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Is the Jacksonville Public Education Fund looking to find answers or steer the city towards privatization?

Last I checked the JPEF board was filled with businessmen not educators and if you are saying to yourself, that’s a good thing because of the current state of education, think again. Businessmen and laymen have been running education in Florida for years. Educators have been pushed to the curb. If educators were in charge we wouldn’t have things like unregulated charter schools, merit pay and high stakes testing because all three have evidence that says they don’t work. If educators were in charge we wouldn’t have eliminated the arts and trades in our schools because educators know they are important and if we play to kids strengths they will do better.

Gary Chartrand a proponent of privatization is arguably the most influential person on the board. Then its president Trey Czar came up through Teach for America and was the vice principal of a charter school. Where are the public school advocates? For that matter where are the public school teachers and parents of public school children? You will find them few and far between with the JPEF.

If the JPEF is looking for research based answers then that’s great. The problem is the whole corporate reform movement isn’t based on facts and evidence it is based on somebody looking to make a profit off of our children and what sounds good to a few rich men, which coincidently makes up a lot of the JPEF board.

We should trust but verify with the JPEF with an emphasis on verify.


  1. Let's take those three items.
    1. Standardized testing. NYC has been using Regents exams for many years with good results. What would you teach that would not be on a standard test?
    2. Merit pay. Pay for performance works. Keepong teacher soley based upon longevity perpetuates the stagnant and lackluster teaching that fails to excite or raise students desire for an education.
    3. Unregulated Charter School. They would not be a choice if not for the pitiful education provided in our public schools.
    The real issue is a cultural divide that is ever widening. The poor in this country see no need nor desire for an education. Our society lacks a moral compass and tradition that creates an envoronment for learning. Place video cameras in the classroom so we can all see how these student and teachers behave and perhaps then we can take appropriate steps to correct our educational system shortfalls. It is not funding nor testing but a huge cultural view that education is not of value and a nanny state that supports that view.

  2. Merit pay does not work, drill and kill sucks the life out of learning and since that is all we have focused on we are cutting arts and trades and the classes that for many kids make school worth going to and charter schools especially here in Florida aren't parent teacher driven places for innovation to occur they are profit centers for corporations and fail at a rate 7 times greater than public schools. If charter schools worked I would be for them but they will never work the way the system is set up now.

  3. Charter schools are the latest 'business model' for private companies to get government money. Cherry pick the best students, cut salaries, benefits and certification requirements - and get a nice return. Returns have to increase, so more cuts until everything is nice and 'efficient'.

    Most people take a simple view and blame the teachers/education 'system'. Most of the performance problems are in the schools in lower income areas. Most of these have to do with conditions outside of the school, and teachers control. Teachers go above and beyond what is required. Aside from their teaching duties, they are expected to act as social workers, child psychologists, nannies, food and school supply providers. The list goes on. Many kids don't get food at home and show up hungry. It's amazing that anything gets taught. Add to this the restrictions and paperwork burdens that are placed on the teachers.

    Anyone with kids might be able to visualize keeping order in a class of 20, then keeping them on task. By the way, you are not allowed to touch the children for discipline. The kids know this by the third grade, and they flaunt the knowledge. These aren't well behaved kids from two parent households. Typically, these are kids being raised by a grandmother, or an older sibling. Dad is gone. Their sole parent is a twenty something single mom that might be trying to work to provide on a $7/hr salary. No time for PTA meetings here. Did I mention that the twenty something mom still likes to party, and maybe is hooked on drugs? The child goes home to a rough neighborhood and has older neighborhood kids as role models. A rare few are blessed and make it through high school and find a way out of the neighborhood. Most don't.
    This is a systemic problem, that no public or private school will ever fix. It will take coordination of health care clinics, food banks, neighborhood arts/sports programs. And yes, the parents/neighborhood has to take responsibility. It's easy to scoff at the expense involved, and call it more welfare. But it's a matter of pay now or pay later. If you want later, the private prison companies are more than happy for the business.

    By the way, thanks for your efforts Chris - I voted for you. And I sincerely hope Ashley Smith-Juarez makes sure she isn't being duped by her mentors. Following that thought, I'd like to see all members of the Board sit in on a FULL day of class at one of the schools in the lower socioeconomic areas of town. One with transient parents that have to move around a lot because of evictions etc. Those are the kids that need help. Take away the smoke and mirrors and KIPP etal aren't the solution.