Earwitness News: Petrosino "Makes Waves"

Earwitnesses at the County tell GA that Mark Toback's letter to Christopher Cerf is making waves- but not for his views on the HoLa charter renewal.   What's getting a lot of attention is the role of Dr. Anthony Petrosino in Hoboken school-politics and his blog in leading a campaign against the Hoboken School District and the Kids First majority.

Earwitnesses tell GA that Dr. Petrosino's blog post, 'Attachment B' is raising eyebrows at the County and beyond.

Petrosino, is an Associate Professor and STEM Advisor at the University of Texas in Austin, and formerly worked in Hoboken as Assistant to the Superintendent Jack Raslowsky; Petrosino continued teaching in Austin while employed in Hoboken.  His contract was not renewed in 2009, and in 2010, Petrosino sued the Hoboken Board of Education for back-pay.  He lost.  Then the Hoboken Board of Education sued Petrosino for over-payment. They won a judgment of $3,200.

Needless to say, animosity between Petrosino and the Kids First School Board deepened and hardened. It seems to GA that for Petrosino, destroying Kids First has become an obsession.

After his dismissal from Hoboken, Petrosino's blog, The Hoboken Curriculum Project became Dr. Petrosino's Education Project, a bitterly partisan anti-Kids First political attack blog leaning heavily on the academic bona fides of Dr. Petrosino to lend its contents credibility and weight. Over time,  Petrosino's blog has been referenced repeatedly by partisan political operatives and opponents of Kids First, and many believe he blogged as Passkey on Hoboken Patch.

Petrosino has lent his name and credentials to what is essentially a Hoboken-centric propaganda blog every bit as partisan and tilted as Hoboken411 (minus the dwarf jokes). 

There is nothing wrong with being a political partisan and blogging about politics, if that's what Petrosino is- a political blogger.

But to present blatant distortions and misinformation under the guise of academic research and to use these distortions to bludgeon political opponents is in GA's view, dishonest, manipulative, and cheapens his actual academic works. 

Dr. Toback's impact statement to Christopher Cerf included a Petrosino blog post called "Statistical Analysis Shows Out of District Placements in Hoboken City Schools Under Kids First/Carter/Toback Leadership is Much Higher Than Years Before".  Toback called it a "political tool" and "unfortunate" because Petrosino excluded elementary 'data' in his academic analysis (which included bar graphs and mathematical calculations).  The inclusion of the data omitted by Petrosino would have undermined his politically-motivated narrative.

Here is what Toback told Cerf:

Petrosino's misleading bar graph:


Petrosino's faulty mathematical analysis:

looks impressive to the layman

Dr Petrosino's attack on "political group" Kids First

One could drive a truck through the holes in Petrosino's claims Kids First have "overseen an unprecedented decline in the quality of education objectively measured by the State of New Jersey and the Federal Government) as well as an increase in district costs from $59.1 million to $64 million".  One can also see the genesis of ALL political operative talking points on Hoboken blogs as originating from the partisan political writings of Dr. Petrosino.

So GA suggests that Petrosino call it what it is, drop the high falutin' bar graphs and mathematical analyses.  Petrosino is a political operative working against Kids First; he is fully engaged 'in the game'.

So what's in it for him? Is he coming back to Hoboken?

According to his 2010 deposition in his lawsuit against the Hoboken Board of Education Petrosino has one foot in Texas and the other in Hoboken:

In any case, it looks like the political machinations of Dr. Petrosino are attracting attention outside of Hoboken.

And that may be the lasting impact of the Toback letter.


  1. Petrosino isn't just a former Kids First basher and someone who is just promoting same on his little website.

    He's also listed on the Board of Education - for HoLA!

    So, there's that. Wherever Raia goes, Petro is sure to follow.

  2. small correction, let's not give him a title which he did not EARN, he was not the Assistant Superintendent...he was the Assistant TO THE Superintendent, because he did not have certification so we (as in Hoboken) had to pay for a mentor.

  3. Let's find out if Petrosino billed the university in Texas for the same time he billed the Hoboken Board of Ed. That would be theft of services and subject to criminal prosecution.

