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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Times Union doubles down on excluding parents and teachers from the superintendent search

On Tuesday the Times Union's editorial board supported the Civic Council, aka Gary Chartrand and his friends at the country club's proposal that the current board does not hire the next superintendent. They supported the Civic Council's idea to,

The Civic Council recommends a working group of business, nonprofit, philanthropic and higher education volunteers to develop criteria for the new superintendent.

Not once in the editorial do they advocate for teachers and parents participating in the superintendent search though they do make several dubious claims.

It gets old writing the same thing over and over.

How many times can I sound the alarms about privatization, explain how ridiculous Teach for America is, point out Gary Chartrand's associations, or how often the Times Union's editorial board is wrong. I feel like I am stuck in Groundhog's Day.


Here I go again.

The editorial implies Vitti saved us, not true. It also implied he knew what he was doing, which is also not true, his leadership style was to throw spaghetti against a wall to see what stuck.

The editorial implies the philanthropic community has only been involved the last few years, not true, though recently they started telling the district how to use the money.

The editorial says TFA is a good thing, not true.

The editorial says we must listen to the civic council, only they can save us, both not true and dangerous.

If only we had an editorial board that was interested in what the district's teachers and the parent's of out students thought rather than the so called city's elites, maybe then we would see some real progress.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Darryl Willie's wife donates one dollar to his campaign

Talk about standing by her man right?

I can't imagine things being that tough for the Willie family what with the six figure salary he takes in from Teach for America, and the QEA has given TFA Jax millions of dollars too though I have no ideas to do what other than pay huge salaries.

I kid the Willie family some after she gave him what she found in the couch cushions, because it exemplifies how ridiculous the Willie campaign really is. You see Erica Willie joined 31 other people who gave ten dollars or less. Now Willie can say, look at all our small donors, and most people won't know the vast majority gave a dollar or two and came from his wife and either current or former Teach for America members, in short it's a gimmick and those seems to be all that Willie has.

Darryl Willie made his bones working for Teach for America which takes non education college graduates and puts them through a six week access course and then in our neediest classrooms where they are supposed to serve for just two years. It's a gimmick too and a gimmick that DCPS has grown weary of as it has sought to separate itself from this expensive program which does the exact opposite of what we know our neediest students need most and that is an experienced teacher who is going to be around for more than a cup of coffee.

You see Willie thinks gimmicks like two dollar donations, putting hobbyists in our classrooms when they need professionals and last time around when he ran he used misleading flyers to denigrate his opponents Paula Wright, will work. He is not the type of person we need on our board and instead we need serious people with serious ideas.

Don't feel to bad for Willie as he raised a lot of money this reporting period and sadly I think he is just getting started.  Gary Chartrand, the anti teacher and pro privatization grocer, had quite a few of his friends donate to him and unlike Willie's wife they could afford more than a dollar. Here is a hint though, if you see people like the Clements, Halverson or Stein supporting somebody running for school board you should support their opponent. They just believe in gimmicks too.

The election is a long way off but Willie has already proved he is not worthy of being on the board.

To see who has given Willie money, click the link:


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gary Chartrand and The Civic Council don't think parents and teachers are worthy of the super search

Democracy will die with a whimper not a bang.

The Civic Council, a who's who of people who would control or schools told the school board today they wanted them to hold off hiring the next superintendent until next November, when arguably our two strongest board members, and the ones they also arguably like the least Paula Wright and Becki Couch will be termed out and I am sure they hope their hand picked replacements will be on the board. Note, last time around in their rush to hire Vitti, they didn't want the board to wait until new board members were sat but back then they had more influence over the board. 

From the Florida Times Union,

As Duval School Board members on Tuesday discussed how they are hiring a superintendent search firm, a prominent group of Jacksonville philanthropists and business owners sent a letter asking the Board to wait to hire a new education leader until November 2018.
The Jacksonville Civic Council said it wants the Board’s newly elected members to have a say in who is the next superintendent. At least two sitting Board members of the seven-member board face term limits, so there will at least be two new faces on the Board by then, the letter notes.
“We’re not asking you to sit idle during this time,” the letter states. “Rather we recommend that you partner with the community work group …. to develop a robust profile of the next superintendent.”
The civic group said this working group should include business, philanthropic, nonprofit, and higher education volunteers to advise the Board during the superintendent selection process.
Notice they didn't say teachers or parents and friends I can't make this stuff up.
The civic council doesn't seem to think parents and teachers are worthy of being part of the superintendent search, our incomes and minds to small. They seem to want to lord over us and why not, because under Vitti they practically were.
Why wait till November to pick the new super? Because if past is prologue I am sure they hope to replace Couch and Wright with new members who will bend to their will because they want the control to hasten their privatization agenda. 
The board should tell the civic council to stick their letter, well, I think you know where I am going.  
We need to be vigilant and support whoever they don't, our schools, children and teachers will depend on it.
To see who is part of the Civic Council and if you guess Gary Chartrand was front and center, you are correct, click the link.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

In a sense, this is what teachers do.

Just who the beep is Bob?

A couple weeks ago I reported on some behind the scene machinations from a group looking to thwart freshmen board member Lori Hershey from becoming vice chair. They had sent letters to the other board members questioning her fitness, you can read the piece  Dirty Tricks should you want to.

I was told that Mrs. Hershey was the recipient of several vindictive freedom of information requests so I asked the district for a list of all the freedom of information requests over the last three months and sure enough there were two of them from Ken Kniepmann entitled opposition research who asked for: 

Information regarding the sessions attended by Board Member Lori Hershey at the Florida School Boards Association Summer Conference, held June 14, 15, 16, 2017 in Tampa Florida. A document listing the sessions is attached for your convenience. If used, acknowledge attendance at sessions by checking the appropriate box. Not all sessions will apply. If not used, please provide a list all sessions that were attended

An electronic copy of any and all communications by Board Member Lori Hershey since 6/1/2017, limited to the following: (1) All text messages from any private or personal cell number(s) being used for public business or public communications, including communications with board members, school district employees, constituents, and local, county or state officials. (2) Emails from any private or personal email addresses, including but not limited to and, being used for public business or public communications, including communications with board members, school district employees, constituents, and local, county or state officials.

They are bad enough but there was also a a third suspicious request from Bob, yes just Bob who requested:

(1) An electronic copy of any and all documents received since November 1, 2017, by the Duval County School Board, or Member Lori Hershey alleging ethics violations on the part of Board Member Hershey. (2) An electronic copy of the statement read by Board Member Lori Hershey at the meeting on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, in response to apparent allegations of ethics violations. (3) An electronic copy of any and all communications, including but not limited to, business or personal phones(text messages) or emails, between School Board member Lori Hershey and Becki Couch, and/or Paula Wright and/or Karen Chastain, including any staff members of the General Counsel in regards to the matter referenced above, since November 1, 2017. This request includes, but is not limited to, any document drafts, new or amended ethics compliance documents, and/or opinions offered by the General Counsel to Board Member Hershey

All that for Bob.

I asked the district if they had maybe omitted his last name, and they said no, that the request had  come from Bob, just Bob.

I sometimes get some grief from people when I talk about Gary Chartrand and his cabal of friends who I believe are seeking to control our public schools. I have been looked at like I was Mel Gibson in the late 90' movie Conspiracy Theory by more than a few people.

But here we have somebody named Bob and another man Ken Kneipmann digging for dirt about a school board member, and a very good one at that. Why? 

There are forces some working behind the scenes while others like in Tallahassee working squarely in the light who are looking to do our public schools harm. One of them is Bob.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Republicans gave tax breaks to the rich to starve our public schools.

I wonder if this is what my republican friends voted for, another tax break for the rich so they can send their kids to private schools while they starve the public ones.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

To read more click the link:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Does Scott Shine want our schools to fail?

It sure seems so in a piece by Action news Jax.

When Scott Shine's friends (who he called gutless and ignorant for doing so) passed house bill 7069 the state ratcheted up time tables for schools to better their state grades and if they didn't they could be closed, turned into charters or management companies would be brought in to run them.

The district chose the last option fr our so called struggling schools and hired former principal James Young's consulting group turnaround solutions for 480k.

Now I am not happy that the state has forced the district to hire an outside consulting agency but if we had to hire somebody we could hardly do better than James Young.

From Action News Jax

Turnaround Solutions is run by James Young, the former Jean Ribault High School principal who turned it around from an F-school to an A-school in three years.

As principal, Young also turned Pine Estates Elementary from an F-school to a C-school in three years.
He also turned Rufus Payne Elementary from an F-school to a B-school in his three years as principal.
I know several teachers who worked for him who said he was a teacher's principal and empowered and supported his staff.
All this success however wasn't good enough for Shine who hasn't met a charter school contract he didn't like and who is a proponent of Teach for America both of which drain funds from the budget.
Also from Action News Jax
But Shine said he has new concerns after voting in favor of the contract.
Shine told Action News Jax he has questions about the other former school district employees that Young plans to bring on board.
“I was unaware of the personal relationships some of these folks had with people in the district,” Shine said.
Sonita Young, assistant superintendent of human resources, who I am reasonably sure Shine will forward this to as he complains about it, is James Young's wife, perhaps that is the relationship he is speaking about.
It's befuddling to me his reaction, especially since this is a bill he supported (at least partly because he believes and wants union teachers will lose their jobs). He has the chutzpah to complain when the district hires perhaps the best option possible.