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Tips, suggestions, story ideas?

If you have stories about the inner workings of the Duval County Public School district you would like shared as well as tips you might think I am interested in, please contact me at

I believe we can and should be doing better.


  1. As a new teacher (going on three years), I deeply question the value of the Alternative Certification process in Duval (or perhaps anywhere). The school district has NO BUSINESS putting me in a classroom for up to three years prior to my being alternatively certified...if I am not ALREADY an effective teacher!

    And if I have proven to already be an effective teacher, then why in the world do I need to take the Alternative Certification program???

    I have read various comments and studies on the Alternative Education program. A significant number of teachers claimed it was largely a useless program, a type of busy-work.

    There are two things I think are really needed:

    1) To question the very need of an Alternative Certification program for effective teachers; and

    2) If we are going to have a such a program anyway, to have some sort of teacher's forum where teachers can get expert advice, etc. to help them through the process.

    I certainly have little time during the year to do this. And then they want to take my summer, too?

  2. There is no enemy but something wicked this way may be coming if there is not effective change now.
    People aren't seeing the 5 year forest forecast trees.The law of supply and demand will even things out. It is just economics and looking at current and historical data.
    Schools will privatize, be private or State run like Duval's. The better teachers will go to better schools, wherever they may be. I The following is a data quote from the National Center for Educational Services at
    The NCES states "Between school years 2003–04 and 2013–14, the percentage of all public schools that were public charter schools increased from 3.1 to 6.6 percent... with Arizona leading in 18% of it's schools being chartered. Comparing 2003/4 - 2013/2014 the composition similar to those seen at traditional public schools. The percentage of charter school students who were Hispanic increased (from 21 to 30 percent), as did the percentage who were Asian/Pacific Islander (from 3-4%). In contrast, the percentage of charter school students who were White decreased from 42 to 35 percent. The percentages decreased for Black (from 32 to 27 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native (from 2 to 1 percent) charter school students as well. Data were collected for charter school students of Two or more races beginning in 2009–10. Students of Two or more races accounted for 3 percent of the charter school population in 2013–14. "
    Go play with the tables of District spending at
    Is Duval top-heavy much in terms of how much is spent on the student themselves, higher level positions ? Go back to the IES search and try some surrounding school districts and run peer matching data. Hmmm. I have questions regarding spending for salaries from perusing both websites? How is DUVAL County spending it's money on charter schools or its traditional public school students. it appears different than what figures are given to the government. What about successful districts-in terms of student size --- Are those districts one who have an elected Superintendent and /or cabinet members? The state I have moved from does--and the educational system works.
    The only alternative at the rate some districts in Florida seems to be going , is literally going to be privatizing the public schools, which means a whole lot of administrative people will be working for less money and so might the teachers and principals. I don't like saying this but it is simple economics, much like how our US Postal system, National Security or State prisons is privatizing.
    The advent of Charter Schools can save money for Districts or make money seem to be a move in that direction but many fail. The Charter School Population when looking at disaggregated data is concerning for me. The future says privatize the schools that are struggling call them whatever you want. In this case, mid and upper management positions will be cut. Funding has been cut. It is a matter of time before less fingers are going to be in the pie and new fingers will go in. The District, School Board, Parents and teachers might want to think about three to five years from now. The City of Duval might want to think about changing how leaders get their positions and keep them. Were I in upper management or a teacher, I would be thinking about five years from now and adapt accordingly .
    I request Lawmakers of the City need to look at successful District Leaders and Boards and their respective models spending data and how much is spent on students on DCPC says vs what the Federal Government says. Maybe a data cruncher who has a vested interest in Duval Students could check out comparative school districts and see who is elected vs. appointments. Is there a correlation between that and an educational program that is supported by parents and teachers?
    If something doesn't happen soon. There will be changes that are made and Duval County and DCPS will be on the even shorter end of that stick.

  3. Iranetta Wright's protege at Joseph Stilwell has singlehandedly killed the culture of that school. It is run like a popularity contest at a high school where there is an in crowd and outcasts among the faculty. The principal thrives on chaos and animosity that she causes among the faculty. Bullying amongst and coverups are the law of the land. Student statements mysteriously disappear. A teacher who routinely curses at children runs rampant because she is in the principal's pocket. Meanwhile there is no money in the school and the administration is constantly poor mouthing yet there is new furniture in the library and front office THAT WASN'T FREE. The principal is never there unless Dawson or Wright show up and she runs the school like its the mafia and expects the faculty and staff to kiss her ring or kick rocks. That woman is a bully who yells at the staff routinely in faculty meetings. She needs more training in manners, public speaking, etiquette and the role of administrator. Anything that the school accomplishes is not because of here because she's never there, but she frequents Andrew Jackson.