    1. Not only did Petrosino bill the UoT and the Hoboken BoE, he also had a large research grant from the National Science Foundation, which likely involved compensation for his time spent on that research work.

      He most certainly is a very efficient worker, handling 3 jobs simultaneously!

  4. When did he leave Hoboken Bd? I wonder how many total articles he has posted on his "education" blog since then and how many were actually really politically motivated posts. Is there an app for that :)

  5. So he lives, works, banks and issues his driving license in Texas but VOTES in Hoboken??

    1. Yup. And stumbled over the question about whether he reported his Texas income to the State of New Jersey.

    2. Maybe a little note to the IRS is in order. Ya know with a link to this site for backup.

  6. Petrropupie seems to be looking build an annuity in Hoboken.

  7. Can you post where he says that he did not tell his University that he had taken another job...? Pretty please?

    1. as a Hoboken resident, I really do not care if University of Texas knew, I care about the then school board hiring someone that they know had another job when the community deserved someone who was giving this job their full attention. You can make a case that initially the board did not know, but Jack Raslowsky is his good friend so as superintendent he certainly knew when he was recommending him to the board. I am sorry it is disgraceful and embarrassing. I just want him to go away and never come back so that parent groups are not fighting. the state has created a system that pits Charter parents against Main district parents and it is really sad. This cannot be the reality that was the original intention. PLEASE parents recognize that.

    2. The pitting of parents against each other was the exact intent of the charter school movement.

      NJ and Hoboken is one of the few states that have organic charter schools. Most states have for profit charter school organizations running their charter school.

      The pitting of parents is what needs to happen for a take over. Divide and conquer. Parents working together can pretty much be a force not to be reckoned with. People who want to make billions off the taxpayers can't fight a cohesive parent group. This process was absolutely done for the exact reason you see. Charter's are smaller schools that break off from a larger school. the fractioning continues to weaken the cohesion, and minimize the effect each faction has.

      "In war, the ultimate successful strategy utilized always centers on the strategy of “Divide and Conquer.” It goes without saying; spreading the enemy thin keeps them on the defensive"

      Thus, the state of America during these troubling times in our history.

    3. Anon @ 6:44 AM,

      Reform (Kids First) did not have control of the board until the 2009-2010 school year and were powerless to discontinue the Dark Side patronage mill that the BoE was under Raslowsky and (get ready) Frank Raia and Carmelo Garcia. I have written extensively about the findings of a state audit in the years 2005-2006 when Raia was BoE President and Garcia was VP. They treated education funds like cookies in a cookie jar. Cell phones ($48K), trips for friends to Atlantic City, steak dinners, 1,050 employees on the payroll- most without basic identifying information (names, addresses, position held, site where they work, etc.)... the list goes on and on. And it's shocking stuff.

      2005-2006 audit: http://www.state.nj.us/education/finance/kw/Hoboken.pdf

      These people allowed public schools to deteriorate and continue to work aggressively against strong public education because they want a transient population, uninvolved public school parents, and control of the schools. Guess what? Kids First are Reform pioneers to clean up and make our schools great. Their first act in 2009 was to clean out hacks, hire new professionals and do an audit- then PRESENT the audit to the PUBLIC at a BoE meeting. Never done before.

      Guess what happened at the meeting? BoE videographer Patrick Ricciardi LEFT THE LENS CAP ON during the audit and test score presentations. The same Patrick Ricciardi that diverted the mayor's email into an 'Archive' folder on his hard drive.

      Sadly, the HoLA parents are people who are simply trying to do the best for their precious children. They have unwittingly become pawns of a political war on public education. Petrosino is a political operative and it seems, the key strategist providing talking points for Hoboken-based political operatives.

      This is not news. It's been going on since Petrosino's contract was not renewed in 2009, and he lost his lawsuit, then lost the counter-suit by the BoE.

      GA is a public school parent and I believe all the kids in Hoboken are terrific, and we parents do what we think is best for them.

  8. HoLa, is after all, a dual language school: the one that's spoken, and the one that is not heard. Ninguna ciencia, en cuanto a ciencia, engaña, el engaño está en quien no la sabe.

