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Thursday, June 24, 2021

DCPS school board abdicates their responsibility to stand up for public education (draft)

 This was another brutal year for public education with the attacks on trans children, the banning of teaching the truth about our nation's founding, attacks on teachers and their unions, and the usurpation of the school boards' authority to regulate all the public schools in its districts. Truly dreadful all brought about by a state government whose goal is not to help or improve public education but to drown it in the bathtub.

The state is going to do what the state is going to do until people wake up and realize our public schools are more important and vital than what's happening with Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato head, and what other culture war the right comes up with to gin up their base and distract them from both real problems and what they are doing. That being said, I have higher expectations for our school board, who have been silent about all of the above. 

Attacks on trans children, silent.

Attacks on teachers' unions, silent.

Threats against teachers, silent.

Creating a new entity to approve charter schools and sending two hundred million more to barely regulated private schools, violating the state constitution, and again you guess it, silence.

At some point doesn't their silence become complicity, I mean if they weren't complicit from the beginning?

The only opinion any member of the board has publically given is Lori Hershey on the banning of teaching Critical Race Theory, something that she knows isn't happening, and she, after making a hard right turn to run for a House seat, was all for it.

I believe the board has a responsibility to educate people about all the bad and unnecessary and potentially illegal policies that come out of Tallahassee, a responsibility they have abdicated over and over again. Doesn't the public deserve to know where the board stands on these education issues?

This is the thing, the school board does not represent children, or teachers or families, not at all, and you shouldn't think for a second they do. No, they represent Greene and her administration, and that's it, and she is compromised by her fear of Corcoran or her far-right education reform beliefs. Neither she nor they seem to have any interest in educating the public about Tallahassee's machinations or for standing up for public education.  

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The trans athlete and CRT ban fall under the G.O.P's umbrella of destroy public education.

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

— Auric GoldfingerGoldfinger

Jacksonville has been at the epicenter of the state's attacks on public education. It started with the Trans Athlete ban at a private school with a long and proud history of anti-LGBTQ action, and it accelerated with the ban of teaching Critical Race Theory in our schools. It didn't matter that it wasn't happening. Both heinous on their own, they are made more so because they are actually attacks on public education designed to make families flee to the state's preferred choice of education, barely regulated private schools that can teach whatever they please.  

With the Trans athlete ban, The G.O.P. in Florida has painted a picture of a thousand swinging dicks, trying to trick their way into girls lockerooms and ammass trophies dominateing sports. The act was called Save our Girls for goodness sake. The reality however is over the last decade maybe a dozen trans athletes have participated in sports in Floirda and none have dominated. This was a solution without a problem designed to both gin up the base and marginalize the LGBTQ community and public education.

Trinity Christian where the bill was signed, emphasizes this because they willfully and gleefully both take public money and discriminate against LGBTQ children. 

The attacks on Critical Race Theory are just as despicable. First, once again, C.R.T. was not being taught in our schools, but it has been characterized over and over by G.O.P politicians and talking heads as indoctrinating our children to hate their country. In an anti-knowledge is power message, DeSantis, Corcoran, and their shills on the state board of education, said looking at history through an honest lens would not be permissible.   

This goes along with how commissioner Corcoran said recently that public school teachers can't be trusted and constantly monitored. To the willfully ignorant, they are painting a picture of teachers indoctrinating students to hate and, in the case of white students, their race, and their families when nothing could be farther from the truth.

The solution to both fake problems is to have families send children to the recently expanded voucher program. They say there won't be no gay stuff, and Merica will be celebrated daily. 

DeSantis with voucher schools is like the Wizard of Oz, saying, look at me and not behind the curtain. The problem is some people have looked behind the curtain and what they have seen is appalling. First, these schools are allowed to discriminate, and many do against LGBTQ and disabled children. They can teach whatever they want. The Orlando Sentinel reported that more than a few taught Dinosaurs lived with humans, and slavery was really black migration, among other ridiculous subjects. They can hire whoever they want, college degrees optional and have so little accountability you might as well say they have none. Heck, most don't even have to account for how they spend the money they receive.

