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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The FEA needs to get off its a** and challenge the law that says Florida's teachers can't strike. (rough draft)

In West Virginia the legislature was about to pass laws privatizing public education and the teachers there said nope and threatened to strike. It was a day before the legislature backed down.

From MorganCountyUSA,

Teachers in West Virginia went on strike today.

The reason?

Retaliatory privatization.

Last year, state legislative leaders were embarrassed when teachers stood up to threats of firing and won their pay increase.

Teachers 1. Legislature 0.

This year, to retaliate for that embarrassment, those same legislative leaders want to privatize state teacher jobs with charter schools and push public schools teachers to the brink.


Here in Florida however the governor proposes over a hundred million dollars in vouchers a terrible teacher bonus scheme and drop in the bucket in extra school funding, following a decade of withering attacks on public education and the teaching profession and all we hear is crickets.

If we can't strike it doesn't matter how many red for ed t-shirts we wear, letters to the editor we write or rallies in Talley we have because the republicans that run the show aren't moved by things like decency, fairness and what's right for teachers and students and I for one would like somebody to challenge the law that says we can't strike. What are we waiting for friends, the house is already on fire and that noise you hear is Tallahassee fiddling.   

A little history of teachers not being able to strike in Florida, Wusfnews,

Some of you might be saying its against the law to strike in Florida, well if you haven't noticed laws when it comes to education don't mean much here. Look at how the class size amendment has been so gutted it is nearly unrecognizable. earlier this year when the supreme court threw out the fund our schools lawsuit, despite the constitution saying it was the states paramount duty, they basically said, constitution, schmostitution. Also we are supposed to have a uniform education system, well friends, billions on vouchers and charters at the expense of public education is far from uniform.

Tallahassee is dismantling public ed and the pace has quickened, and they are no longer doing it behind closed doors.

It's passed time we did something and step one should be to see if those laws preventing strikes are legal.

We have to do something because time is rapidly running out.

DCPS must immeadiatly change the way it evaluates teachers

Governor DeSantis has proposed giving teachers that are highly effective and work in schools that move forward about one percent a 9,000 dollar bonus and this is a terrible idea for a number of reasons. That I won't get into here.

Though if you are interested in some of the reasons you can click the link:
I have no doubt like all of his other terrible education related ideas, some form of this will pass through the legislature in Tallahassee that is all to focused on harming public education and the teaching profession.

Sine that is the case DCPS must immediately change the way it evaluates teachers.

Right now we use the ironically named C.A.S.T. system to evaluate teachers and it's not quite as convoluted as the VAM equation is but it is it's not to distant cousin.

Last year state wide 56.1 percent of teachers were rated highly effective, in Duval that number was 33 percent.

In Clay county 95 percent of their teachers are considered highly effective.

Of the 67 counties, we are 52nd in terms of percentage of teachers getting highly effective and only one county bigger than us has a smaller percentage with most of the other 14 being relatively small districts.  

Look I think DeSantis's proposal to give a few teachers 9 grand is patently ridiculous but at the same time DCPS has to give as many teachers as possible a chance to get it. We should copy Clay county's model as soon as possible.

This is what I think, in Duval they could make movies about three percent of our teachers, you know like Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds type stuff, and there are probably about three percent of teachers, who need to be taught up themselves or maybe even shown the door and that leaves the vast majority of students who are good. They show up, they work hard and their students are better off for having them. We need to give more of them a chance to benefit from the Mad King's scheme.

Besides we all know the reason the district's evaluation system is so convoluted is to save money. Our salary schedule says HE teachers not on the grandfather schedule get a bigger step than effective teachers. Fewer HE teachers saves the districts a few shekels well now friends there are a lot of shekels on the line and its time DCPS gave (more) of its teachers a chance to get them.

It's a little small but below is teacher ratings by district.

No photo description available.

DeSantis basically said Florida’s accountability system is a fraud, so why doesn’t he do us all a favor and end it? (rough draft)

I think we know why but I will get to that in a second.

DeSantis redefined what public education is Friday; he must feel like he has a mandate what with that 33,000 vote margin of victory in 8.1 million cast.

