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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Scott Shine, advocates schools failing to get rid of union teachers. (real rough draft)

This has been a difficult year and it started with Scott Shine saying some disparaging remarks about me in the Times Union. It created problems for me both at home and at school and where I don't want to go into them, I will say the stress has been great.

But what do you do when you are a teacher and your job is threatened and you are bullied by a school board member? Do you walk away or hide? Stop sticking up for teachers and schools? I can't imagine anyone would have faulted me if I would have just shut the blog down and slinked away. Believe me I considered those things but at the end of the day I feel decent folks will want better and more if they knew what was really happening. Despite the threats and dangers to me I felt like I still needed to advocate for my colleagues.

So when I write about Scott Shine, please know I don't do so without trepidation, he has repeatedly shown a willingness to go after me but I feel people knowing about the things he says and does is worth the personal risk to me, though my wife vehemently disagrees.

Okay I will just get to it.

In the June 1st Beaches Ledger Scott Shine wrote an opinion piece about the Virtues of House Bill 7069 which will fundamentally change the way things are done and that public education advocates, including most of the school board, hail as disastrous.

First he talks about how Charters for the most part are financially sound, he leaves out the 352 that have taken public money and failed including the four that have closed recently in Duval County, but hey facts, who cares.

But perhaps the most outrageous thing he said is schools fail because they have union teachers. "I conducted a study of Duval Schools, that may close under 7069 and found a clear and direct relationship between those schools and the highest concentration of union teachers in the city of Jacksonville."

First I wouldn't believe Scott Shine if he told me it was the first day of Summer vacation and I have been sitting on my couch all day watching Netflix. He did a study? I asked the union if he went to them to ask about percentages and but it was after closing time, so I will try again tomorrow.

I then asked the district if they had the percentage of union teachers at our schools and they have not got to me. A little shout out to the district, I asked them another, I thought rather complicated question earlier today and they got right back to me with an answer. It's my guess they have no idea but I will update when they reply.

But he did a study?. Oy vey.

He went on to say, "The strategic advantage of converting union heavy public schools to non-union charters would be a direct connect to eliminating union member jobs and the findings speaks for itself."

Yes, the findings of Shine's study, can I say Oy vey again?

Here is the thing, union member or not, union supporter or not, you should be outraged. You see Doing what what's best for children is immaterial to Shine because charters in Jax as a group under perform when compared to their public school counterparts, he still wants those public schools to fail so they can be replaced by charters because to him it's all about getting rid of union teachers.

Shine blames union members for the grades of those schools where I thank them for their service because I know they would be worse off without them.

The fact that he blames unions especially since he lives here in Florida is ludicrous. After sixteen years in the classroom I have an adjusted for inflation 3,000 dollar raise, of course back then my school loans where in forbearance. now with me paying 15% of my take home every two weeks the reality is I make less. Thanks all-powerful teachers union!!!!! There are problems in public education but the reality is the republican party has been completely in control of public education here in Florida for two decades now, they not unions are who we should be looking at.

Anti-union and pro charter. That reminds me of what Dean Wormer said to Dorfman in Animal House.  Hopefully the voters of District two vote this guy out and we can get somebody who isn't willing to let schools fail just to get rid of a handful of teachers.    

 Scott Shine did say one important and completely honest thing, "Charter schools and not unionized and have long been promoted as both choice and a tool to break politically powerful teachers unions around the United States. Unfortunately, it has been seen as one of the only tools in diluting the power of these politically powerful, left-aligned unions and it has put students in the cross hairs."

Some school choice and charter advocates are willing to put children's futures on the line just to destroy teacher unions. That's shameful, but thank you Mr. Shine for saying out loud what we have all known for quite some time.


  1. if he did a "study" request it...a Board Member falls under the sunshine laws...

    1. Scott and i are not on the best terms, but what I did do was ask the district is if that was information they even had and if they have it did Shine ask for it and receive it.

  2. Nothing is ever said about the principals that were handed a perfectly fine grade A school, and because of our departed super and his management style, have driven the school grades down. The lack of a good curriculum and poor leadership is a recipe for disaster. All of our experienced leaders have jumped ship and for some reason, experience in the classroom is no longer valued. It is as if they really don't care....I would love to ask some of these politicians what was wrong with the way they learned? Obviously they were educated by teachers that used actual books and not just a script or power point presentation. The whole point of the No Child Left Behind act was to ensure all students were taught and given the opportunity to learn in the method that works for them. The Duval County School Board is doing nothing but leaving children so far behind that they will never catch up. My hope is we land a Super that knows what they are doing and not just trying to make a name for themself. We have thousands of amazing teachers here. Ask anyone who visits a school. Heck, ask the CHILDREN. After all, aren't they the ones who count? Shouldn't someone ask them what they need? My class needs books. Colorful book. Not black and white copies ripped off the web and slapped in a paperback book form so we can save money. Quit buying tablets and crap we don't need. Buy a good core curriculum. Buy a social studies curriculum. Allow us to teach the standards. Quit promoting people that aren't ready. If they aren't ready, how can they lead effectively? They can't. Set a path for administrators. 5 years as a teacher, 3 years as a coach, 5 years as an AP, work in different settings. Really expose people and make them see all aspects of the system. Take away the 'who you know' favoritism. It should not matter. If you do the work, and earn it, then okay. But the good ole boys system has got to go. If there is some stability and appreciation for those who really know what works, then we can turn this around. So union or not, if you have the knowledge, you should be valued. That is no longer the case. Teachers that know what to do are not easily swayed and they tend to be viewed as difficult and since they want what is right, they often have to resort to calling the union. Who knows, maybe we will get a super that understands all of this and will actually work for the kids and not the politicians!

  3. I read the column (clicked on the pic to expand it). What a moron. What gibberish. Contradicts himself, uses a biblical story as a non sequitur in his argument, let me help you Scott, I can edit your confusing prose into one sentence: I hate unions and I want to eliminate them.

  4. Heaven forbid Shine have to deal with a real union and not DTU, who Vitti correctly referred to as "the most accommodating union."

  5. Just another ignorant asshat that needs to go! What a dope. Holy hell.....does he own a charter school too like half the FL legislature and senators? Is that why he thinks giving our hard earned tax dollars to charters is a good idea? OMG! SMH. That 'study' he supposedly conducted - what a scam. Anyone that wants to take money away from our public schools and give it to for-profit, non-accountable to the public, discriminatory charters has to go. He has been drinking the koolaid for too long. It pisses me off.....the ignorance and lies people will go to. Time for him to go.