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Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Civic Council is extorting DCPS for 250 million dollars and don't take my word for it, take Warren Jones

Warren Jones is a local political icon. He was term limited from the city council, twice and he spoke truth to power at the city council meeting Tuesday.

From the Times Union, 
Jones said during public comments in the Rules Committee meeting that as someone who previously served 28 years on the City Council, he has seen council members engage in maneuvers to disguise the real reason for opposition.
“All that is smokescreen,” he said. “We know what the reality is. You know what the reality is.”
He said charter school advocates want a dedicated funding source for charter schools from the sales tax.
“Over 100,000 students are by choice attending traditional public schools, but yet we are being held hostage because we won’t share $250 million off the top to charter schools for the 16,000 [charter] students when many of our students are in schools that desperately are in need of safety [improvements] and repair,” Jones said.
“I pray as a City Council member you break those chains that are holding you hostage and prevent you from doing what is right and fair for all of our students, and most of all for those who by choice have chosen traditional public schools,” Jones said.
250 million dollars, much of would go to for profit charter schools, and a big chunk to a school that owes Chartrand and Baker millions.
Some of you might be think well that's just Jones's opinion, well nope, this is an excerpt from a secret memo the Civic Council sent the city council, several of their members used it's talking points when fighting against the referendum.
The civic council is demanding a proportionate cut of the tax referendum not a cut based on needs.
That's not how things are done, but I guess if you own a city council and a mayor you can get away with extortion.

IDEA coming with 12 schools starting in 2022

Um what?!?

After Bowman said IDEA planned to bring 15 schools to Jacksonville and the media had reported 4 and in an exchange with board chair Hershey they said 6 I decided to ask IDEA and their response was a little troubling.

Here it is,

Mr. Guerrieri,

Thank you for reaching out. We are indeed coming to Jacksonville, starting in 2022, though we are only set on launching 12 schools.

I hope this is helpful.

Dan

Here is a link to where they told the Times Union they were bringing just six,


Deep breaths, deep breaths, wooshaw wooshaw...

I have to say Dan got back to me quick. Don't expect that from the City Council and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe things changed since his interview with the Times Union, I mean who could have predicted the massive resistance to our school from the mayor and council. they may have said, 6, heck  lets do 12, if things work out with the council there won't be much of DCPS left by then and we might have a tax windfall

Lenny Curry attempts to bully and intimidate the school board chair

We are at a low point in city politics. We aren't being led by Lenny Curry we are bring ruled by him on behalf of his super donors. The little king isn't above trying to bully and intimidate either.



I mean how dare the school board chair thank the two members of the council who have stood up and supported our public schools!!!

Um, and is he talking to the city council or the civic council, I ask because the city council are more like his lackeys, rather than colleagues.

There no other interpretation of Curry's tweet, he thinks pointing out Board Chair Hershey's appreciation is something to be chided and ridiculed, and should have ramifications.

I hope she uses this as a wake up call. The board is not having a gentile policy debate with the mayor and the city council. It's a knife fight with the future of our schools on the line.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

How does somebody as ignorant as Rory Diamond get elected to the city council? (rough draft)

This past fall when the beaches had a choice between anti-public education businessman Nick Howland and teacher Elizabeth Anderson, the beaches overwhelmingly chose Anderson. Yet somehow Diamond was elected to the city council and this past Tuesday he showed how ignorant and corrupt he was.

From Florida Politics,
Rory Diamond, who introduced the motion, noted that the Finance deferral meant that the bill was deferred, “not structured to move along.”
Diamond is concerned about enrollment declines, “school choice” and the overall costs of the plan, questions echoed by the portion of the donor class represented by the Jacksonville Civic Council.
“The only place I see kids getting a chance,” Diamond said, is a charter school, not a public school.
The only place kids are getting a chance is charter schools, let that sit in.
Mr. Diamond represents the beaches area which has not just some of the best schools in the city but in the state. I feel like those kids are getting a chance. Those are schools by the way that would benefit from the referendum.
Diamond doesn't care about facts or decency for that matter, and why should he when his doors reward him for bashing our public schools.  
At about the hour seven mark Diamond started to speak from what was apparently a set of talking points provided by the civic council. He spoke fondly of the the kids in charter schools complaining that the district hasn't provided charters public money for construction or equipment which is not their job by the way. That's like Winn Dixie demanding Public provide them their meat.
Then he demanded a guaranty to share tax money with charters (something the district has said they plan to do over and over) saying the only place that kids get a chance are in public charter schools ,saying he would die on that mountain.
This is what we are fighting against, people who despite tons of evidence to the contrary think are schools or failures that and people who are paid to say it.  Diamond is either ignorant, corrupt or both,


The city's plot to privatize our schools explained (draft)

The school district was literally one percentage point away from  an A grade, it's a B plus plus. Now are things perfect everywhere? No to many of our schools in neighborhoods wracked with poverty still struggle with the state test. That being said, you would think most city's would rally around the school district to get it over the hump, that they would leave no stone unturned to make sure it was successful but not Jacksonville, here a bunch of businessmen and politicians have conspired to turn our schools over to charters.

