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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The state of Florida is setting up our most vulnerable schools to be taken over by charters.

Have you heard the phrase, first, do no harm? It's part of the Hippocratic oath that doctors take.

I feel like the people at Florida Department of Education take an oath too. It is, screw the poor schools over so they can be turned into charter schools.

Exhibit one, in Duval County and also all over the state the FLDOE demanded our most vulnerable schools get rid of teachers just hours before they were supposed to report because they had low VAM scores, a measurement that is largely reviled and even being phased out.

The late date makes finding new and qualified hires extremely difficult. Districts were not given weeks or months to make the changes but hours.

How are schools that are already hard to staff going to be able to fill these unexpected losses in time? The answer is they aren't and the FLDOE has to know that and they just don't care.

Then because of changes to the way title I money is doled out and can be used our poorer schools have lost resources and flexibility. The money for extra positions like interventionists, who give our most vulnerable children extra one on one or small group instruction or have dried up.

Kids at these schools often arrive many grade levels behind and only so much can be done during class. They need that extra help and support and now the state is making sure they won't be able to get it.

But it's worse than that as these schools are also having their field trips limited and worse their access to resource teachers limited as well as the money for these small school just through FTE isn't there. These things help keep kids engaged and going on those long days, help with discipline and allow teachers to plan and meet. Their value is immeasurable and their loss is unrecoverable from and if you live on the poor side of town or attend a small school, you probably went from having a music teacher and an art teacher to having half of one.

It is not, the state seems to be setting schools up to fail, it is, the state is definitely setting schools up to fail.

It's shameful.

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