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Sunday, January 26, 2020

DeSantis's new "Be BEST" standards are going to make one group really happy, the testing companies.

From the, I can't believe how stupid this is file.

I think most of us can agree that high stakes tests are both expensive and have limited value, well the governor doubles down on both of those with his new standards. 

Image

So all kids have to take the test, which we will pay for, but they don't have to make any particular score,  but we will use that score to evaluate schools and teachers. Um how does that make any sense?

Then friends, the SAT and ACT? Many colleges are Phasing them out.  

From PBS.org:

One in four institutions no longer requires these tests for admission, for example, Nietzel said. Combined with tutoring that wealthy families can afford, extra time their kids are more likely to get than lower-income classmates and downright cheating, he said, “they’ve lost their luster as a common yardstick.”

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/record-number-of-colleges-stop-requiring-the-sat-and-act-amid-questions-of-fairness

Then for years people have known the real thing Florida's tests measures is the socioeconomic status of our students, and nothing will change by using the SATs as our test. The schools that did great will still do great, and the schools, the ones in neighborhoods wracked with poverty will still struggle.

From CNBC.com:

  Researchers have repeatedly found that wealthy students enjoy significant advantages throughout the college application process, and that income greatly impacts a student’s performance on standardized tests. In a 2013 paper titled, “Race, Poverty and SAT Scores,” researchers Ezekiel J. Dixon-Roman from the University of Pennsylvania and John J. Mcardle from the University of Southern California found that wealthy students earn higher SAT scores compared to their low-income peers and that the difference in SAT scores between high- and low-income students was twice as large among black students compared to white students.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/03/rich-students-get-better-sat-scores-heres-why.html

Friends, why can't we give a pre test at the beginning of the year to see what kids need, share it with the schools so they can use it, and then a post test at the end to see if they got it? You know what they are supposed to be used for?

DeSantis has offered nothing but more of the same, which means we will get more of the same.  

He's not a hero hes a villain.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

For this being the year of the teacher, Tallahassee sure seems to be coming after teachers a lot (draft)

The latest attack on teachers is on their representatives, their unions and it's about as bad as they come.

From the FEA website, 


HB 1, sponsored by James Grant, is the latest legislative attempt to attack labor unions in Florida. The bill would require union membership to be an annual membership with each member having to sign up each year.

The bill would further require each local membership form be updated to include information to “inform” members of their rights not to join the union in 14-point bold font.
For a right to work state, where nobody has to be in the union, they sure come after unions a lot.
From Florida Politics:
The Hillsborough County Classroom Teacher’s Association is speaking out against a measure in the Florida House its believes is meant to cripple public labor unions.
Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins is the executive director for the Hillsborough teacher’s union. She described the latest “union busting” legislation as a clear indication certain lawmakers are targeting teacher’s unions.
“This state has shown very clearly over time that it is very intent on privatizing the public school system,” Baxter-Jenkins said. “One of the few voices that fights against it is the [Florida Education Association,] which I believe is the largest union in the state of Florida. If you cripple the FEA it allows us to have less voice and less power in other means and I think it’s very clear that they would like to see that happen.”
At issue is a bill (HB 1) sponsored by Rep. Jamie Grant that would require public unions including teacher, police and fire unions, to collect signed authorization forms from employees indicating their desire to join the union and pay the required dues.
The bill would also require unions to cancel membership and stop collecting dues from employees who turn in written requests to sever their membership.
One of the biggest points of contention among union leaders and supporters is a third provision that would require unions to collect reauthorization forms from members every year.
Even more insidious is they are moving to exempt fire and police unions, which should eave no doubts in people's minds who this attack is for. 

This from the FEA Twitter page:

Rep. @JasonFischerFL
speaks in favor, "I don't agree with every single word in the bill. I want to work with you around issues with our public safety employees (he specifically mentions police and fire) Let's remember educators are public safety employees as well. #HB1

Furthermore this is far from their first attacks on teacher unions' as well.
https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2018/01/25/house-passes-union-busting-bill-amid-labor-furor-214952

Friends, I don't know what the FEA and Florida's other teacher union's one of which I am proud member of aren't getting. DeSantis and the GOP want to destroy them but they aren't alone on the list.

