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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Scott Shine blames teachers or Dear Jacksonville, it’s poverty

At the district 2 school board debate a question about bridging the achievement gap in our low performing schools came up and Scott Shine blamed the teachers for the achievement gap saying we needed to improve our teacher quality.

I let out an audible moan, which I am sure made the people around me wonder what was going on.

Now it is true many or our low performing schools are staffed with a constant revolving door of rookies and novices, something exasperated by the districts BFF Teach for America but to demean teacher quality, is both insulting and ridiculous, quite frankly its something people with limited experience in education do.

Our schools that are low performing and by low performing I mean do poorly on standardized tests are invariably in the poorer parts of town and even our best and most experienced teachers will have a hard time bridging the gap unless we put in place things to mitigate poverty. Though in Shine’s defense neither of his opponents mentioned poverty or how to overcome it either.

We overcome the achievement gap by putting our most experienced teachers in those schools, but we don't stop there because we also have to address the entire child by putting in social workers and mental health counselors because often why a kid acts up or does poorly in school has nothing to do with school. Then we make the classes smaller so students can get more individualized instruction and put in both behavioral and academic supports for students and teachers alike.

We don’t just blame the teachers and then smile. 

Friends it’s poverty, we need to address the poverty that many of these kids come from and we can do it or we can continue to ignore it and come up with other excuses that are wrong or other ideas that won’t work. Are options are success or failure and thus far we have chosen failure.


  1. That's like saying all people would be healthy if we just had better doctors.

  2. Education is the cure for poverty. Duh!