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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Duval County School Board’s habit of manufacturing crises.

The Duval county school board has recently developed the bad habit of manufacturing crises.

A couple of months ago it was about the resolution to drop out of the law suit against vouchers. There were people in this audience that literally thought depending how the board voted they might have to find new schools for their children.

Now the headlines have read “tonight the School Board decides the superintendents fate” and none of the articles mention the fact that the decision doesn’t actually have to be made for nine months.

Other school boards from around the state are wrestling with testing, developing procedures to allow children to opt out, discipline and teacher morale, you know issues school boards should be talking about, while this school board is instead tackling something it does not have to. Furthermore few people follow local education closer than me and until the school board brought it up practically no one was talking about getting rid of the superintendent but then all of a sudden extending his contract became the most important education related topic in the city.

The superintendents own words however seem to indicate it’s not time.

A couple weeks back he said, I wanted to make the super bowl but we haven’t even made the playoffs yet. Well what’s wrong with making the playoffs before giving him an extension?  
The superintendent and the coach of the jaguars have several similarities, they are both young, passionate, work hard and bring a sense of optimism with them but unfortunately their on-field records are very similar too. The Jaguars have gone 4-12 and 3-13. Do you think the owner of the Jaguars is looking to extend his coaches contract? No of course not he is waiting for some on the field success as should you.

There is also some very important data just on the horizon that could undoubtedly influence your decisions, I and many others don’t understand why you are not waiting for it.

This summer we will know how most of our schools are doing and what if the results are even worse than anticipated? Next, the first year of the QEA something the super is inescapably tied to is also coming to an end. What if the results are abysmal? Wouldn’t the board be better prepared to make the decision to resign him or not with that data? I don’t know about you but I like to have all the information available I can to make a decision, not just some of it. If the board is demanding teachers be data driven then why don’t they lead by example and wait until all the data is in.   

I am hopeful our superintendent will turn things around though I wish he, and the board for that matter would spend as much time cultivating relationships with teachers as you do with the business community but at the end of the day, there is no imminent need to resign him for three more years. .
We have both more time and data to see before we have to.

I want to offer the board some alternatives to resigning him for three more years.

till the summer when some very important and telling data will be available before you make your decision or

Resign him for just one year, after all if that is good enough for teachers it should be good enough for him.  

Regardless of whatever they do, I hope we see an end to these manufactured crises, after all we have enough real ones to deal with


  1. I read on the News4Jax website about his evaluation meeting that he was told he needed improvement in three areas: long term planning, communication, and employee morale. I agree with all three. It's too soon to talk about extension. I read another story where he said that his work was only beginning and he needed to know he would be around for several years. He's working the Board, but who can blame him? Given the opening provided, any of us would do the same.

  2. Exactly Chris, why a three year contract? They are pushing all the new teachers to annual contracts with no job security. Contract renewal is based on performance for those teachers as well (REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCE). Why are they not waiting for the counties data before renewing Vitti's contract.

    I'll tell you why. History repeats itself in continual fashion. I've heard this story before......

    Matthew 23:25
    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

    Yeah, I think that sums up the state of education in Florida =/