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Saturday, February 4, 2023

It is past time to say "no more" to Ron DeSantis

 What state celebrates National Literacy Week by having all of its teachers cover or remove their books in the classroom library?

Sadly ironic.
What state has created a law that scares elected school boards and district leadership into acting like this book review policy is a normal occurrence in the US?
Very un-American.
What state is on track to take $2B out of public classrooms next year to give to parents who already send their children to private schools?
Most creative welfare program for the wealthy
What state filled the spot of the president of one of the most nationally recognized universities with a candidate with only college leadership experience of leading a private college smaller than our local Community College?
The beauty of hiring someone while skirting Florida's sunshine laws legally...
What state denied an AP Black History class?
Nothing says we do NOT support a rigorous college education than this...
What state moved the education commissioner from the state board of education to the president of the college, knowing that he lacks education credentials but is a big fan of the governor?
Always nice to see how many overpaid jobs a brown noser can get..
What state increased new teachers' pay last year by taking away the performance pay of veteran teachers?
Sound bites can get you far because people do not know the details...
What state offers signing bonuses to select new teachers who actually do not meet the regular requirements of the job?
If you pick a program that benefits the military or their families, you can get away with anything, regardless if it impacts the problem.
If you have not guessed, I'll give one final hint: Desantis is the state governor.
We are very fortunate to have all of the excellent teachers that we have. They are passionate about education and children to endure this continued disrespect from our state government.
Thank you to all of the teachers - public, charter, and private. You are teaching the leaders of our future.
At some point, people need to become more informed and say No. No, we are not going to defund public schools anymore. No, we will not listen to talk about public schools being woke and pushing CRT. No, we are not going raise new teacher wages without being fair to veteran teachers and be committed to bringing all of their salaries in line with market wages. No, we will not allow a work culture that burns teachers out by expecting too much to be done in their off time or for them to feel obligated to buy supplies. No, we will not entertain having more poorly trained armed guardians because we know where that will lead. No, we will not continue to fund any new charter schools - make them get creative and replace the struggling ones.
From Bush to Scott to Desantis, we have really done a lot of damage. It is time we said no, no more.




Friday, February 3, 2023

Duval closes classroom libraries 5 months early because of reasons.

It is a tragedy what DCPS is doing. Ripping books from teachers and students alike. The thing is, it didn’t have to happen the way it did. If DCPS would have just reached out to the state, they would have learned classroom libraries didn’t have to be cleared or cataloged till May 31st when the school year is basically over, or maybe they did and all this chaos and consternation is by design.

Does it matter if Greene is a homophobe attacking the LGBTQ community or just going along with what she believes the state wants, too cowardly to stand up for some of our most vulnerable children? No, it doesn’t because the results are the same.


Does it matter if Greene thinks veteran teachers aren’t worth protecting or defending, or aren’t worth treating fairly, or if she just mindlessly went along with the state's scheme to cut their salaries to raise starting salaries? No, it doesn’t because the results are the same.       


Does it matter if Greene thinks the whitewashing of history or limiting how teachers can teach is a good thing or if she believes the governor walks on water and can do no wrong? No, because the result of kids not getting the education they deserve is the same.   


So at the end of the day does it matter if the Greene administration was just incompetent by purging classroom libraries 5 months before they needed to or just mean by purging classroom libraries 5 months before they needed to? No, because the result is the same, a district in chaos with rudderless leadership.


Friends, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.


We could and should be doing better.




Thursday, February 2, 2023

Mom's for Liberty wants to review teachers books, Get the %@$# out if here!

Mom's for Liberty  Fascism, in between blaming teachers for their favorite wine bar running out of zinfandel and calling them pedophiles and groomers, is volunteering to review teachers' classroom libraries. That's like the arsonist volunteering to pick up marshmallows on the way to your house fire.


Never have a group of bored women with too much time on their hands done so much damage to so many. Now they want to review teachers' books? @%#$ them.

