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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Darryl Willie is already trying to save his six figure job by pushing Teach for America

Mr. Willie said some really interesting things on WJCT, the other day, which I encourage you to check out.

One of the things he said was millennials leave their jobs after just a few years and yes some do.

The thing is more and more people regardless of age are quitting their jobs more frequently but that doesn't play into Willie's hey we need Teach for America narrative.

Lets talk about millennials for a second though. Maybe they would be more prone to stay at a job, a teaching job maybe, if they weren't saddled with a ridiculous amount of student debt? Though I think more would stay if they weren't forced to teach to the test and had more opportunities for creativity and flexibility, then there is the pay too. Sadly teachers don't make much.

Anybody notice anything about above? They are all fixable. He says millennials won't stay, well I am saying pay them more, let them be creative and flexible don't make them teach to the test and help them with their student loans and we won't have a teaching shortage.

The thing is the teaching shortage benefits Darryl Willie, to the tune of 120,000 dollars a year. An absolutely ridiculous sum for what he does. He has no incentive to work on fixing it, because he is profiting off of it.

Then he says people need more opportunities to enter leadership and that will make them stay. Well some people like teaching, to them its a calling and a passion but sure some people do want to work their way up, but how many openings does he think there are? There are less than a thousand principals, assistant principals and administrators in the district. Even if you throw in academic coaches and ese leads we still don't break three digits. Plus friends who wants a 27 year old vice principal telling them what to do.

It's insulting when he implies that people that "just want to be teachers" are somehow deficient.

One last thing, he taught for three years over a decade ago, in Arkansas, but he knows teaching, oy vey, the chutzpah of this guy,

I have said several times that Willie is all flash no substance and he's very light on real ideas and his interview with WJCT  just reinforced that.

Darryl Willie is sworn in and the shame of it all

I went to last nights school board meeting and several religious leaders spoke giving some invocation or another. One of them and I can't remember who said, being on the school board wasn't about politics or popularity. I wish that was the case because if so Willie wouldn't be on the board.

After the primary Willie had a huge lead in both votes and money and it looked like he was going to cruise to a blow out. So some people despite the fact during the campaign he was all style zero substance jumped on his band wagon. It's sadly what people do. When the general election rolled around Willie despite out spending Smith 3-1, eeked out a two point victory. I wonder what would have happened had people supported the educator and life long resident over the tourist looking to protect his six figure income. I wonder what would have happened had people done the hard thing, supporting the better candidate who was way down, rather than hitching themselves to someone who they thought would win.

I was disappointed he won, there is no way around it. As somebody who has been tilting at Windmills for going on a decade now, I have had to take solace in the fight a lot more often than I have been able to celebrate victories but like all the other times, I have to move on. 

So at the school board meeting last night, I asked Wilie to prove me wrong about him and even told him how he could do so. He has to put public school interests above charters and he has to work to retain and recruit professional teachers rather than tourists and temps that think they will try that, teaching, before grad school, i.e. Teach for America.

I am not optimistic as he has already been pushing TFA on public radio despite the fact it does the exact opposite, assuring our neediest students have an ever revolving door of novice teachers, that research says they need.

Willie when asked to say a few words, indignantly in my opinion, ignoring the tremendous defeat that the forces of privatization experienced even with his very narrow victory, Andersen in 2 and Joyce in 6 won running away, said the election is over and he is right, I am just concerned he didn't learn anything from it.

The KiKi challenge will only get him so far now the real work begins and I will be watching.

I said at the meeting, I hope he proves me wrong, sadly I am just not optimistic he will do so.  

Lori Hershey's disturbing opening statement

I like Lori Hershey, a lot. Her first two years on the board which saw her elevated to chairman at the beginning of year three have been impressive.  I think Paula Wright and Becki Couch did an amazing job on the board but that's how they finished, because they both started off slow. Mrs. Hershey hasn't, she has hit the ground running.

In spite of all this or maybe because of all this I was very disturbed by her opening statement as chair person of the Duval County School Board.

