Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Candidates that Gary Chartrand supports tend to lie and distort facts

You know what they say about how birds of a feather flock together.

In 2014 his candidate in district 4 Darryl Willie sent out a deceptive mailer.

Now his candidate in the district 7 race Greg Tison is trying to trick democrats and independents not to vote as well as making the race a partisan one.

Jason Fischer another candidate he supports in the past has been deceptive about his military service.

Does anybody see a pattern there? Gary Chartrand has supported them all.

Greg Tison plays dirty tricks, uses deceptive advertising in an attempt to suppress the vote.

Greg Tison is running this add in neighborhood editions of the Newsline, a small independent paper .

Notice anything there? It's not a republican primary on August 30th for school board it is just a primary where everyone regardless of political affiliation can vote. Furthermore school board races are supposed to be non-partisan and he has to know it. Which means with a wink and a nod he is telling people hey, looking for a republican to vote for, then I am your guy.

He joins Fischer from 2012 who not only had many of the same donors but played up his conservative street cred and remember Fischer was deceptive about his military service. Tison has joined Angela Corey and Charlie Van Zant in clay county as someone who isn't above using dirty tricks to keep turnout low.

Is this the kind of guy you want representing our schools?  A guy who will say and do anything.

Finally I just want to remind you one more time and get used to it, this guy has ran for different positions in 2012 (soil and water) and 2014 (city council) and he has taken a lot of money from people who would privatize our schools and replace them with substandard charters, and Friends that's not just me saying that, the Times Union just did too.

District 7, we have a lot riding on you and you have several solid candidates, Dern, Hershey and Tascano, so you don't even have to consider this guy.

Monday, June 27, 2016

No excuses Tom Majdanics of the KIPP school sure has lots of exscuses

I will just let his own words do the talking for him:

From the Times Union: 

KIPP Impact Middle School, for instance, had the lowest passing rates in fifth grade math among charter schools in Jacksonville. It got many of its fifth-graders from non-KIPP schools, said Tom Majdanics, executive director of the three KIPP schools in Jacksonville.
“Because KIPP Impact students come to us in fifth grade performing significantly below grade level — and in cohorts that are well below the district average — it’s hard to come up with a meaningful comparison,” he said. “We meet our students where they are at and we really focus on whether our students make progress once they’ve come to us.”
He said KIPP eighth-graders’ performance is a sign of the school’s progress.
“After a few years at KIPP, our eighth-graders’ [English language arts] and science pass rates are higher than the district average,” he said, “and half of our eighth-graders earned high school-level algebra credit this year. That’s far above the Duval average for eighth-grade completers.”
Majdanics said the school doesn’t compare itself with Duval schools; it sets its sights on college or careers after high school.
Your first question might be, why do I even care. well the reason is this school is considered the model charter school in Jax, it's the gold standard and quite frankly when you consider the advantages it has, it spends about a third more per pupil, puts requirements on parents, has a longer school day and school year and at the end of the day its mediocre at best. heck it even has a lower percentage of free and reduced lunch kids when compared to other schools in the area.
KIPP is supposed to be one of those no excuses school but it seems to me Majdanics is both making excuses and overselling KIPPs accomplishments. Did you know they don't back fill? That means once they counsel out a poor performer a child leaves they don't replace that child, which is crazy once you consider that they say over and over what a waiting list they have. 
KIPP and schools like them are not the answer. Charters are not the answer and as the Times Union piece points out, in Jacksonville they do more harm than good.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

What passes for education reporting in Jacksonville, updated

Friends the sad fact is when it comes to education we don't have the media we deserve. An uninformed electorate will never make the best choice who to elect to the school board and the media has all but abdicated their responsibility to inform us. To prove my case I present two examples.

First a local political writer all but admits the media doesn't do its job.

From Florida Politics: Two powerful incumbents on the Duval County School Board got through the qualifying deadline without drawing opposition Friday, ensuring their re-election.

