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Thursday, October 31, 2019

In Florida, education is Political, and Governor DeSantis says so.

You know often when I write about education in Florida I talk about all the destructive things the republicans in Tallahassee have done towards public education and the teaching profession. I mean who else would I talk about because they have been in complete control of public education in Florida for over two decades. What is happening in Florida is not non-partisan and the governor as much as admitted that the other day.
During a press conference where he outlined his legislative policies he doubled down on his proposal to lift starting salaries for new teachers despite the fact most teachers were against a policy that does nothing for veterans, whose salaries have actually gone backwards over the last decade.
When asked about the union’s request that all teachers receive salary increases, the Governor basically said, I am a republican and they are not and I don’t care what they have to say.
“It’s just the fact of the matter. I’m a Republican. They’re not. What I’m doing is never going to be enough. My job is not to do what the union wants – it’s what I think is best for education and particularly for individual teachers,” 
Um, what individual teachers is he talking about? Is it the ones that reflexively vote against their self-interests and reflexively vote republican, there are more than I would like to admit out there. Me, you come with policies, that benefit me and my family, I don’t care what political party you represent, but the fact of it is, democrats are usually strong supporters of public ed and tea hers while republicans are not. People might want to hem and haw and complain about that, but that is just the way it is and again just look at the governor’s words.  
In a way I am glad the governor just gave a middle finger to the teacher’s unions and the teaching profession. Maybe it will wake people up that no help is coming. People have been saying wait till the next election for a decade and yet there are large majorities of republicans, partly due to gerrymandering dominating the house and senate. The last election was 50.1 to 49.1, but the house and senate are over sixty percent republicans.
So friends, there is no help coming, we can’t continue to wait. Tallahassee is unmoved by red t-shirts, bus tours, letters to the editor and decency and that’s why is we want to save public ed and the teaching profession it is up to us and that is going to mean a work stoppage of some kind.    
I think parents would support it, you see when education is alone on the ballot it always wins and poll after poll shows that people understand Tallahassee is not supporting our schools and teachers like they should. I also think school boards and supers who are put upon by Tallahassee as much as teachers are would support it.
You see teachers, school boards, supers and parents understand that education should not be political, it should be about doing the right thing. The problem we have is a political party in Tallassee the republicans aren’t interested in it.   
Friends this is a battle for the future of the teaching profession, the Union may be playing chess, but the governor and the republican party are playing smash the board with a baseball bat while tell your momma so fat jokes. At some point it will be fight or die and sadly it looks like the union is picking the latter.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

DeSantis doubles down on his terrible teacher pay proposal. Also tells union he doesn’t care what they think or want

I would say by and large DeSantis’s proposal to raise beginning teacher pay to 47,500 landed with a thud, but instead of listening to and working with teachers, he has doubled down.
From the Florida Phoenix,
Gov. Ron DeSantis said he hopes the 2020 legislative session, which begins in January, will open a “year of the teacher” in Florida, centered on his proposal to raise first-year teacher pay to $47,500 per year.
That would be one of the highest figures in the country for starting pay, national data show.
But DeSantis will be at odds with the Florida Education Association, which is pushing far broader pay reforms for public school teachers and staff.
The governor on Tuesday dismissed the statewide teacher union’s call for across-the-board pay raises – which would go beyond his own call for higher pay for first-year teachers – as politically motivated.
“Let’s not pretend there’s not politics involved with this,” DeSantis said when asked about the union initiative.
“It’s just the fact of the matter. I’m a Republican. They’re not. What I’m doing is never going to be enough. My job is not to do what the union wants – it’s what I think is best for education and particularly for individual teachers,” DeSantis said.
He made the remarks Tuesday during the Associated Press’s annual Legislative Planning Session. The AP invites top state leaders to address reporters about what they hope to accomplish. DeSantis was the first to speak this year, outlining an agenda that includes higher environmental spending, disaster relief, and health care initiatives.
Um, it’s not politically motivated to want all teachers including vet who have seen their salaries go backwards for the last decade, it is decency motivated something the stunt governor is obviously unfamiliar with.
Do what’s best for individual teachers? You mean accept those 75k teachers who wouldn’t see a dime.
The governor’s proposal is a bad joke that shouldn’t see the light of day.
Maybe however this will wake the union up to the fact he doesn’t care what they think or want. Not one bit and the union will now realize it's fight or die.
I will tell you this. If the union does not fight and a bill goes through giving first year teachers a big raise and vets nothing, I will give myself a raise and quit. The union better wake up.   