From the Times Union,
She also vowed to work to improve the district’s relationships with community leaders who have long supported schools, including members of the Northeast Florida Community Foundation, the Quality Education for All initiative and the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. Over the years, donors involved with them have pumped millions of dollars into efforts to improve teaching and educational leadership in Duval Schools.
In recent years, relationships with some donors showed strain after Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s departure to head Detroit’s public schools.
“We’ve seen superintendents change over the last 10 years and every two years there’s change on the School Board, which sometimes can produce a lapse in understanding of that work,” Hershey said.
You know why they liked Vitti so much? It's because he gave them access and control. It's because he was more interested in cultivating relationships with them rather than teachers and parents. Why have relationships been strained? It's because they have had that control and access taken back.

Reading this I feel like I was hit by a ton of bricks. I have been in the wilderness for so long banging my drum, warning about charters, teach for america, and the wealthy who have sought to control our schools, and finally after the last election where, Andersen and Joyce won and Smith barely lost, I felt that people were finally getting it. That it's our public schools and professional teachers we should be investing it and then Hershey comes along and says, nope we need to reconnect with the people who have been trying to tear down our schools and who have worked to injure the profession.

Where not a monolithic block, the people behind the QEA, JPEF and the Community Foundation are the ones that fought to keep her off the board. They fought to have Chauncey and Howland people who had no business being on the school board, elected instead of Andersen and Joyce who do.  They support charters and think anybody can be a teacher and kids don't need professional ones. This was disappointing to say the least.

I will tell Mrs. Hershey the same thing that I told Vitti, that sadly fell on deaf ears. A philanthropic community that gives to our schools is great, though them doing so with strings attached isn't. What's priceless however is a staff that's engaged and supported, mending the bridges with them not the ultra rich is where she and the board should concentrate their efforts. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Superintendent Green and the new school board must start thinking big

With three new members on the school board and a superintendent that is still getting their feet wet, I think it's time they started thinking big.

First we need to move the school board building. For a second year in a row Jackson high school which is in a neighborhood desperate for economic development has less than 500 students. They should be folded into Ribault, Raines, Paxon, Stanton, Darnell-Cookman or A. Phillip Randolph and the central offices should be moved there. The cost plus a nice piece of change could be made up by selling the current building which is a prime piece of real estate.

Next we should change the start time for high schools. All the research indicates we are starting our high school students behind the 8 ball with our early start times. Neighboring counties are starting later in the day as well. St. Johns starts at 9:15, and Nassau county starts at 9. Forgive my pun but its past time Duval got with the times.

Then we desperately need a one cent sales tax to address local education issues. There is no help coming from Tallahassee as they have abdicated their responsibility to properly fund public education. Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation and our buildings are some of the oldest. We have to give the people of Jacksonville like so many other counties have the opportunity to support our public schools, even very conservative Clay county approved a half cent sales tax for education. I get it nobody likes taxes but I hope we dislike teachers working multiple jobs to make ends meet, schools that are crumbling and ill prepared for life students more.

Finally no more charter schools or charter school expansions unless they prove they fill a need or employ some unique innovation. We have dozens and dozens of public schools which are way below capacity, negatively impacted by charter schools that bring nothing new to the table. There should be more requirements to opening a charter school than one can fill out a form.

We have a lot of great things going on in the district, a dedicated staff and amazing children, but i don't think anybody believes we are where we could or should be. Above will help us get there.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

There is something wrong with our system, Jason Fischer edition

Jason Fischer parlayed an endorsement by Jeb Bush, and despite credible reports of him lying to voters and much more qualified candidates he won a seat on the school board. which he only ran for after losing a soil and water board election.

On the board he was dreadful. Unprepared and seemingly bought by special interests were my biggest complaints. He quit before his first term was over to run for the state house barely edging out Dick Kravitz.

In the house he has been both a foe to public ed and a big giver of public money to his donors pet projects, Gary Cartrand and the KIPP school anyways.

So when Ken Organes ran against him I was excited. Sure 16 is ruby red but it's not dumb. What me and Ken didn't realize was is Ken didn't stand a chance.

Oh Jason Fischer knew it and he was so sure he didn't even campaign.