Cheryl Grymes, targeted by at least one enterprising activist attempting to plant stories maligning her for taking money from charter school king Gary Chartrand, drew no opposition in School Board District 1.
I believe I am the enterprising activist looking to malign as I practically begged everyone I could think of to report on Cheryl Grimes campaign contributions. If by planting he means asked and by maligning he met inform then yep I plead guilty.
Now there was a back page article in the Folio Weekly submitted by a private citizen and WJCT did a very basic piece two days before the filing deadline on the education page of their web-site (not on the radio), what you didn't know they had a website? But other than that the local media was disappointingly silent on the subject. I have a different view and that's I want to know who paying for influence and I think it is important the people do too.    
Wouldn't it have been nice if the media reported who Grimes was taking money weeks ago from rather than just dedicating a snarky throw away line to it, omitting her most egregious donors, after the filing deadline had passed?

Update: WJCT did  run a 40 second spot where they named the candidates.
Then today the Times Union did a piece about who has qualified for the August 30th ballot. Please take a moment to look it over.
Where they mention other local races they don't even mention the school board races. two of which have already been decided. You know because school board races aren't even important enough to mention.
It's sad but we can't trust the media to do their job but just because they have abdicated their responsibility it doesn't mean that we can, we have to inform ourselves about the candidates especially in the district 7 race. 
The district 7 race is I believe the most important race in a generation. It will determine if we are full speed ahead with privatization/corporate style reforms and the destruction of our neighborhood schools or if we listen to teachers and put in place common sense policies.
Jacksonville does not have the media it needs but if we choose to remain ignorant then it does have the media it deserves.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Superintendent Van Zant breeds hate and contempt in Clay county.

I am not talking about how shoddily he has treated teachers either. Van Zant publicly came out against transgender children using the bathroom that they identify with over and over again. He made a video, did a robocall and has voiced his opposition at a school board meeting and to anyone and everyone who would listen.

This by the way was a solution without a problem as transgender children had been coexisting with their non transgender peers for years. Van Zant can't say he was protesting federal overreach because the directive from the Obama administration wouldn't have changed a thing for Clay county. No, this was without a doubt about homophobic cheap theatrics and a self serving attempt to score points with the far right base.  

I can't help but think Brandon Carney a rising senior at Clay County felt he was just following his superintendents lead when he tweeted he was glad 49 LGBT members of the Orlando Community were slaughtered and he would like to slaughter more.

from Clay Today: 

And then, there’s the issue of the Clay High student, who on the morning of the Orlando massacre, sent out a Tweet stating, “I’d shoot up a gay night club also…Too soon?”
Brandon Carney, a rising senior at Clay High and a member of the football team, sent out the tweet at 9:21 a.m. on June 12, only four hours after the world was learning about the lives lost in the Orlando shooting.
However, the Clay County School District has chosen not to discipline the student who – after seeing others react online in shock and awe to his post – began to back pedal by saying it was “a joke.”
“I’m not shooting [expletive and smiley face] it was a joke.” However, two electronic shout outs later, Carney’s language digresses further when he posts, “All of you are pussy’s who can’t take a joke.” The tirade of perceived terror ends by him stating, “I’m keeping the tweet.”
The concerns of the outed student are as valid as the inane messages sent out to the webosphere by Brandon Carney. However, this is clearly a case of “you’re different from me, so I don’t have to care about you.”
When talking about Transgender kids, You are different from me, I don't have to care about you, might be a sentiment an ignorant high school kid can have but its not one the superintendent of schools should but obviously does.
Clay county you have a big choice to make August 30th and I hope you make the right one as Van Zant must go. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jason Fischer leaves a parting present proving he is the worst of the worst

I am glad he resigned, he was a terrible school board member who used the seat to profit himself at the expense of the city's schools, children and teachers. 

He did leave us a nice parting gift which shows just how bad he is. Currently he is running a commercial where he is in a school talking about how great he has been for public education. I have just been told he is telling people it was a private education facility and that he won't name it.

If he is being honest, something he has struggled with in the past, this means he went to a private school to talk about how great he was for public schools? I personally think he is lying and it was a CUSA school and he didn't get permission from the super.

