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Saturday, August 28, 2010

270 Thousand

When people talk about education they often throw lots of numbers around. Some of the most discussed are the dropout and graduation rates and how different groups score on tests such as the f-cat. However there is one number that trumps them all and that number is 270 thousand.

270 Thousand is the salary of our school superintendent. He makes a hundred thousand more than our mayor and substantially more than the chief of police as well. He makes thirty thousand less than the superintendents of Clay and St. Johns counties combined. People who disagree with what they read next might do so by saying, his salary is fair, that to get top talent we must pay top dollar. Since most teachers I know are little more than paycheck-to-paycheck, that’s they are barely getting by on far less than top dollar I believe they might have a problem with at least the first part of that statement. I personally have a problem with the top talent part.

Let me ask you a question, what would you do if you could have a salary of 270 thousand dollars?

Would you sacrifice the future of some of the cities children by forcing elementary and middle school teachers to promote children that won’t be successful? The reason to do so is how many kids fail impacts a counties grade. The proof that it happens, a recent Times Union article pointed out that only about fifty percent of tenth graders read at grade level, yet strangely enough they somehow made it to tenth grade.

Would you allow children to progress through the school system with a false sense of how society works by ignoring discipline and withholding consequences for bad behavior? The reason to do so is because referrals and suspensions affect a districts grade. The proof that it happens, why else would how many children are suspended be tied to principal’s evaluations, unless the superintendent wanted to dramatically reduce the number.

Would you encourage kids who were ill prepared to take advanced placement courses to take them? The reason to do so is because the more students taking, not necessarily passing, advanced placement courses affect a districts grade. The proof that it happens, check out last years article in the Times Union to see how as the amount of children taking the tests has gone up the percentage of children passing them has gone way down. That and the fact that level 1 and level 2 children, kids who haven’t passed the f-cat are allowed to take A.P. classes, which are designed only for the most advanced children to take.

Would you pervert programs like grade recovery, that were originally designed to aid children who tried hard but just didn’t get it or children who had legitimate reasons for missing school like illnesses to make up classes, into programs that allowed any child to make up classes for any reasons regardless of effort, behavior or reasons for absences.

Would you put a positive spin on everything taking every opportunity to say that the state has given Duval County a B grade? If the counties graduation rate, 65 percent, was sole criteria for computing a counties grade we would have a grade of D. If we used tenth graders reading the district would have an F.

Would you do anything to protect your job? What wouldn’t you do?

There are lots of numbers in education that the city should be worried about but the biggest one is 270 thousand.


  1. OK, tell us what you would do if you were the superintendent. Now don't forget that you can't just do what you want to becasue you have so many rules you have to abide by (yes, just like the teachers in the classrooms do) that it is difficult to get anything done. And also don't forget you have seven bosses each trying to tell you what to do and very seldom do they agree on what that is. And that's just the bosses locally, there is also the Commissioner of Education, the State Board of Education, the Florida Legislature, the Feds and their NCLB idiocy. Oh, and don't forget that there are DAs like you out there that think they know what they are talking about but basically just misleading the public.

  2. If I am misleading somebody somewhere, somehow, point it out, educate me. If you don't agree with all my points tell me, maybe we can find some middle ground. The thing is when you try to be insulting you really just belittle yourself.

    This is what I would do and admittedly I have the luxury of not worrying about money and in my world we do what’s right, not what’s easy and do so regardless. I would end social promotions; nobody passes unless they can pass rigorous courses. We enforce the code of conduct and kids get real consequences for their behavior. We put in real safety nets for the children struggling with behavior or academics (more social workers less coaches), we make teachers part of the process, going to them to learn what best practices are instead of imposing them on them and finally we introduce multiple curriculums for students, we makes the arts, skills and trades equal priorities. That’s what I would do.

    If you would like to discuss things I am all for it. If you are going to be disrespectful and not contribute to the debate I would prefer if you stayed away.

  3. Ah, there it is. The old "Stop being disrespectful to me. Don't you know I'm the only one who can be disrespectful here?". If you go back and re-read some of the misinformation you put on this site you will see that's exactly what you have been to people like the Superintendent, School Board members, and those who work "downtown". Maybe you'd rather have the guy back that Pratt-Dannals replaced? Now there was a real winner.

    By the way, you didn't address any of the issues I pointed out. You didn't say anything about how you would do all the things you say you would do and still stay within the rules. It sounds like you would run the superintendent's office the same way you think you should be allowed to run your classroom . . . no rules,no one making sure that your efforts are getting results . . . and if people don't let you do things just the way you want to do them, then just go whine and place the blame on everyone else.

    Oh, and there IS a place where they do things the way you have suggested, it's called private school.

  4. Instead of having a debate you called me a DA and a whiner, is that your default to call people names that you disagree with?

    When you asked what I would do, I told you, you obviously didn't understand it. I apologize I can't write it any clearer than I did

    You must not have understood it because you twisted what I said in a nonsensical way, because we would have rules and accountability if anything we would have more accountability.

    I also asked you to point out how I was wrong but you neglected to do so, probably because you can't.

    I am not sure there is anything I can do or say, as obviously you feel things are fine and we're headed in the right direction, I (and watch this as I will refrain from calling you a name just because we don't agree) disagree.

    Now don’t you have a union to bash, a mosque to protest, or a tea party rally to attend?