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Monday, November 12, 2018

Superintendent Green and the new school board must start thinking big

With three new members on the school board and a superintendent that is still getting their feet wet, I think it's time they started thinking big.

First we need to move the school board building. For a second year in a row Jackson high school which is in a neighborhood desperate for economic development has less than 500 students. They should be folded into Ribault, Raines, Paxon, Stanton, Darnell-Cookman or A. Phillip Randolph and the central offices should be moved there. The cost plus a nice piece of change could be made up by selling the current building which is a prime piece of real estate.

Next we should change the start time for high schools. All the research indicates we are starting our high school students behind the 8 ball with our early start times. Neighboring counties are starting later in the day as well. St. Johns starts at 9:15, and Nassau county starts at 9. Forgive my pun but its past time Duval got with the times.

Then we desperately need a one cent sales tax to address local education issues. There is no help coming from Tallahassee as they have abdicated their responsibility to properly fund public education. Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation and our buildings are some of the oldest. We have to give the people of Jacksonville like so many other counties have the opportunity to support our public schools, even very conservative Clay county approved a half cent sales tax for education. I get it nobody likes taxes but I hope we dislike teachers working multiple jobs to make ends meet, schools that are crumbling and ill prepared for life students more.

Finally no more charter schools or charter school expansions unless they prove they fill a need or employ some unique innovation. We have dozens and dozens of public schools which are way below capacity, negatively impacted by charter schools that bring nothing new to the table. There should be more requirements to opening a charter school than one can fill out a form.

We have a lot of great things going on in the district, a dedicated staff and amazing children, but i don't think anybody believes we are where we could or should be. Above will help us get there.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

There is something wrong with our system, Jason Fischer edition

Jason Fischer parlayed an endorsement by Jeb Bush, and despite credible reports of him lying to voters and much more qualified candidates he won a seat on the school board. which he only ran for after losing a soil and water board election.

On the board he was dreadful. Unprepared and seemingly bought by special interests were my biggest complaints. He quit before his first term was over to run for the state house barely edging out Dick Kravitz.

In the house he has been both a foe to public ed and a big giver of public money to his donors pet projects, Gary Cartrand and the KIPP school anyways.

So when Ken Organes ran against him I was excited. Sure 16 is ruby red but it's not dumb. What me and Ken didn't realize was is Ken didn't stand a chance.

https://ballotpedia.org/Jason_Fischer

Oh Jason Fischer knew it and he was so sure he didn't even campaign.

This is what the Times Union had to say,

From the Times Union:

Generally experience is the most valuable asset for a politician. 
But that’s as long as the experience is constructive.
Incumbent state Rep. Jason Fischer did not find the time to meet with the Times-Union Editorial Board.
He did not bother to provide a bio or answers to a questionnaire.
And even Fischer’s campaign website is skimpy on any achievements in Tallahassee.
In short, Fischer’s experience isn’t the plus that it should be.
Why not?
Because it is experience that Fischer appears have gained while also developing a sense of entitlement along the way. 
And that’s just not a good look for any public servant.
District 16 deserves a representative who is both knowledgeable and humble.
That’s where Fischer’s opponent, Ken Organes, comes in. 

https://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/20181023/tuesday-editorial-renner-organes-are-impressive


I live in Mandarin and didn't see one yard sign. Didn't get one mailer either.

Fischer knew he was going to win and he wasn't the only one.

Democrats received 50.68 percent of the votes.

https://www.duvalelections.com/

https://enr.electionsfl.org/DUV/Summary/1964/

Yet our Duval Delegation to the house is 4-2 republican sorry make that 5-1 because Kimberly Daniels is a republican in democrats clothing.

Democrats received 50 percent of the votes but only have a third of the representation.

http://www.coj.net/departments/duval-legislative-delegation/delegation-members-jacksonville-info

The state has so gerrymandered the house seats that it assures republican domination, in a state that should be no worse than 50-50.

That should outrage all of us, sorry all of us decent people no matter what side of the aisle they fall on.

Jason Fischer isn't qualified to run a book club not that I think he reads, but he won going away, not because of his ideas, he didn't put any out there, but because the system has been set up to make sure he wins.

If everyone's vote does not count then people aren't being led the are being ruled.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Education Matters mean tweet edition

Do you ever watch the mean tweets segments on the Jimmy Kimmel show?  They show celebrities reading mean tweets sent to them and they are hilarious. 