In May at an incredible state board of education meeting state commissioner Richard Corcoran chided superintendent Green to give our schools to the IDEA academy, saying the district had failed it's children.  He even said he wants the authority to take over schools.

https://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/2019/05/22/florida-education-commissioner-suggests-takeover-authority-for-long-struggling-schools/

Scott Shine since a memo to all the city council members saying the IDEA charter chain is coming soon and bringing 15 schools with them, He wrote, Last week, Idea Charter Schools announced they will bring 12 to 14 schools to Jacksonville – mostly in the urban core.  How are charters recognized as an impact to student populations?

http://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2019/06/scott-shines-lies-and-half-truths-about.html

The thing is they announced no such thing, announced anyways and when TU editorial reporter Emily Bloch reached out to them she told me they seemed upset that any news had leaked out and they were in talks to bring 4 schools here in 4 years.

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190626/idea-academy-confirms-setting-its-sights-on-jacksonville

In the article they said they met with the super and board chair and several city leaders, one of who was Aaron Bowman.

Yesterday when giving one specious reason after another to not support the City's schools, at the 41st minute mark of yesterdays city council meeting he said, that he met with their board members and administration and that they have offered to come in and open 15 schools and that has been agreed to by their board.

This is the same group that told the TU 4 in 4 years. Did Bowman just lie to the people of Jacksonville of did IDEA lie to the the Times Union?

So somebody lied, Bowman to the people of Jacksonville or IDEA to the Times Union, either should be unacceptable.

Corcoran, Shine, Curry, Chartrand, Bowman, I don't think it should be lost on anyone that these affluent white men who don't live in communities of color are fighting to have their public schools replaced. They  are meeting with charter chains,  they are saying that 15 IDEA schools is a done deal.

We were less than a percentage point away from an A and instead of saying, hey lets rally together to get us over the hump, city leaders are saying lets replace our public schools with charters and deny them the resources they definitely and desperately need, how is that right? How does that make any sense?

And for my friends who live in more affluent areas of town, who don't think they have to worry about charters replacing their public schools, first they came the schools in the poor areas of town but make no mistake they will come for your schools as well.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Aaron Bowman specious reasons for throwing the city's children under the bus

Aaron Bowman loovvvess public schools, loves them so much he has done everything to make sure they don't have the resources they need.

He starts talking at about the 37 minute mark

http://jaxcityc.granicus.com/player/clip/856?view_id=1&fbclid=IwAR1p20IggR3haVagtlISkpWyoqjom1zmRLB1g7EyBoKfWKHQ7DXxoDR3uWA

First he has concerns about low voter turnout which is rich because the city's power structure benefits and plans elections when turn out will be low, and see this past spring as example number one. regardless I am pretty sure everyone knows about the tax referendum by now and will have the opportunity to weigh in should they choose.

His next concern was OPPAGA, it's very important and he just learned about it last week. Oy vey, I can't I just can't, to learn more about it click the link.

http://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2019/07/its-time-for-school-board-to-sue.html

Next he wants DCPS to hire people to build buildings and then lease the buildings from them. Um...

He says IDEA schools have come and agreed to open up 15 schools, well not according to the paper with said they had plans to open 4 in four years, but um shouldn't DCPS be in charge of our schools run our schools?

Bowman brings up a mysterious developer to take over the DCPS school board building. You know, one of his pals.  They should get rid of that building because reasons.

Ron Salem tells the school board, listen to the Civic Council or else

At 24:38 Ron Salem with a wink says listen to the Civic Council or else.

http://jaxcityc.granicus.com/player/clip/856?view_id=1&fbclid=IwAR1p20IggR3haVagtlISkpWyoqjom1zmRLB1g7EyBoKfWKHQ7DXxoDR3uWA

He says any organization that wants input into this process and obtain and consider their comments, he has got a lot of analysis that makes a lot of sense to him.

Gary Chartrand and the Civic Council are fighting against our schools getting the resource they need Ron Salem is more than happy to carry water for them.

If you want to check his donors, the civic council is well represented.

https://www.duvalelections.com/Candidates-And-Committees/Search-Local-Contributions-And-Expenditures

Whatever happened to the Hazouri rule?

When Hazouri was on the school board he brought up rule from time to time. Not a rule in the books but a rule he had to promote collegiality on the board.