He said, if the public pays for the school it's public school and it doesn't matter where they go as he called for another voucher program, this time to be paid for directly with public money. The other big one involves a complicated money laundering scheme where money is diverted from the state coffers and into vouchers.  

From the Florida Phoenix, 

Setting up the potential to reverse a 13-year-old court ruling that blocked the expansion of school vouchers, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday outlined a dramatic new “scholarship” program that would allow thousands more students to attend private schools with public dollars.

The program, called the “Equal Opportunity Scholarship,” is scarce on details, but DeSantis wants to start off by helping about 14,000 kids who have been on a waiting list in connection with another program called the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.
Later on though, the new program will blossom, allowing 1 percent of Florida’s public school enrollment statewide to receive Equal Opportunity Scholarships if students are eligible. That would mean about 28,000 students, based on the current statewide student population of about 2.8-million.
But each year after that, the number of scholarship students would grow by an additional 1 percent of statewide enrollment, according to the governor’s office.
And unlike corporate donations for the tax credit scholarships, the new Equal Opportunity program would be funded the way traditional schools are funded – with so-called general revenue dollars that are largely from sales taxes. Lottery dollars and other funds also go into the state pot for schools.
The scholarship amounts would be a “slight discount” of the per-student funding in each district, according to the proposal. The statewide per-student average is about $7,400 this academic year.
The new scholarships, often called vouchers or voucher schemes by critics, come as traditional public schools are fighting for higher pay and benefits and public charter schools overseen by private groups have grown significantly over the years.

That’s right, we are going to directly pay, with tax payer money, to send children to schools that don’t have to have certified teachers or teachers with degrees or recognized curriculums where more than a few teach junk science and history, that have so little accountability you might as well say they have none. Since that’s the case, DeSantis is basically admitting Florida’s steroid filled accountability system is meaningless.  

If that isn’t head scratching enough, these children are also going to be required to take the FSA and adding insult to injury, local districts are going to be required to administer it.

But why?

How the students do isn’t going to affect a teacher’s evaluation, like it would in a public school.

How the students do isn’t going to affect the school grades either, because private schools don’t get school grade.

I don’t know if how they do will affect a district grade but I wouldn’t put anything past this governor.

Here is the thing, if none of those things matter for a student taking public money to attend a private school, then why should they matter for the students attending public school?

The answer is they shouldn’t.

Florida’s accountability system isn’t really here to evaluate, public schools and the teachers and students, that go to and work in them. It’s to bash them over the head… repeatedly until they submit or go away. Something DeSantis basicaly admits with this new voucher program.

You can’t honestly say testing is so important over here, while at the same time saying it doesn’t matter a hill of beans over there, or you shouldn’t be allowed to anyways.

Bush tried to do something similar 15 years ago but the Florida supreme court struck it down. Now that DeSantis has packed it, he thinks it will pass this time. That however won’t make it right.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

DCPS needs to get creative to solve it's school take over problem.

It is time DCPS started playing the game

Spoiler alert, I did not care for former superintendent Vitti, okay not much of a spoiler, and I won’t go into the reasons here, and instead I will pay him a bit of a compliment. That guy could play the game.

He changed entire schools around in order to beat the test and change their school grades. Below are some of the changes he made.

From the Times Union
Making new magnet or specialized schools from Andrew Jackson High (computer science, robotics), Wolfson High (international studies), Ed White High (military), A. Philip Randolph High (vocational trades), Matthew Gilbert Middle (medical magnet), Stilwell Middle (performing arts) and Northwestern Middle (vocational trade or performing arts)
Changing Oak Hill Elementary into an autism center and R.L. Brown into a gifted and talented school

Creating primary schools - for preschool through second grades - at West Jacksonville, Long Branch, and Hyde Grove elementaries while converting Hyde Park to grades 3-6

» Moving the Young Men’s Leadership Academy from Butler Middle to Fort Caroline Middle

He knew education in Florida has become a game, which boils down to passing a test and getting a certain amount of points. It doesn’t matter that great things are happening at all our schools even the ones that struggle on standardized tests, you just have to get so many points.

This man got it. Tip my hat, kudos.