Well I get some mean comments from time to time, I believe most come from somebody whose initials are S,S and whose name rhymes with Rot Rine that I find hilarious as well. I have saved so much money living in their head, I was able to donate to Elizabeth Andersen's campaign helping her defeat Nick Howland. 

I don't usually put them up because I find something cowardly about a person who will leave nasty comments anonymously, cowardly and pathetic but I thought you might enjoy them. 

Okay friends, here goes. 

Notice how no one comments. You are insignificant and a cancer on education. Shut the fuck up and get a real job. 

You should apply to a charter school. Try a couple. Or another county public school. Then, report the results. If you are the wonder of the world you paint yourself out to be, they will just be jumping at the chance to put you in their classroom. Or, we will find the truth.

Be sure and watch channel 4 news monday at 5:15: Number of criminals, like Chris, in the classroom. Charter schools do not put or keep criminals in the classroom. Go Dave ! 

It struck me the other day I actually met you at a club over off Arlington expessway. It was about 1988 or so. I remembered you because you seemed like a real nice guy for about 10 seconds before you got your ass hat on. I remembered that after all these years because you were just such an odd, abrasive person. yes, you were fat and smelly, but not as fat as now. True story. Some band out of Atlanta, the Producers I think. There were an out 10 people in the club. You kept running your mouth and stinking up the place so I left.

Oh, I forgot. When your lawyer included your wife in damages, you do know what that means? It means you could not please her sexualy and she has a right to compensation. It's an interesting point of law. I respect your courage in sharing with the world your problems with ED.

There are a few more, but these are the most recent ones and they all cam on blogs where I talked about Dave Chauncey and Nick Howland, I think they are covering for something, not that there is anything wrong with that, and they never refute what I wrote, instead launching into laughable personal attacks.

Anyway, they amused me so I thought they might amuse you as well.

With school board elections over, Jax says yes to educators and no to special interests, millionaires and privatizers

Three fearless women went up against the forces of privatization and the hundreds of thousands of dollars they funneled into the races and two of them won and one barely lost. If this isn't a repudiation of special interests attempting to buy control of our schools, people like businessman Gary Chartrand and organizations like Jax Biz, I don't know what is.

In district 2 former teacher and current mental health counselor Elizabeth Andersen defeated Nick Holwland. Howland raised 77,519 dollars to Andersen's 13,360, (full disclosure 800 of that came from me, from My Scott Shine stash). Howland's six fold fund raising haul and all his business endorsements including Jax Biz who endorsed all three male candidates, didn't matter as Andersen won going away. 58.25-41.75.

Charlotte Joyce's fundraising disadvantage was just as daunting as her opponent Dave Chauncey taking money hand over fist from charter school interests out raised Joyce by nearly 90 thousand dollars, 109k to 19. She also won going away, 59.15-40.85

Unfortunately educators did not go 3-0 as in district 4, TFA executive Darryl Willie beat Cynthia Smith by just two percentage points, despite out raising her 3 to one, 73k to 26. Even though she lost she should be proud that she kept the race so close in the face of fierce opposition from Willie's charter school and teach for america buddies. Not having her on the board hurts but Willie has to know people are watching with such a razor thin win.

Two blowouts and a narrow loss bode well for the school board. The city collectively said, no we don't want charters to take over, we don't want TFA to staff our schools, and for vouchers to have no over site.

The people said, we don't want agenda driven millionaires many of whom don't live in the county nor sent their children to our schools and their super pacs running our schools.

Now I am disappointed about Smith and numerous other state and local races, that went against public ed, but I can take some solace that at least at the local level, the one most responsive to the people and despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent against them, the people of Jax chose educators over privatizers.

Now it's time for the work to begin.

To see how much money they raised click the link
https://www.voterfocus.com/CampaignFinance/candidate_pr.php?c=Duval

To see the election results click the link
https://enr.electionsfl.org/DUV/Summary/1964/

Duval Teacher's United tiger cope pac let its membership and the city down.

First the disclaimers.

If you think I am a disappointed and a little angry you are right.

I am a union guy today and despite my combination of disappointment and rage that not even a snickers could cure I will be one tomorrow.