  9. I'd say Anthony Petrosino has some explaining to do.

    I think the University of TX needs to investigate him. I also think that the Hoboken Board of Education should file ethic charges against him, after all he is an appointed Hola Board Member. He has publicly spewed vicious lies and erroneous facts about the very school he worked for years prior. He is a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for bilking the Hoboken Board of Education. He sued the district, LOST and the district countered and WON, and he was made to pay back the money he stole.

    This is his bogus public blog that HoLa Parents and advisors take as gospel. Wake up he is a hack. hobokencurriculumproject.blogspot.com

    1. Sounds like all of the attributes a school board would hope for.

      Good job Hola

  10. Wow! Hola should take measures to ask this crook to step down. Aren't they in enough trouble? The scores are horrible. Is it because Anthony Petrosino is on the advisory council handling curriculum? My, this school is wrought with a bevy full of Hoboken Playa's.

    1. I do not think their scores are horrible. But I do think this person should not be on their advisory board for all the other reasons.

    2. HoLa's scores are amazing. What are you talking about? 3rd grade, 89% of HoLa students passed Language Arts, compared with 66% of students statewide, and 61% of the students in their District Factor Group. Similarly, 98% of HoLa students passed Math (52% scoring Advanced Proficient), compared with 78% of students statewide, and 74% of the students in their District Factor Group.

      For 4th grade, 70% of HoLa students passed Language Arts, compared with 59% of students statewide, and 49% of students in their District Factor Group. 83% of HoLa students passed Math (48% scoring Advanced Proficient), compared with 78% of students statewide and 68% of students in their District Factor Group. 96% of HoLa students passed Science (78% Advanced Proficient), compared with 44% of students statewide, and 33% of students in their District Factor Group.

      And the NJPASS scores for last year's 2nd graders were even better.

  11. Such a sad little man. Such a weird desperate act. He seems to have a some good things going on smart, educated, not unattractive, good job, some accolades. He needs some kind of intervention. The warped obsession will rot him out. Move on buddy you look ridiuclous.

    1. 4 years later he is still obsessed with the mommies.

      Awww! is wittew antony still upset that he and his scam were exposed and he lost his high paid postion while he lived in Texas. Awww no worries--you sure are showing those mommies!

      keep at wittew boy. They ain't laughin at your obsession. You are a big man. You show them moms. You've got doctorate! how dare those mommies run you out out of that no show job. Keep obsessing- no one notices. Its only been 4 or five years since you've been gone from there.

  12. Check out Murray's facebook and his BS Now facebook, 90% of his info was supplied by Petrocino but then Petrocino's buddy and Bd mate Raia ran a ticket against Murray for the BOE. Trouble in paradise or hedging their bets? Heard Murray came out hard for Hola on Tuesday.

    Boy, they know how to pick'em.

    1. Still trying to find out what Bowel Movements motives are? His Homies are Carmelo, Oland and Branco but going to this extreme is very odd behavior. His kids in the district so this doesn't add up. He must suffer from some serious mental disorder. The anger issues aside, he is really being viewed as unstable.

    2. Most of the HoLa parents are just parents that have their kid in a school that they love that are being manipulated by this situation. Ms. Jen Sargent will step up and stop this. Dr. Mark Toback is a fair honest man and when they sit down together they will find an understanding. Ms Sargent will explain it to her parents and ask them to accept it and Dr Toback will explain it to his board and tell them he wants their support. Maybe they can even plan a healing event between the two schools.

  13. Murray strikes me as fairly bitter, especially right now when he just lost the election so badly. Maybe he's lashing out at the people who beat him, like a child having a tantrum.

    Not sure how money comes into this, but given the people backing hola, it must.

    1. to the cronies, it's another job factory, replete with full pensions. If you can't suck every dime out of the city, the boards and the council go for the next best thing. Hola better watch out. If true, that Jen stepped down from the board to become director (illegal) then there is an ope board seat. Hola better make sure they know who they are putting in that seat. Giving the Raia Petrosino group majority will financially swallow their school.