This guy will say and do anything to advance his personal aspirations.

It's good that he is gone though the damage he caused is substantial and sadly its the type of damage that the community may never come back from. 

District 7, you have to get it right this time, please vote for somebody who actually cares about our schools.

Jason Fischer resigns from school board

District 7, I am going to say it, I told you so, and you should have been a bit suspicious when he ran for the soil and water commission before he ran for school board.

This guy cared not one iota for our children, teachers and schools, he saw an opening in a right leaning district where he could play up his conservative credentials and took it. He is nothing but an opportunist of the first order and our school system and our city paid the price for it.

District 7 you have to do better this time and that means to stay as far away from Greg Tison as possible. Like in 2012 you had several good candidates unlike in 2012 the city cannot afford  for you to make anther mistake.

Update: I just get the vibe there is more to this as well. I just went to his Facebook page which reminds me of my crazy uncle's jimmy, that's lots of far right posts and there isn't a mention of him resigning from the school board.

He literally posts daily but there is nothing about this decision to stop representing the people he was elected to do, nothing.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

School board races are incredibly important and its time we treated them that way

For weeks I have been trying to get the local media to report on who’s donating to school board candidates. I believe these associations are a good indicator of the candidates’ politics* and how they would steer the board. Other than a back page Folio article that first appeared on the blog Education Matters, the media has been silent.

One reporter did tell me that they were to busy covering up-ticket races, i.e. races they consider more important. *It is thinking like that that has gotten us to where we are at.

Look at districts 3 and and 1, two of the 0dd-numbered districts that are coming up for re-election in August.

*Despite constant criticism about the curriculum, classroom behavior, and privatization, School board members Cheryl Grymes (1) and Ashley Smith Juarez (3) are running unopposed.  And Grymes has taken thousands of dollars from for-profit education companies. In fact, as Richard Birdsall wrote for Folio Weekly, more than half of her $18,000 in contributions hail from contributors outside of Jacksonville, and many of those come from other states.

If people know and don't care, that’s one thing, but right now most people don't know, and the media is not *informing them. I guess the reason is they don't think school board races are important.

Let me convince you other wise.
·         7 people control a 1.7 billion dollar budget, that's about $800 million more than the entire city budget. There are also 19 city council members.

·         14,000 people work for the school board, which makes them the second biggest employer in Jacksonville, * behind the U.S. Navy.

·         120,000 children go to Duval County public schools. That's 120,000 futures the board members are helping to mold, people who will be working for you, taking care of you and assisting you.

·         DCPS indirectly affects an estimated 500,000 family members for the 120,000 students they serve.

·         Schools also affect property values, insurance rates, and decisions about whether businesses come to town or not.

How are the school board races not more important to the day-to-day lives of Jacksonville citizens than any other race?

School board elections are far more important than any state legislature position and, I would argue, congress too. Yet the races go ignored for the most part and about twenty thousand people will decide the four races coming up.

For a long time, the school board has been used by politicians and would-be politicians looking to move up to other political positions. They don't care about our schools, don't know about or understand education, but time and time again we elect them and then we wonder why our schools are in the state they are in. We end up blaming teachers and parents for the no-win situations they are often put in by our apathy.

Only three current members of the board have any real education experience, and they are often overruled by the members with no education experience. Those four board members, by the way, have also taken a lot of money from for-profit charter schools and their supporters as well.

The media needs to start doing its job informing people how school board campaigns are being financed. Then, the people of Jacksonville--whether they have children in DCPS or not--need to do their jobs as well and vote for candidates who are interested in fixing our schools, not ones who represent special interests or see the board as a stepping stone to something else.*

Saturday, June 18, 2016

School Board Candidate District 7 Melody Bolduc wants to segregate children

It's no secret where I stand on the use of restrooms by Transgender children. Segregating them is a solution without a problem. Duval County has had a policy in place since 2008 that has worked which allows children to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity a policy that now some people want to change including a candidate for the district 7 school bard race, Melody Bolduc.