This is what the Times Union had to say,

From the Times Union:

Generally experience is the most valuable asset for a politician. 
But that’s as long as the experience is constructive.
Incumbent state Rep. Jason Fischer did not find the time to meet with the Times-Union Editorial Board.
He did not bother to provide a bio or answers to a questionnaire.
And even Fischer’s campaign website is skimpy on any achievements in Tallahassee.
In short, Fischer’s experience isn’t the plus that it should be.
Why not?
Because it is experience that Fischer appears have gained while also developing a sense of entitlement along the way. 
And that’s just not a good look for any public servant.
District 16 deserves a representative who is both knowledgeable and humble.
That’s where Fischer’s opponent, Ken Organes, comes in.

I live in Mandarin and didn't see one yard sign. Didn't get one mailer either.

Fischer knew he was going to win and he wasn't the only one.

Democrats received 50.68 percent of the votes.

Yet our Duval Delegation to the house is 4-2 republican sorry make that 5-1 because Kimberly Daniels is a republican in democrats clothing.

Democrats received 50 percent of the votes but only have a third of the representation.

The state has so gerrymandered the house seats that it assures republican domination, in a state that should be no worse than 50-50.

That should outrage all of us, sorry all of us decent people no matter what side of the aisle they fall on.

Jason Fischer isn't qualified to run a book club not that I think he reads, but he won going away, not because of his ideas, he didn't put any out there, but because the system has been set up to make sure he wins.

If everyone's vote does not count then people aren't being led the are being ruled.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Education Matters mean tweet edition

Do you ever watch the mean tweets segments on the Jimmy Kimmel show?  They show celebrities reading mean tweets sent to them and they are hilarious. 

Well I get some mean comments from time to time, I believe most come from somebody whose initials are S,S and whose name rhymes with Rot Rine that I find hilarious as well. I have saved so much money living in their head, I was able to donate to Elizabeth Andersen's campaign helping her defeat Nick Howland. 

I don't usually put them up because I find something cowardly about a person who will leave nasty comments anonymously, cowardly and pathetic but I thought you might enjoy them. 

Okay friends, here goes. 

Notice how no one comments. You are insignificant and a cancer on education. Shut the fuck up and get a real job. 

You should apply to a charter school. Try a couple. Or another county public school. Then, report the results. If you are the wonder of the world you paint yourself out to be, they will just be jumping at the chance to put you in their classroom. Or, we will find the truth.

Be sure and watch channel 4 news monday at 5:15: Number of criminals, like Chris, in the classroom. Charter schools do not put or keep criminals in the classroom. Go Dave ! 

It struck me the other day I actually met you at a club over off Arlington expessway. It was about 1988 or so. I remembered you because you seemed like a real nice guy for about 10 seconds before you got your ass hat on. I remembered that after all these years because you were just such an odd, abrasive person. yes, you were fat and smelly, but not as fat as now. True story. Some band out of Atlanta, the Producers I think. There were an out 10 people in the club. You kept running your mouth and stinking up the place so I left.

Oh, I forgot. When your lawyer included your wife in damages, you do know what that means? It means you could not please her sexualy and she has a right to compensation. It's an interesting point of law. I respect your courage in sharing with the world your problems with ED.

There are a few more, but these are the most recent ones and they all cam on blogs where I talked about Dave Chauncey and Nick Howland, I think they are covering for something, not that there is anything wrong with that, and they never refute what I wrote, instead launching into laughable personal attacks.

Anyway, they amused me so I thought they might amuse you as well.

With school board elections over, Jax says yes to educators and no to special interests, millionaires and privatizers

Three fearless women went up against the forces of privatization and the hundreds of thousands of dollars they funneled into the races and two of them won and one barely lost. If this isn't a repudiation of special interests attempting to buy control of our schools, people like businessman Gary Chartrand and organizations like Jax Biz, I don't know what is.

In district 2 former teacher and current mental health counselor Elizabeth Andersen defeated Nick Holwland. Howland raised 77,519 dollars to Andersen's 13,360, (full disclosure 800 of that came from me, from My Scott Shine stash). Howland's six fold fund raising haul and all his business endorsements including Jax Biz who endorsed all three male candidates, didn't matter as Andersen won going away. 58.25-41.75.