Monday, October 28, 2019

Who else has Gary Chartrand bought? Ju'Coby Pittman edition

Who else on the city council doesn’t owe Gary Chartrand? Ju’Coby Pittman edition.
I would like to give Mrs. Pittman some credit. I have seen the financials to the Clara White mission and unlike Rory Diamond and his charity K9 for warriors she isn’t using it as her personal ATM like he is. That being said WTF is nobody on the city council not beholden to Gary Chartrand?  
From News4jax,
 A Jacksonville couple has decided to stand up against across-the-board city budget cuts that left a local rescue mission scrambling to maintain its programs.
Gary and Nancy Chartrand are donating in a big way to the Clara White Mission, pledging $50,000 every year for the next five years.
Now you might be saying, but Chris this happened in 2014 there is no way Chartrand could have been grooming her for her role on the city council so she could oppose the referendum 5 years later, and sure I would concede that.
The thing is, have you ever wondered why Rick Scott a republican governor appointed a democrat to a city council seat when he could have appointed a republican? He has two seats to fill when the Browns were arrested but instead of appointing two republicans he didn’t and Pittman was appointed to fill one of the seats. I mean have you met Mrs. Pittman she doesn't exactly travel in Curry and Scott's circles.  
I am sure Rick Scott asked around, and I am equally sure Chartrand recommended her because you know what, like most of the board does, it would be somebody else there that owed him a favor, like say opposing the special tax referendum.
I can imagine the conversation.
Scott calls into the Family’s basement where they are drinking brown liquor, smoking cigars and cutting and eating apple slices.
Scott- You guys have a real mess over there, I am going to have to make two appointments, what two republicans do you have in mind.
Curry- I have some ideas, what about you Gary?
Chartrand- oh I have somebody perfect in mind, but they aren’t a republican.
Scott- um what?
Curry- no way.
Chartrand- here me out, I have somebody that owes me a big favor.
How else to you explain Pittman’s appointment?
Six figures, to Curry, Six figures to Fischer, a Million to Diamond, a quarter million to Pittman, thousands to a dozen others. People should know that a millionaire from Ponte Vedra is running the city and people should know what his agenda is.   

Saturday, October 26, 2019

More and more teachers are fighting back, when will Florida? (draft)

While the Chicago teacher strike has grabbed the headlines, another strike gets set to happen.

From Patch,.com

 Dedham's public school teachers have voted to go on strike, effective immediately. School will be closed Friday following the Dedham Education Association voted 275 to 2 in favor of the strike after negotiations between the union and the school district reached an impasse, union President Timothy Dwyer told the Boston Globe. 

Dwyer said the strike started over disagreements on salary increases, health care coverage and other issues. This will be the first strike in the state in 12 years. 

"The administration needs to sit down and bargain with us," Dwyer told the Globe. "We remain open to negotiations anytime, any place ... They were looking for concessions during good financial times, making us work more with little or no compensation." 

Dwyer said the association is prepared to strike until it has a fair contract for its teachers. DEA officials told CBS one of the main sticking points of a new contract for teachers is protection from sexual harassment. 

It's illegal for public school teachers to strike in Massachusetts.

Did you read that last line? It is illegal to strike there just like it was in West Virginia which kicked off the calls to action.

I know people are scared because they don't think teachers in Florida are allowed to strike. We should challenge that part of the constitution but even if it was upheld think about this, could they fire 80 thousand of us? I don't think so. 

The FEA doesn't seem to get it. Tallahassee has no intention of helping the teaching profession or public ed. No friends they plan to destroy them and if you need evidence just look at the last decade. We can wear red for ed everyday and it won't make a difference because they don't care.

I was incensed when three weeks ago the FEA said the governors proposal that left out 76k teachers and did nothing for veterans was a good first step. How did they not say it was a non starter and insulting at that.

We aren't having a policy debate, no we are fighting for the future of public ed and the teaching profession. Well we should be anyways.

Friends what is the FEA going to say when this legislative session is over and Tallahassee has added barely anything to the base pupil allotment, budgeted tens of millions more for charters and vouchers and started another merit pay scam that leaves teachers out? There is always next year? Write some more letters, keep wearing red, we still have the bus? Other cites and states are fighting while we are thanking them for terrible ideas. When will enough be enough?   

