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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The KIPP school is losing its luster

The State Board of Education met this past week at the KIPP school. A big feather in their cap as the powers-that-be gave a middle finger to DCPS but then something interesting happened. the Times Union which has been a big fan of theirs pointed out how they receive huge advantages. one of which was an extra 2.7 million dollars.

From the Times Union,
Charter schools, for all of their positive qualities, aren’t panaceas. It took Wayman Academy 17 years to earn an A grade. That’s not criticism, it shows the difficulty of providing education in high-poverty neighborhoods.
The KIPP schools, which have been lauded on these pages, use additional funding to support longer school days along with requiring parental involvement.
By additional funding they mean about 2.7 million dollars last year. Can you imagine what any other school could do with 2.7 million extra dollars? Now they use it for their lober school day, but can any other school dictate a plan or a schedule and then have the state and city find it? Oh that would be zero.
I would argue they can pick who they take and keep too another pretty big advantage and what have we got for that? A school whose grades are up and down more frequently than a yo-yo is what. then I would point out they have fewer free and reduced lunch kids, ESOL and ESE kids than similar nearby schools as well. 
People need to wake up at the KIPP school, thought to be Jax's charter crown jewel, and I mean charter schools as well. 
   

The Times Union stops just short of calling Jason Fischer a liar

Former councilman and current charter review commission member Matt Schellenberg doesn't.

From the Times Union, 
So why has Rep. Jason Fischer proposed a state law that would allow a referendum on the subject of an elected superintendent? This would be a return to the bad old days when politics trumped educational credentials.
Fischer told the Charter Revision Commission that when he talks to residents in his district an overwhelming majority like the idea. But former Councilman Matt Schellenberg, who also represented the Mandarin area, said he has heard no such groundswell of interest...
...If educational performance isn’t behind Fischer’s proposal for an elected superintendent, what could be?
And that’s where speculation in the community is on overdrive.
Could it be an attempt to take over the school system by political power brokers?
Could this sudden interest in a radical change in the superintendent’s position be connected to having a black female as the appointed superintendent?
Fischer and proponents of this measure say innocently that it’s only meant to give voters more influence. That’s baloney.
Think about this friends, those same constituents he now says are overwhelmingly for an elected super are the same ones he said were overwhelmingly for an appointed school board just a few weeks back. Fischer lies as effortlessly as I breathe.
He's doing what his masters on the civic council are telling him to do, no more no less.
You know I bet there isn't much Schellenberg and I would agree on. In fact I have covered him a few times too and it hasn't been good, but he would be so much better than Fischer who represents all that's wrong in politics.
We have a state rep who lies, and is trying to harm our schools and city, on behalf of his donors. It's disgusting and we deserve better.  

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Why we shouldn't have editorial boards (or politicians) should be in charge of education (draft)

This is why we shouldn't let editors be in charge of education policy and we shouldn't let politicians be in charge of it either.

DCPS and districts everywhere have a hard time staffing teachers in schools wracked with chronic poverty. The challenges there are great and the fact Florida punishes teachers and schools if they don't reach some arbitrary standards doesn't make things easier.

The Times Union's editorial board said, if we can't get teachers to voluntarily go to those schools, even after offering an extra 15k, then we should turn to Teach for America.

In case you didn't know it, TFA takes non education majors, puts them through a six week boot camp and then into our neediest schools where they are supposed to serve two years.They are also the darling of editorial boards, and politicians. 

Some more things you might not know is the program is expensive, locally TFA charges 7k per recruit, DCPS own analysis say TFA teachers are substandard as a group when compared to other teachers and they exacerbate the teach turnover problem, sorry make that crisis and putting novice teachers in front of our neediest students is the exact opposite of what evidence says they need. How anybody anywhere thinks this is a good idea is beyond me.

Let me ask you a couple questions, would you put a band-aid on a bullet wound, the metaphorical equivalent of what TFA does and if you needed a professional for a job, would you settle for an ever revolving door of novices which is what TFA provides?