The Tiger Cope pac is the political action part of the union, it's a small group that makes the unions endorsements that members have to pay an extra 20 a year, about 75 cents a pay check to be in.

I will be joining the Tiger cope pac tomorrow to make sure a travesty likes this never happens again.

Okay

The union's tiger cope pac let the city and its membership down when it co endorsed Cynthia Smith and Darryl Willie in the district 4 school board race.

They looked at his money advantage which was formidable. Willie raised 73 thousand dollars including a last minute push by super pacs that support charters, almost three times what Smith did.

https://www.voterfocus.com/CampaignFinance/candidate_pr.php?c=Duval

In the primary Willie more than doubled Smith's vote total too. 8.600 to 4,100.

https://ballotpedia.org/Duval_County_Public_Schools_elections_(2018)#District_4

Then there is no doubt Wilie is affable too, have you seen his KiKi challenge video, good God he has moves but the thing is, dance moves seems to be all he has.

It looked like it was going to be a blow out in District 4, a sixty forty race. So instead of doing the right thing and endorsing the teacher, the union's political action committee  co endorsed a man who doesn't think teachers are professionals and anyone can do their job, they did so because they thought he was going to win. Well he did but the margin was razor thin and we are all left wondering what would have happened had the DTU tiger cope pac done the right thing.

Willie won the election, by 1,626 votes.

https://enr.electionsfl.org/DUV/Summary/1964/

How many votes was that DTU's endorsement worth? Well if it was worth 814 Smith wins that election and instead of having a man who is anti-teacher as they come, we have an educator on the board.

I am so disappointed in my union, specifically the Tiger Cope pac members that allowed this to happen.

I want people who does the right thing, even if it is hard, even if it defies the expedient thing to do and doesn't take things like the KiKi challenge into consideration.

So Mrs. Smith let me apologize to you, the city and most importantly the district's teachers deserved better.
     

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Are Gary Chartrand and the business community dismissive of teachers, women or both?(rough draft)

Gary Chartrand the millionaire grocer who lives in Ponte Vedra and who sent his children to expensive and exclusive private schools which are wholly unlike the schools he has been advocating for our children, has parlayed tens of thousands of donations into millions in public money for his pet projects is dismissive of both women and teachers and let me explain how.

In 2008 he supported Tommy Hazouri, WC Gentry and Ken Manuel for the school board in district, 3, and 7. All women and just one Manuel had any education experience.

He laid low for a bit but in 2012  he supported Ashley Smith Juarez and Jason Ficher in 7 and 3. Now Smith-Juarez is a woman and had some nominal education experience. Fischer however had nothing approaching anything like education experience. Where it seems like they have since broken ranks, at the time Smith Juarez ran Chartrand's foundation.

In 14 it was current members Couch (his wife), Shine and Darryl Willie. Now Couch is both a woman and an educator, and I imagine the  Chartrand family would say it was the worst contribution they ever made. Willie, well Willie might claim to be an educator, but he's closer to a shill for the education reform movement than anything. Also you should know Couch was running unopposed and Willie went against incumbent Paula Wright, one of the few times in recent memory that an incumbent has been challenged. As for Shine, his lack of credentials is well documented.

In 2016 he supported Grymes who was running unopposed and who had proven herself a friend to charters and his pet causes, Greg Tison and Warren Jones, neither of which had any relevant education experience. 

Fast forward to this go around and he has chosen Howland, Willie and Chauncey all men to support over three more than capable women.

So in 10 years, 5 cycles, Chartrand has supported one true educator, Becki Couch and one ed administrator Ken Manuel and in the 14 races he has contributed to he has gone with the male candidate 11 times. And two of the three times he went with the woman candidate they were running unopposed.

So in the 12 competitive races he has donated to, Chartrand has supported the man and the non educator 11 times often opposing women who are educators. So you tell me if he is dismissive of educators and women or not.

https://www.duvalelections.com/Candidates-And-Committees/Search-Local-Contributions-And-Expenditures

What's worse however is where Chartrand goes, the business community goes as well.

Chartrand and his ilk have such disdain for the people doing the work a profession mostly made up of women it should be criminal. Education the one job where the people that do it can't be trusted to run it. (sic)

Have you wondered why we aren't where we should be and why progress is slow, well friends its because Chartrand is the villain of the story.

Tutweiller Fortune lays egg on First Coast Connect, can there be any doubt what side of the privatization movement JPEF is on.