From Media Matters,

“Parental rights” means strategically harassing public schools 


 Moms for Liberty, a nonprofit claiming to advocate for “parental rights,” appears to be using parents as pawns to advance a far-right agenda. 

The group — which has quickly gained substantial media attention, becoming a right-wing sweetheart and mainstream spectacle — has attempted to paint itself as a grassroots entity driven entirely by passionate parents. But in reality, it benefits from right-wing funding and ties to traditional Republican political figures. 

As issues related to parents, schools, and so-called “critical race theory” drive local organizing and elections, it is essential that media report on Moms for Liberty and similar groups with the appropriate context...

... Moms for Liberty presents itself as a grassroots effort led by parents, but in reality the organization is well-connected with a variety of Republican politicians and entities. 

The group’s most notable GOP affiliation comes from Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party. Ziegler spoke to The Washington Post and praised Moms for Liberty, saying, “I have been trying for a dozen years to get 20- and 30-year-old females involved with the Republican Party, and it was a heavy lift to get that demographic. But now Moms for Liberty has done it for me.” 

He also said he expects Moms for Liberty’s members to, as the Post put it, “become foot soldiers” for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection campaign. Ziegler served as a “media surrogate” on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and was once a Heritage Foundation congressional fellow

https://www.mediamatters.org/critical-race-theory/unmasking-moms-liberty

Great foot soldiers for DeSantis

Mom's for Liberty doesn't care about children or education, just their 15 minutes of fame and telling other parents what their children can and cannot learn. They are fascist foot soldiers looking to push an ethnocentric dogma on everyone else. When the story is written, they will be the villains; it is just unfortunate that thousands and thousands of students and teachers will have to suffer in the meantime.  


To learn more, click the link, https://newrepublic.com/article/166373/moms-liberty-schools-nightmare-midterms

Civil Rights icon Rodney Hurst disinvited from DCPS as black history month starts

 Rut ro, Jacksonville, we have a problem.

A few weeks back, I was told local National Honor Societies were being told to no longer invite professors who hadn't been vetted to speak to their members. 

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2023/01/dcps-is-creating-enemies-list-of.html

I thought, wow, that's bad, but there is so much bad going on it is hard to keep up. 

I included the note in a list I sent reporters about closing libraries and moved on. 

Later a reporter told me that the district had said professors weren't being disinvited. I replied it wouldn't surprise me that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing in DCPS, but it reminded me of something I had seen about civil rights icon Rodney Hurst, and I reached out to him and asked if he had been disinvited and he told me.

 It happened. The teacher said the principal was "uneasy" with inviting me. He also said that he had been told his books about the Civil Rights movement were being removed from classroom libraries.

What the ever-loving beep, uneasy, with inviting him?

Let's talk about Rodney Hurst,

Taken from a DCPS page about him.

  • In 1944, Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. was born. He grew up primarily in Jacksonville, Florida. Throughout his life, he frequently traveled between Jacksonville, Florida, and Aiken, South Carolina. His mother, Janelle "Jan" Saunders Wilson, and grandmother, Lizzie Foreman Williams, educated him. Mr. Hurst has a sister called Joan as well. He was a book writer and wrote multiple books in his lifetime. His most recent book, "Never Forget Who You Are: Conversations about Racism and Identity

  • https://dcps.duvalschools.org/Page/31717


So he's not allowed to talk to DCPS kids because it makes adults uneasy, but DCPS cab include them in a page about African American icons?

That is the environment that DeSantis has created and Greene has exacerbated. Any lessons about civil rights and black history have become "uneasy". They don't want these topics taught with any validity because it makes adults feel uneasy, and parents, especially white parents, may have to answer some difficult questions we wouldn't want that would we ?(sic)

Some more about Rodney Hurst

From CRMVet.org

It was never about a hot dog and a Coke! (Narrative)

It never ceases to amaze me how selective our memories are when it comes to situations filled with embarrassment, shame, and hurt. We choose to forget turbulent times rather than learn from them, as if not talking about them will make them go away. Just as closing our eyes does not cause us to go blind, shutting our mouths does nothing to erase memories or make events disappear from history.

