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Monday, August 13, 2018

The Times Union rewards Nick Howland, candidate SB 2 for straight up lying. (rough draft)

The Times Union praised Nick Howland specifically his use of data. 

From the Times Union

For instance, he mentioned that in the 2016/2017 school year, the district recorded 11,537 violent incidents. With 128,000 students, this means 1 of every 11 students is a victim.

This seems to contradict  a piece The Times Union printed in the spring written by a Times Union reporter that said 10 percent of the students received 85 percent of the referrals, where not a math major that seems to indicate, there are a lot fewer victims.

I have asked the district about this figure but they haven't got back to me but I did google Florida Department of Education county discipline reports and they sent me to the following page.

Where I couldn't find the statistic, so I went to his web-site and where he makes the same quote again, though he doesn't source it and when people use statistics and don't source them we should all be troubled, though the Times Union apparently isn't which begs the question what couldn't he have told them. he had a link to a Buzz TV video where he made the same assertion to a man in a very colorful suit.

I didn't want to give up so I kept digging until finally I hit pay dirt,

From News4Jax

 In the 2014-2015 school year, Duval County had 11,537 total incidents of crime, violence and disruptive behavior. The next closest on the list is Miami-Dade County with 8,854 total incidents.

First it's the 2014-15 school year not 16-17 but did you notice how it included disruptive behavior, and who wants to bet most students weren't victims of violent behavior but disruptive behavior instead. Notice how when we get the actual statistic and data it's not nearly the same or as ominous as Howland represents.

Look I think discipline in the county has been terrible, but I am not out here misrepresenting statistics for self serving purposes and getting rewarded for it.

Did the Times Union's editorial board do any type of due diligence or did they just reward him for making stuff up.

If he is going to just make stuff up or manipulate data for his own self serving ends, shouldn't that be disqualifying? Um isn't that the papers job to ferret that out?

We need a paper that is going to do its job, a job the Times Union's editorial staff failed to do. They should immediately retract their endorsement.

But it gets even worse.

Also from the Times Union when gushing over a statistic Howland provided that implied the board meets to much.

He quoted a study from the Jacksonville Civic Council that showed the board met 100 times 
“This is a bit excessive for a board, particularly a functional one that is responsible for giving clear guidance to its chief executive,” Howland wrote. “This is also an indicator of a breakdown in governance, something we have certainly seen over the last two years.”

Sigh, first the Civic Council wants to control our public schools and last year demanded they not proceed with the hiring of a new superintendent. Furthermore members of the civic council have sent handpicked candidates in each of the three school board races thousands of dollars, but lets examine their study and by study I mean they went to the School Board page and just counted the meetings.

School board members get paid the same wage as a first year teacher who works well is paid to work for 187 days. So how few days should school board members work for that salary?

The school board has 12 monthly meetings and I presume those are okay and it's the other 88 he has  problems with.

I don't know if Howland or the civic council knows it but the board has several committees that don't require the entire board to be at.

So that's another dozen or so.

Then this past year with the budget crisis left by Vitti, a superintendent the civic council really really liked and with the search for a new super there were undoubtedly a lot more meetings than normal and please don't take my word for it, go look at the list and see all the meetings labeled budget or superintendent search.  

Say that's just 20 or so meetings where that was the primary focus that I imagine it was more, that is still less than 70 board meetings over the course of a year for a district with 180 plus schools, 14,000 plus employees and 120,000 plus students.  

Howland thinks that was to much and the Times Union rewards his specious use of data and endorses him.

For shame Times Union, for shame the city deserves better.

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