Instead of just throwing warm bodies into a classroom, how about we address the problem. We make classes at the schools mired in poverty smaller, we put in behavioral and academic supports, we give teachers assurances they will be allowed to grow even if their VAM score, a measurement created to predict the breeding rate of livestock but is now also used to measure teachers, isn't what we would like it to be. Is it to much to ask we come up with solutions?

How about we address the problems which have teachers turn down an extra 15k. I think the reason is Tallahassee and editorial staffs aren't interested in coming up with real solutions about education, but what do I know, I am just a teacher.

Well Times Union, how about you answer that one?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Scott Wilson is still waiting for the answers to those question

Despite meeting after meeting, and the release of the answers to his and the council's questions, Wilson is still claiming his questions have gone unanswered.

This tweet isn't from July or August it is from yesterday.



Is that first rate trolling on his part? Or maybe he just doesn't understand the answers he got, because we all know he doesn't understand how school districts work. Smith-Juarez met several times in her district which composes Wilson't but since she didn't meet at places he apparently wanted her to, that wasn't good enough.

I have some questions for Wilson.

Does he know parents, the district and the teacher union's are suing the city because of him?

Does he know that in addition to fixing the district's infrastructure, the referendum would undoubtedly create jobs, give the city a stimulus, attract businesses, and slow and stop flight to the suburbs or you know, those things that most city councils fight for.

Then how does he sleep at night knowing he is fighting against the city's schools and children, oh wait I know, he sleeps on pillows stuffed with civic council cash. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Jason Fischer lies as effortless as I breathe

Jason Fischer spoke to the charter review commission last Friday where he talked about his constituents, re: Chartrand and Curry had been clamoring for an elected superintendent. Mind you these same constituents just a few weeks before were clamoring for an appointed school board which means if you think about it, Fischer was against elections before he was for them.
Mind you he was straight up lying, something I feel very comfortable saying. You see he doesn’t meet with constituents as evident by him not showing up to a meeting his office organized in August. Since that fiasco it’s been radio silence.
The crazy thing is, as corrupt as he is and as anti-democratic as his suggestion is, it may actually make it to Tallahassee.
From Florida Politics,
FP reached out to Duval Delegation members for their takes and found that Fischer likely won’t have a problem getting a second for his motion.
Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Republican likewise aligned with Curry, supports the measure.
“If the voters don’t want it, they will tell us,” Duggan says.
Duggan also notes that the “Duval Consolidation agreement and the Charter give the Legislature a governing role independent of the City Council.”
The Council was slated to vote in opposition to a previous version of the Fischer bill in committee last week; however, Duggan’s take is that the Legislature can move independently of input from local lawmakers.
Veteran observers can’t remember a time when a Legislature pushed a local bill without a mandate from the City Council. Despite the lack of public outcry (other than advocacy from unnamed “constituents” Fischer cites), this could set a new precedent.
Sen. Aaron Bean also backs the move. “If it passes,” Bean said, “Jacksonville voters will have the final say.”

Sadly, it’s not like bean and Duggan are much better than Fischer. Side note, the picture below is the one Florida Politics put up accompany the article. Not Fischer’s best look but I guess neither is attempting to screw over the city he is supposed to represent on behalf of his donors.
Mark Woods in the Times Union, also explained what a bad idea an elected superintendent is and even though he is probably the nicest man you will ever meet, Fischer’s disingenuousness.
From the Times Union,
Fischer initially wanted to do away with an elected school board and give the mayor the power to appoint the board. Then, a month later, after Mayor Lenny Curry came out against an appointed board but in support of an elected superintendent, Fischer changed directions and filed a bill to have the mayor’s political committee — I mean, the public — elect a superintendent.
“It’s clear to me that voters want more say about what happens in their school system, so it’s just a natural evolution of the conversation,” Fischer said.
Until this year, only three states allowed elected superintendents: Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
Mississippi got out of the club, saying that starting Jan. 1 all local school superintendents shall be appointed by their local school boards. (In Mississippi, shall means shall.)
When Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed this into law, he tweeted: “This simple act of innovation is long overdue.”
So ... Fischer wants to take a school district that narrowly missed an A grade last year and go to a system that Mississippi has abandoned, leaving 78 districts nationwide with it — many of them small and/or rural.
If we did this, we would be the largest school district in America with an elected superintendent.
A few years ago this came up in Alachua County. At the time, more than 90 percent of the Florida districts with appointed superintendents received an A or B — while 14 of 41 districts with an elected superintendent received a D.
This isn’t to say that having an appointed superintendent eliminates politics and gets the perfect leader. Or that having an elected superintendent doesn’t work in some districts. But to suggest this is the route for Duval to go — that instead of a search that extends far outside our city limits we should have a partisan election of Duval residents — doesn’t make sense.
It instead makes one wonder, as much does these days, about the games being played.
Did I mention Fischer lies as easily as I breathe and he doesn’t care about anybody but himself even if that means advancing his donor agenda which is bad for everyone but them? Just making sure.
Friends, we deserve better than Fischer and sadly I can’t imagine anyone worse.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Just who is on the state board of education, spoiler, its not pretty.