Rachel Tutweiller-Fortune, intern interim president of the Jacksonville Public education Fund (JPEF) appeared on first Coast Connect today to talk about the school board races and it was something.

I have long thought JPEF was in the pocket of the forces of privatization and today's performance did nothing to change that, in fact if anything it reinforced my opinion.

She had one exchange where a caller asked her about compensating teachers, and she said, I think teachers should be compensated, an exasperated Melissa Ross asked, how much, and Tutweiller Fortune paused and said, what they are worth. Everyone wanted a number but she didn't want to give one and the reason is probably because Gary Chartrand the man who at least metaphorically signs her checks, doesn't think teachers are professionals and would be okay with temporary TFA teachers manning our schools.

When asked about the difference between the candidates the men who seem to support corporate reforms and the women supporters of traditional public schools, she said the board members need to work well together. Not satisfied Melissa Ross asked for a deeper answer that never came.

Here are some more low lights.

At one point she said candidates had ideas. Um, okay, sure.

When Ross asked her about the budget shortfall, Tutweiller-Fortune played along, the problem is we have never had a shortfall. Did we spend more than we planned to under Vitti, yes, but the thing is we had the money to spend.

She pointed out that 5 candidates had served as educators, but the truth is Willie and Chanucey's experience can't compare to Andersen, Smith and Joyce's experience. Willie and Chauncey have five years total, and none of Willie's was in Jacksonville and it was more than a decade ago and in Arkansas. Each of the ladies individually have more experience than the men collectively. 

When asked is JPEF a non partisan arbitrator about education, she talked about the diversity of the JPEF board, though there isn't much of a diversity in who they donate to. She said JPEF doesn't take a side but they do when they don't do deep dives into the candidates. You see all candidates say they want whats best for kids, and to retain and attract the best teachers, so to really get to know their differences you have to do a deep dive and you have to call out lies, lack of details and relationships, something JPEF can't be bothered to do.

When asked about lobbying, whether they were fighting for more pay or for more choice, she said, JPEF doesn't take a side. Ugh, they totally take a side.

http://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-jacksonville-public-education-fund.html
http://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2018/06/shouldnt-we-all-be-tired-of.html
http://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2017/05/trey-csar-and-jpef-arent-here-to-help.html

Trey Csar the former president of JPEF used to say all the time he wasn't for good public schools or good charter schools, just good schools, while doing all he could to steer kids to charters. I get Tutweiller-Fortune isn't Csar but how far could the apple have landed from the tree?
 
Also saying you aren't taking a side, when one side has hundreds of thousands of dollars and very little relevant teaching experience, and not doing anything to just inform people of the things they say and do and the relationships they have then you have taken a side.

I could go on and on but you should check it out for yourself.

http://news.wjct.org/post/1012018-school-board-races-politics-and-arts

Tutweiller-Fortune said teachers need to be valued and respected, well friends the people paying her salary disagree.

Ross did her best to get some answers about the races but afterwards both must have been exhausted from all of Tutweiller-Fortune's dancing.

Finally I want to say she referred to herself over and over as an educator, and I want to thank her for those two years she put in, leaving the second after her TFA commitment was over assuring the kids in her school would have another rookie teacher. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Becki Couch calls out the Times Union and the businessmen school board candidates

That would be Howland with a dash of Willie and Chauncy in case you were wondering

Via Facebook

It is disappointing that the TU and certain candidates through campaign mailers have been perpetuating inaccurate information. First let me say that Duval did not spend $62 million more than it received last year nor has there been a two-year deficit spending practice. 

State statute requires school districts pass a balanced budget with a minimum of 3% unrestricted funds to be held in reserve. This essentially is like a savings account that is to be used to cover unanticipated costs that can occur throughout the fiscal year. You can read here to see what I have been saying for several years. 



At no time did the district go below the required 3%. 

When preparing the 2018-2019 fiscal year district budget we had to account for a $2.89 per student reduction from the state, underfunded and unfunded legislative mandates, and fixed cost increases. This required a need to reduce our costs by several million dollars so that we could comply with the law and pass a balanced budget. 

Florida state statute 1011.051 requires the superintendent provide written notification to the district school board and the Commissioner of Education if at any time the portion of the general fund’s ending unrestricted fund balance in the district’s approved operating budget is projected to fall below 2 percent of projected revenues during the current fiscal year. 

