Categories: Asbury ParkNews

Play (Foot)Ball! Or, Miracle in Asbury Park

Last Friday Asbury Park Superintendent Rashawn Adams announced the varsity football team, the Blue Bishops, would forfeit their first game against Weequahic High School because only 8 players were eligible to play; NJSIAA rules say students must be up to date on coursework and credit completion.

Miraculously, the Blue Bishops will play Keyport High School at 6 pm today. Superintendent Rashawn Adams attributed the forfeiture last week to a paperwork mix-up and a “breakdown in communication,” telling the Asbury Park Press, “I wish that the channels of rectifying it in terms of the gatekeeping or making sure of the checks and balances, there is a bunch of that that is the breakdown.”

In other words, 10 football players (18 are eligible to play today) were eligible all along! How is that possible?

It’s not.

This is an email sent at the end of last May from Kristie Howard, the interim high school principal and Director of Student Services, to all high school staff:

Howard explains she is creating “Day Zero” on June 13th, the deadline for students to make up any missed work to receive full credit for coursework. She followed up with a second email the following week, urging teachers to accomodate all students, including retaking tests and quizzes, in order to “provide them with hope and a plan to pass your class.” Pass those kids, dammit!

So 64 Floor.

In other words, students were given enormous leeway to pass classes and administrators were paying close attention to the credits earned by each student. Since school ended June 23d (10 days after Day Zero) and summer school ended almost a month ago, Adams and his team were —or should have been–well aware of student status in regards to credit completion for competitive sports. Several sources say “Adams made a deal” to ensure students’ eligibllity “because if this was any other school these students would not be participating this quicklly if at all.”

Adams’ action is not an anomoly; that irregularity occurred last week when the students weren’t allowed to play. This, after all, is the school district that invented the 64 Floor, a scheme instituted by then-superintendent Lamont Repollet who mandated that no student ever gets a grade lower than 64. (See here for how this works.) When Gov. Phil Murphy chose Repollet as his Education Commissioner in 2018, the 64 Floor’s lowered standards and expectations for student learning went statewide. But, hey, it’s all for the kids!  As Repollet explained to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in May 2019, teachers “weaponize grades” because It’s “a power thing.” The only way to protect students from power-crazed teachers is to forbid them from failing anyone.

The mystery here is not why last week only 8 students were eligible to play football and now 18 are. The mystery is why anyone thought for even an instant that Asbury Park leaders would prioritize learning over image.

Bonus photo:

This photo of all district administrators was taken today while all schools were in session. This means that no building had administrator inside.


Laura Waters

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