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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fear and loathing in Duval County

See if any of these things sound familiar.

Many teachers are afraid to speak up about the real reason their colleagues are leaving Lee County classrooms in record numbers.  As a veteran high school teacher, I am painfully aware of how increasingly frustrated teachers are with our jobs.

Orange County school employees are often afraid to speak or post on social media sites about public education matters, leaders for the teachers union said Thursday during a press conference at the union's office in College Park. 

Sadly it’s not just Jacksonville where teachers feel afraid.

I get it too. If I was on a one year contract and could be fired for any or no reason I would be scared to speak up too. It’s also not much better for veteran teachers with continuing contracts who can be messed with in many number of ways.

Please don’t think I don’t feel the pressure either. A school board member in the press recently called me a liar and boasted that the district was going to put the blog out of business. A week later I learned I was also under investigation by the Duval office of professional practices for something I allegedly said on a Facebook thread a move which I consider to be nothing but harassment.  

All that being said, I truly believe if more people knew they would want better, heck they would demand better. They would demand that we had disciplined schools staffed by professional, respected and valued teachers, we would stop testing kids to death and we would let kids be kids too. Nothing I or most teachers want is unrealistic or undoable.

I want nothing more than for this district to succeed and reach its potential and there have been some positive signs recently, the rejection of uniforms and of an expansion of Engage NY to middle school but that being said we have a long way to go and we’re not going to get there by being silent.

There is nothing wrong with being afraid, sometimes I am, but I refuse to be paralyzed by it.

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