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There is a debate about kids getting enough play, but what about the promised media hour too?

Look at the elementary school schedule the district has put out.

It says one day a week that kids will get media, hey that sounds great to me, a weekly visit to the library, a media specialist doing a read aloud or putting on some other program. GREAT!

Um except a reader pointed out to me, that their school only has media every other week.

Another pointed out that in the bigger elementary schools there are more classes than could be seen in a week unless they doubled up classes .

So I wondered what happened when their was no media specialist available and was told schools are supposed to come up with a plan.

Why am I skeptical that this is working well for anybody?

But you know what I could be wrong and if I am please let me know.

Finally I would like to say, the way the district has treated its media specialists since Vitti arrived has been criminal. Librarians are some of the last people that should go in a district that has a reading problem. I wonder why they weren't financed by the QEA or why instead of dropping our budget 40 million dollars nobody said, hmm you know what, lets get some librarians in there.

Elementary school teacher calls out impossible schedule

From a reader

Our "planning" is from 7:50-8:25. 

That is with parents dropping in, kids needing to get on i-Ready, trying to retrieve laptops off the computer cart, etc. 

We only get 2-3 resources a week (45 minutes) and one of those is taken up with common planning because we can't do it before 8:25 when our actual planning period is. 

In a big school where dismissal starts at 2:40, you really only have a little over 6 hours of instructional time not counting lunch.

 By the way, how can a school with a media specialist every other week have 60 minutes of "media" time? My class's first trip to the media center isn't until the third week in September.

That's a great question-Chris 

Bryan Campbell candidate Clay school board district 2 chooses smears over ideas

I thought only Gary Chartrand Candidates made stuff up. Add Bryan Campbell candidate Clay school board district 2 to the list.

It looks like Bryan Campbell took a page out of the Gary Chartrand candidate playbook and sent a dastardly and misleading mailer about his candidate Carol Studdard who has successfully served the people of Clay County for nearly 24 years.


Do you know who is a member of the AFL-CIO and Labor Unions? Most teachers, firemen and police officers, that's who. Your neighbors, the middle class family that has left Duval for Clay county. The people you barbecue with, go to church with and see at Publix.

As for special interests, does he mean all the charter school money that has filled Van Zant's coffers? They in education are the ultimate special interest and they aren't giving money to Carol Suddard.

Then he mentions raises, Tallahassee, dominated by republican politicians for over 20 years decides how school board members are paid and I don't believe that the school board could give themselves raises even if they wanted to.

As for a million dollars in salary and benefits, for nearly 24 years of able and successful service is a bargain. We should be thanking her for her selfless service instead of allowing this man to ridicule her.

I also get their is a sentiment to throw long serving politicians out but why would anybody in Clay County even consider replacing her? Until Van Zant, partly because of her leadership, Clay county was considered one of the best school districts in the state, and the fact that she has stayed only on the school board speaks volumes to her commitment to Clay County's children.

Finally the line about a DROP payment is just a straight up lie, she hasn't received one cent from it, though after 24 years of service I don't know why anyone would begrudge her from doing so when she eventually does.

Clay county shouldn't the leaders of your schools be chosen based on their ideas, not their callous ability to smear their opponents and mislead the electorate? This is obviously a lesson that Bryan Campbell didn't learn.   

Dear elementary school teachers, how the "beep" do you do it?

Teaching despite assertions to the contrary is not an easy gig but elementary school teachers, how the beep do you do it?

Look at the schedule that the superintendent has put out.

Sixty minutes of planning time, I mean except on common planing days, and I get it elementary schools are more and more being divided up into subject areas, especially in the higher grades but come on.

Throw in dealing with parents and behaviors and a mountain of mostly superfluous paper work my question is when do they have time to do anything and I can't help but think if they were given more resources of which time to plan would be a big one, then we as a school system would be better off.

So elementary school teachers, hats off to you, I don't know how the "beep" you do it.

John Oliver barely scratches the surface of how bad charter schools are.

