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Monday, February 24, 2014

The cognitive dissonance of Commissioner Pam Stewart

Pam Stewart doesn’t strike me as an opportunist working in education solely to get rich. Then when she became commissioner a position she had held twice before in an interim basis several superintendents applauded the choice calling her a pragmatist who is here for the children. If that is true then cognitive dissonance may be the least of her problems.

Cognitive dissonance is when you hold two diametrically opposed positions but somehow make then come together. Mrs. Stewart has to know Florida’s accountability system is broken, she has to know that the high stakes agenda only serves the mercenaries and opportunists looking to get rich, she has to know that common core does not address our real problem, that we don’t have a standards problem but a poverty problem instead but that hasn’t stopped her from moving forward.

Below is an excerpt from a letter she sent all the teachers in Florida letting them know the department of education is fighting for them. If losing tenure, 3 percent of our pay and having our salaries based on high stakes testing is fighting for us please for the love of God stop.   

And, that is what we as professional educators are all about: improving teaching and learning. Until every teacher in every child's classroom in every school has all the support and expertise necessary to add maximum value over the course of a year, we cannot rest.

Our work together on this will not be slowed. We do this work with the support of Governor Scott, whose budget proposal includes a record amount for Florida's schools including over $8 million for the express purpose of providing the professional development school leaders need to improve student achievement. And, we do so with the support of our State Board of Education that is constantly focused on the best policies to help teachers and students succeed.

Did she really compliment Rick Scott’s budget which is 167 dollars less per student than what we had before he arrived and that sends hundreds of millions to a few hundred charter schools for maintenance while forcing a few thousand public schools to share less. Also forgive me but 8 million to be split among 67 districts doesn’t seem all that much. Is that the governor she is talking about?

Did she really compliment the board of education who has ignored the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, Florida Education Association, Florida PTA and numerous grassroots parent organizations, on accountability and common core? Is that the board she is talking about?

If she believes what she wrote, which seems unfathomable then Pam Stewart is really turning out to be a disaster. If she doesn’t believe it but said it anyway then she is even worse.

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