Total Pageviews

Rep. George Moraitis, Florida's latest worst legislator ever. He doesn't care thousands of students are displaced by failed charter schools.

Representative Moraitis has made Education Matters several times in the past but it's not till now that we can actually see how little he cares Florida's students.

From The Naples Daily News:

 “The beauty of the movement is that it allows for greater success and flexibility, and it does allow for failure,” said state Rep. George Moraitis Jr., R-Fort Lauderdale, vice chairman of a Florida House committee dealing with school choice. “Unlike a traditional public school that requires a heroic act to close it down, parents can vote with their feet on charter schools.”

He is obviously not swayed by:

■ Since 2008, 119 charter schools have closed because of financial reasons, academic failures, student safety concerns or administrative mismanagement. Before closing, those schools taught an estimated 14,000-plus students, the vast majority of whom were forced to relocate to neighboring schools, sometimes in the middle of the academic year.

First is there any beauty in a system that wastes millions of dollars, has a thirty percent failure rate and displaces 14,000 children? Any?!? Is being able to vote with your feet worth that.

Bottom line this guy hates public schools and Fort Lauderdale should be embarrassed they voted for this guy.

The hidden costs of kids leaving for charter schools

Fans of charter schools often say since their FTE (funding) is less they save society money, well not so fast and please remember that once the FTE money is allocated more than a few will return to their public schools sans the resources to educate them.

From a reader:

At my school  we have probably lost approx. 50 students to some new charters this year. With over 1100 students, 50 kids spread out from K to 5th doesn't cost us a teacher. SO we still have to budget all classroom teachers, all resource and sped teachers, pay utilities, etc. as usual, but we are missing the FTE from those 50 students.

So we have to cut in the areas our district will allow us to cut. So we have one guidance counselor for all our students, 2 paras to provide support to 70+ teachers, etc. Teacher supply money is eliminated, we pull duty morning and afternoon when we used to use those slots to provide remediation. All because 50 students switched to an unproven charter school that has already begun counseling out the unruly and underachievers. 

They are returning to our school, but we won't see any state $ for them until next semester. That is why we are upset. Plus in Jax, we have seen where some charter schools are for the first year KIPP was open, they didn't purchase textbooks, but their admin made handsome salaries with great benefits. Of course, the KIPP teachers did not fare so well.

Tucker Carlson an idiots idiot!

He asked his guest if she had ever seen a teacher's union push for a reform that would make more work for teachers.

His premise is teachers are assigning less homework at the behest of the union so they can do less work for the same money.

Let me apologize to the idiots out there for comparing him to you.

Since 2008 a Florida charter school has closed every 3 weeks.

Since that is the case why is the state board of education about to make it easier for them to be created?

From the Naples Daily News:

■ Since 2008, 119 charter schools have closed because of financial reasons, academic failures, student safety concerns or administrative mismanagement. Before closing, those schools taught an estimated 14,000-plus students, the vast majority of whom were forced to relocate to neighboring schools, sometimes in the middle of the academic year.
■ Financial shortfalls were the most common reason for closure, affecting 64 of the 114 schools, yet the state requires zero upfront funding commitment to open a charter campus. In addition, 38 charter school governing boards mismanaged funds, provided lax oversight or failed to properly account for their spending. Despite this, the state doesn’t allow county school districts, which review and approve charter applications, to dig into the financial background of applicants.

■ Academic failures prompted the closure of 45 schools, most of which received back-to-back state-issued “F” grades. Poor academic performance continues to dog the state’s worst-performing charter schools, about 7 percent of which received an “F” in 2012-13, compared to about 3 percent of all traditional public schools.

■ There’s little in state law to prevent charter school operators that have already failed from receiving taxpayer money to try again. Should an applicant that has previously failed in Florida apply for a new school, its prior failure can’t be cited as a reason to deny its application.
■ There are virtually no qualification requirements for serving on a charter school governing board, which bears the ultimate responsibility for managing the tax dollars it receives in the form of per-student funding. In addition, once a charter application is approved and a contract is signed, neither the county school district nor the state has any control over who can serve as a charter school governing board member.
■ While the state has heralded accomplishments by its many successful charter schools, it does little to document and inform parents about charter school failures. The only easily accessible, up-to-date information available to parents is a list buried on the Florida Department of Education’s Web site. That list has just three pieces of information: the school’s name, its home county and its date of closure.
“Right now, the charter school movement in Florida is the Wild West in every sense,” said Bill Sublette, chairman of the Orange County School Board and a former Republican chairman of the Florida House of Representatives’ Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “There’s very little accountability, almost no control, and I think the Legislature is going to have to decide how to put in accountability measures.”

People often accuse me of being anti-choice but the truth is I am just against the absolutely terrible options besides public schools that the state of Florida wants its families to have and it is way past time we said no more to charter schools.

America's teachers some of the hardest working lowest paid in the world, check that, selfish, greediest and laziest around.

One of the common laments of education reformers is that teachers put their own interests above the interests of their children. If only we would worry about children's needs they cry we could make things better.

Teachers went from respected sometimes revered members of society to the public face of all of societies problems, often portrayed as lazy, selfish, barely educated and greedy and it doesn't matter that none of it is true.  

First teachers are hardly lazy.

This year's education report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development outlines the state of education in the world's most developed countries. It finds that American elementary school teachers spend more hours actually teaching students than peers in any other surveyed country.

Or greedy because when compared to other professionals with similar education and responsibilities they make quite a bit less.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the teaching profession has an average national starting salary of $30,377. Meanwhile, NACE finds that other college graduates who enter fields requiring similar training and responsibilities start at higher salaries:

This however hasn't stopped them from spending billions of their personal money to outfit their classrooms, a fact which should destroy the selfish argument too.

a 2010 survey by the National School Supply & Equipment Association found that 92 percent of teachers spend their own money on supplies and 85 percent buy instructional materials for the people they teach. Perhaps more surprising, the study concluded that, "Teachers' personal money is the most common source of funding for classroom projects. On average, teachers spent a total of $398 on school supplies in 2009-2010 and an additional $538 on educational materials." The total expended that year by the nation's 3.7 million teachers? A whopping $3.5 billion.

 Then their educations also far exceed the general public.

Only slightly over 30% of all Americans over the age of 25 have a four-year degree, where 100 percent of public school teachers have them. So in effect the education reformers who are so critical are saying that teachers are the worst of the best.

Then according to the national center for education statistics, 52% of teachers have advanced degrees where only 10% of the general public does and doesn’t that shoot a hole in the poorly educated teacher theory?

Every myth and distortion debunked.

So why the attacks on teachers? Well quite frankly one of the reasons is because teachers allowed them to happen. The reformers counted on teacher's nurturing and sacrificing nature not to fight back. It is almost as if the entire profession suffered from battered spouse syndrome unable to defend themselves. 

Well that time has passed.

Embedded image permalink

Do you support accountability, tax payers, the first amendment and most families or vouchers.

The headline in several papers read, Crist sides with teacher unions over black clergy in school choice law-suit, it is also very misleading. You see the NAACP also supports the law-suit and I imagine they represent far more than the handful of clergy members who because they operate private schools that take vouchers, that oppose the law-suit

The headline however could have read, Crist supports accountability in voucher law-suit because the supporters of vouchers resist accountability, saying they don't need to take the same tests or certify and evaluate their teachers.

It could have said, Crist supports the first amendment in voucher law-suit, because since 90 percent of vouchers go to religious schools they obliterates the first amendment.

What abut, Crist sides with tax payers in voucher law-suit, because the donations take hundreds of millions out of the state coffers that would pay for a whole rage of goods and services that the Florida tax payer then has to make up for.

Finally the headline could have read, Crist supports the majority of Florida's families in voucher law-suit. Along with the NAACP the PTA has come out in support and they represent the millions of families with kids in public schools. They by the way are tired of being ignored as they complain about high stakes testing, the school grading system and lack of resources hurting our public schools. The voucher elite fall all over themselves bemoaning the fate of the few who take vouchers if the law suit were to be successful but consistently ignore our public school parents as Tallahassee goes forward with their plans to privatize our schools.

All of my headline suggestions would have been far more accurate.

The state board of education moves forward with plan to end local control of schools.

They are called the Florida board of education but the truth is there isn't a true educator in the bunch. They are led by Jacksonville's own grocer in chief Gary Chartrand.

From the Tampa Times: The Florida Board of Education is set to adopt a new standard charter school contract when it meets Sept. 29 in Tampa. The move comes despite lengthy debate by lawmakers that ended in the spiking of a bill that would have mandated a single uniform contract for all charters.

The state board's notice of the proposed rule, published in July, indicates that it's moving ahead based on a 2013 law that authorized the Department of Education to "implement a charter model application form, standard evaluation instrument, and standard charter and charter renewal contracts."

Here is an idea, instead of forcing school districts to take charters they neither want nor need, why not let them decide and create the contracts they want too or you know the exact opposite of what is happening now.

Why have local school boards or districts if this group of campaign donors posing as a board has the power to tell them what they can and cannot do?

Why a marketing campaign for Jacksonville's schools is a waste of time and resources.

Below is a very interesting comment from the Times Union article about Duval's new marketing campaign by Educatedone a frequent commentator on education issues:

 Public education, as we know it, is under attack. These plans to privatize education began to surface long before we had FCAT, long before the public even knew there could become such an option. These plans were discussed prior to Jeb Bush becoming Florida's Governor. However, Bush was widely supported by millionaires and billionaires in his Gubernatorial race because he was pre-selected as the General who would launch the first attack on our schools--FCAT.
This is an attack truly but secretly launched in the name of profits for the private industry.
The message we, the people, were brainwashed to believe was this would bring more "rigor" and "accountability" to our schools.
Instead, we have seen quite the opposite unfold before our very eyes. We have seen little rigor in our schools as the average middle school student struggles with multiplication and signing his or her own name but can still earn a level 5 on the FCAT. What is rigorous about this widespread multiplication and handwriting epidemic?
Fred Heid, former Bureau Chief of School Improvement and former Chief Academic Officer for DCPS, at one time, admitted that earning a level 5 on FCAT did not equate to college readiness.
Yet schools were highlighting its students for earning a level 5 on FCAT.
Bush instituted a recognition program offering bonuses to teachers and school staff that increased FCAT scores all while knowing we were producing nothing short of dummies.
Florida Governors after Bush have continued education policy from the Bush reign. In fact, the formerly elected office of Commissioner of Education is now appointed by a State Board of Education that is led by school privatization companion Gary Chartrand. The Governor is also very influential in determining this person.
The Florida Legislature's actions have been shameful as it relates to their massive support in derailing our public schools by abysmal funding and allowing the constant abuse from FLDOE (e.g. constant cut score changes).
Having federal and state officials aboard the "privatization" train does not come full circle unless you have local officials willing to ride the train too.
This is what we have just witnessed with Chartrand, Peter Rummell, Preston Haskell and even Michael Bloomberg trying to buy a School Board seat for TFA staffer Darryl Willie.
What is also important is that this is the same club that hand picked Vitti, and continues to support his "approach" today (QEA).
Who else does this club support? If you guessed Jeb Bush, you guessed right!
Darryl Willie, Nikolai Vitti, Jeb Bush.
All three are supported by the same club.
One works for TFA which has given us "charter teachers" greatly compromising today's teaching profession.
One has recommended the contract renewal of TFA and has recommended more charter schools than previous Superintendents combined.
One has destroyed public education throughout the state while building up even more wealth for the wealthy at the expense of middle class and poor children.
How can any one of these effectively build a marketing plan for an ailing traditional school system?
Can't be done!
Don't waste a single dime on marketing schools until we have a Superintendent whose allegiance isn't to the "club" that has caused the need for a marketing plan in the first place.

The Juxtaposition of Superintendent Vitti and he had a good thought too.

In years past when the district would announce a new marketing initiative I would roll my eyes and groan. You see what we needed to do was support our teachers, make sure our schools were disciplined and provide wrap around services to our most vulnerable children, not to just change the message and hope for the best.

Sadly we still need those things more than ever but now we have also let the wolves in the door too. Until just recently Jacksonville only had a few charter schools which didn't make much of a dent and a board made up of varying degrees of ineffective individuals. Now charter schools have exploded in Jacksonville and the district is losing thousands and thousands of students plus we have several board members who would actively like to dismantle our schools.  

To counter this the district is proposing a new marketing initiative where we push back against charter schools who as a group grossly under perform in Jacksonville with the hope that the children who have left return. In short a campaign to let people know that despite their warts public schools are by far the best things going, A marketing campaign like this is way overdue because charter schools aren't above, misleading and over selling.

Here is where the juxtaposition comes in. Vitti arguably owes getting his job to Gary Chartrand and possibly keeping it to the QEA initiative, Well Chartrand and the QEA board are all about charter schools and replacing public schools with them. Now Vitti wants to say "no more" and push back?

If he is being sincere he is putting himself in a precarious position. Or then again is he attempting to play both sides?  The QEA board took a big  loss when district 4 rebuffed their candidate Darryl Willie and reelected Paula Wright. Furthermore I believe as more and more charters fail and the public becomes aware of their business practices then the public will grow even more wary of them

Then there is the possibility he is just giving lip service to the supporters of public schools too. The new marketing initiative amounts to less than a drop in a bucket and he has talked about pushing back before while then approving one new charter school after another whether we needed them or not.

All three are distinct possibilities but to be honest if I was a betting man I would go with the latter. 

Time will tell and things may become more clear at the districts next school choice expo, which in the past has invited charter schools to participate,

From the Times Union:

In prior years, Duval schools have opened the district’s annual school enrollment fair to charter schools. The School Choice Expo last spring drew 15,000 parents to school booths for information and to enroll.

Vitti suggested the board consider limiting the expo to district-only schools.

“That should be our marketing tool,” he said.

Board members did not comment.

Some of the board members are probably waiting for their marching orders to come in, but the real question is Vitti?

First Coast principal Al Brennan tells staff he will bury them with the contract.