A couple things about this current group, first there are only six members as DeSantis hasn't appointed a 7th member and the FLDOE site doesn't have bios like it has in the past. I guess even they are embarrassed about the lack of educators on the board.

First there is Andy Tuck who doesn't believe in evolution and who in the past has said that he would fight against its teaching is a citrus grower. Here is an older biography.

https://www.dms.myflorida.com/agency_administration/communications/partnership_for_public_facilities_infrastructure_act/member_biographies/andy_tuck

Then their is former chair Marva Johnson, a cable TV executive, here is a bio for her.

https://ballotpedia.org/Marva_Johnson

Next there is Ben Gibson, an attorney and republican political operative.

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/241536-personnel-note-rick-scott-appoints-ben-gibson-state-board-education 

 Then there is Tom Grady, an insurance executive, here is a little but about him from the Tampa Times,

  Former one-term state Rep. Tom Grady, a Naples Republican and friend of Gov. Rick Scott, has won Scott's nod to sit on the Florida Board of Education.

During his brief tenure in the House, Grady was notable for billing taxpayers for flying on private planes owned by a campaign donor. He also pushed for tax breaks for some of Florida's richest residents.

As interim president of Citizens Property Insurance, he also racked up large hotel and travel expenses on the state's dime. During his short time there, he also created a new job for his former legislative aide.

https://www.tampabay.com/former-state-lawmaker-tom-grady-appointed-to-florida-board-of-education/2251924/

Michael Olenick is a constriction company executive,

https://www.dms.myflorida.com/agency_administration/communications/partnership_for_public_facilities_infrastructure_act/member_biographies/michael_h_olenick

You know because that's the same thing, practically as working in education.

Finally there is Jacksonville's own Joe York  who in May threatened Superintendent Greene, saying she should listen to the civic council if she wanted Duval to be successful.

http://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2019/06/state-board-member-threatens-dcps.html

He is an AT&T executive,

Not one of them has an education background and not one is qualified to be on the state board of education, not one, yet there they are because of reasons (money) dictating education policy. We would have a better and more experienced board if we would have put everyone who lives in Florida, nineteen million people, names in a hat and drew randomly.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Between Jason Fischer and Kimberly Daniels, Jacksonville really knows how to pick them. (draft)

They have both been in the news of late. Fischer for a blatant flip flop on behalf of his donors. First he called for an appointed school board then an elected superintendent, both monumentally bad ideas nobody but his donors wanted.

Then Daniels for seemingly directing large sums of money to her then boyfriend.

From the Times Union,

 A nonprofit that a Jacksonville lawmaker helped land a $1 million state contract to run a youth program against gun violence is being sued for not delivering on its commitment.
And completely separately, that lawmaker, state Rep. Kimberly Daniels, is being sued by a former aide who says the nonprofit’s leader was Daniels’ boyfriend and wielded undue influence in her office.
The overlap between the cases could pose political headaches for Daniels as the lawsuits unfold, when taxpayer-funded attorneys could be arguing opposite sides of the cases.
Oy vey
Earlier this year, Daniels admitted to campaign finance violations.
This was also the second time she faced an ethics violation, but I guess if you keep getting elected after claiming you can perform exorcisms and thank god for slavery then you might feel like you can get away with anything.
I mean Fischer does every year when he puts millions into the budget for his mega donor, Gary Chartrand's charter school, and votes for legislation that benefits his actual employer the states voucher king John Kirtley. 
Hey what do Fischer and Daniels have in common? They are both republicans, even though Daniels pretends she's not, are both ethically challenged, see Fischer's blatant lies when he ran for school board, and Jeb Bush thinks they are both great for education, which means they are really both terrible. Good God Jacksonville it is hard to imagine you could do worse.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Jason Fischer called me a pathological liar and a cyber bully today, so that happened

