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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Whose voices on the school board should you listen to? (rough draft)

Today Superintendent Vitti's evaluation came out and there were two distinct voices.

One was represented by business interests who would turn our children's futures over to vouchers and charters, Fischer, Grymes, Shine and Ashley Smith-Juarez and they despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary gave the superintendent a highly effective evaluation.

From the Times Union:

Board members Jason Fischer and Cheryl Grymes gave him 50 and 49.5 points respectively and Scott Shine gave him a 48.
A 46 is highly effective and Ashley Smith Juarez gave the super a 44
The other voice is that of teachers and lifelong educators, Hall, Wright and Couch who had a different take on what the super has done.
Also from the Times Union:
Several board members were more critical about Vitti’s and the district’s performance in the last year.
Hall gave Vitti two points for most of the 15 performance indicators. Two points is the equivalent of “needs improvement,” one level above unsatisfactory.
While she gave him low scores for problem solving using student data, fostering safety in schools, and collaborating with the school board, she gave him passing scores – “effective” – for managing district resources, expanding elective courses and extra curricular activities for students, and leveraging “stakeholder” support for the district.
Couch agreed in part, saying during the board meeting that Vitti has done an outstanding job expanding grants which benefit the district, for instance.
But in her written comments she noted that the district’s overall academic performance means it met only 18 of 29 goals or targets this past year, which is a 62.5 percent success rate.
And Duval has the highest percentage of D and F rated schools among Florida’s big districts, she noted, and the highest number of schools to turn around.
She gave Vitti low scores for gathering and using student data to solve problems and develop district improvement strategies, also for cooperation and teamwork, and for financial planning.
Look even if you like the super how can you with a straight face say he has been highly effective? The answer is you really can't if you use metrics like student achievement and yes I know graduation rates are up but they were heading up before he got here and they are up every where.
What else is up is the number of charter schools as they have increased by over 300 percent under his watch, 
I don't want to be that guy that just slams the super all the time though with discipline, curriculum, admin placements, his relationship with anti-public education businessman Gary Chartrand and teacher morale, he gives me lots of material. Like Couch mentioned this guy can write a grant and even though it was ham fisted he has brought the arts back to the district, both of those things shouldn't be overlooked.
At the end of the day however there are two voices on the board, educators and those who believe choice just for the sake of choice is the right choice. One voice that thinks the super is borderline perfect and another that thinks we have a lot of work to do Which voice are you going to listen to? 

1 comment:

  1. The biggest problem we had is that Vitti changes his mind like he changes his socks. 3 different curriculum choices in 3 years. The first thing he did was to gather together teachers to write scripted lesson plans for test prep for the 2012-13 school year. These went into effect in Jan that year. Then he chose a curriculum for elementary this year that only TNTP, Davis, and he wanted dispite his comments to the contrary. I know these "focus" groups did not want what we now have. I was on one. What exactly will be the flavor of the day next year. I'm sure we will stick with the NY materials, after all they were 10th on NAEP and we were 3rd in 4th grade. Let's aim for 10th to be like NY.