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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Duval County's Friday Night Massacre

Sigh

Just when I was feeling optimistic with the district it's old way of doing things rears its ugly head.

Late Friday afternoon teachers throughout the district received calls telling them they were being surplussed just 48 hours before they were to report for duty.

The reason, the universally discredited and about to be phased out V.A.M. Scores.

Can you imagine getting this email just 48 hours before you were to report, how demoralizing and defeating this would be? This didn't happen weeks ago. This happened yesterday.

We will never be successful as a district if we think this is an okay way to treat people.

Check back as this story will be updated as I receive more information. 

11 comments:

  1. Mr. Guerrieri, I can contribute from a primary source, facts to this breaking story. I am one of the affected teachers, having now been surplussed for the first time in my 10 years of teaching. I received a "complimentary" phone call from the District on Friday, August at 4:42 p.m. that, due to my data (failures - yes, derived from VAM) on the recent student test I was being surplussed. When I pointed out "why did you wait until NOW, when I have spent time and money getting my room ready, why wait til 1 day before we report?" I wasn't given much of a reason. The answer was "but you have a job". I have drilled deeper into this breaking news story and have discovered that at my state-monitored school, at least 7 other teachers were similarly surplussed. Teachers surplussed had awesome gains this year, but not last year. We already had 4 vacancies. My former school is now short one quarter of its faculty.
    My sources tell me this happened to at least 8 other "state monitored" schools. If, as we are constantly reminded, that our placement (at year's end) is "in the best interest of the children", then how is surplussing potentially dozens of teachers- 24 hours before we report for duty- "in the best interest of our children"? The school I am to report to has no vacancies. Ergo, I wait until I am placed, somewhere I am certified to teach. This may take who knows, maybe two weeks or more. Meanwhile, at least 175 teachers were unable to obtain proper certification credentials and were released on Tuesday, August 1st. What effect this has remains to be seen. Compare this decision "process" with last year. Surplussing occurred on Monday and Tuesday, June 6 and 7, 2016. This was done in a much more timely manner, for both "the students" as well as teachers. I believe the difference between last year and 2017 is a void in leadership. A strong superintendent probably had a well-thought out process in place to protect our District from the State. When I asked the district spokesperson why I was being surplussed, I was told the reason was the "state" was mandating my change, which leads me to believe the same pressure was occurring everywhere- and the District gave in. Not that it matters much to anyone, but there is the very real and chilling effect this has on teachers and administrators. Because of the district's procrastination in implementing a change in our status, I'm sure many teachers didn't appreciate being told literally at the last minute they must pack up their rooms. I pointed out to the person who contacted "Why did you wait so late? I've wasted an entire week getting my room ready- and NOW you call?!" Not to mention spent my own personal dollars on bulletin board and classroom materials to get my classroom ready for the new year, which took 5 days--my last 5 days of summer vacation!! I took 5 days of PD classes this summer relative to the new grade I was told I would be teaching...probably wasted. Total at least 2 weeks wasted this summer- which naturally makes me very angry. So to close, if there are dozens of teachers surplussed from many state-monitored schools just days before schools starts, how are state-monitored schools to fill their vacancies created by last minute surplussing? In theory, these are the top priority schools, in terms of raising their school grade- or they could potentially close or become a charter (recently passed bill 7069). My school, a "D" last year (16) and this (17), is a case in point. The surplussing- which occurred via a review of teachers' last two years of VAM scores- now leaves a school short at least 11 teachers. Where are the highly skilled, truly effective teachers going to come from? School is starting very soon, orientation for this school is this Friday, August 11th! Teachers must be in the room greeting parents and children. How is this going to happen? Is this really "in the best interest of our students"?

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    1. I am so sorry this has happened to you and the others. Can I turn this into a post and forward it to people who might be as outraged as me. I don't want to potentially jam you up but if people could see a face on this it may resonate that much more.

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  2. I am the principal of a new K-8 charter in Duval county. If you are interested please email me at kkannada@bridgeprepacademy com.

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  3. I am so sorry for all the teachers that this has happen to them. Your job gets harder and harder every year.

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    1. Will Jason Fischer write a letter to the State of Florida Department of Education demanding that this be reversed?

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  4. There you go. A charter school principal. If that schools fails, a charter school can take it over. It's all part of their evil plan. Also, if you move to a charter, you won't have the job benefits and protection that you have in the district. They hope if they hassle you enough, you will give it all up. Be strong. Be confident. Don't buy into this charade.

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    Replies
    1. Except for the fact that the district isn't doing a very good job of providing "protection or benefits" to the teachers affected by this.

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  5. It's so true. The schools are being scapegoated, the teachers taking the fall, then the kids will be shuffled and redistributed to charters and in 5 years, when the charters don't get better results, they will shrug their shoulders and say "oops." In the meantime, they will Have destroyed careers and probably lives, but they will have accomplished their ultimate goal of diminishing the overall cost of education by reducing the labor cost. And the kids will lose. Smh.

    This principal probably wants a job in the public schools but doesn't have the chops and sadly s/he is participating in the process of destroying the system. So sad.

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  6. Except for the fact that obviously the district isn't doing a good Job at providing "protection and benefits" to the teachers that were affected by this.

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  7. Protections and benefits? What system is she referring to? How do these stories align to that theory? Odd choice of words kristenfl. Prayerfully, these teachers will return to their posts or similar ones.

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