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The intellectual dishonesty of the city council was stunning

How did some of these people get elected? 
After spending nearly two hours haggling over how much to spend on outside, outside council, because the city council believes their personal 35-member office of general council can’t be trusted to advise them properly on sale of JEA, they went on to discuss Matt Carlucci’s referendum opposing Jason Fischer’s J1 bill that will ask the state legislature to make changes to Jacksonville’s charter, allowing for the city to change from an appointed to elected superintendent. The school board already has the power to do so but has declined coming out forcibly against the J1 bill.
Rory Diamond weighed in first breaking etiquette by trying to withdraw the referendum before there was a vote saying he thought since it didn’t have the force of law it was irrelevant. Imagine that he thought the council’s opinion on a matter that would affect all of Jacksonville is irrelevant. His motion failed so the council now had to go on the record.
There were two reasons council persons gave for not supporting the bill and it’s hard to tell which was more disingenuous. First, LeAnna Cumber and others said that they didn’t know which was better, an elected or appointed super. If you don’t know 98 percent of the country thinks it’s an appointed superintendent, with only two states Florida and Alabama allowing an elected super. It is true in Florida 41 of 67 counties have elected supers but those supers only represent about 15 percent of the state’s children as those districts are small or rural. There is a lot more evidence that says having an appointed super is better too but what’s amazing is Cumber and a few others said they couldn’t be bothered to look it up. That they didn’t care enough to do the research on a subject that will affect the entire city. Let that sink in.  
The second reason for opposing the referendum, was the need to let people vote. Michael Boylan basically said since people wanted to vote on the referendum, then people should have to vote on whether having an elected super of not. He didn’t mention once that as of now people can’t vote on the referendum and the majority of the city council did all they could to obstruct the school board and the sales tax vote. This means he must also believe we now have to vote on whatever proposal a state legislator comes up with no matter how ridiculous, harmful or petty.
Also that’s what the J1 bill is, ridiculous, harmful and petty. Fischer didn’t introduce this version of the J1 bill to help children, it won’t, and that makes it harmful. His first version was for an appointed school board which means he was for appointments and against elections before he was for elections and against appointments which makes it ridiculous and its petty because the intent behind his bill is to replace the superintendent who has arguably taken us higher than all the ones that came before her but who has not bent the knee to the city’s donor class, something they cannot stand.
The resolution ultimately failed 9-9 giving Fischer, Curry and their donors, who want to control the school system’s budget and real estate, a victory. Sadly, it will probably be up to the citizens of Jacksonville to take it away.

Monday, October 21, 2019

City attorney says shall means shall, um what the %$#&

I don't know if it was ignorance, chutzpah or if the city attorney was just trolling the city, but at the City Council vs School Board hearing to see if the SB can hire their own attorney, the city attorney definitively said Shall means Shall, nothing more nothing less. I couldn't make this stuff up even if I tried.

Friends, I think we have known for some time the fix was in but here the OGA just seems to be laughing at us. They are so corrupt and brazen they don't care who sees it.


Jason Fischer sucks

There you go. I worked on that title for five minutes too.
In the piece below from Florida Politics, Fischer lies, attacks others, including republicans, and impugns people who disagree with him patriotism. After reading it, I thought Jason Fischer sucks, was the best and most appropriate title I could come up with.
Anybody else tired of him? Anybody else think he is an embarrassment?
Before you read the piece about the J1 bill and it is a must read, I want to remind everyone he was for an appointed school board, before he was for an elected super which means he was for appointments and against elections before he was for elections and against appointments. Also we know the only reason he is pushing his J1 bill is to satiate the mayor and his donors who are also not coincidently enough, the mayor’s donors.   
From Florida Politics, and my commentary is in bold.
Jacksonville state Rep. Jason Fischer is pushing a local bill that would start a process that could lead to an elected Duval County School Superintendent.