Superintendents, school boards, public schools, the teaching profession and unions are all on the GOP's list to get rid of. They want to break the God Damn wheel and instead of fighting, we're calling for honest conversations and going on bus rides, and the rally which I went to didn't move the needle one bit, if anything it has motivated Tallahassee to work harder and faster to push their drown public ed in the bath tub agenda. Our prospects are fight or die and for evidence all you have to do is look towards Tallahassee where it is overwhelming.

The FEA should call a strike conference and invite all the parties, supers and boards too so we can discuss our options, which are two as far as I see it, fight or die.

Did Jason Fischer come out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana?

When Fischer spoke in favor of his J1 bill this past week, he said he went door to door and asked 200 people, and they were all for it, which I think is a blatant bold faced lie, and he had a UNF poll which said that 70 percent of Jax was for it and since the people were for it so was he.

Well friends in that same poll people also came out overwhelmingly for decriminalizing marijuana and since Fischer loves that poll, it's no stretch to think he supports that as well. I mean unless he was being a hypocrite and trying to weaponize a poll. Also for those of you wondering, I am definitely for decriminalizing marijuana.




Wow that conservative christian mandarin rep all about the Mary Jane, I wouldn't have believed it.

Oh and about that poll which said the city wanted an elected super, Emily Bloch of the Times Union did something which I am sure Fischer didn't do and that's follow up.

From the Times Union:
As an example of the public’s support, Fischer pointed to the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab poll from November. When asked if the school superintendent should be an elected or appointed position, 70 percent of Duval voters surveyed said it should be an elected role.
Critics, like local education advocate Susan Aertker, who attended the meeting and spoke against the bill, chalk that up to the original question’s phrasing and people not understanding what they were supporting.
Mike Binder, director of the Public Opinion Research Lab, said she’s not necessarily wrong.
“If you ask people if you want to vote for something they’ll disproportionately say they want to vote. It makes perfect sense,” Binder said. “It’s also true that these people might not have necessarily realized the implications of that. I’m not saying one or the other is better, it’s also true that a lot of these folks haven’t thought about what this could mean for the people up for election.”
I have no doubt once people learn the ins and outs of electing a super they will be overwhelmingly against it.

The bottom line is Jason Fischer's J1 bill, is a bad bill, put out for bad reasons by a bad representative.

We could and should be doing better. Fischer has to go.

Governor DeSantis can't help but stick his thumb in the eye of the teaching profession

Governor DeSantis really seems to hate public education and teachers. Whether its his terrible pay plans, his support of attacks against their unions, or his plots to privatize, he proves that at every turn. Well now we can add his appointment to the state board of education where he refuses to put an educator on the board.

From WLRN:

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday appointed Ryan Petty to the Florida Board of Education, subject to state Senate approval. 
Petty’s 14-year-old daughter Alaina was murdered in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and he has since become a national advocate for school safety reforms. 
Petty founded a nonprofit called the WalkUp Foundation. The organization’s mission is to persuade students to “walk up” to their peers who seem like they need a friend and seek help from adults if necessary.
He has also held a seat on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, a state investigative entity created to identify what went wrong before, during and after the Parkland shooting and recommend policy changes to prevent future massacres. Petty said he expects to keep that position if confirmed to the Board of Education.
“As we’ve learned on the commission, the Department of Education plays a role in ensuring that the districts in the state are taking school safety seriously and are complying with state law,” Petty said, “so I take a keen interest in that.”
Petty also ran unsuccessfully for a county-wide seat on the Broward school board in 2018.
Petty may have a tragic and compelling story but that doesn't mean he is qualified to sit on the state board of education and if he really cared about education, he would say no thanks, please appoint an educator. I also find it very interesting that his own community didn't want him representing them.
I also don't think this is a coincidence as Scott Maxwell, on the same day of the appointment published an article about how the state board of education didn't have any educators and the reason why. Spoiler it's not a good reason.
From the Orlando Sentinel: 
Guess how many members of the Florida State Board of Education are educators? Zero! That’s right, not a single member of the Florida State Board of Education, the group that makes the rules for the education of your children, is a teacher.  
Why on Earth is a group consisting entirely of lawyers and business people with absolutely no education background or experience making the decisions about our children’s education? Why are our politicians not required to appoint people with education backgrounds and classroom experience to the state board of education? 
Teachers are not treated as professionals. No one without training or experience in the field would think they have the knowledge to make rules governing doctors, lawyers, or engineers, yet that is exactly what is happening in the field of education. 
People think that just because they sat in a classroom as a student, they know what is best for education. While it is true that parents and community members also have a right to have input in decisions affecting their children’s education, shouldn’t the teachers educating the children have the same right? 
We must have educators represented on the Florida State Board of Education. They are the ones who have been trained to educate your children. They are the ones on the front lines who do educate your children. Why shouldn’t they be on the board that makes the decisions about education? 
The reasons there isn't an educator on the board is twofold they don't respect the profession and they want to destroy it.
This is Florida. This is us. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Florida sends 129 million to private schools that push discrimination and segregation