      Hola be warned: It's akin to the mafia movies, you owe a debt, they move in and take over. All their buddies get hired, regardless of qualification and budget.After a while; Vacations and Steak dinners galore all while the kids will sit in schools that begin to deteriorate, reading decades old text books.

      head the warning Hola, There are lots of vultures in the nest and they are circling their unsuspecting prey.

    2. It was always maintained that those "HoLar" gals would OWE a DEBT to the old guard. They were warned but Jen Sargent and the other woman that moved were much too innocent to the generosity that was being bestowed in the guise of evil doings.

      Wake up "HoLar Gal!" Can you even get rid of Anthony Petrosino or are you too beholden to them to even do this much?

      Please do something. Start distancing yourselves from certain factions. As it stands you are going to have an uphill battle on your hands from now on as there is going to be a public backlash coming in the near future.

  14. Petrosino's webpage on the UT Austin website hasn't been updated in years it seems. Also seems he had a 'no show' job in Hoboken or was a consultant paid as a regular hire, given that he was supposedly teaching in Texas at the same time

  15. The National Charter Movement:

    Does this sound familiar?

    Elements of divide and conquer technique involve:
    creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign
    aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign
    fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers
    encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for political and military spending
    Historically, this strategy was used in many different ways by empires seeking to expand their territories.

    Has anyone noticed the onslaught of public education in the US?

    Did you know:

    The US is top ranked when compared in the aggregate (like populations)
    NJ Public school are ranked #2 in the Nation.

    Now consider this.

    Charter schools were able to gain a strong hold in communities of poverty (as was originally intended, due to the financial weakness and lack of organized cohesiveness to "fight back"). Knowing full well that the effects of poverty are the number one factor standing in the way of high test scores, the charter movement pointed to the low test scores in poor communities and suggested charters as an alternative. Foot in the door -eventual take over of these communities- netting billions for the for and non-profit charter corporations and the bonus? All paid with guaranteed taxpayer money.and most with pensioned positions. Well, as is human nature greed took over. The corporations only has a fraction (urban areas) of the total school population.

    Hmmm- the suburbs!!! Let's expand.

    Well, suburbs have a cohesive set of parents who easily organize, have wealth and have HIGH TEST SCORES. Push back was enormous! Charter movement took a back seat and tried to regroup.

    How did we get into the urban areas? TEST SCORES! We undermined the publics faith in their districts and teachers, which was easy when we pointed to test scores.

    Well, got some bad news for those suburban districts ,cause- guess what...NJ and some 46 other states signed onto the Common Core curriculum standards (Common core curriculum, of course, was funded by charter school corporate money) and Parcc TESTING (follow the money people :).

    A whole new way to test kids. And guess what suburban parents and children- This new test shows that Your children are FAILING! 70% of them!! And all along you thought your kids were getting a good education- tsk tsk tsk.

    And who's fault is that? Your teachers and the public schools, Suburban parents you need to find a better solution to the public schools you use now. We've got the solution! Ever hear of something called Charter Schools.

    The US is top ranked when compared in the aggregate (like populations)
    NJ Public school are ranked #2 in the Nation.

    This should be a WAKE UP call.

  16. Anon at 10:05 A.M.

    Well stated!

  17. Still interested?

    Okay, let's delve further.

    How are we going to sell this when it is unproven and how are we going to ensure that we can do better? For this thing to work, we have to make it appealing and somehow deal with the fact that horrendous effects of poverty have detrimental effects on test scores. It's the small fraction of families in poverty that are able to overcome these effects.

    what to do? what to do!!!

    Okay- here's the set up!!

    Humans are greedy by nature. They like a deal like the rest of us. Especially those working people paying those high taxes. Got it! we say we can do the same or better but at a cheaper price!! Not much cheaper, cause you know- we gotta make money. BUt hey a discount is a discount, right? Ok- let's say 90%..lets try that!

    But 90% wont's cover the costs of special needs students. This will be impossible. The charter won't be able to afford the special needs costs and will make the budgets look enormous, given our small student population.

    Got it! The district pays the costs for any special needs student.

    But what about those handicapped students who are profoundly handicapped? How do we educate them? Charter schools must be small (to avoid cohesiveness and organization) we won't have the resources to accomodate them.

