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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

More GOP money rolls in for anti-education candidate Kimberly Daniels

Am I missing something here? Why are republicans rushing to give democratic candidate Kimberly Daniels money? Could it be her anti-public education views, the fact she really isn't a democrat or both?

From Florida Politics:

As of July 20, the last date for which campaign finance data is available, House District 14 incumbent Rep. Kim Daniels is still well ahead of Democratic challenger Paula Wright.
In the money chase ahead of the open Democratic primary, Daniels raised $7,642, and spent $13,420, between July 7 and July 20. She has just over $21,500 on hand.
Of the contributions, $5,000 came in five $1,000 checks from a North Miami Beach address housing a gaggle of dialysis companies. Also contributing: former Republican candidate for 4th Circuit State Attorney Wes White, as well as Harry Rummell of the Peter Rummell family.
Daniels was also called a champion of education by Jeb Bush's education, err privatization foundation, and received the lowest grade of any democrat from the Florida Education Fund. 
District 14 has somebody running who really cares about our children teachers and schools and that's Paula Wright, she not the wolf in sheep's clothing Daniels should get our support.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Trey Csar proves he is no friend of education, endorses Darryl Willie? Is JPEF's bias showing?

For years when I would write about the Jacksonville Public Education Fund's entanglements with school board candidates, they would push back and say, board members can do whatever they want and it doesn't influence their work.

Well friends we all know that isn't true and some more evidence is this statement put out by Trey Csar just days after leaving JPEF

Via facebook:

Friends, if you can, please come out and get to know my good friend, Darryl Willie, who is running for School Board in District 4, next week. Darryl is an amazing man and father who has committed his career to improving educational outcomes, particularly for low-income kids and kids of color. Our city would be well served under his leadership.

Ugh.

Here is the thing I know a lot of amazing men and fathers that I wouldn't want on the school board. That's a serious job that requires a particular set of skills that you don't get spending two years in a school and running a non profit that basically says anybody can be a teacher, experience doesn't matter and kids will be fine with an ever revolving door of novice teachers.
    
If Trey truly cared about low income kids and kids of color he wouldn't want Willie anywhere near the school board and our city won't be served by Willie's leadership only the mercurial whims of Gary Chartrand would. 

Trey has always been an affable guy, and he has always been on the wrong side of education issues as well.

District 4 you have some fantastic candidates, please don't replace Paula Wright with somebody who both has bad ideas and hidden allegiances

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Scott Shine demeans the school board and himself

Today I received an escalating series of nasty comments from anonymous who I after the first few told I would not put up anymore unless they identified themselves and then I am sure quite by accident they did, and sadly it was none other than school board member Scott Shine.



I am offended because my therapist says I don't have any daddy issues.

Anyhoo as you can see they left the same comment twice, once as anonymous and once as wave rider and yes Shine is waverider.


He's a blogger? gulp!

https://www.blogger.com/profile/14794966639149286479

You should know I think posting negative comments anonymously is an act of cowardice. I think if you have something to say you shouldn't be able to hide behind your keyboard. Shine apparently thinks different.

I also think Shine is a bully. I get it he doesn't like what I write and if i was him too, I wouldn't like it but if he doesn't want me pointing out the things he does, then he should do different things. He's a public figure and should suck it up rather than trying to intimidate me.

District 2 you made a poor choice when you elected Shine, he has done a terrible job. I pray you get it right this go around. Step one should be to avoid anyone who took his endorsement.  

Is Dave Chauncey looking to bring more charters to district 6? This tweet seems to indicate so.

Dave Chauncey likes to tweet, or retweet and most is about sports, though mired in his feed is the following tweet showing support for the expansion of charter schools of which over 330 have failed in Florida and over a dozen in Duval as well.



First you should all know that Public education and teachers in Florida have had fewer enemies as big and powerful as Corcoran. He has attacked and underfunded education at ever possible opportunity but it gets even worse.

One of the reasons he is such a big fan of charter schools is  because his wife benefits directly from them.

From the Tampa Times;

Classical Preparatory School, a charter school founded by the wife of incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, has its sights set on expansion.
Opened in 2014, its waiting list is twice the size of its 406-student enrollment. And its contract lets it grow to nearly 1,000 students through 12th grade.
To explore its options, lawyers for the kindergarten through ninth-grade school last week asked to meet with Pasco County development planners about a possible 37,000-square-foot addition. The request came two weeks after lawmakers approved a bill that would make it easier for Classical Prep to access state funding for construction projects.
The perception, noted by some in Tallahassee, was of a powerful lawmaker benefiting from legislation he helped advance. But Corcoran said Tuesday that the two actions were not related, and he bristled at suggestions otherwise. The language allowing charters access to state money after two, rather than three, years of operation had a much bigger target, he explained.
Those provisions against "private enrichment" did not make the final bill (HB 7029), which passed the Legislature and awaits Gov. Rick Scott's action.
Many House members lamented the deletion of those proposed regulations. But Gaetz said they could not survive the pushback by "legislators who had personal financial interests, or their families had financial interests in these real estate transactions."
Could not survive the pushback by legislators who had personal or financial interests?!? Oy vey,  welcome to Florida and that should tell you all you need t know about Charters her.  That wasn't a liberal democrat who said that by the way, no it came from one of the more conservative members of the state house
Corcoran like many republicans in the state legislature has seen charter schools as nothing but cash cows and it is more than troubling that Chauncey a candidate for school board not only doesn't see that as a problem but thinks it is a good thing as well.
Then think about District 6 and charter schools. Duval Charter at Westside has been one of the worst performing in the city, and is run by a for profit outfit. 
Then just a couple years ago two charter schools closed mid years throwing families and the district into a lurch.
Chauncey thinks this is what district 6 and the city need more of??? 
If Chauncey has a modicum of decency he would drop out of the race and let the more qualified candidates have a debate about ideas. Hubris and a desire to curry favor with the likes of Corcoran and Chartrand and not kids and teachers are what motivates him.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Veteran Duval teachers lose out on thousands of dollars. (rough draft)

I am starting my 18th year but I am only on step sixteen. One year I was a full time sub and another year despite there being 120,000,000 in reserves, then superintendent Pratt Dannals declared a financial emergency and steps were waived for a year.

On step 16 I am scheduled to make 47,800 during the 18-19 school year

https://dcps.duvalschools.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?

A teacher in 2005 on step 16 was scheduled to make 40,833.

 https://www.nctq.org/dmsView/15

Now lets put both amounts into the inflation calculator

https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

Hmm, it says I should be making 52,685 dollars

Hmm my regular calculator says I should be making 4,885 dollars more. Why do I have the feeling what with losing the step in 2010 and the salaries getting smaller and smaller, I am out tens of thousands of dollars and why do I feel like I am not the only one?

You know I don't blame DTU, I think they have done as good as job as possible with economic issues. You can't squeeze blood out of a rock and I think they have gotten all they can out of DCPS.

I am not mad at DCPS either because Tallahassee has criminally and chronically underfunded education and even if you give them a pass for the great recession, which ended oh about six years ago, they have made scant effort to make up the shortfall. It's Tallahassee that has my ire.

These are facts, when you factor in cost of living, Florida's teachers are the worst paid in the nation.

Florida routinely lacks at or near the bottom in investing in education.

When you factors in inflation, Florida spends about a thousand less per pupil than it did ten years ago.

I am personally out tens of thousands of dollars and if you are a veteran teacher so are you.

Veteran teacher how much money are you out and are you going to let the same people in Tallahassee continue to #$%^ you over?

To read more, click the link: https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local-education/lost-decade-how-palm-beach-county-public-schools-cut-pay-for-veteran-teachers/nvhG6M1t6dOnJ9kSrneGxO/

As school is about to start, Tallahassee escalates its war on teachers and public schools

On the heels of Tallahassee grossly under funding their safety initiatives...

On the heels of Tallahassee's attacks on teacher unions...

On the heels of hundreds of teachers being fired because they couldn't pass part of a test that Tallahassee purposely made much more difficult...

On the heels of Tallahassee pushing amendment 8, a poison pill amendment which would obliterate local control of schools...

Tallahassee now has districts bracing for last minute teacher cuts at the states neediest schools.

Duval teachers United sent the following message to its members and you can bet if it is happening in Jacksonville it is happening all throughout the state.

Because of the special status of turnaround schools, the state requires that specific employee staffing changes take place. The moves will be based on student VAM scores. The state has identified cut off student VAM scores in order for individual instructional staff members to remain at the schools. If you teach in a VAM subject area or grade level, you may be surplussed to another school if your scores don’t meet the state’s cutoff score. It is important that you are aware that this may become a possibility.

Once the VAM scores are released from the department of education, teachers will be notified if they will be surplussed to another worksite for the upcoming school year. The employee will have two days to pack up their belongings at their current worksite and move them to the new work site.

These are the schools that can expect the last second surplusses

In Duval 21 schools can expect last minute teacher surpluses as Tallahassee purposely sets up our schools and children for failure. 

Friends, and all this is happening while voucher schools that have siphoned billions away from our public schools employ teachers that don't have to take and pass any test, have any certification or have degrees. How the $%#^ does this make any sense?

Explain to me how the republicans' in Tallahassee have not declared war on the teaching profession and public schools? What more proof do you need?

This is shameful and enough is enough, it is way past time for a change.

For %$#& sake!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A week before teachers are to report, union warns more surpluses are coming.

The union sent out the following note:

Because of the special status of turnaround schools, the state requires that specific employee staffing changes take place. The moves will be based on student VAM scores. The state has identified cut off student VAM scores in order for individual instructional staff members to remain at the schools. If you teach in a VAM subject area or grade level, you may be surplussed to another school if your scores don’t meet the state’s cutoff score. It is important that you are aware that this may become a possibility.

Once the VAM scores are released from the department of education, teachers will be notified if they will be surplussed to another worksite for the upcoming school year. The employee will have two days to pack up their belongings at their current worksite and move them to the new work site.

These are the schools that can expect the last second surplusses


Arlington Middle
George Washington Carver Elem
Gregory Drive
Hyde Park Elem
**Lake Forest Elem
Long Branch Elem
**Northwestern Middle
Ramona Elem
Rutledge Pearson Elem
Susie Tolbert Elem
Carter G. Woodson Elem
Biltmore Elem
Cedar Hills Elem
Highlands Elem
Highlands Middle
Jean Ribault Middle
Martin Luther King Elem
Rufus Payne Elem
St. Clair Evans Elem
Stonewall Jackson Elem
Brentwood Elem


Um why are we using Vam scores? The state has already said districts don't have to use them for evaluations not that they haven't been discredited time and time again.

So this is what is going to happen, teachers as they are reporting to work are going to be surplussed from our most fragile schools and those schools are going to be sent scrambling. This #@$%ing travesty is what the state calls good policy. 

Friends if people are going to be surplussed because of a specious metric can't it happen weeks if not months before school starts? The state waiting to the last second is setting our kids and schools up for failure but for some reason I think that is their plan all along.

Tell me there isn't a war on public schools and the teaching profession.

Two Betsy DeVos stories that show everything wrong with her and education

One involves her 40 million yacht becoming unmoored and the other involves her curtailing debt relief for defrauded students.

From CBS News:

Someone untied a yacht owned by the family of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in Ohio last weekend, police say, causing up to $10,000 in damages. The 163-foot yacht is worth a reported $40 million, according to Toledo's The Blade newspaper.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/betsy-devos-40-million-family-yacht-untied-causing-10000-in-damages/

From the New York Times:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed on Wednesday to curtail Obama administration loan forgiveness rules for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, requiring that student borrowers show they have fallen into hopeless financial straits or prove that their colleges knowingly deceived them.
The DeVos proposal, set to go in force a year from now, would replace Obama-era policies that sought to ease access to loan forgiveness for students who were left saddled with debt after two for-profit college chains, Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, imploded in 2015 and 2016. The schools were found to have misled their students with false advertisements and misleading claims for years.
So the owner of a 40 million dollar yacht proposes screwing the little guy... again! She doesn't care that people were victimized as she gleefully proposes victimizing them again. She has to worry about fining the change in her couch to pay for the damage the yacht did, while these people have to worry about paying rent and putting food on the table as their lives were hijacked by unscrupulous actors. 
That brings me to the problem in education, we have allowed the super rich to dictate education policy and yeah I am looking at Bill Gates too.
These people view education as something for the uncleaned masses where they can experiment and try out their gimmicks and ideas and if people get hurt, well they aren't really people, they are specks seen from the top of a Ferris wheel.  
People like DeVos and Gates don't care and they can't relate, to them poverty and hard times don't exist and at the end of the day we are nothing to them and as long as we allow these ultra wealthy to interfere in education, people are going to get hurt while they sail away on their yachts.
They lack compassion and empathy and we would be better off without them. Now ask me how I really feel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Very little of Dave Chauncey's campaign money comes from district 6

I have to tell you that is very troubling. It indicates he isn't being supported by teachers and parents but rather by special interests who are going to come with their hands out if he wins.

During his last reporting period, he took in 6,500. Of that 1,325 came from individuals, and the rest from businesses, furthermore more than 5,000 came from outside his district.

The reporting period before had him rake in 10,040. Of that over 8,000 came from out of the district including a 1000 bucks from school voucher king and Tampa resident John Kirtley. 

It was a little over 16,700 the reporting period before that, and almost 10 grand came from out of the district and most of what didn't came from a few big businesses.

His first reporting period he brought in 24,000. Four thousand of it came from Gary Chartrand playing fast and lose with campaign finance laws. What he did may not be illegal but you can bet people like you and me couldn't get away with it.  Oh and of that 24 grand, 17 grand came from out of the district and there were only 33 contributors. Not exactly a grass roots campaign.

This was my unofficial tally as I let any address that I didn't recognize go, so the truth is it may actually be worse than above.

Chauncey may be the worst candidate I have seen in a decade. Two years of Teach for America experience and enough hubris to fill a swimming pool. If he wasn't bought and paid for by Gary Chartrand and his friends and he had any sense of decency Chauncey would drop out and allow the more experienced and capable candidates have a battle of ideas.

District 6 you have had a real warrior in Couch, please don't replace her with a guy who may have very rich friends but who has little else.

To check out Chauncey's finances for yourself, click the link: https://www.voterfocus.com/CampaignFinance/candidate_pr.php?op=cv&e=21&c=Duval&ca=840&rellevel=4&committee=N

Does Nick Holwland candidate SB district 2 support poison pill amendment 8?

His supporters do.

Nick Howland was Scott Shines hand picked successor, and it's hard to imagine that these two aren't cut from the same cloth. Shine has also given Howland a thousand dollars which is just a bit of the money Howland has taken from school privatizers like Chartrand.

Shine is also one of the biggest proponents of Amendment 8, which aims to strip school boards of local control in order for charter schools, which if 8 passes will now have no local over site, to be able to easily open. Shine loves the proposal so much he is traveling the state trying to sell it.

From WJCT:

 The Duval County School Board — minus one member —  has been strategizing against an education amendment set to appear on Floridians’ ballots this November.


Outgoing board member Scott Shine has a leadership role advocating for Amendment 8, the measure his colleagues oppose.
The third prong of the bill is proving the most controversial. It would allow the state Legislature to designate or create a “state operator” to oversee and approve new public schools, including charters, without local school boards’ having a say. Currently the state constitution says only school boards have that power.
Charters are public schools, but they’re privately managed. They contract with school districts and get public dollars. Individual charters have their own boards and set their own curricula, and they follow a different set of rules for building requirements, for example.
Because of the amendment’s three-part bundling, the League of Women Voters has filed a lawsuit seeking to block it for being “misleading.”
It's not a surprise Shine would support something that is misleading and hurts public schools, that's what he does, but now it is paramount that we know how Howland feels about both Shine and amendment 8 after all we know Howland isn't against getting Shine's endorsement and taking money from him.
District 2 can we talk here? You have already gone the rich white business man route and that hasn't worked out so well. Now you have a chance for a do over and some pretty solid candidates to choose from as well, please don't blow it, the city's children and teachers are depending on you.

Darryl Willie scrubs Teach for America from his campaign site. Um why?

The obvious answer is he knows Teach for America is controversial and he knows many people are realizing the program offers the exact opposite of what are neediest kids need. The less obvious answer is he knows it does the exact opposite of what kids need and he wants to distance himself from it.

Just a reminder, Teach for America takes mostly non education majors, puts them through a six week teacher boot camp and then int our must challenged schools where they are supposed to serve two years, creating an ever revolving door. The program is also expensive as hell. Heck if I worked for them I wouldn't want people to know either.

These campaign sites are supposed to put positive spins on things, but here he has no spin at all. He doesn't mention TFA, he doesn't mention where he works at all, calling it his current role, and if you are thinking about voting for him, you have t find this troubling.

I also think he vastly oversells what he actually does, but that's what campaign web pages do.

Friends, when you pull back the fancy dance moves, you find Willie is a candidate with few ideas who is willing to mislead people and we can do better.

District 4 you have a bunch of good candidates, with relevant experience and track records and close ties to the community too, Willie is not one.

Check it out, it's truly befuddling, https://www.darrylforduval.com/about-darryl

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Superintendent Greene gets an early win, fights to keep music, art and PE

DCPS started the budget year 62 million in the hole, mostly because of unfunded mandates from Tallahassee and the fact Vitti spent like a drunken sailor on his way out of town.

A lot was on the cutting block and perhaps the most painful were art, music and PE. Well working with the board Greene has announced these were priorities we are not going to cut.

From WOKV:

 As Duval County Public Schools faces a $62 million budget hole, we've learned cuts to arts, music, and physical education funding are now being taken off the table.
Instead, DCPS says the frequency will remain the same, so students should see no changes to the level of these classes at their schools this upcoming school year, when compared to last school year. However, this assumes that enrollment levels remain about the same. 
"Arts, music, and physical education provide important developmental experiences for children. I am thankful the Board is supportive of other strategies to balance the budget and that we will continue this district's commitment to arts, music, and physical education," says Duval Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene in a statement released Tuesday. 
In order to keep funding levels the same, the district says it's recommending delaying its objective to build its unassigned reserve funds over the minimum level. 
The district's Chief Financial Officer, Michelle Begley, says they had originally hoped to move the reserves closer to the 5% mark, but with a per-student allocation from the state of just 47 cents per-student this year, it isn't the right time to reach that goal. 
The district says the total of assigned and unassigned reserve funds is about 4.75%, which is above the required 3%.
This is great news for the district but at the same time I am troubled with the boards determination to put 5 percent of our budget in reserves when the most we have to have is three percent.
We have issues and people's jobs on the line and I would rather we spent our money on that rather than throwing it in an account to collect interest. Now I am not saying lets go below three percent I am saying having just three percent in reserves is just find and maybe we need to throw some of what's left and reopen the districts libraries. We have a reading problem and Vitti's solution was to close our libraries and pass out handouts.
The restoration of art, music and PE is good news, and kudos to superintendent Greene for recognizing their importance, but now what about all those empty libraries, we desperately need them too, and if we have enough in reserves to make it happen then we should.  

The GOP pumps 100 grand into war on public education, supporting amendment 8

Amendment 8 is a poison pill for public education. It pairs two nominally popular if not superfluous ideas with one that strips local control away from school boards and the republican party and the charter school industry are pumping money into making sure it passes.

Remember when one of the mantras of the republican party was local control was better? Well friends not anymore especially if it gets in the way of their donors making money.

From Florida Phoenix:

The Republican Party of Florida, investment companies, education groups and fans of charter schools have so far contributed $167,000 to 8isGreat.org, a political committee pushing to approve a contentious education amendment to the state’s Constitution.
The largest contribution was from the Florida GOP — $100,000 on June 13, according to the state’s Division of Elections.
The so-called Amendment 8, on the ballot November 6, represents a legal, political and philosophical battle over who can or can’t control charter schools in Florida. It is the most controversial section of the three-pronged amendment proposal.
The official summary for Amendment 8 “permits the state to operate, control and supervise public schools not established by the school board.” That suggests that the state, rather than local boards, could approve and monitor charter schools.
Not adequately funding education, give away's to charters and private schools, high stakes testing, attacks on the teaching profession and their representatives, this is the legacy of the republican party in Florida. 
Amendment 8 s being supported by parents and teachers, no its being supported by the republican party and the charter industry and that should tell you all you need to know, as they seek to put profits ahead of children.
Friends we have to stand up and say no more, we have to fight now before there isn't anything left to fight for.

Monday, July 23, 2018

920 effective Florida teachers out of a job, while teachers at voucher schools don't have to be certified or even have degrees

Tell me there isn't a war on public teachers by Tallahassee or better yet tell the 920 effective teachers who are currently out of a job while teachers at private schools that take vouchers don't have to be certified or have degrees, and several of the schools even have hired felons.  

The crown jewel of Tallahassee's education agenda this year was to decertify teachers unions because they can't stand the profession and his on the heels where they have ratcheted up the difficulty and cost of teacher exams in the state. 

From WFTS- Tampa

Mixon is just one of, at least, 920 Florida teachers who, we've learned, are being terminated this summer because they can't pass a portion of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam also known as the FTCE licensing exam. The battery of tests which include a variety of subject area exams and general knowledge tests are a must-pass for anyone who wants to teach in Florida. 

The state revised the FTCE in 2015. Our series, "Florida teachers: failing and frustrated" began nearly two years ago.  We learned examinees were failing the tests at unprecedented levels.  We discovered failure rates on some parts of the exam increased by nearly 30% since the revisions.  Despite a spokesperson from the FL Department of Education telling us early on that they expected the increase in failure rates but that scores would, “increase over time,” the latest scores we obtained show there hasn’t been much improvement.
The summer 2018 terminations aren't easy for school districts already struggling to fill vacant teacher slots in time for the first day of school next month.
In response to the terminations, a spokesperson with the Florida Department of Education explained while hiring decisions are determined by each local district, the state is "committed to educational excellence."  According to FDOE spokesperson Cheryl Etters, "The purpose of the Florida educator certification is to support the academic achievement of our students by assuring that our educators are professionally qualified for highly effective instruction."
Committed to academic excellence %$#@$ I just spit out my milk. 
Tallahassee hates teachers because they generally support democratic candidates and spoiler alert they do so because those candidates generally support public education.
Nobody is against certification tests, I mean except for republicans who support voucher schools, but we have gone way to far, they aren't trying to help or improve public ed, no they are trying to punish it.
We need a change in Tallahassee.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

JPEF is too rife with conflicts of interest to host School Board Forums

Right now, JPEF is the only school board forum game in town and that should make us all troubled for many reasons.

First the forums are being held downtown, not in the districts the elections are taking place and only 30 people can attend. Now they do say they will be live streamed but color me not very confident.

If that wasn't bad enough, they are rife with conflicts of interests too.


Several members of JPEF’s board of directors have picked candidates in each race to support. Nick Howland in 2, David Chauncey in 6 and Daryl Willie in district 4, sending these preferred candidates thousands of dollars. 
Then both Willie and Howland are closely related to Teach for America and five of the ten staff members at JPEF have TFA in their bios.
I believe these things create both an insurmountable conflict of interest and at the very least present the appearance of impropriety.
We need organizations like WJCT, the Times Union, The NAACP and the League of Women Voters to step up and make sure the community is informed about the SB candidates and the issues because I have serious reservations that is JPEF's intent. 

Is Darryl Willie and TFA Jax playing fast and loose with the truth?

There is a 2018-19 class of new Teach for America recruits.

The TPC gave TFA Jax a hundred thousand dollars.

This makes TFA look strong with a bright future but the truth is a lot different.

DCPS says they have no plans of continuing the program. Now they are finishing the commitment made under Vitti but they don't plan on moving forward with any new ones and thank goodness.

Did the TPC know this when TFA took the money? Did the new TFAers know they would be working charter schools? My bet is not.

Darryl Willie has some tough questions that need answered and I for one hopes he gives us more than just slick dance moves.

TFA is on the way out of Jacksonville and that is both long overdue and a good thing, but for some reason Willie is operating like there isn't a care in the world.

The Northeast Florida Builders and Realtors Associations are the worse, endorse SB candidates with no experience

Would you have your house built by an art history major? Would you let one sell your house? I imagine you wouldn't but the Northeast Florida Associations of Builders and Realtors would have you vote for people who have no business being on the school board.

The Builders endorsed Dave Chauncey despite him only being in the city for a cup of coffee and having two years of Teach for America experience. There is a PTA president running in that race, as well as long time educators but for some reason they think Chauncey would be better?

Then the realtors endorsed Howland when they are infinitely more qualified people in that race, a long Time volunteer and former teachers. Yet they think Howland a business man would be a better fit? District 2 how well did that work out with Shine?

In Jacksonville the Builders and Realtor associations do the bid of the chamber of commerce and our chamber would replace our public schools with charters and our replace professional teachers with an ever revolving door of TFA novices and they do so not just to the detriment f the community but to their own detriment as well, which makes them both corrupt and dumb.

A large amount of the charter schools in town are run by for profit companies, the CUSA schools for example. Much of the money sent to those schools funnels first through Delaware, which may as well be the Cayman islands and then to South Florida. That's millions siphoned out of our community.

Then most TFA teachers aren't from JAX and it is true some do put down roots but most head back to their respective homes before they go to grad school. In short they don't buy or sell houses. Builders and realtors should be the biggest supporters around of public schools but time after time they support who the chamber tells them to.

Jacksonville's economy loses out annually on millions of dollars as charters siphon money away and fewer people buy and sell houses because of Teach for America but inexplicably that doesn't matter to the Builders and Realtors association as they endorse the least qualified candidates, Chauncy and Howland in district's 2 and 6. Up is truly down in Jacksonville.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Florida's school voucher programs harm students

Here are some facts about Florida's voucher program:

Vouchers siphon over a billion annually away from public schools.

Teachers at voucher schools don't have to have degrees, be certified and can have serious criminal records. 

They don't have to have a recognized curriculum and many teach junk science an false history.

Most of them don't have to report how they spend the money they receive. 

There is zero academic accountability that the state requires for public schools.

John Kirtley Florida's voucher king, is also a major donor to republican candidates for which he has been greatly rewarded. 

Now there is evidence that students who receive the vouchers are harmed by them.

From UVAToday:

new study from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education finds that low-income children or children enrolled in urban schools do not benefit more from enrolling in private school between kindergarten and ninth grade.

“Despite the arguments in favor of the use of vouchers or other mechanisms to support enrollment in private schools, ostensibly as a way to help vulnerable children and families access a quality education, this study finds no evidence that private schools, exclusive of family background or income, are more effective for promoting student success,” said Robert C. Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education and co-author of the study.

Although children with a history of enrollment in private schools performed better overall, the advantages of private school education were not present for low-income students or those enrolled in urban schools.

This study contradicts the rationale behind U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ efforts to promote greater access to private schools, primarily through the administration’s earmark of more than $1 billion in the federal budget for private school vouchers and other school choice plans.

“The assumption that private schools are more effective in educating students and producing higher levels of achievement behavior is demonstrably ineffective and potentially harmful,” Pianta said. “In order to enable more low-income students to succeed and close achievement gaps, we must support comprehensive education reform of our public school system.”


Our there some private schools that accept vouchers that  do a good job? The truth is I and nobody knows because there is zero accountability. 

Friends, what are we doing, other than dooming a large swathe of children to a substandard education in order to placate republican super donors?

And for you fiscal conservatives isn't it time we either made sure the money was well spent or we ended the program?

Come on friends, we should be doing much better than this and our children deserve it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Superintendent Greene calls for Team Duval, the "T" should stand for teachers

I hear all the times in education talks, students first, whatever is in the best interest of students, and this may not be popular, but it makes me cringe.

You see in education there are TWO paramount parties and neither are more important than the other and that is students and teachers. You can't support or ignore one without likewise supporting or ignoring the other.

When I started the blog, this was my overriding thought, the better things are for teachers, the better things will be for their students. If you support and empower teachers they will do the same for their students, but if you marginalize, overwork, berate or so many other things that are common, well that will trickle down too.

On Tuesday the district and its partners put on a meet and greet for Superintendent Greene where she gave a fiery and impassioned speech and I have to say I am not a kumbaya guy, that is I don't need a pep talk but after she was finished I was ready to get back to work, admittedly a feeling that quickly faded after I got back to my comfy couch and put on Netflix.

Me, notwithstanding, the speech however was genuinely great, and she sold the concept of Team Duval and she said she needed everyone to get on board. The community, parents, business leaders and teachers, that everyone has to work together to make the district what we know it can be, to realize the amazing potential that we have.

I agree with her, but at the same time, I think we have to start with the people who are doing the actual job, teachers, people who in Duval who have often been marginalized and disrespected by previous administrations. Willis did a great job, but the damage done before her was quite extensive and there is a lot of work left to do.

So this got long but I wonder why, Greene has not reached out to the staff, now she may be waiting for the year to begin, but I think a "hello" email laying out her vision, would go a long way and I wonder why after 19 days of employment, and I get it, she must have been busy but still, we haven't got one.

Vitti admitted he thought teachers were easily replaceable cogs, he neither appreciated or supported the work being done by teachers. It was all about him. This superintendent cannot make that mistake, especially if as she claims, we are all on the same team.

I would encourage the superintendent to reach out to the district staff, and when she does pledge to listen to teachers ideas and concerns. If she can do this and then follow through then we will be well on our way to reaching the amazing potential the district has, but sooner or later if she is going to be as successful as we hope then she has to start building relationships with teachers.

To read more about the meet and greet, click the link: http://www.jacksonville.com/news/20180717/new-superintendent-greene-pitches-team-duval

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Superintendent Greene says no to Teach for America

At today's meet and greet, and more about that later, I asked superintendent Greene if going forward the district plans to hire any new Teach for America teachers, and she said they are hiring, so if you are interested get your resume together, but they had no plans to hire new TFA teachers. 

Now there is a new class of TFA teachers in own, so I guess this means they will all be going to charter schools. I wonder if they new that when they were hired. If Darryl Willie does his day job like he runs for school board then its my bet not.

Just a quick refresher, TFA takes mostly non education, recent college graduates, puts them through a six week teacher boot camp and then into our neediest schools where they are supposed to serve a two year commitment making sure our neediest students have the exact opposite of what research says they need. In short it is dreadful.

You know TFA just took a hundred thousand dollars from The Players Championship, money that could have went to truly needy causes rather than serving the indulgences of Gary Chartrand's anti school teacher whims. We have pumped millions into TFA and what do we have for it but empty and harder to fill classrooms as it exacerbated the teacher retention problem.

I am glad the district has finally come to its senses about ending this expensive and unnecessary program and I hope it shows that Gary Chartrand's pervasive influence has waned.    

Darryl Willie is the worst. Invites people to event they can't go to.

There is a meet and greet for Superintendent Green today at UNF. Today Darryl Willie invited people to go to it.  The problem is RSVPs closed on July 10th.

Now I guess we can argue if there should be a RSVP to events like this. I don't think there should be, but right there is says please RSVP by July 10th.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/welcome-reception-for-duval-schools-superintendent-dr-diana-greene-registration-47528263315

D-Willie probably didn't even look, he was to busy perfecting his dance moves is my bet, but the thing is, its the little things, its the details that determine success and failure, and Willie has no time for the details.

Willie takes money from people who would privatize our schools. He doesn't  believe teachers are professionals or that experience matters. He doesn't do his paper work and he thinks his dance moves should trump others ideas and today he invited people to an event that stopped taking RSVPs a week ago. He is a parody of a candidate.

Can you imagine him on the school board?

Friends, what the what?

He is a disaster and shouldn't be considered for a spot on the school board. 

Florida's economy tops 1 trillion dollars. Why the lousy commitment to education?

If Florida was a country it would have the 17th biggest economy in the world. It's worth over a trillion dollars. So the question is, why does the state have such a hard time investing in education? One word, republicans.

The republicans have been in charge of the state government for over 20 years and before you lavish praise on them for the state passing the one trillion milestone, I would argue we would be doing much better if we would have taken the federal money to build the super train from Orlando to Tampa and if we would have taken the medicare expansion. For no reason I can tell but spite, Tallahassee turned it's back on billions and billions of dollars which would have provided jobs and services to Florida's citizens but I digress.

Since republicans have been in charge, the state's teachers when cost of living is factored in, are the lowest paid in the nation and we are routinely at the bottom of per pupil spending and investing in education. Instead of investing in our public schools, Tallahassee has siphoned billions to charters of which 360 have opened and closed leaving neighborhoods in a lurch and of those that remain most are for profit, lack any real innovation and are in neighborhoods that don't need them, and voucher schools which have practically no over site.    

This year when face with the underfunded school security mandate, districts begged the legislature to call a special session to address the short fall and Tallahassee's response was to put out several misleading videos.  

From the Ledger
Florida’s economy has topped $1 trillion, meaning that if Florida was its own nation, it would have the 17th-largest economy in the world.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that’s bigger than Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and the Netherlands.
The Florida Chamber Foundation in a release said the state is adding about $2.74 billion to the state’s gross domestic product each day.
The chamber has launched the “Florida 2030” initiative to address problem areas in the economy, such as the achievement gap in schools and the poverty rate.
Despite hitting the $1 trillion mark, there’s still room to grow. Wage growth has long been pointed to by economists as an area Florida’s economy — and the national economy — need to address to continue growing.
Who wants to bet the chamber's ideas will be about punishing teachers and not investing in education?
Friends, I get it, nobody likes taxes, but how about huge breaks to republican donors and crony capitalism because Florida is rampant with them?
How about wasting money on charters and vouchers? Do you like that?
It's time we invested in education, past time. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Darryl Willie's latest campaign video proves once again he is all style and zero substance.

In Darryl Willie's latest campaign post he asks District 4 do you love me? Ugh how does he fit his head through his shirt?

He posted a video where he gets out of the D-Willie mobile and dances with his family and school board building in the background?

There is nothing about that pesky reading problem, teacher morale or the 63 million dollar budget shortfall, just him shaking his money maker.

The school board needs serious people to do a serious job and D-Willie has just proven again its not him.

We can't afford to put somebody who thinks selling his dance moves is more important than selling his ideas on the board.



I am reminded of a line of dialogue from the musical Hamilton. Hamilton asks Burr, if you stand for nothing what do you fall for, and Burr replies, talk less smile more, don't let them know what you are against or what you are for. Willie is dancing not talking about his ideas and he hopes people will overlook his lack of them, as well as his lack of experience and a track record of success.

We don't need somebody with dance moves on the school board we need somebody with ideas. Willie proves once again he is all about style over substance.

If he really cared about our schools and children he would drop out of the race and allow people with experience and a track record to have a conversation about improving our schools.