If the local bill passes, Duval voters in November 2020 would be able to vote on whether they want an elected Superintendent, setting up a potential 2022 election to select a replacement for a position appointed for decades.
The bill has proven controversial, ahead of a Duval County Legislative Delegation vote on whether to advance the local bill Nov. 1.
The Jacksonville City Council has delayed weighing in on the measure thus far.
Fischer on Oct. 8 asked for a deferral of the bill, with Council member Matt Carlucci (who opposes Fischer’s proposal) saying Fischer wanted to make the case for the local bill to the City Council in two weeks. However, he announced last week that he would not be at the City Council on the 22nd, as that date falls on a Tallahassee committee week. The Council will consider a resolution to oppose any changes to the School Board structure, and Fischer won’t be there. You know because Fischer A, doesn’t know how to work a calendar, B, he doesn’t care what the city council has to say because he feels like the fix is in with the republican dominated Duval delegation, C, both A and B.
This nettled Carlucci, per an email: “I deferred my bill of opposition out of courtesy upon Rep. Fishers last minute request just before our last city council meeting (where school board members and members of the public took time to attend) because he said he would drive back from Tallahassee to address the Jacksonville City Council at our next meeting. Just thought you all should know he will now be unable to attend that said meeting.”
“It’s hard to play ball under such a set of rules,” Carlucci added.
Fischer said he had no intention of getting back to the City Council in person, with the committee work at the Capitol being priority. He has, however, lobbied many members with personal phone calls, even as he stresses that he’s not involved in “advocacy” for the bill. He’s definitely not, no town halls, no community meetings not even a tweet or facebook post. You would think if he thought it was important he would give it a little boost but he hasn’t and it’s my bet it is because he thinks the fix is already in.
“I hope they embrace letting the voters in their district vote,” Fischer said. This vote, not the one for the referendum, let’s be clear, he is for people voting on things he likes but against people voting for things he doesn’t. Also before you call me a hypocrite at least pretend you know the origins of Fischer’s proposal. If you do, then like many of us you should be outraged. This J1 bill isn’t meant to improve education or even voter/super relationships, it’s meant to punish a political foe and to seize control of the districts resources and assets.   
In a conversation late last week in his office in Tallahassee, Fischer discussed the twists and turns in the local bill process, insisting that the State Legislature alone has the power to make law on this one.
And in that context, a City Council resolution to support or oppose his proposal makes no difference.
“They have no force of law. They’re a statement by them,” Fischer said. “Their opinions are interesting.”
But all governments are subsidiary to the state government, Fischer said. He just said the state government can do whatever they want and localities just have to take it. What do you think about that?
“When I filed the bill, the charter and delegation rules suggest we send it to the City Council or the affected agency, and I did that,” Fischer said.
The School Board, the “affected agency” in question, opposed Fischer’s proposal.
Carlucci, as Fischer insisted on many occasions, has no standing. The school board has standing and you ignored them?
“He found a way to gain a bunch of headlines by inserting himself into processes that he wasn’t welcome to, and this is one of those,” Fischer said. “Nobody asked for his opinion.” Nobody asked for Carlucci’s opinion? Nobody cares what elected politicians think about things that will affect their city? People care, and if Fischer cared about people he would know that.
“I’m not sure if he’s opposing democracy,” Fischer said, saying it’s “hypocritical” to call for votes on JEA or the sales tax referendum, but not on the elected Superintendent question. So he thinks people who are calling for a vote for the referendum but are against the vote for electing a super our hypocrites?  The stupidity here burns. He is against the vote on the referendum!!! He doesn’t want people to vote on it. Also democracy does not mean you have to vote on every fever dream a corrupt and unethical politician comes up with.   
Fischer noted the School Board’s opposition doesn’t matter, given voters are “wildly supportive of elected positions, like an elected Superintendent.” A straight up lie, Fischer is a straight up liar. Matt Schellenberg, no friend of public ed all but called him that at a meeting of the charter review commission. Who is for it? His donors, that’s all. Also are these the same people he said were wildly for an appointed school board?
Fischer noted that he was willing to testify to the Rules Committee, but that opportunity wasn’t extended to him. Did he ask? Carlucci has been very deferential to him? If he would have shown up do you think the committee would have ignored him? What about making a public comment you know like all citizens can do?  I have a feeling this may technically be true what he said, but it’s a kernel of truth among a cob of lies.
The concept has been discussed generally with Speaker Jose Oliva, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, as part of an ongoing conversation about education reform. An ongoing discussion? Is that to force every district to have an elected super? What other discussion could there be?