Apparently, no Gay stuff/Merica great is more important than accountability and standards to Florida's G.O.P.  

I don't want to downplay how awful and unnecessary the trans athlete and CRT bans are. I don't, but at the same time, we have to acknowledge where decency and the truth are victims; another of their targets is public education.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Lori Hershey chooses to be on the wrong side of history for political expediancy

 This is is such a disappointing piece to write. I have liked Hershey and supported her.

First, some facts.

Hershey was just elected in November

8 months into her term, she has filed to run for House seat 16, the one about to be vacated by Jason Fischer, who also filed to run for Aaron Bean's senate seat six months in his term. 

When voting to change the names of the schools named after Confederate generals, Hershey joined Charlotte Joyce and voted against history and decency. I am not so much mad at Joyce, I don't know it for a fact, but I am sure it is true, but Joyce tried to pray COVID away, and she just doesn't know any better. On the other hand, Hershey does, yet because she wants what she considers higher office, joined with what she thinks her base is, and think about that. She thinks her base wants black children to attend schools named after people who thought they were sub-human and should be enslaved. 

She gave some excuse like she was voting against it for financial reasons, but that excuse falls flat. I will also give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't know Fischer, the most craven politician in Duval history, and that's saying a lot, was going to file to run for a different office, but so the %#$@ what. The school board should not be a stepping stone on the way up or a landing spot on the way down, and Warren Jones, I am looking at you. It should be for someone who cares about and wants to improve education, and $@#^ if I know anyone on the current board fits that description.

The think is Hershey went and doubled down.

From WJCT news,

Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he wants to prevent the teaching of critical race theory.  

Duval County school board member Lori Hershey agrees. 

“The core idea of critical race theory is that racism is a social construct, and it’s embedded in legal systems and policy,” she said. 

“We’re at a time in our nation that I really think we need to stay away from theories that are divisive in the classroom, and particularly theories that tend to lean more towards a political perspective, and lean towards indoctrination of students in a specific political mindset,” said Hershey, who has also filed to run as a Republican in the District 16 state Senate race

Critical race theory is not taught in any Florida K-12 schools. But Hershey said she saw a trend in that direction, and she thought the rule would prevent that. 

https://news.wjct.org/post/dcps-board-member-lori-hershey-stands-desantis-against-critical-race-theory

Um, she sees it trending that way? Um, where can we get some examples? Get the %#$& out of here.

This ban was about whitewashing history and marginalizing teachers, and Hershey said, sounds good to me. 

@^$%

%$@#

Hershey has thrown away 8 years of goodwill, she has said to hell with history, the teaching profession, and decency, she betrayed her supporters and our schools and for what? To pander to a bunch of racists, which she thinks will be the margin of victory in a house race.  

@#&$ 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Governor DeSantis's blatant cruelty

 Governor DeSantis said it was just a coincidence he signed a bill excluding transgender girls from sports on the first day of gay pride month.   

DeSantis also said it was a coincidence he signed the bill at a private school, Trinity Christian, that takes public money and actively discriminates against LGBTQ children. The Orlando Sentinel did an article on Private schools that take public money and actively discriminate, and it turns out that Jacksonville has seven, including Trinity Christian.   

He was not asked, but he may have said it was just a coincidence that he signed the bill at a podium with a sign that said, Save our Girls.  

I wonder what he was saving our girls from because when asked, the bill's sponsors in the house and senate couldn’t indicate one example of Transgender athletes dominating sports in Florida, despite them participating for decades. However, one of the sponsors, Senator Kellie Stargel, did say during the sente debate that being gay was a choice, and there we have the crux of the matter.     

The true intention of this bill other than to gin up the Republican base, who constantly needs somebody to be mad at or fear, was to send our LGBTQ citizens a message that they are not valued. They have gone too far integrating into society, and Florida was putting a stop to it. 

