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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Education Reform in Jacksonville is Millionaires telling poor black folks what they need. (rough draft)

The schools on the Northside of town were long neglected, now do I think that continues? To be honest no, though at the same time I do feel problems there are being addressed both begrudgingly and poorly.

Let’s start with the KIPP School that millionaire Gary Chartrand paid nine million dollars to bring to town to save our struggling African American youth. Here is the thing about the KIPP school, Gary Chartrand wouldn’t send his children to it and nor would any affluent white neighborhood accept it.

It’s no excuses kill and drill philosophy would drive parents and their children away but hey you poor black folk should line up and beg to get your kids in.

Now the superintendent and school board well a majority of the school board two of which are millionaires and all four are republicans fully entrenched in the city’s power structure want to fix the neighborhood schools on the Northside of town by converting several of them to magnets, a repeat of the Paxon and Stanton structure which admittedly gave us two of the finest schools in the country just at the expense of every other high school in the city.

It gets even worse because Superintendent Vitti who hasn’t really been in town that long and the four school board members, Grymes, Smith-Juarez, Shine and Fischer are also ignoring the parents of those communities and their representatives, you know because they know better. Coincidently these are also the four board members that really don’t have any true education experience, and before you bombard me with Smith-Juarez was a teacher, I don’t believe a few semesters at the Bolles school counts.

From the Times Union:

Three board members voiced reluctance about converting another neighborhood school into a magnet school after already making similar decisions for other schools in recent months.
Board members Becki Couch, Constance Hall and Paula Wright said the district should keep R. V. Daniels and Susie Tolbert as they are and instead bolster the programs and academics of the neighborhood schools.
“We can’t magnetize our way into a quality education at every school,” Hall said.
The debate really boils down to two camps, the teachers on the board that represent those communities want to save the schools and bolster their programs and staffs. The non-teachers on the board, the millionaires and representatives of the republican elite in the city, and don’t get mad at me my republican readers, Paula Dockery and John King are and were champions of education, want to destroy those schools and want to dictate to those communities what they should take.
These board members fail to acknowledge that a lot of the problems caused on the North side of town and in these schools is because of them and their ilk. Instead of dictating to those communities, they should be listening to them. 


  1. We need to import the attitude of the community activists from Philadelphia who are fighting to save their schools. They understand that their schools are more than schools: they are community institutions that give their neighborhoods an anchor and identity. We should not be throwing that away. Many of us in Jacksonville understand that, but not this superintendent who has no roots and thinks history is worthless subject. If I am misrepresenting his appreciation of the subject, why does he not learn about the history of this city and its neighborhoods? Hey, NV, Duval County existed long before November 12, 2012.

  2. Come visit the KIPP school in Jacksonville. E-mail the principal of the middle school to arrange a visit. They have an open door policy.