 A minority of the commenters, like former teacher Melody Bolduc whose filed to run for school board, said transgender students should be accommodated on a case-by-case basis only. She’s afraid boys who aren't transgender will enter girls’ bathrooms.  
“I don’t know who here, out of all the men in this audience are willing to say, ‘You know what, I would have done some crazy things as a teenage boy.’ I am a teacher.  I have studied a great deal of adolescent psychology,” she said.

Oy vey that's a lot to unpack there. First I think the amount of men who would either admit to or were deviants when they were teenagers isn't as great as Mrs. Bouldc thinks. Also if she would have studied the policy as much as she says she studied children she should know that some kid can't just show up one day and go, hmm I think I am a girl now.  

Instead it sounds to me like she has studied a great deal of right wing fear mongering and not adolescent psychology.

Where were her complaints about the policy for the last 8 years? The answer is along with Jason Fischers they were nowhere because trans kids using the bath room they identify with wasn't a problem until those on the right decided to make it a problem.

Mrs. Bolduc is either ignorant or pandering to the bigoted and ignorant and the district 7 race is to important to consider somebody who would do either.

We do have serious problems in the district, this however is not one of them.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

23 year veteran teacher has had enough with the war on kids

Another school year finished. It feels like yesterday when I embarked on my teaching career 23 years ago, filled with hope and the promise of truly making a difference in the lives of my students. I pushed myself so hard to graduate with high honors so that I could get my first teaching job with ease and be the most effective English teacher possible. I believed I could change the world for the better, one student at a time.

Teaching was all I ever wanted to do. I admired Annie Sullivan and Laura Ingalls Wilder and played "school" with my dolls all the way up to sixth grade. This future career as a teacher was more than that-- it was a calling to fulfill my Destiny.

Being a pawn in a corrupt educational system that is driven more by money gained from testing was not on my radar "in my younger and more vulnerable years."

I've spent years refining my craft. I earned an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Stetson, earned National Board Certification in '02, and was awarded the Disney Teacheriffic Award five times. I committed to performing at a high standard so that I might inspire my students to do the same.

My disillusionment regarding what is being done to children in the name of education has reached a crescendo. It is dubious, at best, that the rising flames of anger and frustration which have been ignited in the core of my being can be quelled by a paltry seven weeks of summer break, but I'll take the little "breather" I can get.

I look back at my younger, more optimistic self with heartache.

I look forward and I feel deep sadness, as I see no end in sight to the madness of public schools chasing the Federal and State dollars from the maligned and developmentally inappropriate Common Core assessments, for which districts are enticed to "sell out" their students.

What are we doing to children in the name of education?

I live by the words, "do no harm," but my faith in the belief that testing my students, ad nauseum, as an agent of the state, has not caused harm, is questionable, at best.

My heart breaks for my high school students, especially. I see the mounting pressure and stress caused by the fear of not graduating (based on one flawed assessment which is not a true measure of ability, usually graded by hourly, uneducated temp workers) after sitting at a desk for 14 years (pre-K all the way up to twelfth) at best, shake their faith in their abilities and cause undue emotional harm, and, at worst, destroy futures by withholding That Piece of Paper.

Beyond these obvious Common Core-related shortcomings, I have witnessed more and more students disengaged from wanting to learn for learning's sake. The fire of enthusiasm with which they enter Kindergarten is extinguished by the time most of them arrive in my English III classroom, dead in the eyes.

What message is Common Core really sending? Is it career and college readiness? Ha. What a joke! Learning, in the dead eyes of way too many high school students, now just translates into jumping through a series of unrelated and seemingly arbitrary hoops. These students see this meaningless, inauthentic game for what it is and have mastered playing it. Kids who don't think I see them snap photos of their work and share them in group chats all day long. Answer keys are bought and sold. Phones are recording without the teacher's knowledge many times, all in response to pressure to play a rigged game and try to win by any means possible or pay the ultimate price. I see it happen daily and what saddens me more than the cheating is the low worth this system places on engaging students in worthwhile, relevant, mindful experiences. Welcome to the "dumbing down" of America, where multiple choice tests and regurgitation of facts in an "essay" is more important than critical thinking, connecting deeply with subject matter through individualized exploration, sharing feelings, and developing useful skills to help one to navigate successfully through life as a happy, balanced adult who has retained curiosity and a sense of-self worth.

