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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.

Only 25 percent of Dave Chauncey, candidate SB district 6, campaign contributions come from within district 6 and that should trouble everyone

The supervisor of elections has a precinct finder where if you put in an address  it shows you your sample ballot.

I nerded out and did that to all of Chauncey's donors.

When I did this he had raised 67, 452.45. Of that 16,850 dollars came from within the district and 50,602.45 had come from outside the district.

Since then he has brought in another, 3,610. of that 2,860 came from outside the district.

So of the 71,062.45, 53,482.45 came from outside,  the district or 75 percent.

Now there are a few caveats, a few addresses were protected and a few others didn't come up with a precinct, probably businesses, but they would not meaningfully change the results.

Chauncey who has said he isn't against amendment 8, a poison pill proposition that would end local control of education received the maximum donation of 1000, 49 times not from 49 different people because Gary Chartrand and several others manipulated the laws and donated to him several times, perfectly legal though hardly ethical just so you know. Um, how many parents and teachers do you know that can drop a grand on a school board race because I don't know any. Chauncey isn't running to represent parents and teachers, no, instead is running to represent millionaires who would control and privatize our schools.

Friends, who he takes money from is so important, and he's not taking it from you. Instead he is taking it from charter school and voucher school interests. The ultra rich who sent their children to private schools and a whole lot from not just outside the district but from outside the city as well. 

Please don't take my word for it, look for yourself.

District 6 has several good candidates who you know will work hard for our schools, Chauncey is not one of the, 

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Times Union rewards Nick Howland, candidate SB 2 for straight up lying. (rough draft)

The Times Union praised Nick Howland specifically his use of data. 

From the Times Union

For instance, he mentioned that in the 2016/2017 school year, the district recorded 11,537 violent incidents. With 128,000 students, this means 1 of every 11 students is a victim.

This seems to contradict  a piece The Times Union printed in the spring written by a Times Union reporter that said 10 percent of the students received 85 percent of the referrals, where not a math major that seems to indicate, there are a lot fewer victims.

I have asked the district about this figure but they haven't got back to me but I did google Florida Department of Education county discipline reports and they sent me to the following page.

Where I couldn't find the statistic, so I went to his web-site and where he makes the same quote again, though he doesn't source it and when people use statistics and don't source them we should all be troubled, though the Times Union apparently isn't which begs the question what couldn't he have told them. he had a link to a Buzz TV video where he made the same assertion to a man in a very colorful suit.

I didn't want to give up so I kept digging until finally I hit pay dirt,

From News4Jax

 In the 2014-2015 school year, Duval County had 11,537 total incidents of crime, violence and disruptive behavior. The next closest on the list is Miami-Dade County with 8,854 total incidents.

First it's the 2014-15 school year not 16-17 but did you notice how it included disruptive behavior, and who wants to bet most students weren't victims of violent behavior but disruptive behavior instead. Notice how when we get the actual statistic and data it's not nearly the same or as ominous as Howland represents.

Look I think discipline in the county has been terrible, but I am not out here misrepresenting statistics for self serving purposes and getting rewarded for it.

Did the Times Union's editorial board do any type of due diligence or did they just reward him for making stuff up.

If he is going to just make stuff up or manipulate data for his own self serving ends, shouldn't that be disqualifying? Um isn't that the papers job to ferret that out?

We need a paper that is going to do its job, a job the Times Union's editorial staff failed to do. They should immediately retract their endorsement.

But it gets even worse.

Also from the Times Union when gushing over a statistic Howland provided that implied the board meets to much.

He quoted a study from the Jacksonville Civic Council that showed the board met 100 times 
“This is a bit excessive for a board, particularly a functional one that is responsible for giving clear guidance to its chief executive,” Howland wrote. “This is also an indicator of a breakdown in governance, something we have certainly seen over the last two years.”