Van Zant's first instinct is to lie. Is that the family value he keeps talking about?

I will let his own words speak for him.


When Jeff Hendricks was getting kicked out of a news conference at the Clay County Education Association on Friday, he wouldn’t answer Action News Jax’s questions about who he was.
Now Hendricks is telling Action News Jax he wasn’t there to cause trouble.
He has connections to both Clay County Schools Superintendent Charlie Van Zant and the teachers union he was kicked out of.
On Monday, Hendricks said he just wanted to hear what Dr. Susan Sailor had to say at the news conference about her accusations of fraud and plagiarism against her boss, Clay County Schools Superintendent Charlie Van Zant.
“Why can’t I be here?” Hendricks asked teachers' union service unit Director Tracy Butler, who was asking him to leave on Friday.
On Friday, Action News Jax showed Van Zant the video of Hendricks getting kicked out.
“He looks kind of familiar. I can’t tell you who that is,” said Van Zant.
Van Zant called back on Saturday to say he wasn’t wearing his bifocals when he saw the video, but he now recognizes Hendricks, admitting he knows him “very well.”
Hendricks called Van Zant a “true friend” and has volunteered for his campaign in the past.
Oy vey, somebody probably said to Van Zant, um yeah, people know you know him, you better come clean.

It's so telling about his character that his first instinct was to lie. It is either just what he does or he is a four year old trapped in a man sized body, after hearing his comments about the election I suspect it is the latter. 
If this incident happened in a vacuum you might be able to scrunch up your nose and begrudgingly say, okay, but it didn't. This is the same guy who stole the superintendent election in 2012 and has hired his cronies and sycophants. 
Clay county come on, you have to do better than this guy. 

The Federal Government says no to Private Prisons, for profit Charter Schools should be next

Last year the Federal Government started going after for profit colleges, pointing out they don’t do as well and man were little more than scams. This past week we can add for profit prisons to the list.
From NPR:

U.S. Justice Department officials plan to phase out their use of private prisons to house federal inmates, reasoning that the contract facilities offer few benefits for public safety or taxpayers. 

In making the decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates cited new findings by the Justice Department's inspector general, who concluded earlier this month that a pool of 14 privately contracted prisons reported more incidents of inmate contraband, higher rates of assaults and more uses of force than facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

"They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and ... they do not maintain the same level of safety and security," Yates wrote in a memo Thursday. 

I am not going to say there aren’t good charter schools, to do so would be disingenuous. However in my hometown of Jacksonville Florida, the good ones have set up in neighborhoods that already have great schools. There is not one charter school that serves poor communities of color that is doing better than the nearby public schools. But there they are dozens of charter schools allowed to exist that are either doing a poor job of that are making their owners rich.

The reasons that the federal government said no to private prisons could be said about charter schools.

Also from NPR:  

U.S. Department of Education officials plan to phase out their use of charter schools, reasoning that the contract facilities offer few benefits for public school students or taxpayers. 

In making the decision, Nadya Chinoy Dabby, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement cited new findings by the Department of Education inspector general, who concluded earlier this month that a pool of 14 privately contracted charters reported more incidents of closures, suspensions, students leaving mid-year, lower test scores on the NEAP and accounting problems, and financial irregularities, than facilities run by local school boards. 

"They simply do not provide the same level of educational services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and ... they do not maintain the same level of safety and Education," Dabby wrote in a memo Thursday. 

Did you see what I did there?

The concept of charters is an attractive one as I am sure private prisons was to some, but both of their realities have turned into nightmares for too many.

Even when the district does something right, it is wrong, Laptop edition

The district just said no to 40 million dollars by lowering its budget.

They must be trying to make up a few thousand of that by selling used laptops at 50 dollars a pop.

Instead of the QEA paying for a doomed merit pay scheme this is exactly the type of thing, laptops for poor students, they should be financing.

Also I take the internet for granted and have easy access to it but you know doesn't? The families that would most benefit from the laptop sell.

