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Monday, March 26, 2012

Mayor Brown, with education this is what you are working with

Mayor Brown you have said over and over education is a top priority of yours. To this end you have helped save several ROTC programs and budgeted money for mentor programs but I was wondering if you really knew what you were working with?

The county likes to say over and over that the city is a B district; well this is what a B district gets you in Florida.

50th ranked district in academic achievement out of 67.

Eight of the bottom 25 high schools in the state including number 404 out of 404 and our middle schools are in a similar predicament.

Less than two thirds of our kids graduate on time (just over half of our African American kids do) and many of those needed social promotions and grade recovery to do so.

Less than half our kids arrive to high school reading on grade level.

Only one in four of our 21,000 plus AP tests were passed last year, which cost us over a million dollars.

70% of our kids take remedial classes at Florida State College

That is what earns a B grade in Florida.

Mr. Mayor Jacksonville has two interstate highways that intersect; we are on the ocean and have a major river, a port, an international airport and one of the best park systems in the country. We have the Jags and how we are close to entertainment hubs in central Florida and southern Georgia. We have lots of room for growth and much of the infrastructure is already in place to do so and we are a pro business city, in a pro business state that doesn’t have an income tax. Why instead of bribing businesses to come aren’t we turning businesses away?

Former Mayor Peyton said we are a great education system away from being a great city. Former mayor and current president of UNF John Delaney has echoed the sentiment. The Chamber of Commerce has pointed to the education as something that needs to improve if we want the economy to improve and businesses report having a hard time finding good applicants from recent grads.

Our school system is holding us back. This B district that the superintendent and school board tout is handcuffing us.

Mr. Mayor the city and its children deserve much better. I hope you are serious about changing things. Let the board know their performance thus far is unacceptable.

Chris Guerrieri

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