Ultimately, Fischer stresses that the lawmaking process for this one will in in Tallahassee. The lawmaking process that effects Jacksonville will be in Tallahassee? He just snubbed his nose at home rule which I thought was a tenant of the republican party? This friends is just more proof he only cares about advancing his personal interests and he thinks he has a better chance to do so with his rich donors than with the people of Jax.
“You can kind of chirp on the sidelines,” he said, “or get in the game over here.” This is what he thinks of Carlucci a veteran local politician who may be the most popular man in the city. He doesn’t say I disagree with Carlucci, instead he treats him with disdain.
so to sum up, Fischer sucks, and more and more people need to realize it.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The FLFOE's budget request, more proof the governor and commissioner used teachers as props

So the FLDOE, a department run by Richard Corcoran the man who traveled the state last week with Governor DeSantis, gave their budget proposal to the senate education committee today and guess what wasn't in it? Sadly you probably don't have to but if you did and guessed no raises for teachers, you win, sorry you lose again.

You know Corcoran runs the FLDOE right? I know I can't believe it either and I agree he has no business doing so, but because elections have consequences, dreadful, dreadful consequences, and he is. You would think any raises for teachers would be in their proposal but nope.

The worst and dumbest, sorry best and brightest bonus program that leaves out about half of the states teachers is still there, but nothing close to a raise.

Friends, DeSantis used teachers as a prop to boost his poll numbers and Corcoran was standing next to him at every stop, that's shameful.

The state's teachers, heck the state, deserves better.

To read more, click the link:

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Friends there isn't any money for teacher raises, DeSantis uses teachers to prop up his approval ratings.

Last week with a lot of fanfare and few details DeSantis announced a proposal to raise starting teacher salaries to 47,500, going from 2nd to 26th in the nation.

His proposal did nothing for veteran teachers and I seriously doubt it would make much of a difference for recruitment and retention too, but all of that is moot because there isn't any money to pay for it an none seems coming.

First the state board of education in August proposed a fifty dollar increase in the per pupil allotment, where districts get money to pay their teachers, since when you factor in inflation that is actually a decrease the money isn't coming from there.

Then when DeSantis made the proposal expected to cost 600 million or about 2.4 billion less than would get us to 2007 levels, the speaker of the house Jose Olivia basically threw a wet blanket on the proposal saying, the House would consider it, so it doesn't seem like the money is coming from there either.

And that brings us to today.

Where the FLDOE doesn't seem to have any idea where the money if coming either.

  The Governor straight up used to teachers as a prop to pump up his poll numbers when he did his education tour last month. The state board, the house and the FLDOE have no idea where the money for any teacher raise let alone the one he proposed is coming from and if they don't have an idea then who does. People shouldn't think for a second that DeSantis is any different than the other politicians in Tallahassee who pay lip service to education while trying to undermine it.

For shame governor DeSantis, for shame.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Jason Fischer gives the city the middle finger... again.

Jason Fischer is an embarrassment to the city there is no getting around it.

In a craven attempt to curry (see what I did there) favor with the mayor and his donors, Fischer has proposed two versions of a J1 bill which asks the state legislature to change Duval's charter, first making the school board appointed and then later the superintendent elected. This means he was for appointments and against elections before he was against appointments and for elections. Fischer after asking the city council for the opportunity to speak about his proposal, now says he can't be bothered. 

Apparently Fischer doesn't know what calendars are. Did I mention Fischer was an embarrassment?

Jacksonville deserves better than this guy because it certainly couldn't do worse.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Florida's republicans fail over and over but still want more bites at the apple. (draft)

The republican party has been in complete control of education policy for over twenty years, and last week they admitted they had failed over and over again with teacher pay and curriculum but they still want even more bites at the apple.

Florida routinely ranks near the bottom on education investment and their systematic, criminal neglect of education had led to a teacher shortage crisis. DeSantis acknowledged that last week, so I guess that's something but unfortunately he made a laughable attempt to address it.

From the Tallahassee Democrat, 

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday his intention to lean on the Florida Legislature to bump the starting minimum teacher’s salary to $47,500. Currently, the starting state salary is $37,636, according to the National Education Association. 

The announcement comes with more questions than answers, Leon Classroom Teachers Association President Scott Mazur said.

His proposal left out 76 thousand veteran teachers and proposed paying first year teachers as much as 16 or 17th year teachers.

Yet to give the devil his due DeSantis at least acknowledged the problem even if he didn't make a serious attempt to address it. 

Then later in the week they announced a listening tour because they want to change Florida's standards, the fifth time they will have done so since they took over Tallahassee. 