This is the essence of a balanced life and is, sadly, NOT one of the multiple choice answers of Common Core.

The effect of the nonsensical hodge-podge that is Common Core both boggles the mind and crushes the spirit of many of these once-curious young learners. They are forced to run a daily gauntlet between bells, which arbitrarily segments their days into, for example: math problems that require extra long, confusing rationales as to how they came up with the answer (when some just "get it"-- but that's no longer good enough), reading two dull, long articles in English on The History of Geocaching and then having to compare and contrast the articles without giving your opinion or any original thoughts on the prompt or you'll be marked down for being "off topic," to starting the US History book after the Pilgrims, so they don't fully understand how this country started prior to the Civil War. Our minds look for connections when we learn, and nothing fits together, creating confusion, discord, and ambivalence in these kids. There are no connections to their lives, and much of this seems irrelevant. All. Day. Long.

This crazy-making, dull, developmentally inappropriate Alice-in-Wonderland Common Core curriculum is robbing our hope for the future, our precious children, of their peace of mind and self-expression, and draining all creativity and inspiration out of teachers who are now trying to sell a useless product all day long.

The pressure to pass assessments removes an integral component to learning something new: failure. We learn from failing and making mistakes, and teachers used to be able to guide and coach students in a safe environment where failing just meant we need to keep trying until we succeed. High-stakes testing keeps students in fear of failing: the very element necessary for growth. In this warped system, created by non-educators, kids get the distorted message that failure is final. They quickly learn to fear failure. The pressure is so intense. It wasn't like this when I was in high school. I see more and more red, glazed, hazy-eyes and sad heads down and sweatshirts worn in 90 degree heat to mask self-harm attempts. Our children's mental health is at stake. Teen drug addiction is on the rise, and so is teen suicide and depression. I stand before dozens of once bright-eyed kindergarteners who are now teetering on the edge and ready to give up at seventeen, and I feel powerless.

All I can really say is: I'm so sorry you are a pawn in this game, kids. I have tried my best to create a safe, sacred space where beautiful, thought-provoking literature is still read, enjoyed, and internalized. I've tried to allow for opportunities to speak and write which require more than regurgitating textual evidence so that your authentic voices are heard and valued. Teenagers demand an outlet for self-expression in order to feel whole, and it was worth being a rebel to give you that outlet. I've tried to foster a sense of community and have given you as much creative freedom and independence as I could get away with. I have tried daily to deflect restrictions which would strip so many beautiful and worthy American classics from my curriculum and got in trouble sometimes for teaching them, anyway, because you are worth working around this flawed system, even though it meant putting my position in jeopardy by deviating from the Common Core. The workbooks filled with Common Core boring non-fiction articles still sitting in my back classroom cabinets are the symbol of my defiance. We enjoyed The Great Gatsby when we were "supposed" to be reading those dull Geocaching articles (not that there's anything wrong with Geocaching. That's not the point. In fact, it would have been much more relevant to TAKE the students Geocaching, but that field trip would not have been approved).

As a teacher, I took a vow to stand "in loco parentis," and I have taken It very seriously over the past 23 years. With every choice I've made on how to deliver instruction, I've always tried to stop and think about how I would want my own child educated. I just hope it has been enough.
Now, I'm just tired, sitting in a puddle of tears of defeat, and grateful for a break from the insanity. Both of my children will be enrolled in private school next year because I refuse to subject them to one more second of BORING, dry, uninspiring, confusing state-sponsored programming posing as education.

What am I supposed to do with my life now: keep trying to (not so) secretly sabotage a system that's broken by design and risk losing a career that I've dedicated over half my life to, or create a new Destiny for myself? I'll spend seven weeks contemplating this. I just can't see myself feeling like this another year.