So Matt Carlucci on Twitter said he was going to introduce another resolution against Jason Fischer's newest J-1 bill where instead of calling for an appointed school board he now wants an elected superintendent.

Lots of people thanked him and applauded the move except for one which said we didn't understand the serious issues Fischer was bringing up. So I asked them what those issues were and pointed out his monumental flip flop. The person then asked Fischer to explain and rather than doing so, he attacked me.



Well okay, but did you see what he did there. Rather than explaining his thought process to somebody who is obviously a fan. He lashed out at me.

Now I know if he was standing next to me he wouldn't say anything like that to me. Guys like Fischer and Shine are always a lot tougher on-line but once again he didn't have an answer. He had an opening to explain his reasoning, he has said he is only doing what his constituents want, but instead he has nothing. You see he can't defend the indefensible.

You would think if he was sincere, he would be out there selling his idea, having meetings and being on social media, but he isn't, it's just radio silence which should tell you all you need to know.n

Jason Fischer is a bad joke that sadly we have to endure and he has no excuse for his actions.

This is how I responded, but like most cowards do, he just slinked away.


Are these lies @JasonFischerFL , you have taken over 150k from charter interests, you work for the states voucher king, put millions in the budget for your donors charter school, and just flippflopped on behalf of the mayor? You are the bully Jason, just ask Greene and DCPS.
6:01 AM · Sep 9, 2019Twitter Web App

Tallahassee picks winners and losers with schools of hope, spoiler, public schools are the losers

You know being in the charter school business is probably a short terms play. Get in, get rich and get out. The owners have to know that after Tallahassee destroys public education, the cash cow they are currently experiencing is going to come to an end. I mean why even have charters down the road when private schools that pay their teachers ten bucks an hour is an acceptable option.

The latest knife in the back to public ed is schools of hope.

From WLRN,


Jefferson County isn’t just Florida’s first all-charter school district. It’s also home to the original “schools of hope.”
State lawmakers created the program in 2017 with the aim of attracting more charter schools to Florida. The publicly funded, privately run schools would get extra state money and regulatory incentives if they open in neighborhoods where traditional public schools have failed for years.
Somerset Academy, Inc., a South Florida charter school network, was the first to open “schools of hope” as part of its state-endorsed takeover of Jefferson County’s public schools. Now state leaders are pointing to Somerset’s early indicators of success in Jefferson County as an argument to multiply charter schools throughout Florida.
“Look at what Somerset has already done in Jefferson County that the public system, the traditional public system, couldn't do for decades,” said Richard Corcoran, state education commissioner, former Republican House speaker and architect of the “schools of hope” law.
“When it's working, … we should have more of that, not less of it,” he said.
There will be more of it. The Legislature broadened “schools of hope” during the 2019 legislative session. In its new form, the law is poised to radically change how public education is delivered in Florida.
A key provision of the controversial House Bill 7069, “schools of hope” was an offer to high-performing charter school operators around the country: Come and open charter schools in Florida neighborhoods where traditional public schools have struggled the most. Offer students in those schools an escape route. And the state will make it easy — limiting school districts’ ability to protest, loaning money to build school buildings and providing an extra boost in the form of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Under the law, charter school networks with records of success — for example, those with a high percentage of graduates going to college — could open schools in the attendance zone or a five-mile radius of a “persistently low performing school.” That was defined as a school with three years of Ds or Fs according to the state’s A-to-F grading scale.
Local elected officials could be penalized if they tried to block new “schools of hope” from locating in their districts. The law requires school boards to enter into contracts with approved charter school operators within 60 days of operators announcing plans to open “schools of hope.”
Charter school operators are so dumb, they think oh our friends in Tallahassee would never sell us out, ha, if they would sell out the states public schools and children, they will drop you like a bad habit.
Tallahassee is picking winners and losers, the loser this go around is public education, but sooner or later it will be charters too.