Sigh, first the Civic Council wants to control our public schools and last year demanded they not proceed with the hiring of a new superintendent. Furthermore members of the civic council have sent handpicked candidates in each of the three school board races thousands of dollars, but lets examine their study and by study I mean they went to the School Board page and just counted the meetings.

School board members get paid the same wage as a first year teacher who works well is paid to work for 187 days. So how few days should school board members work for that salary?

The school board has 12 monthly meetings and I presume those are okay and it's the other 88 he has  problems with.

I don't know if Howland or the civic council knows it but the board has several committees that don't require the entire board to be at.

So that's another dozen or so.

Then this past year with the budget crisis left by Vitti, a superintendent the civic council really really liked and with the search for a new super there were undoubtedly a lot more meetings than normal and please don't take my word for it, go look at the list and see all the meetings labeled budget or superintendent search.  

Say that's just 20 or so meetings where that was the primary focus that I imagine it was more, that is still less than 70 board meetings over the course of a year for a district with 180 plus schools, 14,000 plus employees and 120,000 plus students.  

Howland thinks that was to much and the Times Union rewards his specious use of data and endorses him.

For shame Times Union, for shame the city deserves better.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Becki Couch explains why she shouldn't be replaced by Dave Chauncey

When asked about amendment 8, all of the candidates in district 2 said they were against it, all except one, Dave Chauncey.

I think it is more likely that he is for it but knows people who support pubic education will be outraged. That and most of his financial backers are for it and he doesn't want to upset them.

Becki Couch knows it is a terrible deal and introduced a resolution against the amendment.

Here is the thing, if you like and respect the job Becki Couch has done, and I do, then voting for Dave Chauncey would be a slap in the face as he would seek to dismantle what she has done, treat the position like a part time position, while serving special interests groups that would dismantle our public schools.

Yes, that was a mouthful so let me stop and let Mrs. Couch explain while voting for Chauncey is a terrible idea.

Amendment 8 Explained by Board Member Becki Couch from Duval Schools on Vimeo.

There are several good candidates in the running to replace Couch, Chauncey is not one of them.

District 2, we have a big big problem.

Can you match the pictures to the names?

Image result for scott shine  

Thier names are Scott Shine, Fel Lee and Nick Howland, notice any similarities?

One is a former school board representative from district 2, the other is the current and the third seeks to be the next.

Here are some more similarities, they are all rich, white, conservative businessmen.

They have all taken money from voucher and charter school interests.

They all have or had before they were elected, nominal education experience.

Friends, there is a real choice this election because district 2 has some excellent candidates, you can choose one of them or you could pick more of the same.

District 2, the city is watching and they expect better from you.

Nick Howland's revisionist history about Vitti leaving and data

Nick Howland misses Superintendent Vitti. He has implied he was run off by the board and that has led to lowered student achievement several times. 

He says he talked to a previous school board member from district 2 who is not Scott Shine that said there is a three year period where student achievement lags behind when a superintendent is forced out.

How he explains the district improving last year from the one before is beyond me but it is amazing that somebody who touts his attention to detail has gotten Vitti's departure so wrong.

Now it is true in the fall of 2016 Ashley Smith Juarez then the board chair told Vitti that if he couldn't get with the program of establishing aggressive goals it may be time for him to take his talents elsewhere. I thought and even hoped Vitti was gone but he wasn't and he would remain for another 8 months.

During Vitti's tenure, teachers being afraid for their jobs, teacher intimidation and micromanagement for teachers were all ratcheted up. He led by fiat and through fear and intimidation.

We also got rid of books and went to handouts, libraries all of the district were closed, he had to be forced to let kids have recess and he threw idea after idea against the wall to see if any would stick and not may did.

Even with the things he did right like returning the arts he did in a ham fisted way. Having an art class is great, having fifty kids in it delivers diminishing return.

The thing is he wasn't run off despite all of that, he left on his own, when Detroit came a calling. The thing is I bet he would have been run off if he would have stayed long enough for the board to realize what a huge mess he had made with the district's financials. A lot of that 62 million dollar shortfall lands right on his shoulders.

Then he left after a little over 4 years after never holding the same job for 4 years ever. Howland and other Vitti supporters might have felt blindsided by his departure but the truth is was never in it for the long haul, something Detroit will discover sooner rather than later.

It was about two years past time for Vitti to leave if you ask me, but the truth is he wasn't run out of town like Howland has implied over and over.

Okay, lets switch gears.

When defending Teach for America he said according to their annual report in 2015, 84 percent of them returned for a second year when only 77 percent of other first year teachers did.

First that is like me going to the fox to read a report about hen house security but even if true its very flawed as well.

You see there are a lot more non first year TFA teachers than first year TFA teachers. The sample sizes really shouldn't be comparable.

Though the real question is how many teachers return for their third year and loner and quite frankly TFA has had an abysmal track record.,5810

Furthermore, that also means one in six TFA teachers with 11 grand on the line to pay off student loans and grad school said, nah, not worth it. Think about that for a moment.
Howland can definitely regurgitate facts especially if they are convenient for his argument but that makes him self serving not informed.

District 2 there are several very good candidates in district 2, which means you don't need to take a chance on Howland. The last two times you voted for a rich white conservative business without any education experience, it hasn't worked out so well.

Tim Sloan candidate district 4 schools says, professional educators have failed (rough draft)

Mr. Sloan doesn't seem to have a lot of regard for professional teachers. In the past he has proposed assigning teachers to schools and at the JPEF district 2 forum he made the startling claim that professional educators have failed. 

Start the video at about the 59 minute mark

"Experienced educators your way hasn't worked" that is a direct quote from Mr. Sloan as he was talking about a teacher/community ride along program he hoped to introduce. He said he wants to do something a little different, well calling out teachers and telling them they are failures isn't exactly new. he joins a long line of people who don't respect the teaching profession when he says it.

It's they same thing Nick Howland told me when I asked him if there were good teachers at F and D schools. He shrugged his shoulders and begrudgingly told me no.

It's the same thing Gary Chartrand, Jeb Bush, Betsy DeVos and many others who want to dismantle public education have said.

I don't think teachers get enough support, and resources, I think there are often unrealistic expectations put upon them as well, but what I also know, is that haven't failed and Mr. Sloan may not appreciate their efforts but I sure as heck do.

Later when he was giving his final statement he says he has listened to all the experienced educators say what they do and think and he wonders why we have such a high volume of schools where they are. You know because he has his own thoughts.

I can answer that question though, it's poverty. Students that live in poverty and sadly a whole bunch in district  don't do as well as children not in poverty.

District 4, you have a couple very good candidates, but you have a couple Mr. Sloan and Mr. Willie who should be let know where near the board.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Nick Howland not sure about amendment 8, it may be a god thing. Oy Vey!!!

The end of local control of education may be a good thing? Wow.

I am going to write a lot about amendment 8. It is an incredibly important issue especially if you believe in the the importance of local control of our schools.

First a primer about amendment 8 with pairs two nominally good ideas with one monumentally bad one. See if you can figure out the bad part.  

The three parts are civics education, term limits for school board members and the creation of a state board that can authorize new schools, currently only local school boards can do so .

So did you figure out what the bad part was? Well it isn't civics education and term limits, ironically both of which we already have, nope, it's the creation of the board which would effectively end local control of education. 

The League of Women Voters is against it as are six of our seven sitting school board members. Everyone of them but Scott Shine proving once again a broke clock is right more often than he is.

Well at the district 2 school board candidate forum, amendment 8 came up and  all of the candidates were rightfully against it, well all but one, Nick Howland.

He said he was undecided but its more likely he knows what a terrible deal it is and didn't want to say he was for it, which begs the question why would he support it?

Let me be clear I am just speculating, we haven't had a conversation about it but I think the biggest factor is his donors love charter schools and they would like to see our public schools replaced by them and that is why they want to circumnavigate local school boards and create a state school authorizer.

Gary Chartrand, his circle of rich friends, the Chamber of Commerce, they all love charter schools and have an almost pathological dislike of public schools and teachers, especially if the teachers are in a union.  

Why would somebody want to be on the school board who wants to dismantle public education? It is a great question and one we shouldn't just ask Howland and we have to look no farther than Scott Shine or Jason Fischer two prominent supporters of amendment 8 who are also a current and former school board members to see unfortunately these people do run and get ellected. 

What do all three of those men have in common? Tons of money from Gary Chartrand and charter school supporters.

If you want to be on the school board and cannot quickly and emphatically say "no" about amendment 8, you shouldn't be on the school board. Nick Howland says, key word, says, he is undecided, but I don't buy that for a second and neither should you. 

District 2 has some very good candidates, electing somebody who isn't sure local control is a good thing would be a bad thing.

Darryl Willie says people who like dancing will vote for him, I @#%^ you not.

Darryl Willie has a billboard. Have you seen it? Does it make you want to vote for him?

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

What about his dance video? Do his dance moves make you want to vote for him? At the district 4 school board forum he said his dance moves can bring people together.

At the 1:51 moment, he said people that care about dancing will gravitate towards him and that he had to be dynamic to bring those people into the fold.


Willie equates being able to do the KiKi shuffle with being on the school board. 

The thing is, if you care about dance moves then Willie is probably your candidate. However if you care about public schools, and if you care about the teaching profession then he is not. He is all style, no substance.

Willie has shown over and over again that he will say or do anything to get your vote, what he hasn't shown is ideas, what he hasn't shown is details.

District 4 has several good and qualifies candidates, Willie isn't one of them. 

District 6 resident gives blow by blow of school board candidate forum

And does a better job than I could have.

I received permission to use this but they wanted to remain anonymous.

My play by play... Their intros... Charlotte Joyce is the worst choice of the candidates. DCPS has some of the best trends in discipline. Her suggestions would send us backward. I like Monica Tookes focus on equity and barriers in access and Karen Nulands focus on safety. Chauncey wants to focus on achievement but he’s a KIPP supporter. KIPPs achievement ain’t great so which is it?
Teacher retention... Charlotte Joyce must have been trained as a teacher in the 1950s. Who are these teachers she speaks of that don’t know what an IEP is??? Having new teachers go to the lowest performing schools is exactly where you don’t want them learning. Duh. Karen Nuland creating an open climate for reporting difficulties makes a lot of sense. Tookes idea that there is better mentoring and time for professional learning communities for teachers is strong. She is also spot on about the BS surplusing because of tests. Chauncey’s ideas aren’t practical. He won’t be able to give teachers freedom and raises anymore than I can give them $10000 raises. Elliot’s ideas about cutting the extra training indoctrination programs for teachers is interesting
Work protections for teachers... Nuland, Taylor, Chauncey, all said the right things but this question was kind of a set up. No one is going to say teachers shouldn’t have job protections. Tookes rode the fence. Hard to say what her stance was... seemed like she was saying admin should be able to fire teachers at any time. Elliot seemed to take a similar stance. Joyce didn’t really answer the question. She just explained VAM and CAST evals. She wants something different but doesn’t explain why or what. Again, she kind of sucks.
Arts in the schools... Taylor says private donations to support and asking state for more money (good luck son). Tookes focuses on, I think, parents exposing kids to art outside of school but then said a bunch about middle school. I’m confused. Chauncey talks about making sure the budget doesn’t get screwed up again (fair point but also easy to say coming from a for profit charter supporter) but doesn’t really say much about arts. Elliot also talks about getting community programs to push into the school; wants more money ain’t (gonna happen). Charlotte Joyce has kids into the arts, gushed about it, but doesn’t say anything other than that it should be prioritized and donors should support it. Nuland talked about PE for little ADD boys (πŸ™„ it’s good for all kids Karen), wants more funding and says it’s a problem at a state level; blames safety and MH allocations - not impressed.
School board members going unpaid (good one viewer!!)... Tookes needs to get paid (I feel her), but she’d be willing not to if it went to the kids. Chauncey supports a pay cut; they’re part time, make more than city council or state leg (haven’t fact checked that). Elliot struggled, wanted to push for more time and meetings. Not a bad answer but I’m not sure how much more time SB members can commit. Joyce has to quit her job, hedged her answer. Nuland says she is representing more people than a city council member, is doing work that has value, wants to get paid. Taylor wants his $ too.
Charter schools... Chauncey loves them but hedged his answer. πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’© Elliot is the same, maybe hinted at doing something sketch with testsπŸ’©πŸ’©. Joyce is a charter school lover and gave no qualms about it. πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©. Nuland hedged her answer but did say charters should have to be held to the same standard, reminds everyone charter schools choose whoever they want. πŸ‘πŸΌShe gets no poop from me. Taylor said something similar to Nuland but was more warms and fuzzy about charters. πŸ’© Tookes is pro public school; gave similar response to Nuland but not as well articulated. She gets a πŸ‘πŸΌ.
Alt cert like Teach for America... Elliott likes TFA and wants it expanded. πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©. Joyce said reasonable things about issues with teacher retention for TFA and not contracting out. πŸ‘πŸΌNuland says she like TFA but acknowledges retention issue. πŸ’©. Taylor likes TFA and wants to give them more $ (where the heck is all this $ coming from he keeps throwing around). πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©. Tookes has a daughter at KIPP who is now a recruiter for TFA. She is bothered by the fact that they are placed in low resource communities but don’t know those communities well. Emphasizes she’s not from Duval (strange strategy). Says all teachers need support. πŸ’©. Chauncey loves and would expand, wants more funds πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©.
Improve home school and community collaboration... Joyce is a magnet coordinator, will use social media but no other specifics. Nuland reminds us she is president of the PTA, doesn’t give specifics. Taylor has focused on this one a lot tonight, but doesn’t talk strategy. Tookes talks about the parent academy, difference between parent engagement and involvement. Gave no specific strategy but seems to get it better than others. Chauncey told stories, no strategies. Elliot talks about Dojo and social media, concrete strategies.... not bad. Overall this question was a dud.
VAM scores and teacher evals... Nuland puts it back on what's happening in the community and what kids bring into the classroom, gives no actual strategies for differentiating. Says she will work with state reps (who are equally clueless I assure you). Taylor says... id really know what he said. Tookes says educators should be involved in developing their evals (fact checking this - I'm pretty sure they were). Chauncey says the formula is too hard for teachers to understand (as evidence the link from DOE to the white paper explaining VAM is broken:
 πŸ™„), says it does reduce subjectivity (fair statements). Elliot talks about the stress of VAM, also talks about teachers not making decisions for themselves. What she is saying about VAM in inner city schools isn't supported by research. Joyce explains VAM and says the course code doesn't match the VAM, kind of long winded but a fair point.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES!!!!! YAY! Taylor says there should be one for every two schools (idk who he is talking about), says it needs to be in the budget. Tookes talks about not understanding where funds dedicated to special ed are going (yes!!!! talk to the state about this! No one knows and we are all dying to find out how those $$ are being spent). Chauncey says mental health is most important issue and biggest issue related to safety; wants more training for all staff in MH. Good answer. I can't believe I'm doing this but πŸ‘‰ . His answer about providing access to special ed services is hilarious given his charter school status... their way of handling that.. just not accepting kids with special needs. He gets a πŸ™„ negating the previous thumbs up. Elliot basically just said schools should follow the law. Joyce talks about needing more guidance counselors and that MH is important, points to Parkland. Wants trained MH counselors in schools (they're called school psychologists Char πŸ™„) 1, 2, 3, or 4 assigned to each school. Doesn't say at all how she'd pay for that. Nuland brings up the MH Allocation!! She is aware of policy!!!! Only candidate to bring it up so far. πŸ‘‰πŸ‘‰