In the War on Kids that is Common Core, nobody wins.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Principal Changes, is yours on the list?

Note the district hasn't announced principal changes yet but we all know they are coming.
These are unconfirmed.

Megan Green, Assistant Principal of A. Phillip Randolph to Principal, Fort Caroline Middle School
Maysha Shelton, Principal of Fort Caroline Middle School to Principal, Arlington Middle School
Cathy Barnes, Principal of Frank H. Peterson to Principal A. Phillip Randolph
Jackie Jones from Alachua County to Principal, Brentwood Elementary School
Mychelle Grover, Assistant Principal of Mandarin Oaks Elementary School to Principal Garden City Elementary School
Dean Ledford, Principal of Mandarin Middle School to Principal of Fletcher High School
Alex Marx, Principal of Oceanway Middle School to Principal Mandarin Middle School
Lashawn Russ, Principal of Ramona Elementary to Principal, Crystal Springs Elementary
Kenya Griffin, Principal of Englewood Elementary to Principal of Kirby-Smith Middle School
Helen Dunbar, Principal of Biltmore Elementary School to Principal, Normandy Village
Sabrina Sessions Jones, Principal of R.L. Brown Elementary School to Principal Biltmore Elementary School
Star Connor, Principal of Normandy Village to Principal R.L. Brown
Chiquita Maxwell-Rivers Principal Crystal Springs to Principal, Ortega Elementary School

Dino Mullin, Assistant Principal of Alimicani Elementary School to Principal of Englewoof Elementary School
Robert Gresham from Principal, R.V. Daniels to Principal, S.P. Livingston
Andrea Williams-Scott, Principal of S.P. Livingston to Principal Susie Tolbert
Lashawn Blackshear, Principal of Susie Tolbert to Principal, R.V. Daniels
Carlene Smith, Assistant Principal of Pickett to Principal, Pickett

Jessica Parrish from AP, Frank H. Peterson to Principal Frank H. Peterson

How corrupt are Duval's charter schools? Well get comfortable and I will explain.

Before I start let me acknowledge that there are some charter schools that do a good job and some that really do care about our children but at the same time I hope you acknowledge that for a lot of charter schools making money is their number one priority and helping children is somewhere farther down the list.

From News4Jax

 Plan B is now Plan A for a local charter school after it discovered it's possibly been paying interest on $235,000 worth of apparently non-existent loans from its management company, Newpoint Education Partners.
Last month, the company was indicted in Escambia County on charges of grand theft, money laundering and aggravated white collar crime. The 21st Century Academy in Pensacola claimed the company and its vendors fraudulently billed them for "equipment, supplies and services."
Prosecutors said Newpoint was working with vendors to launder the stolen money through multiple bank accounts to conceal the criminal activity that has been going on since 2011.
What's a little money laundering between friend? This school is literally less than a mile from my house and the worst performing high school in the Mandarin area. If you are sending your child to this school not only are you part of a money laundering scheme but your kids are getting a substandard education when compared to other kids in the area.
Then there is Charter Schools USA who where they have not been indicted for anything, perhaps because they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying are just as bad if not worse.
From the Tampa Times: In Hillsborough, three charter schools that have opened since 2011 are owned by Charter Schools USA, a for-profit corporation, and these three alone enroll more than 20 percent of all charter students. In 2011, Woodmont Charter School, one of these three, expended 44 percent of its total revenue on instruction and 42 percent on management fees and leases. 

By contrast, traditional Hillsborough County schools spend at least 86 percent of revenue on instruction. Woodmont had FCAT scores of D for 2012 and F for 2013, and this is not unusual, since charter schools composed 50 percent of all F-rated Florida schools in 2011. Meanwhile, the six traditional public elementary schools and one middle school within 1 mile of Woodmont all have higher FCAT scores.
This is how Charter Schools USA operates: 
There is a very tangled web that this charter school weaves too. The land for their charters is usually purchased and the schools built by Red Apple, the construction/leasing arm of the for-profit Charter Schools USA outfit.  It is then leased to Renaissance charters, the non-profit arm of the aforementioned Charter Schools USA and if their history holds true above fair and market value. Renaissance then turns around and hires Charter School USA to manage their schools sending them an undetermined amount of management fees. This is a scam that would make Columbian drug dealing money launderers envious.

Let’s talk about Jonathon Hage the CEO of Charter Schools USA for a moment.   He operates just 58 schools, takes home millions in compensation, I have read as much as 4.8 million, lives in a 1.8 million dollar house and sends his children to an expensive private school. By comparison our super who runs 161 schools, makes 275 thousand and sends his children to public schools. I don’t know how much Superintendent Vitti’s house is worth and where I am sure it is nice I would guess it is worth less than 1.8 million dollars.  Furthermore does anybody like to go boating? Well the CEO of charter schools USA does and routinely takes out his, 350 thousand dollar 43 foot yacht which he named Fishin-4-Schools. An ironic name if there ever was one.

Then even though they do no business in Delaware that I can see and practically all their business is in Florida where the CEO also lives they are registered out of Delaware, presumably for some low tax dodge purpose. Now I believe they are paying taxes, just less in taxes than they would be paying if they were registered in the state where they did the bulk of their business.  

They are an organization made up of profiteers not educators.

Some people might say they are just playing the system to which I would respond, a system they bought and paid for and is that really the type of organization you want anywhere near your child let alone educating them?

Gary Chartrand and friends decide what district 7 candidate to buy, Greg Tison

I have written about Mr. Tison before, how he ran for soil and water in 2012, city council in 2014 and now how he is running for school board. This guy just wants to get elected to something and word has it he is looking into the dog catcher race in 2018 if his attempt to get on the school bard fails, which hopefully it will.

But just in case you need a little more all you have to do is look at his donor list where you will see the name Gary Chartrand. Mister Chartrand collects school board members like I used to collect baseball cards and he has had the money to do it too.

Gary Chartrand who has given thousands to Jason Fischer as well and we see how that has worked out is pro privatization and anti-teacher and it is hard to imagine he picked a candidate who isn't the same.

We can't afford to have another corporate reform candidate who wants to be on the school board to tick off a line on a bucket list or sees it as a stepping stone to something else. It's to important.

District 7 you have some other quality candidates Lori Hershey, Staci Dern and Barbara Toscano all of whom I will be writing about in the upcoming weeks, you can consider, there is no reason to even consider Tison as his past conduct and present associations should preclude him.

To look at his and any other donors, click the link: 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Jason Fischer takes tens of thousands of dollars from Charter Schools who are financing his campaign.

Watching Guy' Grocery Games on the Food Network what really struck me was all the Jason Fischer for the Florida House commercials.

Well at the end of the commercial it says sponsored by Conservative Solutions for Jacksonville. They are not out of Jacksonville by the way. Their web-site says they are out of Venice Florida.

A quick trip to their web site shows all the usual charter school suspects.

First of all I am not a campaign expert but I didn't think super pacs could so blatantly coordinate with candidates and second even if you like charter schools do you want a candidate who has been bought and paid for by them?

It says they have one candidate that they are associated with, one, and that is Jason Fischer just showing that Fischer isn't above skirting the rules.

He should wear a Nascar style jacket so we can see just what for profit charter companies own him.


District 7 you made a terrible mistake four years ago and it is paramount that you get it right this time, out teachers and children can not afford another shill to special interests.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

About those school taxes you are paying.

By Laura Mayberry

When asked about school choice at Thursday night’s debate, Clay County School Board Chairwoman Johnna McKinnon said that parents’ tax dollars should follow their kids to wherever they choose to send them. While the question centered around charter schools, many conservatives also support voucher programs that extend this choice to private schools as well.

This belief represents a fundamental misunderstanding not only about how taxes work, but about the purpose behind public education.