  4. Please, please look into Ms. Raulerson at Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership. Her practices are unethical. She is disrespectful and unlearned in effective leadership. She thinks that yelling and bullying coupled with playing dress up is strategy. Stilwell's leadership is the Bad News Bears of administration. Just sad and sorry. I would try to leave, but I just bought a new car.

  5. PART 1: Some ideas (and beefs) to study:

    1) How the school system is as subject to fads as are corporations. Every few years, a new superintendent or principal is installed. To "earn their keep," so to speak, they feel it necessary to enforce yet another faddish learning system on teachers--and to do so just as the old fad had become ingrained and was beginning to bear fruit. Most fads work...if given time. That doesn't mean they are the best or what have you, but what is clearly not the best is to ensure that teachers are ALWAYS on a learning curve, never able to complete and master one fad before the next one replaces it.

    2) The fact that there is a "study" or evidence-based reason to do...pretty much anything in a classroom. If you think kids learn better by sitting in rows and working independently, welcome to the generation that put a man on the moon. If you think classes ought to be loud and have collaborative learning (or, as I put it, collaborative cheating), there's a study for that. Uniforms for all students? Check. Dress however you want (within "reason," of course), yep, pretty sure that's out there too. Read mostly classic fiction. Check. Read mostly non-fiction. Same.

    3. The subjectivism of teacher evaluations. The truth is that if a boss wants you out, they can largely make the case using your teacher evaluation. I remember one time when a particular principal wanted to have "evidence" so that he could justify sending me on my way (probably for having fallen deeply ill and in the hospital for nearly a month). They made it such that unless my students pretty much made near-perfect scores on their year-end summatives, I couldn't make even an "effective" teacher, let along highly-effective. I pointed out problems and inconsistences throughout the evaluation, but to no avail. Most of the things where I scored lower than expected were clearly wrong. But there were some where I was marked effective, but told them I did not at all consider myself effective in those areas. Go figure. There was simply nothing that could be done. They were not about to change it. This needs to be stopped and fixed.

  6. PART TWO:

    4) After the less than great teacher evaluation, my contract was no renewed. I think the evaluation was done just in case I pushed back. But in truth, the state of Florida states (as my principal stated to me) that no reason needs to be given. Sadly, this means that someone can be fired for being the wrong religion, the wrong political party, the wrong sexual orientation, the wrong color, etc., but the principal/school board/etc. is never held accountable, since a contract can go unrenewed for no reason at all (although we all know there is always a reason).

    What makes this especially egregious is that pretty much every school you apply to asks whether your contract has ever not been renewed. That is clearly a red-flag to them, and yet the teacher whose contract was not renewed has ZERO RECOURSE. No reason has to be given. Further, IF a reason is given, it may or may not be the REAL reason (the fact that you are a Seminole and the principal is a Gator...which, well, that COULD be it, I suppose).

    Thus, permitted to push someone out with no given reason, the non-renewed contract goes on to haunt a hardworking and otherwise useful and diligent teacher for perhaps years to come--or perhaps forever. This is a from of evil, as far as I'm concerned. To be able to take someone's livelihood with no reason is wrong.

    In my case, I spoke to the Superintendent. I learned that the reason they didn't give a reason was because it could cause a lawsuit. And, as simple as that, there is was. Exactly. They know that these things don't carry legitimate weight, and so they have been authorized by the Florida Legislature to give no reason at all...which, in many ways, just means "no legitimate reason."

    This needs to end. If they did this in the first 60 days or what have, that's one thing. But when a person has perhaps moved to an area to teach, or otherwise made significant changes to be a teacher for a certain district, I think we surely owe them the common decency of a reason for their not being rehired. Or for that matter, at least give them a advance warning that gives them time to correct course. And, yes, if the reason given is invalid, then teachers OUGHT to be able to bring suit. It's that big of deal with me. As it is, I was unable to obtain another teaching job for sometime, and this despite my having done, I think, a good job as a teacher. I would not claim to be a "highly-effective" teacher--I just don't know if I have the energy to do all that is required for that prestige. But I am certain that I am an effective one. At least I thought so...until I my contract was not renewed.