We have remained above 4% in reserves. Considering this never occurred it is fair to say the campaign advertisements and TU have been a bit misleading in their proclamation that the school district “over spent” the revenue taken in. 

I have served with "businessmen" on the board and they have come to the same conclusion as I, that as long as per student funding continues to lag behind the increases in the cost of living and unfunded mandates continue to be passed by the legislature, cuts to the district budget will continue to occur.

Pro charter school super pac, pushes Darryl Willie for school board, yeah he's not in bed with charters.

Parent's for Great Schools, should really be called charters for more money, and is advertising for Darryl Willie, because, despite his claims to the contrary he's been bought by the charter school industry.

https://www.facebook.com/parentsforgreatschools/videos/502851876863874/

Parents is actually an astro turf group created by one of the most insidious charter chains around, the Rocket ship charters which think sixty kids in front of a computer with a trained money,  low paid assistant walking around checking on them is the way to go.

From the Tennessean

"They are really phenomenal at marketing their schools," said Roxana Marachi, an associate professor in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San Jose State University. "But they have not shown they can deliver on all that they are promising."

Rocketship leaders say their own internal number-crunching shows significantly more improvement than the more dated California-wide comparisons suggest. They continue to position their schools as Silicon Valley's answer to the educational divide. 

And Fuerza Community Prep looks and feels like a Silicon Valley creation, with its brightly lit classrooms almost entirely devoid of the low-tech educational toys of other elementary schools. On a recent visit, there were no pretend kitchens, boxes of wooden blocks or easels to be seen in the classrooms. Students were often spoken to using language more common in corporate offices than elementary schools. A kindergartner whose uniform pants were falling down was told to "dress for success," and an administrator boasted that a first-grade teacher "was maniacal about not wasting time" with her young charges.

Students at these elementary schools can spend up to 90 minutes a day inside computer labs, although administrators say they increasingly try to break up some of that time with music and art classes. Once students are back in their classrooms, some receive yet more time in front of laptops, adding to their total daily screen time. Lunch and recess together are a total of 40 minutes.

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2015/07/05/rocketship-charter-network-criticized-overly-rigid/29646659/

Um that sounds like a nightmare to me and that's who is spending money to get Willie elected.

Willie tells people that he's not going to be in the pocket of charters, but charters obviously have a different point of view.

Friends we can't take the risk that his ability to do the KiKi challenge will translate into him being a school board member, we really cant.

If you care about our public schools and up hope you do, then Cynthia Smith is the candidate for you.  

Days before the election Daryl Willie, school board district 4, doubles down on ridiculousness

People running for public office will often say what they think people want to hear. It’s a sad truth.

Darryl Willie says what he thinks people want to hear to the point of absurdity.
In the Times Union when talking about his haul from charter schools and corporate raiders, Willie tried to turn that into a positive.
She (Smith his opponent in district 4), like the other female candidates, has warned that much of the financial support the male candidates receive come from supporters of charter schools and private school vouchers, which drain students and funds from traditional public schools.
Their opponents disagree that such contributions come with strings attached. Each of the candidates vowed to strengthen Duval’s neighborhood schools and hold charter schools accountable.
Willie, for instance, vows to bring the same fundraising skills he used in his campaign and on behalf of Teach for America to play for Duval’s District 4 schools, which serve the most disadvantaged students.
“This is an example of what I’m going to be able to do as a board member,” he said. “I’m going to reach across the city and bring financial resources to District 4. I’m getting dinged for it, but at the end of the day I’m not afraid to ask for money to invest in our kids.”

Um this is Willie’s second run at school board, he has lived in Jax for 7 years. He says he can bring money into district 4 but how much money has he raised for the district 4 schools again? The answer is nothing. Now I know he has raised a heck of a lot of money for himself. 5 million dollars from the QEA went to teach for Jacksonville, not into the classrooms. Is he saying he will only raise money if he wins? That it’s to heck with you if he doesn’t?  Imagine if district 4 had extra money for safety, coaches, a librarian, well they could have but instead of giving, all Willie has done is take.