While Governor DeSantis is pushing his terrible pay proposals through the front door, he is trying to sneak a massive expansion of vouchers through the back. The sad truth is many these vouchers which are paid for with public money are little more than excuses to push discrimination and segregation as Florida sent 129 million to private schools that either exclude or have anti LGBTQ views.

From the Orlando Sentinel,

In Florida last year, 156 private Christian schools with these types of anti-gay views educated more than 20,800 students with tuition paid for by state scholarships, an Orlando Sentinel investigation found.

Florida’s scholarship programs, often referred to as school vouchers, sent more than $129 million to these religious institutions. That means at least 14 percent of Florida’s nearly 147,000 scholarship students last year attended private schools where homosexuality was condemned or, at a minimum, unwelcome.



Friends we are paying for this. Do you know who else these private schools can exclude? Here is a short list.

Latino and Black children, children with disabilities, something they already do with great regularity. Kids with discipline problems, kids behind grade level, and any kid for any reason and once again we are paying for this. Is this really where you think our tax payer money should be going.

School choice in reality is nothing more than an excuse for discrimination and segregation and that’s a problem we should all have.

Rather than investing in our public schools this is where Tallahassee would rather send our tax money


If at this point you aren’t disgusted, then you are part of the problem.

Florida could and should be doing better.

Seaside's north side campus not going anywhere for now.

I revived this response to my inquiry to rumors the North side campus would soon be closing.

Mr. Guerrieri,

Our school on the North campus has a long term lease agreement in place for the Dunn Avenue property.  We have a five year contract with Duval County Public Schools. There are currently no plans to close the school.  We do need to increase enrollment and our board discussed ways at our last meeting to make that happen.  All of our board minutes, once approved, are posted on our website.  If you have any further questions, please let me know.

Thanks,

Fair enough, we never like to hear about mid year closings, though I wonder what their low enrollment says about the new Classical Academy, that looked to pull from the same demographic group.

If I hear more I will let you know.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Is Seaside Charter school about to close one campus? (draft)

From a parent who attended a recent board meeting

At the board meeting last week, Ms. Bowles said she was quitting-- and that the North Campus (of the Seaside Charter group) was being merged with Somerset due to financial troubles. I guess the concern and urgency is that the North campus has been approved for an $800 Federal Charter School Grant that Dr. Greene is supposed to sign by Friday-- and if the school is going to be merging with somerset, then why haven't they withdrawn their grant.  

Bill Sorenson, the board treasurer is blaming it on enrollment, but the fact that the Ms. Bowles hired so many noninstructional staff  using a budget that was not presented to the whole board last summer is raising some concern with the parents.
The board asked the parents to submit questions and Jessica Morgan (who is a close friend of Trisha Bowles and was hired for $55K as the communications director, even though she doesn't have a degree) said there were 40 questions. The board refused to show the questions.  You may want to do a public records request for it. 

Wow, I have reached out to Somerset and Seaside for comment and when they get back to me i will get back to you.

Image result for somerset academy jacksonville fl

If Florida teachers aren't going to strike, then it is time they just worked to the contract

If teachers aren’t going to strike, something I believe we should do and would win, then starting now, they need to work just to the contract. The entire education system depends on teachers giving millions of unpaid hours, sacrificing their time with friends and family and what little money they have to make sure things keep moving. Enough, if we aren’t going to be treated with respect and compensated appropriately then from now on the system should just get an honest day’s work and nothing more, you know like every other profession is expected to do.

Two things, you might be thinking you can’t do that, that your students desperately need all the extra you do, well in the moment you might be right but in the long term you are hurting them and every student that will come afterwards. The system has no incentive to change if we keep giving and giving while receiving nothing commensurate in return. Then how about this, try it for a week. When your day is over instead of staying and working go home every day for a week. I guaranty you, things will not fall apart. People will survive, and if grading piles up, give fewer assignments. If we are not going to strike then we need to exercise what power we have, and that’s just to do our job, nothing more, nothing less.

For the last couple years’ teachers all over the nation tired of being blamed for society’s ills and both paid and treated like second class citizens rose up in protest and demanded more pay and better working conditions and they won too. Sadly, Florida’s teachers did not join them, partly because it’s illegal to strike, what teachers did in Arizona, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Oklahoma and so many other placed did, and partly because half of Florida’s teachers are at will employees and can be fired for any or no reason. In short Florida’s teachers felt stuck, they felt powerless to do anything. Well I say no more because even without striking we have power.

I would like teachers to seriously consider something. It's not reviewing the latest scholarly article or their pedagogy. It’s not putting yourself in your children or their parents’ shoes to see where they are coming from either. Where those things are important what I ask you to do is much more so and much less at the same time. What I am asking you to do is just work to the contract, nothing more and nothing less.

For decades now, school systems have only been able to function let alone succeed on the backs of the unpaid labors and sacrifices of their teachers. If it wasn’t for millions of teachers working late into the night and on weekends, often at the expense of their own friends and families’ education would have grinded to a halt and the powers-that-be both know this, depend on this and have taken advantage of it.
     
Teachers by their nature are givers and I am here to let you know that their altruism is a big part of the problem. It might sound counter intuitive but if teachers were a little more selfish, both they and the system would be better off.

Why should state legislatures and for that matter the nation properly invests in education when they know they have millions of suckers who will shore up the cracks with both their free time and own money?

The truth is this may have been an acceptable arrangement when teachers were just required to teach but that’s not the case today, along with being a psychologist, social worker, nurse, and tutor, we are expected to collect and analyze data, be experts on technology, differentiate our curriculum to meet every child’s individual needs and make individualized materials. Teachers are now disciplinarians and truant officers because administrations won’t get involved until you try multiple interventions or attempts, and we are paper pushers, and boy oh boy do we push paper. When I started teaching just nineteen years ago my lesson plan was a little box on a calendar, now it’s a two paged, 8 font monstrosity and then there is the data I am required to take on every student, in every class, every day. Data that for the most part just sits there helping no one. Teachers today often have fewer and fewer resources and more and more demands and responsibilities. These demands also often take away from the number one thing we are supposed to do, teach.

In short teachers are given way too much to do and not nearly enough time and resources to do it, all while their actual pay because of the rising costs of benefits and inflation is decreasing. Then societies demands are increasing as well as teachers have become the scapegoats of much of society’s ills. Because of this the dam broke in a half dozen states and those teachers said enough and its time in teachers in Florida said enough as well.

Somewhere along the way things changed. Teachers went from revered members of the community to the face, often presented as the lazy and selfish face, of America’s problems. If only Mrs. Mcgillicutty could have gotten little Billy up to speed instead of spending so much time in the teacher’s lounge complaining is a sentiment heard from Chris Christie, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Betsey DeVos, the Trump Clan and so many others. They blame teachers at the same time they cut budgets or raise them at a rate that doesn’t keep up with inflation. They invest in high stakes testing, blame the teacher evaluations and charter schools rather than the people doing the work and teachers, as well as loading teachers up with more work, piling on responsibilities while stripping them of authority, you, we, me, have let them.  

Does anybody see the irony in the fact that in a job that is routinely ridiculed and mocked, that many imply is easy has seen defections and shortages like never before?  

This must stop and step one is working to the contract. Teachers need to start just showing up and giving an honest day’s effort for a day’s pay but when the dismissal bell rings, just leave and don’t take home any work with them. If it doesn’t get done that day then it goes on the pile for the next and if it gets to the point where there is too much to get done, then so be it. This is not a system created by teachers, but it is a system that teachers have allowed to fester, and it is a system that will never change unless we say enough is enough.

I'm not saying we should throw up our hands and quit. Instead I am saying that if we stopped being afraid then we can make things better. The crazy thing is right now teachers have the power. Florida recently declared a critical shortage in just about every teaching position. States across the nation are facing exoduses and shortages.

We need to stop working for free. If enough teachers did that then this alone would send a big enough signal that things need to change.

I will be honest there may be consequences for doing and saying the right things but if enough of us do it then there will be rewards as well and not just for teachers though to be honest the better things are for teachers the better they are for their students, but students as well as they see benefits of their own.

A teacher not worked to death and pulled in dozens of different directions is a better teacher. Smaller classes, and teachers given enough time to plan, and who doesn’t have to rush to their second job or worry about paying for braces for their child or new tires for their ten-year-old car, will be better teachers too and that is a benefit that children would reap as well. 

Teachers must stop letting the powers-that-be get away with barely funding a system that all too often hurts teachers and students alike by putting them in a position where success is nearly impossible to achieve. The powers-that-be must be held accountable for the system they created, or the system will never change.

There is a quote by Gandhi that many teachers like to use and that’s “Be the change you want to see in the world.” The change I would like to see is teachers and students both getting what they need and if I have to do less to make sure it happens then so be it.   

So, teachers do you and your students a favor, work to the contract and not one minute before. Like many things it will be hard at first but if enough of us do it then we and our students will reap the rewards.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Governor DeSantis ignores teachers, pushes for more vouchers (draft)

10 thousand teachers and education advocates rallied in Tallahassee last week. So what did the governor do? He pretended like he didn't know what was happening and left town. Today a few hundred voucher supporters showed up and what did he do? He was front and center with a bull horn and that friends should tell you all you need to know about his commitment to public and teachers. 

From Florida Politics,


“We’re going to take it one step at a time because we know this is an important choice for people to be able to make,” he said.
Unlike traditional school choice scholarships, the Gardiner Scholarship is an education savings account. It gives parents the freedom to access a wide range of products and services — tuition, therapies, tutoring, assistive technology, curriculum materials and more — and the flexibility to mix and match them in a way that’s just right for the student. The average amount of the scholarship is $10,400.
Many Gardiner Scholarship parents say the program has been a game changer for their children, and Tuesday gave them and other supporters the opportunity to broadcast that message to the Capitol.
Raquel Baldwin, the principal of Baldwin Academy in Fort Lauderdale, was on a charter bus that left at 1 a.m. with 23 students and 10 adults from several private schools in the area. Baldwin has five Gardiner students at her school, which serves 120 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The Gardiner Scholarships have enabled the school to provide support services for the students with unique abilities, she said. But more money is needed to provide extra staffing for those kids.
Um, kids took a day off from school and were bused in? I wonder where all the critics of teachers taking a personal day last week are now?
The year of the teacher my @##, more like the year of shut up and take whatever we give you is more like it.
Friends, Tallahassee's education goal is to end the teaching profession and get rid of public schools and replace them with a hodge podge of charters and voucher schools and why anyone would think differently is beyond me. But instead of fighting here we are begging for nickles.
Image result for Ron DeSantis with a bullhorn

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Stockholm syndrome of Florida's teachers and unions. (draft)

Before I get started let me ask you a question. Would you thank a thief who broke into your house and terrorized your family, for not stealing the television, as he walked away with your other valuables? Come back to this.

When governor DeSantis made his proposal to raise first year teacher salaries to 47,500, while leaving out veteran teachers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and support staff, I wasn't excited about it, in fact I was outraged. 

It was nothing but a proposal and a gimmick designed to grab headlines. It wasn't a serious idea.

As outraged as I was, what happened next, outraged me even more. I had to read about the FEA and numerous other union's thanking him for bringing up the subject of teacher salary. Something teachers, and democrats in Tallahassee have been talking about for years. Did any of them get a thanks? Absolutely not.

I want to remind you that DeSantis represents the same party and politicians who for a decade have done all they can to bludgeon public education and the teaching profession into oblivion.   

Why are we thanking them for another ridiculous proposal. It's like we are to afraid to speak truth to power and say that idea sucks, we expect better.

It had gotten so bad, I was beginning to think the unions had Stockholm Syndrome. 


Stock·holm syn·drome
noun
  1. feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.

DeSantis is not our friend, he wants to destroy public ed and the teaching profession and you and especially our unions shouldn't think anything different, not even for a second. 

Now before I continue let me let you know, I am proud union guy, and I attended the rally in Tallahassee though why it was held the day before the session began is beyond me. It's like we wanted to protest but you know we didn't want to inconvenience any one.   

We should not be thanking DeSantis for his proposal. Instead we should be yelling from the roof tops about how bad it is.

What's he going to do if we speak truth to power? Make public education worse? Take more away from us? 

Then the Unions did it again after Chris Latvalla found nearly 500 million for teacher raises.