Rory Diamond has a disastrous appearance on First Coast Connect (draft)

Rory Diamond was on the First Coast Connect radio program today and to say his performance was disastrous would be an understatement. Among other whoppers he said he had been studying education policy for 15 years, which if true it's crazy how uninformed he was.

First he came off as incredible ignorant. He said charter schools that weren't owned shouldn't get any tax payer money. Well friends 19 out of the city's 22 charter schools are leased and that is by design because charters can use capital funds for leases.

Then he said Duval had 22 failing schools in Jacksonville, well friends this past year there were 22 D and F schools in Jacksonville but three of them were charter schools, which means about ten percent of both groups were failing. Now one is to many but he was a bit disingenuous when he said over and over that Jacksonville has 22 failing schools, implying it was just traditional schools that was failing.

Diamond went on to bemoan that many charters didn't have gyms, cafeterias or playgrounds. First they do that so they can build the schools on the cheap. Nobody said they couldn't build those things and the district was criticized mightily for not using the cheaper charter school standards.

Florida grossly under funds its schools, but that's just a coincidence to Diamond, who thinks its an innovation and management problem. Um how are the charter school USA schools innovative again? The truth is very few of the districts charters have any form of innovation.

He did mention that he didn't run for school board that he ran for city council, but it was just normal for the city council to overlook the school boards plans because of checks and balances. Just so we are clear this hasn't happened anywhere else nor in the history of Jacksonville.     

I could really go and on and on but you should probably listen for yourself, where you will find several citizens having their questions on the matter deflected.

https://news.wjct.org/post/91919-councilman-rory-diamond-garden-club-first-coast-heart-walk

Rory Diamond might sound reasonable as he accuses the school board of lying, something he did again, though he quickly followed it up with I don't want to cast aspirations, but he's not, he's a villain of the story doing the bidding of his donors and we shouldn't think that's not what's happening for a second.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Rory Diamond continues his quest to be most reviled city council member (draft)

A while back Diamond said only children in charters have a chance.

At the joint city council school board meeting, he had the director of the KIPP school speak and explain the charter school experience.

He with joy in his voice said he would withdraw the districts referendum request.

He called the school board chair a liar too.

Diamond even though it is ridiculous and unfair has called for a proportional split with charters any sales tax money and often comes off as a $#@^ *%$ when talking about the district and now this,

Image may contain: one or more people and text

This is in response from Jason Fischer's flip flop, when he changed from wanting an appointed school board to wanting to have an elected superintendent and the outrage this created. He thinks he is being clever, that to support one election and not the other makes you a hypocrite, he is to tone deaf to realize he falls in that group as well.

There is a difference however from stopping people to vote on the needed referendum and wanting people to vote on electing a super for no other reason than that's what his donors want.

Rory undoubtedly has no since of history, that when we last had an elected superintendent we were decertifyied as a district, how under Greene we have the highest graduation rate we have ever had and were just one percentage point away from being A rated, or that all the other large districts have appointed superintendents because they know we need somebody with experience and expertise. No he doesn't know any of that, he is just some privileged white guy making a joke about getting rid of an African American woman, whose only fault is she has done her job, and said no to the city council's extortion.

Come on beaches was this $#@%^ *#^ really the best you could have done? 

Who wants to have an elected super more, Fischer and Curry or the man who gave them six figures? (draft)

Three white men looking to replace an African american woman by the way.

In this past cycle alone, Gary Chartrand gave Curry over fifty grand and Fischer over thirty, couple that with the tens of thousands he has given them in the past and the amount adds up.

Chartrand had a plan for a long time and that was through donations garner influence over the school board. Even though he doesn't even live in Jacksonville he has donated to a candidate in every race since at least 2012. That's all 7 districts and double digit candidates, and he has had some success too.

The KIPP school despite mediocre numbers was allowed to expand, charter growth expanded greatly and TFA came to town, but I imagine for him progress was slow and he wasn't getting the return on investment he hoped for. Becki Couch, Warren Jones and Ashley Smith-Juarez all took money from him at one time but resisted his agenda. Then all too often the citizens of Jacksonville have rejected his candidates. This last round only one of three that he supported won, and just barely at that.

His goal of an all charter city maned by temps, sorry Teach for America wasn't likely to happen at the pace he was going.

So why buy a school board, who has had a lot of their authority eroded when you can buy a mayor and a state representative and that's where Curry and Fischer come in.

It's here his return on investment has been tremendous. For his hundred grand, he has received almost 1.4 million from the city, through the kids hope alliance and about five million from the state, money Jason Fischer has inserted into the budget, both figures to help his pet charter school the KIPP school.

Now I don't want to be disingenuous, a lot of republicans in politics have an irrational dislike of public education and an equaly irrational love for charters, I don't think it took a lot of convincing for Curry and Fischer to betray the city's children, but the money Chartrand gave and the access to more from Chartrand's friends certainly didn't hurt.

I guess the bottom line is, if there was no Chartrand, I doubt there would even be a Curry or Fischer in office, but if they were, I imagine they couldn't carve less about electing a superintendent. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Florida doesn't believe in competition, they believe in crony capitalism. (draft)

One of the ever changing narratives calling for school choice is competition will improve education, a lot of the others have to do with zip codes. They say if public schools are forced to compete they will improve. Well friends nothing could be farther from the truth and instead it's crony capitalism that is being pushed to the detriment of our children and all of Florida. 

Florida funds public schools, charter schools, which are public only in so much as the public pays for them and vouchers for private schools. Tallahassee isn't inspiring competition, no instead they are picking winners and losers.

The states public schools are saddled with onerous regulations, unfunded mandates and high stakes testing. Now it's true charter schools do have to take the FSA but since they can engineer who they take and keep, the stakes aren't nearly as high as they are in public schools. Then voucher schools don't have to take any high stakes test at all.  It's almost as if accountability for them doesn't matter.

Then every year more unfunded mandates comes out of Tallahassee, this year they were mental health and holocaust education. Well friends charter schools are exempt from them because reasons, most likely because it would cut into their profit margin and voucher schools can teach whatever they want and more than a few teach, funded by the public, that dinosaurs and people coexisted. 

From the Florida Phoenix,


Following a scandal related to teaching the Holocaust and questions about whether African American history has been ignored, the Florida Department of Education is moving to require detailed annual reports from districts on what’s being taught across dozens of courses and topics.
And the agency is essentially threatening sanctions if public schools don’t comply. That could mean withholding state dollars, grant funds and lottery proceeds used to fund public schools, among other measures.
The agency is pushing those requirements by setting up new state rules, though they are not finalized yet. First, people will be able to weigh in on the proposals in a comment period that goes from Aug. 26 to Sept. 16.
Under the proposed rules, each school district, by July 1, would have to provide an annual report to the Education Commissioner outlining information from the prior school year on courses required by state law.
Districts would need to show “the specific courses in which instruction will be delivered for each grade level,” and “a description of the materials and resources utilized to deliver instruction.”
Wow quite the requirements that just public schools have to comply with.
Did you know the majority of private schools that take vouchers don't have to report how they spend the money they received and the states leading voucher provider, Step up for students just received a scathing audit?
Do you think Tallahassee will care? My bet is the same group that pushes for more charters despite the fact hundreds have failed won't even shrug their shoulders.  Matters made worse by the fact some of their biggest donors are charter school operators, i mean the for the ones that aren't employed by or have family members that operate charters themselves. 
Throw in starving schools of resources while throwing more and more money to charters and vouchers and what more do you need?
Tallahassee couldn't care less about competition as they have set up a system that favors vouchers and charters, if they did all three would be on equal footing, but they aren't. No, Tallahassee is only interested in picking winners and losers, with vouchers and charters being the chosen ones, while public schools where most children attend being set up to fail.