There is no doubt Willie is affable and he can sure do the KiKi challenge, but what’s also not in doubt is he is self-serving. It’s him first, TFA second and I believe when if he gets elected his donors, which have been paying his six figure salary and for TFA to survive, even though DCPS has said no thanks to them going forward, third. Kids and schools, well if past is prologue there won’t be much left for them once their turn comes around.     

If you care about our schools, vote Smith, not only has she proved herself, but she puts kids and schools first.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The District 2 school board race explained, Vote Andersen and experience over Howland and Hubris

District 2

In District 2 we have former DCPS teacher and current mental health counselor Elizabeth Anderson going against Navy veteran and businessman Nick Howland. Before I continue you should know the corporate reform movement hardly ever supports teachers preferring to go with the businessmen to lead our schools a pattern you will see when we discuss the other two races.

In the Primary, Elizabeth Andersen raised 6,845 dollars while Howland took in 56,559 dollars or more than all the other candidates, 4, combined.

Andersen went on to spend $5,236.99 and received 4,823 votes for $1.09 a vote. Nick Howland spent $51,496 dollars or nearly ten times as much and received 6,678 votes for a cost of $7.72 per vote. I am told he spent 17 thousand on his commercial, where he touted that he was a conservative businessman which should have raised flags for many, as school board races are supposed to be nonpartisan because what is best for our children is supposed to transcend political ideology. Howland however has taken every opportunity he could to let people know he is a republican even having the republican party of Jacksonville canvas for him.

This however wasn’t Howland’s only questionable decision.  He also accepted a defacto endorsement from the Seaside Charter school when he accepted an invitation to the ribbon cutting ceremony where they proceeded to push his candidacy for the school board. Public schools and nonprofits are not supposed to engage in political activities but that did not stop the Seaside charter school and Nick Howland.

Howland then used misleading and false data to push his narrative that DCPS schools are not safe, claiming if we continued the way they were going then 1 in 11 of all students would be a victim. When the blog education matter pointed out what he was doing he changed his campaign web page but made no mention of the mistake he repeated for months.   
His campaign site on August 7th.


His campaign site currently.


Notice the numbers are different? What you won't find is an oops, sorry got the years and numbers wrong.

Now you might be saying, well the sentiment is the same, but he only changed his page after a blog pointed out he had the numbers and year wrong. That means for months he went out saying something that was at best wrong. With no effort on his part to get things right.

Isn't getting things right important? Isn't using data correctly important? The Times Union reported that it’s a small percentage of kids that are constantly in trouble and getting in fights but that probably wouldn’t sell as well on the stump.


Now if Howland would have said our discipline has been bad, or one fight let alone several thousand is to many I would agree, though to be honest that's not a plan to fix things, but he is saying, if this trend continues, nearly 1 of every 11 students could be a victim every year.  He's saying that to scare people because he thinks scared people will vote for him.

Howland received the maximum contribution from 30 people or companies and the Times Union reported that he received money from several PACS and many of his donors are known to support charters and private school scholarships. 

Perhaps what is most remarkable is Nick Howland’s resume is nearly identical to the current school board member Scott Shine whose resume was nearly identical to his predecessors Fred “Fel” Lee.  All are wealthy business men who nibbled on the edges of public service having never been elected but having served on various boards and none having anything approaching relevant education experience. 

If Howland really cared about our schools he would drop out and let Andersen the professional educator and mental health counselor ascend to the board. It's hubris however that keeps him going as he says, I'll give that a try, a sentiment the last two representatives form district 2 had and we see how poorly that worked out. Our children deserve better and District 2 desperately needs experience over hubris.
Finally, the other candidates for the district 2 school board seat, Shannon Beckham, Casey Ayers and Sam Hall have all rallied behind Elizabeth Andersen and her uniquely qualified background, being both a former teacher and a current mental health counselor in an era when schools are finally starting to take mental health seriously. 

The district 4 school board race explained, vote Smith over Willie who has to many poor ideas and dubious connections

District 4
In district 4 we have teacher and lifelong resident Cynthia Smith versus Teach for America executive Darryl Willie who has been in Jacksonville for seven years and has now run for school board twice.
Cynthia Smith has a compelling story, she started as a book keeper and worked her way up to assistant principal before leaving to run a preschool. She served in DCPS schools for sixteen years, which is only sixteen years longer than Darryl Willie did.
Smith is also certified in ESOL, Reading, Guidance and Counseling and leadership while Willie has no certifications.
Darryl Willie did spend three years in a classroom in Arkansas over a decade ago. Since then he had a variety of jobs but has been with Teach for America since 2011, becoming the Jacksonville location executive director in 2015. These however are troubling times for TFA and that more than anything may have influenced his decision to run again.
It's no secret that Teach for America is on its way out of town. They only brought in 50 new teachers this year and none of them are working at traditional DCPS schools, just charters. Superintendent Green told me personally the district planned to honor last year’s contract but the district wasn't going to bring in any more.