From the Tampa Times, 

At the end of a morning House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee session, chairman Rep. Chris Latvala unveiled leadership recommendations to reallocate funds within the budget for the coming fiscal year. It represented a first pass, or an exercise, to find where the House might be able to move existing resources, said Fred Piccolo, Oliva’s spokesman. 

The total shift would reach $520 million, with $462.6 of that going into the base student allocation with the intent of it being directed toward teacher pay. 

The money would come from line items previously used to fund other areas, with the biggest reductions coming from the disliked Best and Brightest teacher bonus ($284.5 million), supplemental academic instruction funds ($150 million) and funding compression appropriations ($54.2 million). 

Other smaller areas targeted for cuts included declining enrollment supplements ($1.8 million), virtual education ($2.2 million), and digital classroom expenses ($20 million). 

Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, quickly noted that Latvala’s list did not match the governor’s plan. It offered less for raises, and did not mention the $300 million bonus plan that DeSantis has spoken of. 

https://www.tampabay.com/news/gradebook/2020/01/16/florida-house-proposes-4626-million-for-teacher-raises/

Um so most of the money was going to education anyways? The majority of that was going in teachers pockets too?

Okay, I don't want to say this isn't a marginally better use of the monay than what it was going to be spent on, but come on, should we be high fiving Latvala?

No, not in the least.

There is no new money in this guys proposal, he's just moving it around, please unions lets hold off on the parade.

So many teachers are afraid of the word strike? What are they going to do fire us? Polk county teachers looked them in the eye and said go for it, and they backed off their threats pretty quickly.

Friends if you speak truth to power are they going to make your jobs harder or more miserable? Most of the teachers I know love their kids, and love the idea of teaching but they don't love what teaching has become. It's time we fought for what it should be and part of that is no longer thanking those who have been bashing teachers and public ed for whatever crazy idea they throw out or when they do a little more than the nothing, they have been doing for years.

We can't be afraid any longer.

So now take a second and answer my question, because in that analogy DeSants and the republican dominated legislature are the burglar. I know my answer, what about yours? 

Jason Fischer and the J1 bill

Jason Fischer's J1 bill which calls for an elected rather than appointed superintendent gets it's first committee meeting this week in Tallahassee. I think people would be interested in a time line of the bill.

Jason Fischer, 30 years as a private citizen, no call for an elected superintendent.

Jason Fischer 3.5 years on the school board, no call for an elected superintendent.

Jason Fischer, 3 years in the state house, no call for an elected superintendent.

Superintendent Greene refuses Fischer's donors demand to give hundreds of millions extra to charter schools and he called for an elected superintendent in weeks. Of course the first version of his bill called for an appointed school board, which means he was for appointments and against elections, before he was for elections and against appointments. In politics they call that a flip flop.

Nobody should think for a second Jason Fischer's proposal has anything to do with giving voters more power or improving education, nope, instead it is all about political payback, and since it is payback that could end up hurting students, it's reprehensible. 

Some more things about electing a superintendent. The school board and the city council could have called for having an elected super and they didn't. 99 percent of the children in the country and all the students in 48 states attend schools under appointed superintendents. Only two states allow elected supers, Alabama and Florida and in those states over 90 percent of children attend schools with appointed superintendents. The reason the vast majority of the country has appointed supers is it gives schools a greater chance of success, when the best candidates no mater where they might live are eligible and we keep politics, as much as we can out of it.



In short it's a bad idea, proposed for bad reasons, by a bad Representative. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The state of Florida is doing nothing serious to address the teaching shortage, because the powers that be, want it!

But Chris what about Governor DeSantis's proposal to start first year teacher salaries at 47,500 and to have another bonus plan?

Well, ten thousand teachers and education advocates showed up in Tallahassee this past week to tell the governor they wanted no part of what he was selling.

Who wants a plan that leaves out 80k veteran teachers, who have actually seen their salaries go backwards over the last decade, and to never ever get a raise again? 

Who wants a plan that leaves out all the support staff, many of who don't make a living wage?

Who wants a plan where first year teachers will be making what, 12, 16 and 17 year teachers depending on where you are make the same wage? I get it they have never appreciated experience but come on that's ridiculous.

But friends it;s even worse than that. People who have been paying attention and who have actually talked to a teacher, know where salary is important there are other important issues driving people out of the field and stopping people from entering.

Nobody wants to teach to a high stakes test, especially when they have all the responsibility and none of the authority or enter a job where there are no employment protections. Every teacher hired since 2010 can be fired at the end of a year for any or no reason. That by the way means the majority of teachers have no protections.  