Now I could question the ways he went about it and the results, but I am not, especially since I think superintendent Greene and the school board should follow suit… sort of.

I talked to a teacher at a small elementary teacher and asked them what’s the difference between a F and a C, and at first they didn’t understand so I tried to narrow it down, how many kids, I said and still they didn’t understand, so I finally said, if you could get rid of your lowest performers, how many would it take for your school grade to go up. They thought about it for a second and replied 15-20 students.

Now I am not saying we get rid of kids, that’s what charters do, I am saying, we give them another option. I am saying we transfer them to A or B schools.

Now there is already a program in place that allows students at certain habitually low performing, and just so you know when I say low performing, I mean on the test, schools, to higher performing ones.

I am going to digress for a moment. Years ago when I was at Ed White we were a C school and took in three hundred Ribault kids on whatever they called the transfer at the time and within two years we were an F school and in another 2 we were on the same list Ribault had been on that allowed the kids to transfer to Ed White. Three hundred was to many, now 30 we could have done and not missed a beat.

Okay let’s get back to what we can call voluntary transfers.  Schools could identify their 20 or so lowest performers and meet with their families and offer the transfers, but here is the inducement, they would offer door to door service, and a spot in team up or whatever after school programs they have at their new schools too.

Their kids have been languishing in their current environment, sad but true, so maybe a change of scenery is what they need and there is evidence my Ed White story non withstanding that it works.

From the Christian Science Monitor,

"The socioeconomic approach offers two advantages," says Richard Kahlenberg, author of a new report detailing such plans and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a progressive policy group in Washington. First, districts that have done it most successfully give families a choice of magnet schools with special programs, "so there are incentives for middle-class people to buy into socioeconomic integration," says Mr. Kahlenberg. Second, "as a legal matter, it's clearly fine to use income to distinguish people."

Such balance creates a more equitable environment that promotes higher achievement, he and others say. One study found that schools with less than 50 percent low-income students were 22 times more likely to be high-performing than schools with a majority of low-income students.

In short, Wake county took poor kids and bused them to richer schools, and for a time all the schools did better.

And look we all know the larger problem is poverty, well I mean except Tallahassee, who ignores it like I do the last spoon in the sink.

Okay back to the transfers, I get it, these will cost money, but the district is already planning to spend 500,000 dollars to hire a management company to run three schools.

How much do you think it would cost for a half dozen buses to provide door to door service? By the way we already do door to door service for many of our special needs children so it is doable.  Ten grand a month, 20 maybe?

That means we still would have three hundred grand to play with, where we can add a few mental health counselors or social workers because often why a child acts up or does poorly in school has nothing to do with school.

I have no doubt six bus routes and 5 staff would be appreciably cheaper and more effective than whatever management company the district brought in.

Let’s go back to Ed White for a minute. When the school dropped to a F, a few years later an education management company was brought in and that was the final straw for a lot of teachers, they didn’t like being micromanaged and having someone constantly standing over their shoulder. Some retired, more transferred and a few said, this teaching thing isn’t for me and here is the big thing, they didn't tell the staff anything they didn't know.  

Did the grade go up at Ed White? Yes, but that had more to do with kids matriculating out as the attendance dropped by about a thousand students.

Will the kids improve at their new school? I don’t know, I sure hope so, but their new school will be able to absorb the hit even if they don’t. Their old schools should improve grade wise anyway, as well.

You see friends school grades, test and punish, it’s a game Tallahassee has set up, because if they really cared they would allocate a lot more resources to those schools rather than threaten to take them over or force districts to spend money they don’t have to hire a management company that’s going to tell them things that they already know.    

I didn’t like Vitti, on the way out the door he admitted he thought teachers were easily replaceable widget, but boy, that guy could play the game. It’s time DCPS learned to play the game too.  

Officer accidentally discharges gun at school, so why do we want to arm teachers again?

There is a lot of debate if we should build the wall, err arm teachers.   Well what happened today in Jacksonville should be exhibit number one why it is a bad idea.

From First Coast News,

A middle school on the Westside was briefly locked down Thursday after a false threat was made to the school and a Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer accidentally fired their weapon, school officials said.

