April 21, 2024
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David Gruber Returns to Bid for Teaneck BOE

David Gruber

David Gruber has been invested in his community for a long time. Following a prestigious public service fellowship back in 1990, Gruber has been seeking ways to channel his passions and take on new challenges, including a five-year stint as a trustee on the Teaneck Board of Education from 2013 to 2018. Last year, Gruber returned from his four-year hiatus to bid for reelection, and now, he remains steadfast in his plans for the Teaneck school system as he campaigns again this year in the hopes of earning a seat on the board.

When Gruber spoke with The Jewish Link last year, he explained that education is the basis for success, and that his own public education afforded him the career path he took. “Education is what drives future success,” he shared. “A proper education can really open the door to progress and opportunities.”

Gruber echoed the same sentiments when speaking with The Jewish Link this year about his bid for reelection. “I still believe in the American Dream; education can take you so far. It’s exceedingly important for people to have basic skills when they head to college … but unfortunately, that’s not occurring.”

Referencing the performance of Teaneck schools specifically, Gruber said that there is a significant achievement gap—which also does not reflect the soaring amount that the system spends on each student. “My guess is that there is a distribution of performance between the high achievers and the exceedingly low achievers. But the resources are not being allocated appropriately to foster high achievement for the gifted students, nor for remediation for the underperforming students. Our investment in the students is not being optimized.”

So what’s really changed for Gruber in the past year? The addition of running mates to his slate: Dr. Gerald Kirshenbaum and James Wolff. The three candidates are focusing on “educational excellence,” as Gruber noted, in which the quality of education should reflect the amount that Teaneck is investing in its students.

Gruber said that their campaign has three components: education, value and accountability.

“Two years ago, there were extended school closures for COVID, which had a significant negative impact on student performance,” he explained. “At the same time, the budget has increased by 9%. We need an explanation as to why this occurred, and why students continue to underperform when our costs are so high.”

Additionally, Gruber has a specific goal: to ensure that Teaneck’s superintendent gets the job done. “[Previous superintendent] Christopher Irving was unqualified for the job, and he was eventually fired. Our new superintendent, Dr. Spencer, has the qualifications, but we have to wait and see how he does. I hope he addresses these issues strategically.”

Gruber continued that the superintendent would need to address the school system’s issues by first identifying the underperforming student population, and then assess what has worked in the past and what has not. He also noted that he would want to see a superintendent that demonstrates “a little fiscal responsibility,” and allocates the budget appropriately. Finally, Gruber emphasized that the superintendent should increase parental engagement, which he believes is a “critical success factor for student performance.”

Overall, Gruber feels strongly that Teaneck’s taxpayers need representation on the Board of Education. “This is not just about the children … this is about everyone in the community. The taxpayers are stakeholders in the school board. We need to campaign hard to engage the community so that we can change things for the better.”

Read more of David Gruber’s platform in his recent piece for The Jewish Link, “Strengthening the Teaneck School System Requires Change,” published August 31. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

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