Unfortunately, many whites and Blacks in Jacksonville, Florida have yet to grasp that reality. They have rationalized away the days of racism and segregation while insisting they stay buried in the past. On the surface, "Let bygones be bygones," sounds plausible. But U.S. philosopher and poet George Santanyana (1863-1952) said those "who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." To paraphrase his words, those who do not learn about their past will assuredly repeat it.

The civil rights movement in the late fifties and early sixties is a history of brave and unselfish Black leaders fighting against racism and segregation, and for the equality of all people in the United States.

Most Black and White citizens of Selma, Birmingham, Memphis, and Atlanta are acutely familiar with the violent civil rights struggles that occurred in their cities. Though the struggles in those cities may be more familiar, Jacksonville was not immune to the same type of cruelties.

I share in my book, It Was Never About a Hotdog and a Coke:... a facet of Jacksonville's history very few are willing to discuss, let alone embrace. Although its darkness may give Jacksonville's reputation a black eye, the eye-opening details, when synthesized, provide a remarkable history worth telling.

As a member of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, what I submit to you are eyewitness accounts, including my own. Trust me when I say we fought social injustice in Jacksonville as earnestly as those on the national level.

At age eleven, I joined the Jacksonville Youth Council National Association of Colored People (NAACP) at the invitation of Rutledge Henry Pearson, the Youth Council's Advisor and my eighth grade American History class instructor. At age 15, I would become president of the Youth Council NAACP. By the hundreds, young Blacks in Jacksonville responded to the call of Mr. Pearson to fight racism and segregation through this extraordinary organization.

The Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP represented non-violent, church going, committed, and dignified young people determined to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. They have held true to these values throughout their adult lives.

If segregation sought to remind Blacks of their perceived second-class citizenship in this country, then segregated lunch counters represented visible vestiges that served up daily insults. The time finally came when the Youth Council NAACP simply said, "enough is enough." Disregarding the personal physical peril, members of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP made the decision to confront Jacksonville's segregated policies and its accompanying Jim Crow laws.

Scores of Black heroes who participated in sit-in demonstrations surfaced across the United States. For the most part, those participants came from the campuses of Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). However, in Jacksonville, most of the demonstrators came from Black high schools. The peaceful protests of teenagers who dared to challenge segregated white lunch counters is not a myth or an urban legend. Nor is the attack by more than 200 whites with baseball bats and ax handles on 34 Black NAACP Youth Council members on August 27, 1960.

Today's generation must understand the circumstances and the times that led to this racially explosive and violent day in Jacksonville's history.

https://www.crmvet.org/vet/hurstr.htm

Read that last sentence again. Today's generation must understand the circumstances and the times that led to this racially explosive and violent day in Jacksonville's history.

How will today's generation understand if they aren't allowed to learn what's happening? If people that were there aren't allowed to speak.

I don't know the principal who would have felt "uneasy" if Mr. Hurst was allowed to speak. Though I do know the environment that DeSantis and, to a lesser extent, Greene have created, and that's one of fear, which makes me believe they have learned nothing, and sadly they seem  all to determined that students don't learn anything either.  

To learn more about Axe Handle Sunday, something they didn't bother to teach when I was in school, click the link. 

https://www.jacksonvillemag.com/2020/07/01/a-look-back-at-1960s-sit-ins-and-axe-handle-saturday-with-rodney-hurst/




Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Florida says guns aren't the problem, diversity, equity and inclusion are (draft)

Florida's political leaders would have people belive guns are not the problem in Florida, but diversity, equity, and inclusion are.

Florida is just upside down, and there is no other way to see it. It’s become a fascist paradise where guns, the leading cause of childhood deaths, are celebrated, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, things we should all strive for, are demonized.



Monday, the Florida legislature announced plans for permitless carry, further establishing they only care about the second half of the second amendment, and this will undoubtedly cost people their lives.