    Got it! We place a guidline that says the charter school will be based on the "program" (charter) for the school! If the school cannot meet the needs of the student based on the charter school's "programming", they can go to the home district school.


    But how do we get charter to be successful? We can't fix the issues related to poverty. hmmmm...Anybody?

    Got it!- Parents must apply to be in a charter! This will guarantee we get ONLY the most interested parents! Gives us a leg up!

    That's a good start BUT NCLB includes handicapped student scores. Our charter schools will be small and handicapped students have to perform 2 years below grade level to be classified. Their scores will pull our scores down. hmmm....

    No worries!! We already fixed that with the charter guidelines we created; charter schools have to educate all children according to their charter!

    Perfect, let's start there and roll it out. See what happens. We are looking good.

    Hold on there buddy!

    What IF this plan doesnt pan out? what if the scores aren't as good and we can't do this for less. What if we get someone who wants proof?

    No worries! We got this!Did you forget all those donations to our elected officials? We start in the friendly areas. Place our people in the districts who provide oversight and place legislators in the Senate/assemblies. They vote to change laws to make sure we can't be stopped. See any names you know? Hint- NJ commissioner of education....(http://www.broadcenter.org/network/profiles/category/alumni/P24 ) . This link is a who's who in education and law.

    Well, there's lots more but I'll leave you to ponder these tidbits for now.

  18. Just one more thing, for today-

    For the past 3 years,The state Assembly Education Committee is working on a NEW (and as they sell it-IMPROVED) charter school law: Some major initiatives:

    • a provision for multiple authorizers --NO LOCAL APPROVAL
    • accountability balanced with true autonomy -NO OVERSIGHT, NO REQUIREMENTS
    • access to facilities and facilities funding - FREE FACILITIES at taxpayer expense.


    Taxation without representation has been allayed as the state dictated the requirements and oversight. NOW they are asking for NO state oversight (FULL AUTOMY -read no state dictated testing required, as well as a slew of other OVERSIGHT ISSUES). AKA- Full taxation without representation.

    Billionaires have lots of cash to hire lots of people to make lots of important decisions that impacts lots of people.

  19. https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Charter-schools-pose-greatest-credit-challenge-to-school-districts--PR_284505

    Charter schools can pull students and revenues away from districts faster than the districts can reduce their costs, says Moody's. As some of these districts trim costs to balance out declining revenues, cuts in programs and services will further drive students to seek alternative institutions including charter schools.

    Many older, urban areas that have experienced population and tax base losses, creating stress for their local school districts, have also been areas where charter schools have proliferated, says Moody's. Among the cities where over a fifth of the students are enrolled in charter schools are Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Nationwide about one in 20 students is in a charter school.

    One of the four risk factors Moody's identifies as making a school district vulnerable to charter school growth is that the school district is already financially pressured and grappling with weak demographics.

    A second factor is having a limited ability to adjust operations in response to a loss of enrolment to charter schools.

    "Shifts in student enrollment from district schools to charters, while resulting in a transfer of a portion of district revenues to charter schools, do not typically result in a full shift of operating costs away from district public schools," says Moody's Tiphany Lee-Allen, the Moody's Associate Analyst who co-authored the report. "Districts may face institutional barriers to cutting staff levels, capital footprints and benefit costs over the short term given the intricacies of collective bargaining contracts - leaving them with underutilized buildings and ongoing growth in personnel costs."

    A third risk factor for a school district is being in a state with a statutory framework promoting a high degree of educational choice and has a relatively liberal approval process for new charters and few limits on their growth, as well as generous funding.

    For example in Michigan, the statutory framework emphasizes educational choice, and there are multiple charter authorizers to help promote charter school growth. In Michigan, Detroit Public Schools (B2 negative), Clintondale Community Schools (Ba3 negative), Mount Clemens Community School District (Ba3 negative) and Ypsilanti School District (Ba3) have all experienced significant fiscal strain related to charter enrollment growth, which has also been a contributing factor to their speculative grade status.

  20. Great posts!

    And it makes sense of why the state goes after homeschoolers but not charter schools, even though charter schools hurt the local BOEs much more.

    IMO we need a lot more transparency with these charters.


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