibit a student or applicant from participating in activities sanctioned by the institution of higher education, or in any other way discriminate or retaliate against a student or applicant, as a result of the student or applicant refusing to provide or disclose any user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service through an electronic communications device as provided in subsection a. of this section.

    L.2012, c.75, s.2.