From the Sunshine State News,

This week, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced the latest stops in his Florida Standards Listening Tour, which will start in the coming days, giving the public another chance to weigh in on what should replace Common Core in the Sunshine State. 
When Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order at the start of the year to eliminate Common Core in Florida, he also called on Corcoran to review and revise the standard by January 2020. 
“The revised draft was crafted based on feedback the Department of Education received over the last several months from Florida teacher experts, national experts and the education community,” the Education Department noted this week. “In addition to the listening tour, the public can submit feedback on each of the second draft standards individually at or email at”
The thing is Florida's teachers aren't calling for a replacement, they are calling for a tweaking.

From the Orlando Sentinel, 

WINTER SPRINGS — Florida’s Common Core academic standards are demanding but also are helping students make gains while the state’s proposed replacements are weaker, vaguer and represent a “step backwards” for public education, educators told state leaders at a “Florida Standards Listening Tour” event. 

More than a dozen teachers and administrators, most from Seminole County but a few from neighboring Orange and Volusia counties, on Tuesday evening urged the state not to make significant changes to Florida’s current language arts and math benchmarks or to adopt the less-demanding replacements the state has drafted. 

“This lowering of expectations will lead to gaps in our students’ learning,” said Pamela Ferrante, a literacy specialist for the Seminole school district. "These changes are a step backwards.” 

Other speakers at the Florida Department of Education event, held at Seminole’s Winter Springs High School, agreed.

It's unknown if Corcoran will listen to the states teachers but if past is prologue we can be assured of one thing, it's he will do whatever will make his donors the most money.

 Republicans have failed time and time again, even with choice where nearly 600 charter schools have taken public money and failed and voucher schools that have no accountability and can teach junk classes by people without degrees.

They have criminally underfunded public ed, created a teacher shortage and changed standards more often than the country changes presidents but still they are in charge. Welcome to Floriduh, where one political party has failed up.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Tallahassee is fooling itself if they think raising starting salaries will help the teacher exodus crisis (draft)

Or they are attempting to fool us.

The governor and education commissioner certainly got headlines when they announced a starting teacher salary increase, but then they got questions and ridicule as well.

How they think a pay increase that does nothing for 76 thousand veteran teachers and makes the pay of first year teachers the same as 16th, 17th year teachers, would be acceptable is beyond me, but the thing is I am not their audience, people who don't pay attention are.

For those that aren't pay attention Florida and the nation are undergoing both a teacher shortage, fewer people are going into the profession and a teacher exodus, veterans are leaving and without a doubt the pay is a big problem but it's just one of many big problems if you get what I mean.

Other problems are creativity and autonomy, why many people go into teaching has been stripped away. More and more teachers are told, what, when and how to teach, their experience and professional judgement are discounted and ignored.

Discipline is a problem too as more and more schools both cook the books to make their numbers look good and don't support teachers with problem children.

The test, having a high stakes test that determines pay and employment for teachers and advancement is not what education is supposed to be about but its become all education is about. Tests are supposed to measure instruction not drive it, and what we have has become the end all be all of education. I mean for public schools anyways. Voucher schools that are also funded with public money don't have to worry about tests at all, but I guess that is another post.   

A lack of job security. Any teacher hired after 2010 can be let go at the end of a year for any or no reason and teachers with proven track records might think they are safe but they aren't. How are people supposed to go through life and make life decisions knowing they can just be fired. 

Then their is the lack of respect. The governors proposal was disrespectful, not treating teachers like professionals is disrespectful, overloading them with accountability on steroids something again voucher school teachers don't have to endure, is disrespectful.

Teachers have all the responsibility and none of the authority and often just a smidgen of the resources and support they need to be successful and that's disrespectful too.

I could go on but yeah, the governor and commissioner are fooling themselves if they think just raising starting salaries is going to make a difference, that or they are trying to fool us.   

Friday, October 11, 2019

Rory Diamond's seven figure by off.

Well we now know how much Rory Diamond cost to buy off and it was considerably more than 30 pieces of silver.

Gary Chartrand made a one million dollar donation to his charity which pays Diamond over 200 grand a year.


On Twitter Diamond points out the donation was made before the referendum was proposed but that is irrelevant. When you purchase a politician its often not for a solitary purpose and you can look at Jason Fischer another one of Chartrand's minions as proof of that.

This explains why Diamond has been so nasty towards the super and school board and so against teh referendum. He has without a doubt done Chartrand proud.

