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Friday, June 13, 2014

Duval County’s unforced errors

First there is the hiring and firing of the principal from Atlanta brought in to run the boys side of Butler Middle. Can you imagine, this guy quit his job, told all his friends and family heading to Jax and then the district pulled the plug because they said things surfaced during the vetting process? The principal disagrees saying the district knew of the accusations before they hired him. 

But say the district is being honest, hey do your vetting before you announce your hires why don’t you. Sheesh it’s like a landlord giving out the keys and taking the deposit before doing the background check. Then there is some hypocrisy here too. The principal in question was cleared of all wrong doing and I know for a fact there is at least one member of Vitti’s inner circle who had his teaching cert suspended for something pretty egregious. Vitti himself told me people should have second chances but I guess that’s only for his friends.

Then there is the district just throwing up it’s hands over the IPDPs teachers were required to do. IPDP stands for Individual Professional Development Plan and for years teachers were “required” to do them but for the most part did the bare minimum but then this year things got real.

The state required a third metric to go along with principal observations and tests scores to evaluate teachers and the district chose to use the IPDPs. Well the district so bungled the roll out that they have now decided to award all teachers max points (10 percent of the overall evaluation). Now yes this error was in teachers’ favor but unlike in years past I and I am sure many others spent a significant amount of time on our IPDPs.   

If we’re going to use this, and people new this day was coming for years, then what stopped the district from using it correctly? 

Then there is the colossal blunder of open enrollment. Who thought fundamentally changing the district was going to be easier and take less time than it takes for me to write an IEP? The district that’s who. It was suggested and then scheduled to be voted on in less than a month and the city lost it’s shi*.

Both sides of the argument were in an uproar about a suggestion that they had just heard of. One side said it would destroy neighborhood schools and the other side said it was the only way the district could survive, with the truth being somewhere in between.

Open enrollment might be a conversation we need to have but it is something you talk about for months or even years before making a call. You don’t have the idea while driving into work one random Tuesday. It needlessly threw the city into turmoil and quite frankly it will make big initiatives even if done the right way more difficult to pull off in the future. It is time we stopped throwing ideas like paint against a wall and hoping something to sticks.   

Three big swings and misses courtesy of the Duval County School District.


  1. Which member of the inner circle had his or her license suspended? It's a matter of public record; I just need a name.

    Speaking of which, why was Ben Hall of Sandalwood not arrested and why was the story not in the papers?

  2. I can't speak about the Hall situation but if you send me a private email I will let you know...