Finally fifty dollars isn't a lot to me but you know who it is a lot to? The families that could use the laptops the most.

So Dear Duval, thanks but you could and should be doing better.

DCPS is conducting an online sale of used laptops for $50 each. The sale starts noon on Friday, August 26th. All sales are first come, first serve, final and one per student. Purchase your laptop beginning noon on Friday, August 26th at
Print out your receipt bring it with you to pick up your laptop at Wolfson High School at 7000 Powers Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32217 on Saturday, September 3rd between 8 a.m. - Noon.

Don’t reward Jason Fischer’s terrible performance as a school board member with a ticket to Tallahassee.

Jason Fischer had a love for soil and water before he loved education as he ran for a position on the soil and water board before he ran for the school board.

When he ran for school board he misidentified himself as both a veteran of the navy and as an engineer. He is neither. Unfortunately for Duval he road an endorsement from Jeb Bush to Prudential drive.

In 2014 shortly after his second year on the board he announced his run for the state house, you know because in just two years he learned all he needed to and accomplished all that he could.

Then this past July he quit some five months before his term would have ended and I can’t really be mad at him for that as it is the best thing he did while on the board. Though I think it does show how dedicated he really was to our children which isn’t very.

Then while on the board the district brought in the disastrous, controversial and universally reviled Engage NY curriculum.

He also took thousands of dollars from charter schools whose schools he pushed and a job from John Kirtley who is the state’s leading pusher of vouchers. Vouchers divert over six hundred million dollars to mostly religious schools which have practically no over site either financially or academically. About a hundred teach creationism as science.

All this means that instead of working to better our schools he has been paid to dismantle them.

If that isn't enough.

He also filmed a commercial in a school which goes against district policy.

He made an issue of transsexual students using the bathroom they identify with despite not having an issue with the policy for years.

His financial donors were behind a scandal, releasing texts that Connie Hall said about the superintendent which needlessly divided and distracted the board.

He pushed the schools of districts 4 and 5 to make changes their representatives and many of their families felt would negatively impact them.

He showed that he is a hypocrite’s hypocrite on more than one occasion.

He threw a tantrum and threatened legal action when he didn’t get his way.

He voted to drop out of the school board association which Ashley Smith Juarez pointed out pays us back tenfold.

He said he would not be swayed by data.

Other school board members would point out how clueless he was.

As a sitting school board member he endorsed other SB candidates, something that had never happened before.

Is this who you want representing you in Tallahassee? A snake oil salesman only interested in self advancement?

Mandarin you made one terrible mistake electing this guy, don’t make the same mistake again. 

With over 200 teacher openings and teachers spending their own money on necessities, the district turns down 40 million dollars.

Or, why the QEA is a joke.

QEA stands for quality education for all and it came from local philanthropists who raised fifty million dollars over three years supposedly to help our schools. The vast majority of it was earmarked for a teacher incentive plan that is both bound to fail and cause bad blood between teachers and other teachers and the district. Five million of it was also earmarked for Teach for America an expensive program that takes non education majors and puts then through a six week boot camp and then into the neediest classrooms in the district where the vast majority don't last three years.

And the district just said it was a joke and I know so because they voluntarily cut the district's budget by forty million dollars this year.

From Board members are considering a $1.69 billion dollar spending plan that’s some $40 million less than last year’s budget.


Why was the fifty million over three years so important from the area businessman and now we can go, nah, we don't need that forty. I think it has to do with control because the businessmen despite none being educators instructed the district what to use the money on. I also think there is a link to the proposed expansion of the Better Jacksonville plan, hey I know its a new tax, they can say, but the school board cut your millage rate so it's really a wash.

I know I sound Mel Gibson conspiracy theory crazy when I talk about a cabal of rich white men running the city, Rummel. Chartrand, Weaver and Halverson but the truth is their hands are in every pot from school board races to states attorney and everything in between. They control a disproportionate amount of wealth and hold a ridiculous amount of influence and they are for the Better Jacksonville extension. Why else when we have so many needs would we just say no to 40 million dollars?