Duval County Public Schools said the false threat was made to JSO and claimed Jefferson Davis Middle School was in danger. The school was then briefly placed on lockdown while police investigated. 

While officers investigated the campus, DCPS said a JSO officer's firearm was accidentally discharged outside the school. 

Despite the incident, the school district told parents, "at no time was there a threat to our campus, and staff and students remained safe throughout the day."

JSO is now investigating the incident in which the weapon was discharged, according to school district officials.

Look this was an accident, I am sure the officer feels terrible and luckily nobody was hurt, but the thing is this officer is a trained professional and he messed up bigly but for some reason republican's think it's a good idea give teachers a few hours of training and arm them? Doing so puts children at risk and that's the bottom line. 

Law enforcement and protecting kids are important and valuable duties of the state, duties however that should be preformed by people trained to do them not teachers who already have pretty full plates.   

Is it to much to ask that we have professional law enforcement protect our children and if it is can you tell me why?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The terrible symbol the school board building has become

I am going to lay some knowledge on you if you  are young or new to Jacksonville. The city used to stink, I mean literally and really, really stink. We dumped garbage into the river like it was our job and we had the paper plant on the Northside of town, which belched noxious fumes that would put even your uncle Larry to shame, and where he can clear a room, the paper plant cleared a quarter of the county. 

Furthermore forty years ago there was nothing on the water front except ship yards, and they didn’t do much for the aesthetic feel of Jax either. Back then when DCPS cleaned up the polluted spot where the school board building now sits they were considered heroes for putting the building down there and bringing in workers.

Fast forward to today and things have changed a bit, we have the district now and builds are coming fast and furious to downtown and whether deserved or not the school board building has become a symbol for all that’s wrong with the district.

People think here we have this gleaming tower stopping progress, whose sale could solve all our problems. Heck the Times Union even threatened the district in an op-ed this week, basically saying sell it or you don’t deserve any extra funding.  

From the Times Union,
Finally, any new source of funds will require public support — but that won’t be easy to generate as long as the school district keeps its administration building on prime waterfront property.
The Duval school district should be pursuing an aggressive plan to move the administration building off the riverfront.

Wow, once again proving the Times Union editorial staff is right less often than a broke clock when it comes to education.

Now you might be thinking, Chris, don’t be a hypocrite, you have called for the selling of the school board building as well and I have but I wanted them to sell it and then move the offices to a neighborhood crippled by poverty. I want the district to convert Jackson High school into the new school board building.

Before I am excoriated I get it, Jackson High has great kids and is doing a lot of great things.  I hope you get though, that the school is severely under enrolled. It has the facilities to hold a couple thousand students but has less than a thousand. I hope people also understand that the amazing programs at Jackson which is a magnet now and doesn’t serve many neighborhood kids could be put elsewhere, like perhaps at Ribault and Raines whose attendance is way down from their hey days too.  

We should all know by now that poverty is the number one indicator for how children do in school, the long and short is students who live in it don’t do as well as those that don’t. I figured putting a few thousand people working in the neighborhood would be a huge shot in the arm. It might be able to pull a few families out of poverty. I wasn't thinking sell it just to make a point.

School board chair Lori Hershey was on First Coast Connect where she was invariably asked about the school board building because a fair portion of the city believes selling it will solve most of our woes. She pointed out that not only was the building and property paid for costing the district nothing but it was only valued at ten million dollars.

Now that might sound like a lot, but the reality is that is less than one percent of our billion dollar plus construction/maintenance/repair hole.  

From First Coast News,

Duval County Public Schools estimates the county needs over a billion dollars to repair the inside and outside of the district’s 158 campuses.

Board Members learned the news at a district workshop Tuesday. 56 buildings are in poor condition, including three that could be more cost-effective if they were closed.

Sigh, 56 would be cheaper if it they were closed. Those our public buildings owned by all of us, but because Jacksonville doesn't have impact fees and Tallahassee loves charters that we because of a lack of resources have allowed to fall into disrepair.

Furthermore, how much do you think it would cost to build a new site and move, if the District passed on my genius suggestion anyway? My guess is a big chunk of that ten million dollars if not more.

So what do we do? Nothing, that’s what, we give the board a break and yes, I did just spit out my milk at the realization I wrote that, unless, hmm unless…

Unless, somebody like Peter Rummel, Wayne Weaver, Preston Haskell or some other rich guy who throws money around in school board races because they think they know best stepped up. How about we give the board a break unless one of them rides in and offers something like 30 million. Sure it’s a drop in the bucket when compared to our needs but now selling the building won’t put us in a hole and there may be some left over to really do something.

They say they are civic minded, the say they care about education, and as successful businessmen who wants to bet to bet they would be able to eventually turn a profit as well. Wouldn’t this be a win-win for everyone involved. Also Wayne, you aren’t taking it with you, can you imagine, the Wayne Weaver school board building?

Weaver and Gary Chartrand with a bunch of others invested in the QEA a few years back, an education initiative which I generally think we can agree was a failure, well why don’t they team up again and try and do some good this time.

We have problems, we do and a lack of resources may be the biggest, but selling the school board just to satiate the Times Union’s editorial board and those that don’t take the time to understand why the district hasn’t, isn’t going to solve them.

Now did I really write, give the board a break?  

It’s Groundhogs day in Florida, Tallahassee wants to arm teachers again.

On Tuesday on a party line vote the republicans in the senate education committee advanced legislation calling to arm teachers.

This is Florida’s “build the wall” moment, because like that boondoggle if we used reason and facts nobody would want to have anything to do with arming teachers. I can see people in red MAGA hats yelling, arm the teachers, over and over again.

Statistically speaking guns make us less safe and I know that will come as a surprise to all the people carrying weapons waiting for their Nokatomi Towers, type movement.

Study after study shows more guns do not stop crime and makes people less safe.

It’s not even close.

So why do the republicans in Tallahassee want to do something that makes students less safe and  arm teachers? Well the first reason is they want to stick it to liberals which is pretty deplorable, now I am all for sticking it to conservatives, UNLESS IT PUTS CHILDREN’S LIVES in danger!!!! It’s a distinction that haven’t got yet.

The second reason is because it saves money and that should really outrage us all.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was on the radio program First Coast Connect to discuss the recently complete Parkland safety report and he said arming teachers was about saving money as much as anything else.

During his interview with Melissa Ross, he bemoaned that there were 1500 current police officer openings throughout the state and said we would need an additional 2,000 on top of that number to put a police officer in every school and that would cost 400 million dollars a year.

Um so what? We put over a billion into vouchers every year. Charter schools take out about another two. How much do we spend on testing or blame the teacher’s evaluations? We couldn’t find that money if we looked? I mean isn’t protecting our children worth finding the money?

Also Gualtieri might not know it but there is a teacher shortage too, one that arming them is bound to exacerbate.

Let me ask you a couple questions, what problem have you chosen to fix on the cheap and did that work? Would you ask a fireman to do surgery, because isn’t that like asking teachers to be cops too? If your child needed medicine, would you use a cold compress and hope for the best? Hopefully your answers were none, no and no, but for some reason the sheriff and so many others think arming teachers is the right way to go?

Remember he and his report said, arm teachers, not raise the money needed for extra police.  
Isn’t doing things the right way, even if it costs a little more the way to go? Florida is one of the lowest taxed states in the union and I get it we all hate taxes, but don’t we hate dead kids just a little bit more.

Arming teachers for many of the right, and I say the right because I can’t find anybody on the left or in the middle who is for it, isn’t about finding solutions, it’s like the wall, it’s just so they can poke a finger in people who they disagree with eye.

Teacher’s having guns, is a symbol, but like the wall, it doesn’t address the real issues.

Parkland had an armed officer. Cruz had to know that, but it didn’t deter him. What Cruz didn’t get was the services and attention he needed.

I have no doubt the Broward County school district made serious and grievous lapses as this young man fell through the cracks, but we shouldn’t forget he was part of an underfunded and over mandated system where this was bound to happen and we are just lucky it hasn’t happened more.
We need real solutions like more mental health counseling and social worker services because often why a kid acts up and does poorly in school has nothing to do with school.

We need manageable class and workloads so teachers can build those relationships that can prevent tragedy and aren’t so overwhelmed they miss warning signs or worse have to many other things on their plate that they get pushed to the side.

We need to move away from high stakes testing and instead prepare children to be productive members of society and that means focusing on emotional and social health as much as we do regular health.

Then we need to limit the availability of these weapons and restrict who can have them.  

Finally, if we still really think we need more guns in schools, then they should be handled by professionals and we shouldn’t care if it adds a few dollars more to our tax bill.

Our choices are real solutions, of sticking thumbs in the eyes of snowflakes. Paying more and doing it right, or doing it on the cheap and hoping for the best.

Those are our choices.

Consider carefully, a child’s life may depend on it.

To listen to the interview, click the link:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Darryl Willie insults professional teachers in self-indulgent op ed.

Be careful if you decide to read his op-ed, the hubris flows off it and may create a mess.

Darryl Willie loves Teach for America which takes non education majors and puts them through a five-week boot camp and then into our neediest schools where they are supposed to serve two years, assuring our neediest kids have an ever revolving door of novice teachers, or you know the exact opposite of what they need.

He stops just short of giving Teach for America all the credit for any success the district may have 
had over the years, but just short.  

Not once does he say words like, in conjunction with, working with, working alongside, and then professional teachers. I imagine if an archaeologist were to find this op-ed and read it, they would think all we had were TFA teachers in our classrooms, when the reality is at their heyday they counted for about 4 percent of DCPS’s teachers, four percent, at their heyday. This year the district brought in just 18, sort of.    

 I say sort of because the district no longer pays the expensive and roll over finder’s fees. The truth is TFA didn’t really make it to ten years in the district, it petered out last year.

This is his most fluff filled paragraph in a piece overflowing with fluff and self-serving platitudes to the point of embarrassment.

From the Times Union:
Looking ahead to the next 10 years and beyond, we must ensure our “Bold New City of the South” becomes an enduring reality for all citizens and for generations to come. We achieve this with a continued focus on attracting even more talented, diverse leaders into careers impacting education. We do this by continually investing in a system where teachers, school leaders, community members, and partners work collectively to expand opportunity for all children.

But they only have to stay for two years right? That us the average length of a TFA  corp member stay in our Bold New City of the South, a motto I haven’t heard in over a decade, though why should Willie know that, he hasn’t lived here a decade yet.  

Willie, with the backing of the corporate crowd who wants to privatize our schools, and with tons of cash, barely beat out a lifelong resident and true educator (Willie spent two years in Arkansas about 15 years ago) and the first thing of note he does is publish this drivel, which like everything he says and does is seriously light on a plan but it is worse than that.

DCPS is having community meetings most likely in an effort to ask for a millage or sales tax increase because our buildings are the oldest in the state with a billion dollars in needs, our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation and Tallahassee hasn’t taken care of its responsibilities, and he doesn’t mention that at all not once and instead drones on about TFA which I and many others believe hurt education.

Teach for America is (hopefully) in the districts rear view mirror, an example of a dark time when leadership didn’t think experience mattered and anybody could teach. It’s time we closed that book for good and moved on.

The chutzpah on this guy, I bet his house has a hundred mirrors.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

DeSantis teacher pay idea should be sent back to the drawing board, people stop thanking him for nothing

DeSantis once again made a big splash in the education world, and for those counting at home this was the third one. After the expansion of vouchers (a terrible idea) and the end of Common Core (not a practical one) he meandered his way to teacher pay where he proposed 422 million dollars in a gimmick filled proposal that falls apart after five minutes of critical thinking.

Now DeSantis is correct in his overarching idea that teachers need to be paid more, after all even this late into the game we still have thousands of openings statewide and the problem is only going to get worse, it's just his idea to fix the problem is terrible.

First he is proposing a bonus when teachers really need a raise. Florida is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to teacher salaries and its teachers have been loosing ground for over a decade especially its veteran teachers.

Then it's just a bonus for 45k teachers (maybe, more on that in a minute), leaving the vast majority of teachers out in the cold. There are a little more than 180,000 public school teachers which means only about a quarter would be eligible for his bonus.

Then the teachers that are highly effective also have to be in a school that experiences one percent growth and I get it, to the uniformed that may seem very doable. Here is thing, what if you are at an academic magnet school that has a majority of high achievers, where growth because of where they start at is little. How about if you work at a center school for disabled children that doesn't participate in the letter grade system, or maybe you are in one of those schools that goes backwards or stays the same, it wouldn't matter if you were high performing or not, like so many others they would be frozen out of the bonus.

Okay lets keep going.

There are 67 counties with 67 different evaluation processes and whats H.E. here may not be H.E. there.  Some districts had 95 percent of their teachers rated as highly effective (Clay) while other districts had a considerably different percentage.

Also do you know what the difference between effective and highly effective is? Sometimes its a fair amount of hard work, but then other times it is if your principal likes you or not, or if your principal is having a good day or not, or if little Johnny is in a good mood or not. Evaluations are highly subjective no matter what way you cut it. And subjective number one is if your principal likes you or not.

Then won't this exacerbate teaching to the test? 9 grand is not chump change and we already teach to the test without it. This would put it on steroids.

I am now five minutes in to my analysis which is probably 5 minutes more than DeSantis and his team did which makes me think he isn't really serious at all.

A Facebook friend explained what DeSantis is doing like this. He can propose all he wants, but it’s up to the state legislature if it gets passed. He has not — as far as I can tell — proposed for a way to pay for it. Sales tax increase? Corporate income tax? So... he gets positive headlines for a few weeks. Teachers feel good for a minute or two and then... it gets quickly forgotten when it doesn’t pass the legislature. In 2022 he gets to cut an ad that he fights for teachers. Without having to make any actual hard decisions. At least when Gillum ran he proposed a way to pay for teacher raises. The success of the modern Republican Party is about the art of doing nothing while appearing to do something. It’s the Matrix of public policy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I applaud Darryl Willie's decision to step down from TFA but now he must distance himself from their program.

Kudos to School Board district 4 member Darryl Willie for stepping down from Teach for America but that's just step one.

First look at this chart:

Duval District Grade

TFA corp members by year


*  Percentage of TFA and non TFA teachers returning for their third years

A December 2013 report said TFA was the number one factor exacerbating teacher turnover.

It shows that the more Teach for America corp members we had the worse the district did. Now you shouldn't think for an instant that this chart is the end all be all. There are probably dozens if not hundreds of factors that go into determining a district grade, but undoubtedly one of those has to be teaching experience, and the bottom line is experience, what TFA completely discounts, matters.

From NEAToday,

The verdict: experience matters – even in the second decade of teaching and beyond. 

“The common refrain that teaching experience does not matter after the first few years in the classroom is no longer supported by the preponderance of the research,” Tara Kini and Anne Podolsky write in Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? “We find that teaching experience is, on average, positively associated with student achievement gains throughout a teacher’s career.” 

Based on their analysis of 30 studies published over the past 15 years, Kini and Podolsky find that: 

Gains in teacher effectiveness are most striking during the first five years in the classroom, but continue to increase during the second, and often third, decade of a career.  
As teachers gain experience, students’ academic gains are not the only benefit. School attendance also improves.
For teachers to be effective at any point in their career, they must be a part of a supportive and collegial school environment. Stability in teaching assignments is also key. Teachers are most effective in the same grade level, subject, or district.
More experienced teachers support greater student learning for their colleagues and the school as a whole, as well as for their own students. Novice teachers, in particular, benefit most from having more experienced colleagues.

Now before I get excoriated by TFA apologists, sure you are right, there are a lot of great ones, and sure you are right there are veteran teachers who have stayed to long, but if we are playing the odds, then parents would take a veteran teacher every time.

If Willie really wants to make a difference he should pledge to work toward every classroom to have a professional teacher, or one that might become one, instead of having somebody who thinks, I will try that, to pay off student loans and kill time before grad school. Anything else just buys into a failed idea that anyone can teach and experience doesn't mater. Our most vulnerable children do not need a revolving door of novice teachers, they need professional and veteran ones. It's past time TFA went away.

So Mr. Willie I applaud your decision, but make no mistake the real work now begins.