From American progress:

  •  A 2022 study found that right-to-carry laws increase firearm homicides by 13 percent and firearm violent crimes by 29 percent.7
  • A 2019 study concluded that the adoption of right-to-carry laws were associated with a 13 percent to 15 percent increase in violent crime rates a decade after implementation.8
  • A 2017 study found that laws were associated with a 10.6 percent higher handgun homicide rate.9
  • A 2022 study found that states weakening concealed carry laws and allowing individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors to obtain a license to concealed carry was associated with a 24 percent increase in the rate of assaults with firearms.10 “In general, violent crime increased after states loosened concealed carry permitting requirements,” said lead author Mitchel Doucette. “Allowing more individuals to carry concealed guns in public—including some who would have previously been denied carry permits due to prior arrests or restraining orders—can increase inappropriate use of firearms in response to interpersonal conflicts, disputes, or other situations.”11

 

https://www.americanprogress.org/article/fact-sheet-weakening-requirements-to-carry-a-concealed-firearm-increases-violent-crime/

 

All of that is dreadful, but let's look at the last one. Nikki Fried tweeted that in her last two years, 11 thousand gun licenses were rejected; well, they won’t be rejected anymore.



 

Then think about this, there were 3,041 gun deaths in Florida for the most recent year data was available. In Florida, that projects to an additional 304 deaths. 304 families shattered by gun violence. The Florida legislature has just entered us all into a death-by-gun lottery where the odds are better than winning the actual lottery.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/firearm_mortality/firearm.htm

 

Okay, that would normally be enough but not for Florida where DeSantis has a rigid gin up his fact-free base and own the libs schedule because on Tuesday he went after higher ed and the “gasp” menaces of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Diversity: the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.


Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial.


Inclusion: the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or intellectual disabilities and members of other minority groups.


Gulp, how dare institutions of higher learning oh wait, checks notes, all of the above are signs of a healthy society?  Then what the heck is DeSantis doing? Gin up his fact-free base for personal gain? okay, cool, cool. cool.


Remember when DeSantis was asked to define Woke, and what he said sounded awesome?

“the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.”

https://www.okayplayer.com/news/ron-desantis-woke-defintion.html


And he wants that to die?


From News4Jax:

 Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday took aim at diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs at Florida’s public universities, saying they are a drain on resources and impose an agenda on people.

Speaking at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, DeSantis started by saying he wants to make sure that everybody that goes through a Florida university has to take “certain core course requirements, that’s really focused on giving them the foundation so that they can think for themselves and the core curriculum must be grounded in actual history, the actual philosophy that has shaped Western civilization,” though he wasn’t specific.

“We are also going to eliminate all DEI and [critical race theory] bureaucracies in the state of Florida, no funding and that will wither on the vine,” DeSantis went on to say. “And I think that that’s very important because it really serves as an ideological filter, a political filter.”

https://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/2023/01/31/live-gov-ron-desantis-holds-news-conference-with-state-universities-chancellor/


First, from what I understand, DEI initiatives and programs make up less than 1 percent of higher education budgets, and did you ever notice there is never an example? Never any evidence? These are just sweeping statements put together like fascist mad libs.


For somebody who complains about an ideological agenda, Emperor DeSantis, wait, he’s not emperor yet? DeSantis sure pushes a huge ideological agenda.


On a side note, at my school, we went through an hour-long equity training at our last early release day, with a promise of part two later in the year. Ssshh don't tell Desantis, or he will cancel pizza day or some other bat sh8t crazy thing.


This is the long and short of it, if republicans had policies people liked, and I get voters in Florida love them, but by and large, they don’t; people would like them, but they don't, and that drives them crazy, and all these culture wars aren’t going to help him. Sure, the crazy people will embrace it but non-crazy people, most people aren’t going to all of a sudden say, fascism sounds all right, Gilead, here I come.