How many paras could we have hired, psychologists and social workers? Couldn't we have used that money to recruit veterans from out of state instead of continuing to use the gimmick that Teach for America is? the district could have saved that money for summer school because a lot of kids need more time to learn the basics and less time between years so they don't lose what they learned. Or the district could have given every teacher 500 dollars to buy supplies for their classrooms but nope why do that when they know the suckers teachers will do it with their own money.

Those are just off the top of my head.

Also I get it nobody likes taxes, but you know what I think we dislike even more? Stupid people clogging up our road ways, grocery stores and public spaces.

If somebody can explain why we would just say no to 40 million dollars, I would really appreciate it.

Melanie Trump could take lessons from Charlie van Zant

Van Zant's is on the left and Sailor's is on the right.

To see the papers and judge for yourself, click the links:

Dear Clay County what more do you need to see?

Gary Chartrand supports the nastiest of candidates, Han Tanzler and Jason Fischer. Should we add Greg Tison to the list?

Full disclosure I probably wouldn't agree with much that Hans Tanzler and Jason Fischer's opponents Dick Kravitz and John Rutherford had to say, we're on different sides of the political spectrum but here is the thing at least they aren't liars willing to say anything.

Hans Tanzler has been hitting Rutherford about turning Jacksonville into a sanctuary city while Fischer has been telling people that Kravitz is pro abortion and against the second amendment. Just for grins and giggles I looked up Kravit's NRA rating and it is A across the board.    

I may not agree often with Kravitz and Rutherford but I can at least acknowledge they have been dedicated public servants unlike Tanzler and Fischer who are little more than opportunists. Jason Fischer ran for soil and water before he ran for school board, announce just after his second year on the board he was running for the state house, and then quit with 5 months to go. 

Here is what Florida Politics said about Hans Tanzler just today.

 The committee has been employed to advance a series of poison memes about “Liberal John Rutherford,” currently painted as a “liberal” by Tanzler for, among other things, not deploying his resource-starved sheriff’s office to round up otherwise law abiding illegal immigrants for deportation.

Among the donors to the committee as of the end of June, the last filing: charter school baron Gary ChartrandDavid Hutson, and the Ring Power Corporation.
Why has Tanzler’s operation been compelled to go so negative? Because that’s the only path forward.
Jason Fischer and Hans Tanzler with tens of thousands of dollars from Gary Chartrand and his friends are just straight up lying to people by making the most tenuous of relationships between fact and fiction. These are the type of people that Gary Chartrand throws his money too and it should give us great pause when we consider the school board members he is supporting as well.

In 2014 Chartrand funded Daryl Willie's campaign and he sent out mailers that told little more than lies about Paula Wright and this year he is supporting Warren Jones in district 5 and Greg Tison in district 7 whose advertising was called misleading by Mike Hogan the supervisor of elections. 

Liars and people of low character should not be allowed to represent us. Isn't that the bottom line no matter what side of the aisle you sit on?

Don't reward Gary Chartrand by voting for his candidates.

Van Zant used the ethically challenged Jim Horne to talk about his ethics problems.

From the I can't make this up file, Charlie Van Zant went to the ethically challenged Jim Horne to talk about his ethics problems in a faux style news piece.

If Jim Horne's name sounds familiar its because he is a former Florida commissioner of education who has made millions of dollars shilling for the charter industry. Now there is nothing wrong with getting rich but do you know who is not getting rich off education? Teachers, principals, school secretaries, custodians and kitchen staff or those people that are actually in the schools with their sleeves rolled up working with the kids is who.

Jim Horne however using his former position and contacts to push one crappy charter school after another is.

Here is an example

By the way one of Horne's crappy charter schools opened in Clay last year and not only was in unnecessary but it did poorly as well.

If Horne was the best Van Zant could get to defend his character then he is guilty as sin.

To see the video click the link, you may have to scroll some to find it:

Then to read a pretty good account of the mess, click the link: