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Friday, November 13, 2015

#@%$ing Duval County administrators (rough draft)

So I went to the WJCT community thread taping last night where superintendent Vitti and others were talking about proposed changes.

It just so happened that Director of Arts Jeffrey Smith sat next to me. I only knew it was him because he spoke at the school board meeting two weeks ago and I was there.

So I took the opportunity to ask him a question and as many of my questions do I started with a story.

I told him a friend of my wife had reached out to me about Ed White high school. She was considering applying for an open art position there. I told her it was a little rough around the edges but a wonderful school with tremendous potential and she should definitely apply. I however did warn her against just taking a job and making sure that it was a good fit and that class sizes weren't going to be to huge.

She got back to me a few days later and told me she had passed on the position because the classes were fifty kids deep. Sadly not an uncommon occurrence here in Duval.

So I asked him was that to many to effectively run a class.

He kind of shrugged and he nonchalantly said (note these are not his exact words), nah not that big of a deal. I think they have the space for it.

I was flabbergasted, I expected him to say, gosh that sucks, I wish it was different, we have limited resources and we're fighting to make things better. But nope, I got, fifty isn't that big of a deal, heck it's not any kind of deal at all.

I was pissed. I wanted to ask him when was the last time he tried to teach a class of fifty, a third of who probably didn't want to be there and another third bringing their anger and angst to your desk. My bet is never, an art class at Ed White would eat this guy alive.

That however is the problem, we have all these administers shrugging their shoulders saying, just do it, stop whining, or looking at teachers cross-eyed when they dare question or bring up problems. The district has put so many teachers in a position where success isn't achievable and then looked at hem like it is their fault when they don't achieve it. These same people wouldn't last a week in most classrooms.

These suits, this jackhole are ruing teaching in Duval. 


  1. My principal likes to conduct these "POWWOWS" on books she handpicks for us to read. 1. I don't so much read as skin through them. 2. The discussion turned toward common planning and pacing and differentiatio. When I tried to argue the futility of differentiation and pacing/being on the same page on the same day, the principal and another AP shut me down faster than a school girl might shut down her date on prom night. What a Charlie Foxtrot our district is.

    1. No no no. Book reads are NOT allowed. Ask your DTU rep.

    2. We have an involved rep. She is usually on top of things. Been going on for a few years.

  2. My A$$HOLE administrator lectured me today about writing to many referrals.

  3. Ha! There's a story! Dig a little deeper and you'll find that Jeff Smith has never taught! He was in charge of some arts foundation or something, so he definitely has zero clue what the reality of the average fine arts teacher is like in Duval. I think his LACK of experience is why Vitti hired him. If he'd hired an experienced arts educator, he/she would actually be fighting to restore quality arts education environments (i.e. not 50plus kids in a class) Obviously, that wouldn't fit into Vitti's plans. If Smith shrugged and appeared clueless it's because he really is!
    Those numbers are very real. I live with it every class, every day. You should see my line going to lunch. Or my pile of papers to grade. No, none of them could handle it.

    1. I have a friend (taught with her at two schools) who just finished her PhD. She is a wonderful 2-D art teacher (was a top 5 finalist one year for DCPS TOY). I believe she applied for that position. Now I understand why she didn't get it.

  4. I have a class of 54 and my smallest is 46. I have limited resources and was told that I can't even require my kids to bring a pencil.
    Fyi, I only have seating for 38 so we are a bit cramped