If there was a district specific issue he would support that districts representative regardless of his feelings. The thought being they were elected to represent the people of that district and they would know best. Well he has thrown that noble notion out with the bathwater as he has done all he can to usurp the school boards authority. Hey Tommy they were elected to take care of our schools, not you and the board.

He knows better than most the issues that DCPS has as a former board member and he also knows what is happening with the city  is plain wrong but rather than do what is right and defer to the duly elected school board he has joined the city and their efforts to usurp their authority. He know that's wrong but it hasn't stopped him.

He says he wants the referendum to pass, I don't believe him.

He says they are almost there too, and I don't believe that either.

What I do believe is Hazouri has traded his values for one last go around. Maybe that's good for him but it turns out it has been terrible for the city.

  Image result for tommy hazouri

A summary of the rules committee meeting, specious reasons and questions dominate the meeting

It's time to sue. There is nothing the district can do short of giving away its schools and all the tax money to charters that would satisfy the majority of the city council. This meeting just reemphasized that.

First props to Joyce Morgan and Matt Carlucci who supported the tax referendum.

The rest well...

Tommy Hazouri, if you could just answer some more questions maybe we could get behind the referendum. Face palm

Leanna Cumber, I work with a lot of engineering firms so I know engineers, so can you give me a list of every project and when it will take place, for $%#s sake, how do these people get elected.

Randy Defoor, the school board needs to map out every cent, and every move for the next 15 years or she can't support it.

Micheal Boylon points out how desperate our public schools need money and it should be up to the school board to make the decision what to do because that is the job they were elected to do, but, he can't support the referendum.

Despite millions in PECO money and dozens of school choice programs in DCPS schools, Rory Diamond wants money guaranteed for charter schools which are the only schools giving kids a chance. He's the rep from the beach by the way which has some of the best public schools not only in the city but the state. He's a joke.

Warren Jones vice chair of the school board calls out the City Council for blackmailing the district over charter schools. I don't want to say I told you so but...

Speaker calls out City Council for dissuading democracy by having comments at the end of the meeting. She asks, shouldn't we have the discussion before the vote. Amen!

Elizabeth Anderson points out how much has been cut from school district.

Tracie Davis points out the referendum would cost a buck fifty five per month for the average person. The last four are great points that should have probably come up before the vote.

It's time to sue. There is nothing the district can do short of giving away its schools and all the tax money to charters that would satisfy the majority of the city council. 

It's time for the school board to sue.

From today's meeting,

City Council, what did OPPAGA say about your plans?

School Board, sorry we haven't asked them because we can't until the referendum has been approved.

City Council, well we won't consider approving your referendum until OPPAGA (the Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability) weighs in.

School District, well they can't weigh in until the referendum has been approved. It's kind of the law.

City council, we aren't approving it until they do, takes bite of an apple.

School District oh for %$#@s sake, lets sue





The last line was what I would wish the SB would say.

There is nothing the board can do which will appease Bowman who is on record saying he wants to replace our public schools with charters. Nothing.

If, lots of letters government advisory body, would have weighed in he would have wanted something else. Unless the board goes okay we will give our schools to charters and all the tax money to, the referendum isn't going anywhere and its time we stopped pretending it might.

The board should be applauded for trying to go through the process despite the deck being stacked against them They should be, but it should be obvious by now that this is over.

It's time to get the lawyers involved.





City Council, Aaron Bowman wants to turn our public schools over to charters.

Well it's out there. After years of  people saying, hey guys they are coming for our schools, Aaron Bowman and several other city council members during today's finance meeting made it official, they want our school district privatized and the public schools replaced with charters. No more beating around the bush, no more lies about them supporting our schools, not even smiles to the districts faces while they stabbed them in the back. Nope, they want charters and more money for them and the districts public schools can wither on the vine for all they care.

I don't have a link to the video which isn't up yet but at the meeting he said he wanted our public schools to be given to the IDEA charter chain which recently announced plans to open several charter schools here in 4 years.

Why wait though right? I mean we have schools, why not just move the district staff out and the IDEA staff in. Who wants to bet they will find money to fix up the schools if that happened?

Bowman, fix our schools, nah, support the school district, forget about it, now replace them with charters who pick and choose who they take and keep, staffed with Teach for America, now that is the ticket.

He wasn't the only council member either,

LeAnna Cumber despite the millions charters already get, wants them to get even more, as does Ron Salem. Think about that, instead of helping our public schools, they want more money to go to often for profit schools.

So much for being less than a percentage point away from being an A district.

This is shameful. City Council members fighting against the improvement of our public schools. This was a dark day for education in Jacksonville.

Shameful.

 
Image result for aaron bowman





Monday, July 15, 2019

Richard Corcoran's wife owns a Taj Mahal charter school, our kids can go learn under a tree

Richard Corcoran believes in the golden rule, he who has the gold makes the rules.

While visiting Duval some of whose schools are literally crumbling, when asked about a special tax referendum they local board is trying to get on the ballot, he commented that Jacksonville doesn't need mini-Taj Mahals for their children and they would do just as well if they were taught under trees.

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/301071-corcoran-casey-jacksonville

This is a picture of his wife's charter school, why do I feel like they want for nothing.

Image may contain: house, sky, cloud and outdoor

This is a picture of the public school down the street from former board member Becki Couch

Image may contain: tree, sky, house and outdoor

Um which looks more like the Taj Mahal? That's black mold on the walls by the way.

We are not being led in Florida we are being ruled. 

DCPS is strongly considering bringing back Teach for America

This from a draft contract that the board will discuss at its August meeting,

Previous Outcomes TFA teacher performance based on Florida DOE Valued Added Model (VAM) score was reviewed for TFA teachers in TFA cohorts 2013-2015 to 2016-2018 using VAM data from 1415 to 1718 school years. There were 473 TFA teacher scores during those years. Of those, 53.9% were Effective or Highly Effective and 46.1% were Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory.

Um if almost half were considered needs improvement or unsatisfactory why for goodness sake would we even be considering bringing them back?

Well maybe its because they cut their initial asking price of 14 k to nine grand per teacher. Also from the draft contract.



Um 9 k per TFA teacher?!? Why don't we have somebody going to the states education colleges and offering graduates that money? You know people who were trained to be teachers and who will have a much greater probability of staying more than two years.

Last year we had 18 TFA teachers and the district didn't have to pay a dime. They applied just like anyone else would.

I hate to think this is a quid pro quo to get the Bully  and TFA supporter Gary Chartrand to support the tax referendum but regardless this is short term thinking. It allows TFA to remain a presence in the city until those 10-15 IDEA schools get here. Do you know who works at IDEA schools? Teach for America that is who.

Teach for America was an expensive and terrible program that did the exact opposite of what we know our most vulnerable children need and the district should not entertain for one moment bringing them back. 

I am not saying we don't need more teachers, we do, I am saying this solution makes things far worse not better.

Come on DCPS you are better than this.


Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran comes to town and promptly embarrasses himself, me, you, everyone, ugh

Ugh,

Sigh,

I guess I will just let his words do the talking for him, from Florida Politics,

Corcoran is not sold on the performance of Duval County Schools in terms of certain turnaround schools. In that context, we asked Monday if Corcoran approved of the proposal.
The Commissioner does not seem to back the school tax as proposed.
“I’ve been on record: You can teach Plato under a tree,” Corcoran said. “That’s what I say all the time.”
Regarding the capital tax question, Corcoran suggested the money would be better spent on operating expenses.
Um what?
Maybe you can teach Plato under a tree (come on you know he read that is some privatization manual) but can you teach Miguel who doesn't speak English, Emily, who is in a wheelchair or thirty kids from neighborhoods wracked with poverty who don't want to be there under a tree?
Also I want to remind you Corcoran is the education commissioner. how does he know tax referendum's can't be used on operating expenses, they have to be used for maintenance, construction and technology. Um shouldn't he know that?
Corcoran however didn't stop there, also from Florida Politics,
“Every single resource that any local entity has should be going into the classroom. Quality teachers,” Corcoran said. “That’s what’s going to change the outcomes for these students.”
Regarding the referendum, “it’s not going to change” those outcomes, Corcoran predicted.
“You can put every single one of those kids in a ‘Taj Mahal’ and he’s not going to suddenly go from a poor student to a great student,” Corcoran said. “I’ve been very vocal in my opposition to two billion dollars to build new ‘Taj Mahals.’ That’s not a solution.”
Is anyone amazed he mentioned resources? Resources which have been systematically taken away by the state. District's get about a thousand dollars less per student  when you factor in inflation from 2007, and that doesn't include all the unfunded mandates that Tallahassee has burdened districts with.
Then Taj Mahals, what the %$#& how about schools with air conditioners or that don't have mold? This guy is a travesty.Also his attack seems really specific against Jacksonville. 23 other counties have special taxes to help them because Tallahassee has been absent with the resources.
Corcoran whose wife manages charter schools, who has voted on legislation that benefits him and his family has long been a foe of public education, yet because we live in Florida and here we put foxes in charge of hen houses he was made education commissioner but today's embarrassing display just once again showed he has no business being anywhere near our schools.
Floriduh

Lenny Curry shows he is pulling the strings in the referendum fight

Earlier in the day Times Union education reporter Emily Bloch tweeted that after a meeting last week Curry was willing to support a referendum being put on the 2020 ballot.




Lenny Curry pushed back



I don't want to call the mayor a liar but at this point he has attempted to deceive the public dozens of times about the referendum, saying the district hasn't answered questions,provided information or included the community and they have done all three.

It's my bet he was embarrassed that Hershey wanted to include the board in any decision making process, you know, do her job, unlike Curry who planned to just tell the council what to do, because that's what Curry does, he pulls the strings of the council. The thing is he has strings too and they are being pulled by his rich donors to the detriment of the city.

Notice he mentions commitments to charters, um the board over and over again, to my chagrin, has spoken of their commitment to charters. Curry's problem is they have also spoken of commitments to be good stewards of the public's money making sure it is spent on public property, something Curry and his donors don't want because it takes money out of their pockets. 

Curry is not fighting for the best interests of the city, he is fighting for the interests of a handful of rich donors and it is shameful.

Lenny Curry, Gary Chartrand and Tallahassee don't want public schools to be able to compete against charters

One of the many dubious reasons given for the need of charter schools was they would foster competition. Since that is the case why are Gary Chartrand, Lenny Curry and Tallahassee handcuffing our public schools ability to compete?

It started with Tallahassee systematically under funding and hamstringing public education something they have done for over a decade now. Here is the thing you might forgive them for cutting budgets during the great recession, but the great recession ended 7 years ago and you could argue right now we are engaged in economic prosperity but when you factor in inflation we are almost a thousand dollars below the per pupil funding of 12 years ago. How is that acceptable?

To make matters worse. Tallahassee has limited how much money school boards can raise through property taxes while giving them a pittance of PECO funds while giving charters the lions share to charters. Then they exempt charter schools from hiring and building requirements while providing tax breaks and grants like they were water coming from a broken hydrant.

Also did you know Charters use both public money to advertise for their schools and are allowed to use district resources to recruit students?

Here is a post about charters using the district's computer system to recruit then board member Becki Couch's son.

http://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-local-media-is-letting-us-down.html

They have stacked the deck against public schools, so how does that foster competition?

Tallahassee is anti-public education, I think we got it, and since that is the case something like 23 other districts have passed referendums to support public schools. The reasons given vary, safety, the arts, technology, construction and maintenance but the real reason is so they can compete against charters which don't have to supply basics like lunch, busing and covered walk ways. 

So what happens when DCPS decides they need to have the resources to compete against charters? A charter loving mayor and businessmen with close ties to charters fight against them, giving one dubious reason after another. Why because they know if DCPS is allowed to compete they will blow charter school performance away.

You can't say you want public schools to compete with charters, something by the way charters were never meant to do, and then prevent public schools from being able to compete, well you shouldn't be able to anyways and if we had a decent mayor he would know that and ignore his donors and fight for our public schools.

Competition, saving children from zip codes, both just canards the school choice movement uses to sell their snake oil and to hide their true purpose which is to replace public ed. 



Sunday, July 14, 2019

Mike Clark, apparently believes anything the civic council says.

First a little background. My mother worked for the Times Union for 29 years. She was hired shortly after we moved here in 1974 until she retired in April of 2005, she passed away in May of 2005.

I grew up reading the old Jacksonville Journal when we had two papers, morning and afternoon editions. Then some of my fondest memories were going to these awesome parties the RailRoad which owned the paper would throw. I say parties but they were more like festivals where you could eat and drink as much as you wanted while playing a whole hose of games. As a child it was better than Christmas.

It was even a Times Union editor Phill Frentz that suggested I start the blog. He would print me twice a month like clockwork. One letter to the editor and one point of view piece. The problem was I was sending him 20 pieces a month and he said to me, Chris start a blog get it out there. He believed in public ed, something the editorial board has not done since he retired.

So I have a little history with the Times Union.

I believe the local media has constantly dropped the ball when it comes to education. That if we had fierce advocates fighting for our children, teachers and schools we wouldn't be where we are at. You know what some of the biggest problems Jax has? It's apathy and ignorance. With the referendum being in the news recently I can't tell you how many times somebody has said, what about the lottery. The lottery!?! That hasn't truly helped our schools in over a decade. Or why is the district opening all these charter schools if these other schools are falling apart. The people of Jax, a good number anyways. don't realize that the district doesn't have a choice in the matter. The bottom line is the media in Jacksonville has all to often treated education like an afterthought. Except the Times Union's editorial board who has joined the war against public ed and the teaching profession.   

Now you might be saying, they are editors doing opinion pieces and that's true, but the thing is they have an undeserved credibility because they are in the paper. If Mike Clark says KIPP is good, despite the data saying its not and ignoring the fact it receives millions extra, it is suddenly good to a large swathe of the city. When Mike Clark says Teach for America, despite it being both expensive and doing the exact opposite of what poor children need, is good, it's suddenly good to a large swathe of the city. Throw in their ridiculous attack on the school board building, charter schools, their love affair with Gary Chartrand and the civic council, and they are consistently misinforming the people of Jacksonville, contributing to the peoples apathy and ignorance. 

This is what the Times Union's editorial board wrote about the Civic Council just the other day.

The Civic Council, said CEO Jeanne Miller, has identified improving K-12 education as its top priority. Getting rid of public schools is not the Civic Council’s agenda, Miller emphasized; instead the priority is to recognize that we already have a system of schools and a widespread array of choices.

https://www.heraldtribune.com/article/LK/20190711/OPINION/190719558/SH/

Oh she says its not on their agenda. Once again, the rep for the civic council says it's not their agenda. One more time, the well paid rep for the Civic Council says its not their agenda. Mike Clark says, well okay sounds good.

He doesn't mention all the civic councils close ties to charter schools, including one that owes two members 11 plus million dollars.

He doesn't mention that the civic council doesn't seem to have any other priorities, They haven't weighed in on anything else in years.

He doesn't mention Gary Chartrand's 8 years on the state board of education where public schools and the teaching profession endured withering attacks while charters despite hundreds failing were allowed to expand and gain power.

He doesn't mention the packing of the charter review commission with a bevy of both dubious and pro school choice people.

He doesn't mention the huge drain on the public education system that charters have been.

He doesn't mention all the contributions the civic council has given the mayor who regularly tweets pro charter sentiment while fighting against a referendum that would bring economic prosperity and improved schools to the city.

He doesn't mention that we have a school board who is elected to make education choices and that the civic council when you break it down are just a bunch of guys who prefer through their history and actions charter schools.

he doesn't mention all the times Gary Chartrand has been less than truthful, and attempted to bully the school district to get its way.

He just says, oh okay, sounds good to me.

Clark closes with a disingenuous talking point that the pro privatization crowd often use, again from the editorial.

Indeed about half of all students in Florida don’t attend their neighborhood schools, and it’s not because of force — it’s by choice.

Friends there is a huge difference between the myriad of options the elected school board gives and charters and schools that take vouchers. They are not the same. He should know that, and he probably does but repeats their talking points anyways. 

We have not had the media we needed in Jacksonville, and we are not where we should or could be and a big part of that falls on the Times Union's editorial board's shoulders.  

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Scott Wilson City Council President aww shucks leadership is wearing thin.

Scott Wilson a few days ago, 

From the Times Union, 

• On the sales tax referendum, he admits he knows little about the school system. At a neighborhood meeting, there was a clear lack of information on the subject.
“Everyone I have talked to among business leaders agrees that they need the money,” he said.
Though one poll shows support, Wilson is convinced the referendum would not pass this year.
Wilson says the community needs a lot more information, so he doesn’t support a referendum this fall. 
“I just think there needs to be more public participation,” he said. “We should hold hearings on the schools they’re talking about closing. People should really understand this plan before they vote on it.”
He also wondered about the school district’s plans on their riverfront administration building. The School Board has been passive about moving off the river.
“All of this should be part of the equation,” he said.
Oy vey, all the people he has spoken to, you know Curry, Chartrand, Baker. Okay deep breaths.
This from the Times Union yesterday,
Wilson said if the discussion is about a referendum in November 2020, there would be time for City Council members to dig into the School Board’s plan for using a half-cent sales tax lasting 15 years.
“For me, since day one, I’ve said that the schools definitely need additional dollars,” Wilson said. “I’ve never wavered from that. I have had concerns about how much or what projects or what schools.”
Um has he been on board since day 1? How many times since Wilson got to city hall has he said schools need more money, any? 
But now this man who admitted just a few days ago he didn't really no much about the school system and as a member of the city council why would he (sic) has concerns about how much or what schools. Oh for &$#s sake! It's insulting that he thinks we are that dumb.
I hope we all understand Wilson is just making it up as he goes along while trying to serve his masters on the Civic Council. We deserve much better than Scott Wilson and it's going to be a long year if his first 12 days are any example of what we can expect.
Oh and Scott the school board doesn't work for you, why don't you do your job and let them do theirs.

Did Ju'Coby pittman make a deal with the devil, err mayor, to fight against the sales tax referendum.

This post was inspired by the following comment left by a reader,

Listening to councilwoman Jacoby Pittman today on first coast connect I thought I heard Lenny Curry's talking points. She's all for the referendum in 2020 as long as specific questions are answered to her satisfaction. Questions that have already been answered. She just doesn't like the answers.

Ms. Pittman is also in charge of the Clara White mission whose funding was cut by thr city. Curiously she failed to criticize the mayor's office for doing so. Now she's dependent on the kindness of strangers to make up that shortfall. I wonder if those donations will come with strings attached? No conflict of interest there. This whole thing wreaks like a bad 3rd grade play.

Oy vey, so I listened to her on the first coast connect program,

https://news.wjct.org/programs/first-coast-connect-melissa-ross

You should really listen to her fumble for answers at about the 12 minute mark.

You know she was appointed by Rick Scott to the City Council before inexplicably winning a seat.

I want to pause real quick and just say Jacksonville Sucks, as a populace we vacillate from willfully uninformed to apathetic. Most people who vote R do so reflexively even if it is against their self interests and most people who vote D, don't unless it is a big national election and then bitch about how bad the city has become.

Back to Pittman, so she may not care about our public schools to begin with, she wouldn't be the only D not to do so, Just look at Kimberly Daniels. She isn't just a pretend democrat she is a corrupt one, or so the ethics office keeps saying over and over again, too. 

So the city cuts the Clara White Mission's budget and Pittman shrugs her shoulders, but that school board better come correct with reams of data, and answers to whatever questions no matter how obtuse or how many times answered and they better do so with hat in hand. 

Is there some quid pro quo, fight against the school referendum and we'll get you back later? I don't know but this is Jacksonville and that is how the sausage is made here. 

I will give Mrs Pittman one Kudo, she takes home only 94 thousand dollars as director of the mission, most non profit directors and Eric Mann I am looking at you and your 330 thousand Y salary, take home a lot more.

Let me explain to you how Florida's charter schools ARE NOT public schools.

 Mike Clark of the Times Union editorial board says charter schools are public schools, and they don't deserve the criticism they can get. He is either profoundly ignorant or complicit in the privatization agenda, but either way, he is wrong and let me explain how.  

Can you sell a public school and make a huge profit? No, but in south Florida an Imagine Charter school recently sold for 19 million dollars to a hedge fund outfit who sees "tremendous growth in the sector.". This school had received PECO or maintenance and upkeep money from the state which undoubtedly increased the value of the school. Did the sellers kick back some of their windfall, to the public? No, the answer is no. 

Charter schools can pick who they and they know who through the application process where they ask about income, arrests, and other socioeconomic factors. Now you might be thinking what about the lottery that charter schools are supposed to have if they have too many applicants.  I asked the Duval County School Board what oversight site they had on the lotteries to make sure they are done fairly, and they replied “none, charter schools conduct them on their own”. Public schools, meanwhile, have to take whoever shows up at their doors. 

After an expose in the Palm Beach Post about Charter Schools USA hiring subs and temps, I asked DCPS for information on the teachers in the city's charter schools:, how many were temps, subs, and average years of experience. They told me once again that was information they did not collect or keep. That hiring was up to the charter schools. 

A chief complaint of charter schools is they council out students with behavior problems, or academic issues. You hear all the time that students arrive back too public schools from charters after the money counts or before testing begins. 

School boards have lost the ability to say no to charter schools. Mandarin, in Jacksonville, has ten public schools and nine charter schools. Mandarin is a fairly affluent area of town where all the public schools received A or B grades from the state. It doesn't need one charter school, but since charter operators see dollar signs, they have moved in en masse, and DCPS is powerless to say no except in the most extreme situations, because charter operators can appeal to the state board, which rubber stamps their approval. If a district still says no and goes to court, the legislator has made it so they will be on the hook for the charter operator’s legal fees. Most boards have given up fighting because the game is rigged against them.   

Speaking of the game, this past year, Tallahassee allocated 158 million in PECO funds to the state’s 650 plus charter schools and zero PECO dollars to the states 3,000 plus public schools. Then in Jacksonville, republican state legislators inserted millions in the budget for two charter schools operated by their donors. All this has happened as Tallahassee has starved our schools for over a decade.  

Many charter schools are for profit, and there is "tremendous growth in this sector". What happens is a so called non profit secures a charter, and then contracts to a construction company to build the school and a  management company to run the school., iIn the case of Charter Schools USA, all three share the same office. 

Charter schools pay rent that is often above market value to the management company that runs them, and it is here, friends, where charter companies rake in money hand over fist. 

What do you need to open a charter school? A degree in education? A history of running a school? An idea for some ground breaking innovation? No, none of that, all you need is to be able to fill out a couple applications. Then you don't even need much money because there is so much public money out there in the form of grants from Tallahassee and the Trump administration who want to replace public schools.  

Then finally, charters by and large serve fewer children in poverty, so much for saving children from their zip codes, and fewer ESOL and ESE students because its hard to make money off of them. 

I guess the bottom line is charter schools bottom line is to make money, not to educate children, you can't say that about public schools. 

So no, Mike, there is plenty to criticize and be outraged about. there is plenty to criticize. Charter schools are a blatant example of crony capitalism and in reality are nothing more than publicly funded private schools that have to take the Florida assessment.   

Friday, July 12, 2019

Why is the Times Union covering for Gary Chartrand

I have to say for years I have not been impressed with the Times Union's education coverage. That being said with Emily Bloch the new education reporter and Nate Monroe tearing it up I was considering a digital subscription. Unfortunately the Times Union's editorial board blows away any consideration of that happening. A broke clock is more accurate and informed than them.  They are truly an embarrassment to the city and their recent editorial where they anointed Gary Chartrand king of education is just the latest example. 

From the Times Union,

Meanwhile, Gary Chartrand of the Jacksonville Civic Council said the group strongly supports additional funding to meet our school district’s maintenance and construction needs.
“We do believe that all students deserve safe, secure and comfortable learning environments,” Chartrand said. “We are just engaging in the public dialogue to make sure that we have the best plan going forward.”
Mayor Lenny Curry released a statement of support for a “prudent” plan while seeking a level of detail on expenditures that may not be available immediately.
“I am a father of public school students,” Curry said in a news release, “so I know the needs that our community schools will face. I want every single child in every single neighborhood to learn in a school that is safe and reflects the commitment to future success.”
Curry and the Civic Council have said that charter schools must be included in the facilities plan; charter schools, after all, are public schools.
The Civic Council wants the facilities money to be apportioned on a per-student basis, but that just doesn’t make sense for buildings that are leased and relatively new. And Greene has already said that the charters would receive a 5 percent share of the money for security and safety upgrades, and that the district would work closely with the charters.
The Civic Council has also questioned what it calls overly optimistic enrollment projections, which it fears may lead to some schools being built larger than needed — or more schools being built than are actually needed.
Oh the civic council says all that? Well who gives a ^%#$ what the Chartrand and the Civic Council think. They are not the lords of education, two of three of their anointed candidates lost so the city isn't exactly buying what they are selling either and if you believe he cares about our public schools then like the TU"s editorial board your are straight up dumb. I am sorry but I can't say that any nicer.
Chartarnd was on the state board of education for 8 years after he paid off Rick Scott, donated to the Scott Campaign. During that time teacher pay fell, school budgets fell, the state doubled down on high stakes testing, school boards had their authority eroded and charter schools despite hundred, literally hundreds, failed where allowed to greatly expand.  You know because Chartrand cares about our schools.
Hey Mike Clark, Chartrand is not the king of our schools, his voice should not be louder than any other citizen. If he wants to run our schools, he should sell his mansion and move to Jacksonville, that is right friends  he doesn't even live in Duval and run for school board. 
Wouldn't it be nice if we had an editorial board that stood up for our schools rather instead of being nothing but a shill for a millionaire?
For shame Times Union, editorial board, for shame.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Duval for profit charter schools rake in millions in maintenance money while its public schools crumble.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the KIPP school raked in the most money. They have a gift for taking in public money.

Below are the PECO (maintenance and construction) allocations from the state for the 18-19 school year to the districts charter schools.

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http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7501/urlt/1819CapitalProjectsPlan.pdf

I didn't go through everyone one of them to see if they were for profit or not, but the Charter Schools USA schools are definitely run by a for profit company and they took in a little over 3.1 million dollars in PECO funds. That is public money spent on a for profit companies property. That was also only 7 schools too, while all of Duval's public schools, all 168 of them, recieved a little over 2.6 million in PECO dollars.

I hope you have let that sink it.

Now DCPS can raise money through millage to pay for maintenance just Tallahassee has severely limited the amount of money it can raise.

Is this what we should be doing? Why is crony capitalism and picking winners and losers only bad if democrats do it?

How much money has the Civic Council given Lenny Curry? It's a lot!

Did you know that CC members Baker and Chartrand, in addition to having close ties to charter schools and fighting against the tax referendum have given Curry's campaign thousands of dollars, and gave his super pac Jacksonville on the Rise, tens of thousands of dollars.

Civic Council Members- Curry campaign and Pac Donations
Douglas Baer- 2,500
John Baker- 3,000- 75,000
Edward Burr- 1,000- 4,000
Gary Chartrand- 2,000 - 50,000
Tim Cost- 1,000
Susan Wiles- 1,000- 500
Steven Halverson- 1,000
Preston Haskell- 2,000- 10.000
Rusty Newton- 2,500
Peter Rummell- 2.000- 50,000

I just wanted to leave this right here as well.
from the most recent tax returns available on guidestar one of the three charities that take care of the KIPP school.

image.png

Unless the City attorney changed the meaning of the word due, that money is owed to Baker and Chartrand.

The fight against the referendum isn't an idealistic policy debate, it is about the greed of several rich donors and a mayor willing to do their bidding, and noting else.