From a reader:

He certainly does not treat his teachers as college educated professionals. He has also shunned people in the community who have been long standing volunteers and supporters of First Coast High School. 

The worst part of all this for the teachers is when he and his Vice Principal, Ms Townsend, started handing out egregious evaluations after only being a First Coast for a little over 2 months. The Union, and DCPS district staff said you can contest the process of the CAST evaluation, but not the ratings. He knew this and even stated it in the faculty meetings as he basically used the CAST evaluation as his big stick to fire anyone who deviated from his mandates. He would tie everything back to particular domain in the evaluation. The correlations were tenuous at best, and his use of the CAST evaluation demonstrated a serious flaw. If you can only contest the process and not the ratings, that creates a serious lack of Due Process. You can get an administrator who has issues and as long as that person does everything in a timely fashion, they can rate you anyway they want and you can not question their validity. That is what happened last year, and that is why so many teachers are so unhappy. They were completely devalued and they could not do a thing about it.

I have read your examples of bullying, and have one that is particularly unprofessional. He told the teachers in a faculty meeting that he expects his teachers to get to school early. I can respect having high expectations and rewarding those who go above and beyond. However, that was not Brennan's intention. He told the teachers that he would pull the sign in sheets at 7am and make note of who had not signed in yet. One problem...teacher sign in is 7:05am. Not a big deal unless you're running around like a crazy person dropping off your own children at daycare and rushing to get to work. Many people complained to the Union (and this is why Unions are still relevant). Brennan was told he could not pull the sign in sheet early. This made him angry, so at the next Faculty Meeting he let everyone know, and I quote..."if you want to live by that contract, I'll bury you in that contract". He bragged about how most people have not really read their contract, but he knew like the back of his hand. 

I'm no lawyer, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn express last night, and I know there has to be an ethics violation when you threaten reprisal for taking contract violations to your Union. I can not believe that the Duval County School Board is going to tie their horse to this sinking ship and not support their teachers. This is the same staff who made First Coast an 'A' school before the good doctor got there (and by 'good', I mean 'horrible').

Is there no room in Ashley Smith Juarez's cold cold heart for forgiveness?

From WJCT:

Monday, Quiller briefly took the stand before board members to answer questions. She told board members she volunteered to take the challenging position at her alma mater Ribault because she wanted to give back to her community.
“So you knew it was going to be a challenging situation,” Board Member Cheryl Grimes asked her.
Quiller said she was aware it would be difficult, but "was not prepared for the lack of materials and resources."
"It was very difficult to maintain the decorum for these students because we had no schedules for eight weeks," she said. "It was pretty much chaos."
Board Member Paula Wright recommended a 30-day suspension for Quiller, but that was rejected.
Instead, the board backed another recommendation made by Board Member Ashley Smith-Juarez to uphold the district’s earlier decision to fire Quiller.
um they are firing her? What about getting down on their knees and thanking her for showing up everyday without resources and support most likely putting out fires/averting disasters doing her best with nothing to work with day after day for weeks. I bet Mrs. Smith-Juarez while at Bolles never had to go without and I also bet she wouldn't have lasted one day in Mrs. Quillers classroom.
This lady (and her students were set up for failure and left twisting in the wind and she's fired for inappropriate language which I have no doubt didn't approach the level she heard from her students.
Okay fire her a 21 year veteran, but what about the principal or Ribault, the director f the bridge, the area super, they all get passes. Duval undoubtedly dodged a bullet an we're lucky something even more tragic didn't occur.
Heck why does the super and school board get a pass.If they had been doing their jobs providing direction and resources then the teacher never would have never been put in the position. 
It's easy to fire her I guess than to accept any responsibility here and there is plenty to go around here.. 
Some despicable behavior has occurred but it's the school board that did it.

Principal Al Brennan gets a pass for his atrocious behavior while teachers get fired.

The principal of First Coast high school who has regularly boasted about the teachers he has had fired or arrested as he bullied his staff, as well as making fun of special needs children and called the parents of First Coast vile has been given a pass for his behavior while teachers elsewhere are fired.

From WJCT:

Two Duval teachers - one  accused of punching a middle school student and another accused of repeatedly using profanities, including the F- and N-word in class - will not return to work.
The Duval County School Board voted unanimously Monday afternoon to fire former Eugene Butler physical education teacher Michael Green and Joyce Quiller, a longtime math teacher, who worked with at-risk students in the district’s Bridge to Success program at Ribault High.
The Board’s decisions follows recommendations from two administrative judges earlier this year.
Now I am not excusing the teacher's behavior especially the one accused of hitting a child but I am asking why they are fired while after years of Brennan abusing people he still has his job.
Teachers here in the county often feel disrespected, marginalized and like they have targets on their backs, the thing is they are not being paranoid if they are right.