Teach for America Jacksonville did get 5 million, yes 5 million from the Quality Education for All initiative, money that never saw the inside of the classroom but even that money has to be running out by now.

That brings us Darryl Willie's six figure salary.

According to the supervisor of elections page, his salary is 120,000 dollars. Pretty good right? And an amount no teacher in Jacksonville will ever see, and that few principals that oversee hundreds of staff members and thousands of kids will take home.
However, if he along with Chauncey also a TFA alum got on the board then the two of them may be able to reverse TFA Jax’s current standing.
It's not just Wilie's dubious connections to charters and their supporters who he has taken lots of money from and the privatization movement, it's his terrible ideas which all seem to benefit TFA and poor judgement like first putting public school kids on blast in a campaign video and then being told by the district t take it town.
Finally, if you think District 4 has been capably represented the last 8 years by Paula Wright, she wrote on Facebook, Cynthia Smith, School Board Candidate, District 4 is the education advocate who deserves acknowledgement.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The district 6 school board race explained, why Joyce is the choice and Chauncey is not

District 6
District 6 sees long time teacher and lifelong Jacksonville resident Charlotte Joyce going against recent transplant, former Teach for America corp member and current lawyer David Chauncey. Mrs. Joyce has been working in our schools since Chauncey was in middle school.
Joyce would have the unique experience of being a school board representative of not just the schools she worked at but the schools she went to as well. Chauncey on the other hand does have some relevant teaching experience, teaching for two years at Ribault middle as a Teach for America teacher. He left however as soon as his two-year commitment was over while Mrs. Joyce has spent her entire adult life in our public schools.
Joyce raised $9,455, spent $8,396.47 and received 6,629 votes, for a cost of 1.22 per vote while Dave Chauncey raised $75,247 and spent 65.952.24 on 6,624 votes, for a cost of a whopping $9.92 per vote.
Then Becki Couch the two term current school board member has supported Joyce as well saying,  If you live in my district, I ask that you vote for Charlotte Austin Joyce to represent the school board seat I am vacating. She is a seasoned educator who will put the needs of students first. She has grown up on the Westside and attended Stilwell and Ed White. She is an experienced educator with school aged children, so she understands the needs of our students and community on the Westside.

Of Chauncey’s 75 thousand 57 thousand came in the form of a maximum donation which was seventy-nine percent of his total, furthermore 75 percent of his money came from outside district 6. This begs the questions how many teachers and parents from within district 6 can afford to drop a grand on a school board race and why are so many people who don’t live in the district supporting him?
 While Joyce was bringing in small dollar amounts from teachers and parents the Times Union reported, Among (Chauncey’s) donors were pro-school-choice advocates, including people who support charter schools and state-funded scholarships for private and religious schools.
For instance, Gary Chartrand and organizations linked to him donated at least $4,000, records show. Ten political action committees contributed, including the Watchdog PAC, First Coast Conservatives, and Floridians for Economic Freedom.
Since Chauncey took so much money from charter schools you may be wondering how Chauncey feels about charter schools, here is a tweet of his from last year that seems to indicate that he is all for them.
When Corcoran and Chauncey speak about “high expectations, high support” charter schools, one of the schools they are speaking about is the KIPP chain which recently expanded into Miami. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Chauncey received a lot of financial support from the KIPP Jacksonville board and leadership.  Did I mention his wife works there as well?
There is a huge distinction between the candidates in district 6, a lifelong educator and resident of the district or a well-connected lawyer new to the district who has close ties to and lots of support from the corporate reform movement.
Note: As of today Chauncey has brought in over a hundred grand, for a school board race, and practically none of it from teachers, parents or from within district 6

https://www.voterfocus.com/CampaignFinance/candidate_pr.php?op=cv&e=21&c=Duval&ca=840&rellevel=4&committee=N