School districts are partially funded from local property taxes, which means that every citizen in Clay County is helping to fund our public schools. When you give parents a voucher that they can use to send their child to a private or parochial school, you are not just giving them back what they put in. They are getting MORE than what they put in because the cost of schooling has been spread out over all taxpayers. Essentially, vouchers take tax dollars paid by every citizen of that county and funnel them to a small group of parents, who are then funneling them to an even smaller group of churches and private organizations.

School districts are also funded from state level taxes, which means that everyone living in Florida is helping to fund our public schools. Again, allowing parents to direct the full cost of educating their child to a non-public school is allowing them to dictate where more than their “fair share” of taxes gets to be spent.

Public education is not solely for the benefit of parents and their children. Public education is a PUBLIC good that has positive externalities for the entire county/state/nation. When children receive an education, everyone benefits. That is why we make everyone, not just parents, pay taxes to fund public schools. If parents were forced to pay the full cost of educating their children, many could not afford it. You may say “well, that’s their problem” but that is a very short-sighted view. When masses of children are left uneducated or undereducated, it becomes society’s problem. Our communities have a less educated citizenry. Our businesses have less educated workers. There will be even more misspellings to correct in Facebook posts.

This is exactly where we are headed now, as funding for our public schools is being siphoned off to fund charter schools. Tax dollars are being wasted to build new buildings or pay rent for charter schools as some of our public schools sit under capacity. If the public believes that their local public schools are not up to par, then the answer is to properly fund them, not start all over again at a new school. If parents are sending their children to private schools because they don’t like all of the standardized testing that public schools are subject to, then then answer is to change the laws that are handcuffing our public schools. If communities don’t like state mandates, then the answer is to fight for more local control.

To understand how harmful “school choice” really is, let’s draw a parallel using another public good: the military.

What if I don’t like the way the military is run? Can I get a voucher so that my tax dollars go to fund a local militia that better aligns with my beliefs and values? After all, they are MY tax dollars. What would happen to our military if we allowed this to happen? The loss of funding would cripple their ability to do their job. Then more people would want to withdraw their tax dollars because they don’t want to fund an organization that is not working properly. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t like something, simply defund it and then more people will join your cause. Pretty soon our country would be defended by a bunch of independent militias with no coordination or accountability. Richer areas would have better protection, poorer areas with be left with little to none. Crazy, right?

You see, that’s not how taxes work. If you don’t like how they are being spent, you voice your opinion in the voting booth. You don’t get to pick and choose where your individual money goes. We could adopt a system of government where that was the case. Want nice roads? Pay the road fee. Want nice parks to play in? Pay the park fee. Want firefighters to protect you and your property? Pay the firefighter fee. I think we can all see where that would lead. The essence of public goods is that they are things that no one wants to individually pay for but everyone benefits from. Hence, taxes. 

Bath rooms or guns what's the problem? Since 1999, 141 people killed by guns in our schools, zero molested by a transgender student.

Since the Columbine massacre in 1999, the following has happened in the nation's schools

50 – The number of mass murders or attempted mass murders at a school since Columbine. (FBI records)
141 – The number of people killed in a mass murder or attempted mass murder at a school since Columbine. (FBI records)
73 – The percentage of school shooters with no prior criminal record, not even an arrest. (U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Education)
17 – The number of kids aged 15 or younger who have committed or attempted a mass school shooting since Columbine. (FBI records)
68 – The percentage of school shooters who got their guns from relatives or at home. (US Secret Service, US Department of Education)
270 – The number of shootings of any kind at a school since Columbine. (ABC News review of reported cases)
1 – The number of shootings per week, on average, on a school or college campus in 2015. (ABC News review of reported cases)
270 shootings, 141 people killed and not one report of a transgender student molesting a fellow child in a bathroom. What's the real problem.
People who support banning transgender students from the bathrooms they identify with claim all they want is to keep their children safe, well if that is the case then it seems obvious what we need to do. .
We do have lots of issues, serious issues in education, transgender children using the bath room is not one of them.
To learn more, click the link: