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Monday, August 20, 2018

Scott Shine admits amendment 8 violated the law and he was still okay with it.

Ugh, from the I can't make this stuff up file, Scott Shine one of the few supporters of amendment 8 admits it was against the law, but that didn't stop him from supporting it anyways.
from WJCT

Shine, the only board member advocating for the amendment, said he didn’t find the ballot language misleading but he’s not surprised by the ruling.
“Those who had been participating in the case said that the judge seemed to have a hard time understanding the issues at play,” Shine said. ”We had a sense this judge was probably going to rule against us.”
But he said he’s not upset with the ruling as it’s “just another step in the process” of education reform. He said the ruling will “undoubtedly” be appealed.
“There’s a lot of different options,” Shine said. “One is that a higher court could rule in our favor. Two, at some point the ballot language could be changed so that’s it’s consistent with the law.”
"Two, at some point the ballot language could be changed so that’s it’s consistent with the law."
Right there he is saying the ballot language is misleading that it isn't "consistent with the law. Shine had a rare bout of candor there.
Everyone who has been following 8 knows what it is about and that is giving away local control to charter schools.
Later in the article he says the part he really liked was term limits for school board members. Um not only is he a one term wonder, but Duval already has term limits and other districts should they choose have them too. We don't need a constitutional amendment to make it happen.  
Shine has been historically bad on the board and he can't be gone soon enough.

Scott Shine, Nick Howland and Dave Chauncey, and their bad judgement on display

Amendment 8 was kicked off the Florida Ballot for being deceptive today. This was sadly a rare victory for public school supporters.

In case you haven't been following, 8, took two ideas that were bound to be fairly popular despite their superfluousness, school board term limits and civics education and paired them up with a proposal that would have stripped from local school boards the power to authorize and govern new schools. Basically this was a give away to charter schools to the detriment of locals.

The judge was particularly scathing as he struck it down.

from the Orlando Sentinel:

A judge in Tallahassee this morning struck Amendment 8 from Florida’s November ballot, saying the three-pronged measure about schools was “misleading” and failed to inform voters of its purpose.

Judge John Cooper of Leon County Circuit Court — who heard arguments in the lawsuit last week — criticized that section in his ruling because he noted it is about charter schools yet doesn’t use that term. As a result, he wrote, it “fails to inform voters of the chief purpose and effect of this proposal.”
The proposal doesn’t make it clear to voters the role school boards play now in establishing new schools, Cooper said, nor explain how that would change, if the measure passed.
The state’s Constitution Revision Commission, he added, should not have bundled the three unrelated items together or packaged them under a “misleading” summary.
This leads us to Shine, Howland and Chauncey.

Scott Shine went all in on amendment 8, spearheading a group that was going to push it statewide. A rabid anti-public education advocate he wanted to leave the school board a present as he left, the  by stripping of their authority to govern and authorize new schools.

Howland candidate district 2 and Chauncey candidate district 6 when asked about 8 both said they were undecided, though I don't buy it for a second.  

Since the amendment was proposed people have been solidly in two camps. Those who care about local control and those who wanted to give that control to charter schools, sorry the politicians they purchased.

Now what I don't know is if Howland and Chauncey were just being deferential to their financial backers and if you guessed that included quite a few charter school interests then you win a prize or they just hate local control and public schools and want to see the system dismantled. Either was they backed an amendment called misleading and deceptive and that's a wheelbarrow full of bad judgement.   

Friends we know how bad Scott Shine was as a school board member, do we really want two more Scott Shines on the board? The bottom line is, if Howland and Chauncey aren't sure the local control of our schools is a good thing or not, they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the board.

District 2 and 6 you have several other good candidates to choose from, be sure you make the right choice.

Amendment 8 thrown off ballot for being deceptive

Oh those pro school choice advocates, if they didn't have deception they wouldn't have anything. Fortunately for the state of Florida a judge said, not this time.

From the Associate Press:

Florida judge on Monday threw off the November ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that includes a provision to make it easier to set up charter schools in the state.
Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled that the amendment placed on the ballot by the state's Constitution Revision Commission does not tell voters what it really does. Cooper pointed out that the amendment does not even include the words "charter schools" in its wording.
Cooper in his ruling stated that the "failure to use the term voters would understand" means that voters are not told the "chief purpose and effect of this proposal."
Supporters of the amendment acknowledged that the purpose of the charter schools provision was to undo a previous court ruling that struck down a law that created a statewide charter school commission.
"Voters should not have to read between the lines to figure out what changes they are being asked to make to their constitution, and fortunately we have a process that protects their right to make informed decisions at the ballot box," said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters Florida president. "We applaud the court for seeing Revision 8 for what it is — a calculated deception aimed at shifting control over our schools from our locally elected school boards to state politicians."
350 failed charter schools, billions wasted and communities left in a lurch all for schools with little innovation, and with most now set up in neighborhoods with great schools.
A billion dollars a year diverted from public schools to voucher schools that don't have to have certified teachers, let alone degrees schools that can teach junk science and history with practically no over site.
Then they wanted to add a cherry on top and strip communities of local control.
That is the face of school choice in Florida as the powers that be do all they can to dismantle and harm public education.
No more.

Sunnyside elementary endorses Sharron Smith for school board, the floodgates open now

Former English teacher and school board district 2 candidate Sharron Smith was endorsed by Sunnyside elementary today.

When asked why, the principal said, it was just the right thing to do, she's an amazing advocate and nobody is more passionate. Over the past six years, Smith has also been an active volunteer in the district and recently completed a two-year term as Sunnyside Elementary PTA President

Quite frankly, the principal continued, there is nobody better and if other schools can endorse candidates then why can't we?

I reached out to the Sunnyside faculty and parents and where many supported Mrs. Beckham a few felt uncomfortable talking about who they were going to vote for.

One parent who spoke after I assured her she could be anonymous said, it's a lot of pressure having the principal tell me who to vote for and it must be worse for the teachers. Don't get me wrong, I like Smith and she is qualified but I just don't think it is the principal's place to push a candidate for school board. What if I let slip I didn't vote they way they wanted me to, I am afraid there could be repercussions. This was a sentiment echoed by several staff members as well.

That sure is some serious concerns the parent and others brought up.

As I type this I wonder how many more schools will endorse candidates now that the flood gate has been opened.

Here is the thing, none of the this actually happened, not at Sunnyside anyways, because if it would have we would have been rightfully outraged. Principals and schools should not be putting pressure on parents and teachers to vote for a certain candidate.  

But above did happen at Seaside charter school, because when they invited candidate Nick Howland to a ribbon cutting ceremony, put him in a prominent position and then gave him a shout out, they were effectively endorsing him as a candidate for school board and that should be unacceptable. 

Nick Howland who says he is an astute businessman and will be data driven sure seems to break a lot of rules and say a lot of things that aren't quite true and this is while he is running, can we truly expect him to be better if he makes it on the board?     

The answer is we shouldn't.

District 2 you have some great candidates, why vote Howland who over and over shows he doesn't deserve it.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

As early voting starts, please vote for pro education candidates, like Paula Wright in HD 14

The district needed  a little over ten million dollars to properly secure our schools and Tallahassee sent them about 3.6 million dollars.

Tallahassee allocated the district just an extra 47 cents per student in discretionary funds as costs rise and teachers leave.

Speaking of teachers leaving, Tallahassee has kick started a teaching shortage.

Now there is money in education, unfortunately more and more of it goes to charter schools of which about 350 have failed and many of the rest are run by for profit businesses and voucher schools that don't have to have teachers with degrees and can teach junk history and science because oversite is practically nill.

I could go on and on an on, and that is why we need to elect representatives that are going to stand up for our public schools, people like Paula Wright in HD14.

In Duval we have school board chair Paula Wright versus Kimberly Daniels a republican in democrats clothing. Most of Kimberly Daniels funding comes from republicans, she was called a champion by Jeb Bush and she received the lowest grade of any democrat by the Florida Education Association.

Paula Wright on the other hand did not resign to run like Jason Fischer did two years ago and has been a fierce advocate for our children.

Friends we have a choice to make, more of the same where public education is marginalized and starved of resources or something better, and if you want better Paula Wright is really your only choice in HD14.

Is Darryl Willie SB district 4,campaigning for kids, or to keep his six figure salary?

It's no secret that Teach for America is on its way out of town. They only brought in 50 new teachers and none of them are going to traditional DCPS schools just charters. Superintendent Green told me personally the district planned to honor last years 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, heck few principals that oversee hundreds of staff members and thousands of kids take home that kind of money.

According to the TFAJax page, he also manages a staff of 12 people.  .

And no I didn't leave off a zero.

That's 10 k for every person he manages and why does TFA Jax need a 12 person staff? 

What does that bakers dozen of master of the universe types do? Crickets, crickets, well um, err, if you go to their Facebook page they sure plan a lot of social events but my guess is not much else. 

Willie has a pretty cushy job, and he has to see the writing on the wall and we know its not kids he truly cares about because if he did then he wouldn't have anything to do with Teach for America.    

Nick Howland takes the endorsement of a charter school. That is very problematic

You know because he's not in the pocket of charter schools. Though if we are being honest we should have all known that already by looking at his donors.

Lets get right to it. Nick Howland was invited to Seaside Charter schools ribbon cutting, placed in a prominent position and given a "shout out."  The problems with this are legion.

First Public schools and charter schools insist they are, are not allowed to endorse candidates or engage in any campaigning on behalf of a candidate.

Next the school is run by a non profit 501c3 and they have the same rules.

Both Howland and Seaside said, %$#& the rules and they may have put both Seaside's charter and non profit status in jeopardy. At the very least they have a lot of explaining to do.

Image may contain: 4 people

For somebody who claims they are such an astute businessman Howland flaunts the rules quite frequently, or maybe that is how he became an astute businessman.

Howland has also peddled false information on his campaign site, in videos, undoubtedly to potential voters and to the editorial board of the Times Union who inexplicably awarded him for it.

He has also put out a campaign video where he declares himself a conservative businessman, which is little more than a dog whistle to republicans to vote for him and violates the spirit of having non partisan races.

In short Howland seems like he will just do and say whatever he thinks will get him elected and is that the type of person we want on the board?

District 2, you have some other great candidates, ones with a core, ones with integrity, ones with relevant experience too, why would you even consider this guy? 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Most predictable thing ever, a teacher shortage, stuns Florida Board of Education members

Oy vey, um, sigh

Where do I begin? You know it would have been nice to have some true educators on the board and a few people that care about public education too but that hasn't been the case over the last 8 years.

Instead we have board members like Gary Chartrand a grocer by trade who have done all they can do harm public education and quite frankly their actions have been both contrary to the public good and shameful.

In short you can't do all you can to injure the teaching profession, such as attack their representatives, decrease their salaries, making certification harder and more expensive, while ratcheting up the pressure and stripping away creativity and flexibility and then wonder why we have a teaching shortage. Well you shouldn't be able too but the State Board of Education has.   

From the Tampa Times:

As millions of Florida's school children returned to classes this week, many schools struggled to find enough teachers greet and teach them.
"We are very concerned about the growing teacher shortage," Cathy Boehme of the Florida Education Association told the state Board of Education on Wednesday.
Her review of three years' worth of statewide teacher job vacancies posted to district websites in the days before school began revealed a disturbing trend.
Two years ago, Boehme said, the number of advertised teaching positions was about 2,400. Last year, the number rose to 3,000.
This year, it reached 4,063.
"That's the acceleration in the teacher shortage you need to be looking at," Boehme told the board. "This is a critical problem we must address."
Olenick suggested the state's education-focused associations could work with the department to seek ideas for funding pay hikes. Board member Gary Chartrand put forth that an independent outside group, such as Florida TaxWatch, might lend some objectivity to the discussion, because unlike the others it would not stand to benefit financially from the outcome.
But Chartrand, too, agreed that the state needs to find some way to make it more attractive to teach here.
"I think the teacher shortage is real, and it's going to get worse," he said. "We should get ahead of it."
He advanced the idea of a special scholarship for aspiring teachers as one possibility, adding there could be "a lot of ways to solve this problem. But I do think it's a real problem."
Gary Chartrand, Gary, Gary Gary, he celebrated when teachers lost teaching protections, is responsible for bringing Teach for America to Jacksonville and their has been no bigger foe to the teaching profession but hey he thinks the problem is real. Well $#^& it's real because you helped make it real.  
He the sites Florida Tax Watch too and you may have heard of them because every year they write an editorial which says the class size amendment is a failure which kind of means they think we already have to many teachers. 
One way to improve the teaching profession is to get Gary Chartrand as far away from education as possible. He's a disaster and a villain.
While he is thinking of convoluted ways to play lip service to the problem, a commentator had a great solution.
Maggie Diaz wrote, Simple solutions: Reinstate tenure, fund professional pay scales, kill the VAM score. That is all it would take. Anything else is distracting fluff.
Cartrand who loves the Best and Brightest, KIPP, and TFA is all about fluff.
But AMEN sister, sadly however since you are a teacher you will probably be ignored.

DCPS has massive 3 day internet failure

Being completely honest, as a teacher, I am embarrassingly dependent on the internet. It’s my plan once things slow down to develop a few internet free lessons, so when the internet goes down I won’t have to stare at my kids after the thirty minutes’ worth of material I have printed out and ask, so what do you want to do?

Teacher after teacher at school after school has told me they have faced the same issue, that for basically the better part of three days, three very important days when baseline assessments are supposed to occur the internet has been down.

You know I don’t want to come down too hard on the district, after all the start of school really caught us off guard, I mean who even knew what day it was? Oh wait, we all did, which means the district not being ready is inexcusable.

This is an amazing time of year, thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of students filled with excitement but it’s also a stressful time of the year, compounded by the lack of what has become a basic resource. A lot of people say, how you start is how you will finish, well we have started poorly. 

The district should have treated the last few days like weather days as they got their act together.

There was a time, I never used the internet, and that became occasionally, and that became all the time, and that became I am dependent on it. I wish that wasn’t the case but it is, and I am not alone.

DCPS, Dr. Greene, we all know there are going to be bugs that have to be worked out the first few days and even weeks of school, it’s to be expected but what has happened this week, specifically with the internet, is an infestation of them and we have to do better.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Armed "Safety Assistants" in our schools is a terrible idea, but...

I think having these safety assistants in our schools is a terrible idea because they make our schools less safe. I have grave concerns that with so little training they may mistake a disruption for a life and death situation, that as well as putting guns around children where accidents can happen. I believe trained professionals not glorified security guards was the way to go.

All that being said, there is one good thing happening and that's Duval isn't rushing to fill the positions.   

From WJCT:

The district needed to hire 105 safety assistants over the summer, but as of the first day of school on Monday, just 24 had started work. In the meantime JSO sent 130 officers to work in Duval’s elementary schools as well as some charter schools.  

Duval County School Police Director Micheal Edwards said he’s received about 400 safety assistant applications, although some of them are duplicates, so he didn’t have a true number of applicants.
The assistants are trained through the firearm-heavy Guardian program administered by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in addition to more training from the school police department, adding up to about 200 hours. They start out making $12.50 an hour with summers off.
Edwards said 112 applicants were disqualified for various reasons, including failed drug tests or background investigations.
Duval Superintendent Diana Greene said she’s comfortable with the plan because quality hires matter.
“The fact that we are vetting these individuals very critically is what’s most important to ensure that once we hire a school safety assistant we have a high level of confidence that this person can perform the duties of that position,” she said.
Fifteen applicants were disqualified after a psychological examination. Edwards said that entails the applicant’s answering about 950 questions and then sitting with a psychiatrist to go over their answers.
The school district decided to also require applicants to take polygraph tests, which disqualified 20 of them. Edwards said one disqualified candidate admitted to recently taking someone to buy drugs, and another confessed to watching pornography daily.
Where i still don't like the program, the deliberate way we are hiring does make me feel a little better.
It should also be noted the state sent the district about 3.6 million dollars to do a job that was projected to cost over ten. Just more proof that the republicans in Tallahassee don't care about our public schools, but this time its the safety of our children that has drawn the short straw.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Darryl Willie snubs his nose at the school board, only takes down one of the videos they asked him to. **updated and corrected**

**corrected and updated**

I may be a %$^& but I am not a $%^&#*  %^&$. 

Okay, a reader said they felt the district only told Willie to take down one video, while the infamous one of him dancing could stay but in the future he needed permission to use district property.  

I read, one had to come down, and you should really take the other one down. I would also argue that anything a candidate puts on his page is an implicit ask for donations, but to be clear I asked the district and they responded.

Hi Chris,
To clarify, the letter requests that the Andrew Robinson video be removed. For the “Duval County Public Schools Administration Property Video” we  just advise that he get permission to use school board property in the future.

So there you have it, but I don't think it changes for one second his terrible judgement for putting kids on blast without their parents permission or for the use of district property to make a dance video but it also doesn't do me any good to get things wrong.


The district asked Darryl Willie to take down two campaign videos. He took down one and left the other up. the infamous one of him dancing. I guess he couldn't bare to lose it.

The screenshot below was taken at 8:48 on 8/15, or you know 29 days after the district asked him to take it down.

Darryl Willie who wants to be on the school board just gave the district the middle finger, well sorry he did it 29 days ago, when he decided to keep one of the videos they asked him to take down, up. He apparently doesn't care about right and wrong and that he is above the rules.

Darryl does what Darryl wants.

Is this the kind of person we want on the school board? A guy who thinks he is above the rules?


Darryl Willie told by DCPS to take down improper campaign videos

If you read the letter, the district can be very polite when it wants to be. When it sent me a letter threatening to sue me it had a different vibe.

The author of the letter Brian Mcduffie is very polite and he's right when he thanks Willie for taking an interest in our children, we need a lot more people to do so. Whether you want to call it a village or a team, we need people involved.

The thing here however, is this is indicative of who Willie is.

He should have known this was against policy, this isn't his first time running for school board. It could have been an honest mistake, like all the money he has taken from charters and the disparaging mailers he sent out last go around, or he knew it was wrong, which is what I think and he just didn't care. 

He doesn't care that he puts an ever revolving door of novice teachers in our neediest children's classrooms, why should he care that he uses some of these same children as props. He put these kids on blast without their parents permission and that is just wrong and shows poor judgement.

District 4 has several god candidates, Willie is not one of them. We can't afford to go backwards with him on the board, even if he does have good dance moves.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Nick Howland candidate district 2 takes a ton of money from special interests.

From a Reader

I would ’like to see a paper that talks about who is backing Howland instead of endorsing him.
A select few:
$500 Lobbyist Paul Bradshaw for Education (
$500 Lobbyist David C. Browning for Education ( - A “top political campaign operative”

Skirting campaign finance laws intent, Chartrand gets family to donate…
$1,000 from Gary (KIPP, etc.)
$1,000 from Jeff
$500 from Meredith (Discovery Motesouri Private School board)

More special interest private and charter..
$1,000 KIPP Charter Tom Majdanics
$1,000 private school choice John Kirtley
$500 Scott Shine picked up his ball and went somewhere else because he can’t work with the board

$1,000 Political Action Committee (NE FL Committee for Economic Growth)
Bunch of additional corporations from various wealthy people that can easily skirt campaign finance intent by putting it through their corporations(smh): DAR Investments, Harden, Gate Petroleum, etc.

$1,000 from the Kennel Club! 
$1,000 MORE from Greyhound Racing! What does this have to do with education?

Patriot Systems—Bakes Dozen with their Ted and John, Lauren

Who’s who of real estate investors and personal finance wealth management professionals for the rich

Hoo boy, I think it is important to see who is donating to a candidate because that more than what they say, and we know Howland will say anything, will show you their positions. For example charter school guys aren't going to support somebody who wants charter school accountability, oh and why yes, Howland has taken a lot of charter school money.

Though as usual please don't take my word for it, instead have a look for yourself.