We should at least be thankful that the final bill did not include a provision that passed the house, which called for the inspection of children’s genitalia. Still, we can’t be because the attacks on the LGBTQ community and decency were just part of the bill. 

The biggest part of the bill strips the right to authorize charter schools away from school districts, ignoring the constitution, which says only school boards have the right to manage public schools in their districts. Of course, since the state has basically made it impossible to say no to charters, this was only a nominal power they had, but now there is no pretense.     

People are saying SB 1028 is an anti-trans bill, and it is, but it is also an unprecedented power and money grab from local school districts.   

 Finally, on the same day, Jacksonville was saying no to racism by changing the names of six schools' named after confederate generals, the governor said yes to prejudice, and told the LGBTQ community they were second class and would be treated thusly. but I guess the governor would say that was just a coincidence. 


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Greene's (lack of) leadership style

 Hoo boy, where to begin.

This is what Greene said about changing the school names.

“I want to thank all of the people who participated in this process, and I want to thank the school leaders and district employees who have managed this over the last several months,” Dr. Greene said. “We’ve had dozens of meetings, hours of public testimony, and thousands of votes. All of this input has helped shape my recommendations, which I will discuss publicly with the Board next week.”

https://www.teamduval.org/2021/05/25/superintendent-shares-school-name-change-recommendations/

Sigh, my decision was made last June when Warren Jones first proposed changing the school names. On the one hand, I thought schools shouldn't be named after confederate generals, and there was no on the other hand. I didn't need a year and more meetings than we had for the referendum either. Greene took a no-brainer and turned it into a year-long ordeal that emboldened racists and divided the city. 

This is bad and embarrassing. How did she not know right off the bat what the right thing was?


An actual photo from the SB building today. 


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Troubled IDEA charter chain coming to Jacksonville in even more trouble

 Some of the post may seem familiar as I wrote most of it last year. I am just going to update it every time a new IDEA scandal hits the news.

IDEA Public Schools CEO JoAnn Gama and Chief Operating Officer Irma Munoz have been fired after a forensic review found “substantial evidence” that top leaders misused money and staff at the state’s largest charter school network for personal gain, the organization’s board president announced Tuesday.  

Jacksonville needs another charter school like the average person needs another hole in their head and I think most people would agree. That however isn't going to stop DCPS from approving a massive expansion at their next board meeting. Here is the thing, the state despite the Florida constitution saying the school board is the final say doesn't give them a lot of leeway, but that being said wouldn't you like a little fight out of the board?


The IDEA charter school wants to open, and this is just a start, three new charter schools. You may have heard about them in the media and none of it is good.

From the Washington Post

A U.S. congressman is demanding answers from the U.S. Education Department, alleging department employees complained to his office about political interference in the awarding of a multi million-dollar federal grant to the controversial IDEA charter school network.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/04/27/idea-charter-schools-landed-grants-with-political-help-education-department-congressman-says/


From the Houston Chronicle

Several weeks after IDEA Public Schools nixed plans to spend millions of dollars on a charter jet lease, the charter network’s leader announced the end of additional “hard to defend” spending practices Thursday...

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/After-jet-backlash-IDEA-charter-schools-curbing-15017880.php

From ASUMAG

IDEA Public Schools, with nearly 50 schools and 51,000 students in Texas, has been criticized for spending $400,000 on basketball tickets and seeking to spend millions on a private jet lease.

https://www.asumag.com/facilities-management/business-finance/article/21121935/leader-of-charter-school-network-vows-to-end-questionable-spending

You know just run of the mill charter expenses... sigh...

Sigh

Sigh

Did I mention sigh?

Duval last year was less than one point away from an A, who knows how much better we will be in two years, yes two years when the first IDEA charter school is scheduled to open.

Here is an excerpt from the board agenda.
 


https://duvalcosb.civicclerk.com/Web/GenFile.aspx?ar=2349

Charter schools, nobody likes, that we don't need, coming for money we don't have. This is the system Florida has set up, That being said, wouldn't you like the board to say no? I sure would.

Education Matters: Can you buy and sell public schools? Apparently ...