Charlotte Joyce's fundraising disadvantage was just as daunting as her opponent Dave Chauncey taking money hand over fist from charter school interests out raised Joyce by nearly 90 thousand dollars, 109k to 19. She also won going away, 59.15-40.85

Unfortunately educators did not go 3-0 as in district 4, TFA executive Darryl Willie beat Cynthia Smith by just two percentage points, despite out raising her 3 to one, 73k to 26. Even though she lost she should be proud that she kept the race so close in the face of fierce opposition from Willie's charter school and teach for america buddies. Not having her on the board hurts but Willie has to know people are watching with such a razor thin win.

Two blowouts and a narrow loss bode well for the school board. The city collectively said, no we don't want charters to take over, we don't want TFA to staff our schools, and for vouchers to have no over site.

The people said, we don't want agenda driven millionaires many of whom don't live in the county nor sent their children to our schools and their super pacs running our schools.

Now I am disappointed about Smith and numerous other state and local races, that went against public ed, but I can take some solace that at least at the local level, the one most responsive to the people and despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent against them, the people of Jax chose educators over privatizers.

Now it's time for the work to begin.

To see how much money they raised click the link

To see the election results click the link

Duval Teacher's United tiger cope pac let its membership and the city down.

First the disclaimers.

If you think I am a disappointed and a little angry you are right.

I am a union guy today and despite my combination of disappointment and rage that not even a snickers could cure I will be one tomorrow.

The Tiger Cope pac is the political action part of the union, it's a small group that makes the unions endorsements that members have to pay an extra 20 a year, about 75 cents a pay check to be in.

I will be joining the Tiger cope pac tomorrow to make sure a travesty likes this never happens again.


The union's tiger cope pac let the city and its membership down when it co endorsed Cynthia Smith and Darryl Willie in the district 4 school board race.

They looked at his money advantage which was formidable. Willie raised 73 thousand dollars including a last minute push by super pacs that support charters, almost three times what Smith did.

In the primary Willie more than doubled Smith's vote total too. 8.600 to 4,100.

Then there is no doubt Wilie is affable too, have you seen his KiKi challenge video, good God he has moves but the thing is, dance moves seems to be all he has.

It looked like it was going to be a blow out in District 4, a sixty forty race. So instead of doing the right thing and endorsing the teacher, the union's political action committee  co endorsed a man who doesn't think teachers are professionals and anyone can do their job, they did so because they thought he was going to win. Well he did but the margin was razor thin and we are all left wondering what would have happened had the DTU tiger cope pac done the right thing.

Willie won the election, by 1,626 votes.

How many votes was that DTU's endorsement worth? Well if it was worth 814 Smith wins that election and instead of having a man who is anti-teacher as they come, we have an educator on the board.

I am so disappointed in my union, specifically the Tiger Cope pac members that allowed this to happen.

I want people who does the right thing, even if it is hard, even if it defies the expedient thing to do and doesn't take things like the KiKi challenge into consideration.

So Mrs. Smith let me apologize to you, the city and most importantly the district's teachers deserved better.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Are Gary Chartrand and the business community dismissive of teachers, women or both?(rough draft)

Gary Chartrand the millionaire grocer who lives in Ponte Vedra and who sent his children to expensive and exclusive private schools which are wholly unlike the schools he has been advocating for our children, has parlayed tens of thousands of donations into millions in public money for his pet projects is dismissive of both women and teachers and let me explain how.

In 2008 he supported Tommy Hazouri, WC Gentry and Ken Manuel for the school board in district, 3, and 7. All women and just one Manuel had any education experience.

He laid low for a bit but in 2012  he supported Ashley Smith Juarez and Jason Ficher in 7 and 3. Now Smith-Juarez is a woman and had some nominal education experience. Fischer however had nothing approaching anything like education experience. Where it seems like they have since broken ranks, at the time Smith Juarez ran Chartrand's foundation.

In 14 it was current members Couch (his wife), Shine and Darryl Willie. Now Couch is both a woman and an educator, and I imagine the  Chartrand family would say it was the worst contribution they ever made. Willie, well Willie might claim to be an educator, but he's closer to a shill for the education reform movement than anything. Also you should know Couch was running unopposed and Willie went against incumbent Paula Wright, one of the few times in recent memory that an incumbent has been challenged. As for Shine, his lack of credentials is well documented.

