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Friday, February 20, 2015

I hope Micheal ward of CSX knows trains because he doesn't know education

First let me say after reading his opinion piece I understand why rail is in such trouble. Second the reason he is really in love with Superintendent Charter School Vitti is because like Vitti he loves charter schools.  Finally let me say Michael Ward really comes off as really uniformed his opinion piece supporting Vitti.

Ward Wrote: Vitti is a nationally recognized superintendent who has quickly brought the Duval County graduation rate to its highest levels in history, increasing college readiness while narrowing the achievement gap among African-American students.

Um he might not know it but all those things were improving before Vitti got here.

Ward Wrote: He brought a strong district vision for instructional leadership and the development of stronger systems to hone teaching and learning strategies and align professional development for teachers and leaders.

The reality is morale is worse than ever and his inner circle is made up of old guard sycophants

Ward wrote: Vitti has listened to the community. In particular, he reallocated nearly $20 million to ensure that all elementary schools had music and art teachers, which complements one of the district’s strategic priorities — that of ensuring development of the whole child. Every superintendent before him cut the arts when there were funding issues.

I might feel a little different if he hadn’t cut dozens of librarians and many art and music classes weren’t doubled up. His idea and his results are far apart on this one.

Ward wrote: Were it not for his vision, leadership and determination, the $38 million philanthropic investment, the Quality Education for All fund, would not have happened. Quality Education for All, which has made investments in human capital, currently supports performance incentives (largest in the country) to enlist highly effective teachers and principals to work in the neediest schools.

Well that’s more ignorance on Ward’s part as the business community had been talking about investing in our schools prior to Vitti’s arrival, now would it have happened if Vitti wouldn’t have gutted democracy and given them control, now that’s another story.

Ward wrote: Forging an unprecedented agreement with Duval Teachers United, Vitti was the architect of a plan that gives flexibility to principals to hire and fire teachers in the 37 schools that compose the District Transformation Office.

I and many, many teachers and union members were very disappointed in our capitulation and don’t see this as a good things for education or teachers.

Ward wrote: Before his arrival, most philanthropists and businesses were unwilling to invest in the district due to lack of trust and belief. He dramatically changed that. He is the reason that Kim and I spent our time and resources to bring the nationally recognized school improvement initiative City Year, which is focused on the whole child in lower-performing, high-poverty schools, to Duval County.

The problem here is most of the philanthropists and business leaders he speaks of also have links to charter schools and want to privatize our schools. Also did he just say, Kim and I were heartless douche bags until he got here and now suddenly we care, because it reads like that?  

Ward Wrote:. This work brought him to the attention of the Gates Foundation, which has used the Duval County template in several other counties throughout the state. Gates thinks highly of Vitti, and we feel it is a matter of time before they invest in Duval County.

Here is the thing, if Gates is involved we should want to have nothing to do with it. He recently admitted he was experimenting on our schools saying, it will be a decade before we know if any of these reforms work, and he is disrespectful of teachers.

Ward wrote: Last year, the state changed the assessment process (no more FCAT), which will result in lower scores in every district in the state and generate a larger number of D and F schools. Everyone associated with education reform knows that school grades are going to be lower this year due to these significant changes.

That part is accurate but it’s also him making excuses for Vitti’s record. You know I like Gus Bradly but if we go 6-10 or worse this year I think we should show him the door too. Vitti is in a results orientated business and thus far his results have been horrific. I might feel a little different if teachers got the same chances to improve that Ward wants to give Vitti.

Finally Ward wrote: There is much more to be done, but the bottom line is that we finally have a dynamic, reform- minded leader. He has brought much rigor and positive change, but of course there are, and always will be, huge challenges in a district this size. Vitti is the right man for the job.

Some more excuse making from Ward, there will always be huge challenges and I am not sure we can survive many more of Vitti’s reforms.

Ward should stick to trains, his education knowledge is lacking.

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