April 15, 2024
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Miriam Weg Runs for Clifton BOE

Miriam Weg believes the road to success for Clifton students is through the ever-expanding world of technology and the local school district needs to focus its attention on the skills of the future. An engineering manager, she is one of eight candidates seeking three seats on the Clifton Board of Education in the November 8 election.

“My platform that I am running on is technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education,” said Weg. “I’m in engineering management but my background is as a developer of technology, which is always changing, so the more that younger children are introduced to it the more it benefits all children across the board. That is my perspective and why I think my background is important.”

She formerly was a mentor with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to close the gender gap in technology by increasing the number of young women entering the computer programming field.

Weg noted that she is running as a concerned community member even though her own children attend Yeshiva Bais Hillel in Passaic, and dismisses the argument that because her children go to private school she shouldn’t have a say in the public education system. “Honestly, why can’t people get past that?” she asked. “It’s just crazy. I live in the community and want to have a strong education system and safer streets. We are fortunate we do have a strong system that’s very inclusive and open, and that is something I want to enhance.”

Weg said as current technologies become outdated almost as soon as they are released, she could be an invaluable resource for the board and district on STEM curriculum because “I understand the science and what skills this new tool has to help our children develop.” She also believes she may be able to save the district money by in certain instances, suggesting less-expensive technology that would work just as well in teaching students.

In addition to her technological knowledge, Weg believes she can assist in finding more creative ways of accessing funding for security and STEM applications and in enhancing communication with parents. She cited the communication problem surrounding the state’s new revised sex education program, which requires certain things be taught but allows each district to set its own curriculum, and lets parents to opt out by writing a note to their child’s school principal if it conflicts with their conscience or “sincerely held” religious beliefs.

“Basic hygiene is part of sex education,” she said. “I think people are nervous about it, but I think it was done very well. I just think there’s a lot of concern about what it means. One side thinks it’s grooming children to be gay and the other side doesn’t think it goes far enough. There is a lot of confusion about what this does but from what I’ve seen there has been a very well thought out process on this and it seems to have been taken very seriously.”

Weg said although sex education has been taught in the school system for years, it has now been formalized, and although some parts are a little vague, overall she finds it age-appropriate and doesn’t push the LGBTQ agenda either way.

A first step in shoring up security besides finding creative ways of funding is to figure out police response time even as the district moves to hire more security guards, she noted, adding: “Even if we have security guards we need a holistic action response plan including teachers, staff, guards and students, and we need to have a realistic time frame for backup. My understanding is that not all schools have a security guard and that parents are concerned about security. They are saying they don’t feel their children are safe.”

Weg also said she is not making the controversy surrounding statements by Palestinian-American board members Ferris Awaad and Fahim K. Abedrabbo at a May 2021 virtual meeting accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and apartheid a primary focus of her campaign. The statements had sparked two-and-a-half hours of heated public comment, largely on the Middle East situation, at an August 2021 meeting by members of the public on both sides of the matter. The state School Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against the pair, which is being challenged by the Zionist Organization of America in the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court.

Neither Awaad nor Abedrabbo are up for reelection.

Weg said she has received some “harsh responses” from people who question her motives for running because her children attend private school and she hopes “to bridge the gap” and show those people that those outside the school system want to be inclusive and are concerned about the welfare of the community at large.

“I don’t think these responses come from a place of maliciousness, but rather ignorance and misunderstanding,” she added.

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