In 2016 he supported Grymes who was running unopposed and who had proven herself a friend to charters and his pet causes, Greg Tison and Warren Jones, neither of which had any relevant education experience. 

Fast forward to this go around and he has chosen Howland, Willie and Chauncey all men to support over three more than capable women.

So in 10 years, 5 cycles, Chartrand has supported one true educator, Becki Couch and one ed administrator Ken Manuel and in the 14 races he has contributed to he has gone with the male candidate 11 times. And two of the three times he went with the woman candidate they were running unopposed.

So in the 12 competitive races he has donated to, Chartrand has supported the man and the non educator 11 times often opposing women who are educators. So you tell me if he is dismissive of educators and women or not.

What's worse however is where Chartrand goes, the business community goes as well.

Chartrand and his ilk have such disdain for the people doing the work a profession mostly made up of women it should be criminal. Education the one job where the people that do it can't be trusted to run it. (sic)

Have you wondered why we aren't where we should be and why progress is slow, well friends its because Chartrand is the villain of the story.

Tutweiller Fortune lays egg on First Coast Connect, can there be any doubt what side of the privatization movement JPEF is on.

Rachel Tutweiller-Fortune, intern interim president of the Jacksonville Public education Fund (JPEF) appeared on first Coast Connect today to talk about the school board races and it was something.

I have long thought JPEF was in the pocket of the forces of privatization and today's performance did nothing to change that, in fact if anything it reinforced my opinion.

She had one exchange where a caller asked her about compensating teachers, and she said, I think teachers should be compensated, an exasperated Melissa Ross asked, how much, and Tutweiller Fortune paused and said, what they are worth. Everyone wanted a number but she didn't want to give one and the reason is probably because Gary Chartrand the man who at least metaphorically signs her checks, doesn't think teachers are professionals and would be okay with temporary TFA teachers manning our schools.

When asked about the difference between the candidates the men who seem to support corporate reforms and the women supporters of traditional public schools, she said the board members need to work well together. Not satisfied Melissa Ross asked for a deeper answer that never came.

Here are some more low lights.

At one point she said candidates had ideas. Um, okay, sure.

When Ross asked her about the budget shortfall, Tutweiller-Fortune played along, the problem is we have never had a shortfall. Did we spend more than we planned to under Vitti, yes, but the thing is we had the money to spend.

She pointed out that 5 candidates had served as educators, but the truth is Willie and Chanucey's experience can't compare to Andersen, Smith and Joyce's experience. Willie and Chauncey have five years total, and none of Willie's was in Jacksonville and it was more than a decade ago and in Arkansas. Each of the ladies individually have more experience than the men collectively. 

When asked is JPEF a non partisan arbitrator about education, she talked about the diversity of the JPEF board, though there isn't much of a diversity in who they donate to. She said JPEF doesn't take a side but they do when they don't do deep dives into the candidates. You see all candidates say they want whats best for kids, and to retain and attract the best teachers, so to really get to know their differences you have to do a deep dive and you have to call out lies, lack of details and relationships, something JPEF can't be bothered to do.

When asked about lobbying, whether they were fighting for more pay or for more choice, she said, JPEF doesn't take a side. Ugh, they totally take a side.

Trey Csar the former president of JPEF used to say all the time he wasn't for good public schools or good charter schools, just good schools, while doing all he could to steer kids to charters. I get Tutweiller-Fortune isn't Csar but how far could the apple have landed from the tree?
Also saying you aren't taking a side, when one side has hundreds of thousands of dollars and very little relevant teaching experience, and not doing anything to just inform people of the things they say and do and the relationships they have then you have taken a side.

I could go on and on but you should check it out for yourself.

Tutweiller-Fortune said teachers need to be valued and respected, well friends the people paying her salary disagree.

Ross did her best to get some answers about the races but afterwards both must have been exhausted from all of Tutweiller-Fortune's dancing.

Finally I want to say she referred to herself over and over as an educator, and I want to thank her for those two years she put in, leaving the second after her TFA commitment was over assuring the kids in her school would have another rookie teacher.