Florida is the upside down of the United States; imagine thinking guns are good but fair and inclusive isn’t.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Today's worst republican ever FLCFO Jimmy Patronis

 In between twirling his mustache and cutting an apple into slices with a knife, Jimmy Patronis, the state's chief financial officer and serial troll, tweeted below where he lets people know if you dare think differently from him and the republican party, you are on a list. 


First, did anybody else notice he could only come up with two things but wanted three, so he repeated the first thing twice? Aren't hate America and hate our nation the same thing? This reminded me of Rick Perry's oops moment. Patronis isn't one of our best or our brightest, but that doesn't matter to the republican party, which prefers nasty and angry to competent. 

Friends, he is saying anyone who doesn't believe the way he does must hate America when nothing could be further from the truth. However, he doesn't care because he gets to demonize his political opponents and slam a wedge between people. 

Somewhere along the way, republicans lost their way and decided hate and lies and vilifying people who disagreed with them was a winning strategy. Unfortunately, the people in Florida who reflexively vote R have proved him right.

Then there is Corcoran; I suspect if we weren't one of the most corrupt states in the nation, Corcoran would be behind bars. 

From Florida Politics:

Two Florida Department of Education leaders resigned in November after an investigation unearthed a plan to pursue a state contract for a company they managed.

According to an Inspector General report, the two leaders — Vice Chancellor of Strategic Improvement Melissa Ramsey and State Board Member Richard “Andy” Tuck — sent a proposal to the Education Department in November after it asked 25 vendors for quotes on a bid to take over operations at Jefferson County Schools.

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/481883-two-doe-employees-resign-after-investigation-conflict-of-interest/

In what smelt what experts call fishy, Corcoran resigned from the highest-paying state job (284k) a few weeks later.

Corcoran, by the way, had no business being the commissioner of education, just like he will not be qualified to run the New College, but once again, being qualified is superseded by fealty to Emperor Ron and being mean and nasty.



Rascists are going to be Rascists but why do Florida's taxpayers have to pay for it?

 Private schools that take public money already openly discriminate against LGBTQ and disabled children, and now there is more and more evidence that they are breeding grounds for racism too.  This would not be okay even if the public wasn't paying for it, but the fact they are makes it unacceptable. 

From First Coast News:

The Bishop John Snyder High School principal confirmed Monday that his administration is investigating racist Snapchat messages, with assistance from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Former professional baseball player Corey Wimberly posted screenshots to Instagram, of what appears to be a group message between the school's baseball players. He said his son, who's on the team, has been the target of racism.

https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/education/bishop-snyder-racist-snapchat-messages/77-a6ac1055-b353-40d2-b86c-5a6782aa8643

Kids being kids, right? Wrong! Because you see taxpayers fund Bishop Snyder, from their website:

Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA) (Formerly Gardiner or McKay Scholarships) allows parents of students with unique abilities to personalize the education of their children. This would include any student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a qualifying documented disability from a licensed physician.  Many diagnoses by a physician qualify, including anaphylaxis, autism, intellectual disability, and other health impairments (i.e. ADD, Asthma, and Type 1 Diabetes). 

Additionally, all children in a family who have a sibling on the FES-UA scholarship, regardless of income, will qualify for a “Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options” (FES-EO).

Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options (FES-EO) and the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program give parents the ability to choose a school that best meets their children’s needs. Eligibility is determined by household income. Dependent children of a reservist or an active-duty military member of the United States Armed Forces automatically qualify for FES-EO based on his or her parent’s service to our country, regardless of income

More information can be found on these state scholarships by visiting www.stepupforstudents.org

https://www.bishopsnyder.org/admissions/tuition-financial-assistance

Those scholarships are paid for with public money. You and I are paying for the hate that is allowed to grow and fester there as it is in dozens and dozens of other private schools that take publically funded vouchers. 

HB 1, the governor's universal voucher bill, will pump billions more into a system that is already allowed to discriminate; what could go wrong there. That was a trick question because there is so little oversite you could say there was none, so we will most likely never know. I mean, until the families realize what awful decisions they made and send their kids back to public schools, which something like two-thirds of voucher kids already does. 

What are we doing, Florida? How is this acceptable? 





Sunday, January 29, 2023

DCPS approves 1,330 books. Hundreds of thousands more still banned

Here is a link to the DCPS-approved book list. Once you open it, control F to see if books you think might be helpful to are approved.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1edlViQsTWqXp2aZ62gu3OsoJJ0l37gTc/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=110826353957545950863&rtpof=true&sd=true

Thirteen hundred and thirty books may seem like a lot, but when you factor in its for every grade, it looks worse, a lot worse. And then what about books just for book's sake so students can cultivate a love of learning? 

I graduated from Ed White High School, and we must have 10k books in our collection. Sadly that library, like many in DCPS, closed long ago. It was the classroom library where most kids, especially once out of elementary school, had that book that meant the world to them, given to them by a teacher who had their best interests at heart. 

Since education began, books in classroom libraries were vetted by the professionals, the teachers in those rooms, and nobody had a problem because we trusted teachers to do the right thing. Teachers did not change; what changed was the republican party found out they could make money off of education, but to do so, they had to destroy the reputation of teachers and public ed.

Teachers are not pushing sex on children or asking kids to switch genders. Classroom libraries are not filled with smut and inappropriate material either. Everything the republican party is telling you is a lie, and you should ask yourself who benefits from it because it damn sure will not be you or your children.



Saturday, January 28, 2023

DCPS doesn't care what you think about closing classroom libraries.

The district created a video explaining its book-banning process, err, sorry,  cleansing of classroom libraries, sorry new rules about books, and if they care about having to do so in the least, you can't tell from the video.   

Then because they don't care what you think, they disabled comments. Have a suggestion, comment, criticism, or even a compliment, and you can post it where the sun doesn't shine because you can't post them on youtube. 

So I have worked in the district a long time, and sometimes we will get training, and the district person, will try and make whatever slice of crap they are presenting sound awesome. I hate those training, and trainers hate them. Other times we will get trainers that say, look, I know it's more work, I know we should be doing better, but this is where we find ourselves. Now I don't like them much better, but I appreciate them. Guess what group the super and Paula Renfro fall into.       

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Republicans vote to give millionaires school vouchers paid for by you

My republican friends, as insurance rates skyrocket, health care becomes more and more unaffordable, and your paycheck doesn't stretch as far, do you want your tax money going to millionaires so they can send their kids to schools you could never afford? Well, your representatives do.

In Tallahassee today, house republicans voted to extend vouchers to millionaires because reasons. 

 

Not looking at income status at all, you know, because reasons.

These are the same people who tweeted don't let the rich, or anyone for that matter, get student loan forgiveness. 

And how much is this going to cost? The republican in Tallahassee say they don't know, but the reality is they don't want you to know, but if you thought, well, universal vouchers sounds like it is going to cost a lot, you would be correct.

Significant damage or the plan all along. 

From the Orlando Sentinel

The proposed expansion of Florida’s voucher programs would inflict significant “fiscal damage” on the state’s public schools, likely costing them nearly $4 billion within five years, according to a progressive state think tank. 

The House bill (HB 1) would wipe out income requirements in the state’s two biggest scholarship programs, now geared to children living in families of modest means, and aim by 2027 to offer state funding to Florida’s more than 152,000 homeschooled students, according to an analysis of the bill done by House staff. 

The result would be a steep cut in the state education budget for public schools, according to the nonprofit Florida Policy Institute, which opposes the bill. By the 2026-27 school year, Florida’s public schools could lose from $2.4 to $3.4 billion, depending on how many students enroll in the new program, and a year later about $3.8 billion, it found. 

I think the fiscal impact is enormous, and the drain from schools is enormous,” said Norin Dollard, senior policy analyst with the institute who crunched the institute’s preliminary estimate on the bill’s public school impact.

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-ne-florida-school-voucher-expansion-impact- 

Well, my republican friends, is this what you wanted? Because it is what we are all going to get. They don't care about you or your family; how much proof do you need?