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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Duval County School Board votes to blame teachers for the district's problems

The Duval County School Board voted 7-0 to blame the teachers of the intervene schools for the failures there. Now they didn’t call it that. Instead they call it reconstitution but at the end of the day it is the same thing. The administration and at least half the teachers at Ed White, Forrest and Jackson high schools will be let go or transferred if the schools don’t make enough improvement to be taken off the intervene list. This despite the fact they are in the position the district put them in and have done everything the district has asked

Friends these schools have no real chance of improving enough to get off the intervene list. In fact I believe all of them will get worse what with the enhanced writing requirements and the FCAT 2.0 being in full effect. Kids are passed along without the skills they need until they arrive to high school where there is nowhere else to pass them along too and we wonder why they are doing so poorly. The only plan the district has tried to fix the situation is to overwhelm teacher with task after task which at best has a superfluous effect and to micromanage them into near oblivion, well that and to rotate district staff around as if there was some magical formula for success.

Well how about we do the right thing instead? We don’t pass kids unless they are capable of doing the next round of work. We provide more after school and summer school opportunities because a lot of kids today need more time and hey lets throw in some school discipline for good measure. When the inmates run the asylum it makes learning all that more difficult.

But what does the school board vote to do instead of changing the schedules at the schools to make them more manageable, or bringing in social workers and counselors because quite often why a kid does poorly at school ahs nothing to do with the school, or creating multiple pathways to graduation which serve more of the kids and make school more relevant to them, they decide to blame the teacher through their vote to reconstitute the schools.

These schools are never going to improve if we continue to do things they way we have been. You might not know it but the state with it’s data notebooks, complicated agendas word wall and fixation on out puts rather than good instruction has been in these schools for years and they have not improved and several have gotten worse. Yet the district in all its infinite wisdom has bought what they are selling hook line and sinker

These schools are only going to improve and then it will be years from now unless they are closed in the meantime, only if we as a city demand the school board and superintendent do the right thing.


  1. Duval School system is a joke! Hire the administrators first.

  2. Every child I failed last year, also failed or dropped on their FCAT. They did little to nothing in class yet were given computerized grade recovery which they could do at home or at school as many times as necessary to pass. Some could barely read and write, but they were passed onto high school. So guess what happens when they take the FCAT in high school?????

  3. I first became exposed to Duval h.s. graduates in 1969 when I went from a newspaper copy desk to teaching at FJC. I was appalled. During the 1970s, things got worse. We had many students who were reading at a 6th-grade level (and below); I had one paper that left me dumfounded about what it was trying to say. Finally I circled the words that I recognized. The administration originally fought mandatory testing and placement into remedial classes. Finally the Gordon Rule was passed, and the quality of students' writing increased greatly. In h.s.'s, the Gordon rules were thrown out by and by (too costly and apparently some teachers were jealous of the smaller writing classes). (Eventually colleges threw out the Gordon rules too. Alas, I still light candles to Saint Jack Gordon.)
    I have two questions:
    1. The state keeps raising the standards. How far up does the state plan to take those standards? When schools accepting vouchers begin to be tested (politically this will be possible), we are likely to see that some of those private schools are not doing as well as promised.
    2. What is the security for the computerized online testing? Do the students take the coursework online and then come to campus to take any exit tests or are they able to do everything from, say, their home computer? If it's the latter, the test results are meaningless.

  4. St. Johns and UNF Still use the Gordon rule for certain classes, I don't know there you get that it's been thrown out.

  5. Fact....when students do improve (and it does happen), it is the teachers who make it happen, not District and State mandates. They make it happen despite all the meaningless interference.