DeSantis, Corcoran, and the state board might say they care, that they want to address the problem, well friends their actions speak louder than their words.

From USNEWS,


Teacher preparation programs have experienced sharp enrollment declines over the last eight years in nearly every state across the country, a new analysis shows.
In Oklahoma, college and university programs designed to prepare educators for the classroom saw an 80% drop in enrollment since 2010 – just one of nine states where enrollment has nose-dived by more than half.
Coupled with low pay and historic levels of unrest among educators, the long, stubborn downward trend line has those responsible for building the next generation of teachers wondering whether the profession can overcome its sullied reputation.
The declines are notable on their own, but even more so considering they occurred alongside increasing enrollment in bachelor's degree programs over the same time period.
"This is going to take a decade to turn around if we act now," says Bryan Duke, interim associate dean in the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, as well as the director of educator preparation.
Duke has seen Central Oklahoma's enrollment fall off a cliff since 2012, when the school enrolled about 1,800 students. Last year, it enrolled just 856, a 49% decrease.
"We have made it flat-out unattractive to be a teacher," he says. "That message is not going to change overnight."
We are never going to get enough applicants if we keep doing things the same way, and salary is just one part of the picture.  
Governor DeSantis called this the year of the teacher, more like this is the year teachers will take whatever  we decide to ram down their throat and the will like it, you know, the same as last year, and the year before that, and the year before that... He could listen to teachers, he could make sure they are all taken care of but thus far he hasn't and the only reason that makes sense, is he wants the teaching profession, to shrink and ultimately fail and is anybody really surprised by this.
I believe he thinks, why should we invest in professional teachers, because if he has anything to do with eventually all children will be at voucher schools, where teachers don't have to have certifications or degrees, and there is plenty of people who say, sure I will try that for 15 bucks an hour, looks easy .  
Florida is setting the profession up for failure and their actions are all the evidence we need.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Lenny Curry dashes hope for decency

I had hoped after the JEA debacle and with the city losing what I am sure will be the first of many lawsuits, that the mayor and city council could help heal the city by agreeing to put the referendum on the ballot, but nope, the Mayor doubled down on his disdain for public education.

At the COJ MLK breakfast which looks like it was a disaster, the mayor was asked about the referendum.

From the Florida Times Union,

TU: The last thing is the school board. I know there was the recent ruling that said they have the right to retain outside counsel. With that, another fracture point, how do you deal with the tense relationship now between the city and the School Board?
We’ve reached out, both sides, and I would say that I said in 2019, I didn’t think 2019 was the year. I thought it was moving too fast. I also believed I would like to see timelines. There were other stakeholders that had other interests. I believed we could work through those and get on a 2020 ballot. It’s a 2020 ballot. I believe we can work through those and get on a 2020 ballot.
In fact, they did provide timelines to the City Council just before their vote, and the City Council didn’t feel it had enough time to vet it. We are where we are right now.
They have timelines. I want to get in a room. Let’s figure all this stuff out with stakeholders. Let’s get it on the ballot and let’s get it done.
TU: Let’s get it done meaning you’ll support it as well? 
We get everybody in the room and we agree to move forward? Yes, I want to be there. I believe we need to move forward with this. There are people with interests. Look, charter schools. There are people who care deeply about charter schools.
I cared about timelines. Timelines were presented to City Council. I’m not going to judge those timelines. I’d like to get us in a room and figure out how to move forward together.
https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20200117/mayor-curry-jacksonville-residents-want-jea-to-be-publicly-owned?fbclid=IwAR027bKPTmK0iUZ-D24essOk0GQ-

By other stakeholders, he means Gary Chartrand who must know where the bodies are buried. The rest of the civic council through Curry under the bus with the JEA sale but here the mayor is still carrying Chartrand's water.

The School Board should refuse to get in a room with this mayor and "work out the details" the mayor and city council had their chance. Every recent court case has said the referendum will be on the ballot and if Curry hasn't picked up on that then, well he's even worse than we thought.

What's even more amazing is the state legislature is probably going to pass a dreadful districts must share on a proportional basis with charters bill. They are doing his dirty work for him. Spoiler, if somebody else is going to do the dirty work, don't get down in the mud with them.

Curry, could have had a clean victory that unites the city and gives him a much needed victory, but instead he gave the city's schools and children, his middle finger.