For shame Diamond, for shame.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

At some point the FEA's inaction becomes complicity (draft)

I am a union guy, strike that I am a proud union guy but at some point the FEA's inaction becomes complicity.

Fedrick Ingram was on the radio program First Coast Connect where he started by saying, this was a step forward and the governor should be applauded.

Um what? No, he should be outraged. He should scream at the top of his lungs that any proposal that leaves out 76k teachers and does nothing for veteran teachers who have seen their salaries go backwards is a non starter. He should say no scream this outrages and insults us.

DeSantis wasn't being serious, he was grasping for a headline and he deserves ridicule not applause. He isn't trying to help teachers, he is trying to divide them.

If Ingram thinks we are having a policy debate and that Tallahassee is interested in solving the problem, one they created and routinely exacerbate, then we need to get Ingram out of there.  How does he not understand that Tallahassee has two goals in mind, one replace public ed with a 
hodgepodge of voucher schools and charters and two, to destroy the teaching profession. 

Fedrick can we talk here? They don't care about doing the right thing. They don't care about helping teachers either, but they might care about a strike and before you or anybody whines it's illegal, it was illegal in West Virginia too and good luck firing 80 thousand of us.

This is the crazy thing too, I bet most supers and school boards would go along with it because they know how harmful Tallahassee has been to public ed and unlike Fedrick apparently they know there is no end in site. 

What are we waiting for? Because if we wait to much longer there won't be anything left. 

If we can't strike it doesn't matter how many red for ed t-shirts we wear, letters to the editor we write or rallies in Talley we have because the republicans that run the show aren't moved by things like decency, fairness and what's right for teachers and students and I for one would like somebody to challenge the law that says we can't strike. What are we waiting for friends, the house is already on fire and that noise you hear is Tallahassee fiddling.   

A little history of teachers not being able to strike in Florida, Wusfnews,

Some of you might be saying its against the law to strike in Florida, well if you haven't noticed laws when it comes to education don't mean much here. Look at how the class size amendment has been so gutted it is nearly unrecognizable. earlier this year when the supreme court threw out the fund our schools lawsuit, despite the constitution saying it was the states paramount duty, they basically said, constitution, schmostitution. Also we are supposed to have a uniform education system, well friends, billions on vouchers and charters at the expense of public education is far from uniform.

Tallahassee is dismantling public ed and the pace has quickened, and they are no longer doing it behind closed doors.

It's passed time we did something and step one should be to see if those laws preventing strikes are legal.

We have to do something because time is rapidly running out.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Is DeSantis planning to take away district's rights to negotiate teacher salaries?

Governor DeSantis and Education Commissioner Corcoran announced while visiting a school in Middleburg that they wanted to raise beginning teacher salary to 47,500 moving Florida from 26th to second in the nation in that category. Sounds great right? Accept the devils in the details and there are a lot of devils in the few details he announced. 

First the governor said his proposal would give 100 thousand teachers a raise. Well a big problem there is Florida has over 175 thousand public school teachers. Florida's veteran teachers who have seen their salaries actually go backwards over the last decade would get nothing from the governors headline grabbing proposal.

Then the governor did not mention how he planned to pay for his proposal which was estimated to cost about six hundred million dollars. Now he could find some of that money by ending the nearly universally reviled and ridiculed best and brightest bonus that originally used teachers SAT scores but later changed into a complicated formula factoring an entire schools growth scores. Both versions left out thousands of effective and highly effective teachers. Furthermore the speaker of the Florida House Jose Olivia didn't seem to enthusiastic as he said like all the governors proposals the house would consider it.  

Another large flaw in the plan is the state cannot determine teacher salaries as it violates their collective bargaining rights. Salaries are something by law Districts and teacher's representatives, their unions negotiate for. Now I guess if the governor does find the funding and pass something through he could also pass another law stripping districts of their power to negotiate salaries but I am not sure if the legislature would have the appetite for that during an election year.  

I also don't think just raising salaries will make that much of a difference. Not with teachers being stripped of autonomy, creativity, and work protections and forced to endue runaway accountability on steroids. Pay is a big problem, but its not the only big problem if you know what I mean. 

If DeSantis were serious about attracting new teachers and keeping veterans, he would insist the state legislature add a thousand dollars to the per pupil formula, which would take us to about a 2007 level of spending, that's right friends we would have to add a gran to get back to 12 year old spending levels, and let unions and districts hammer it out. I bet they wouldn't exclude veteran teachers or support staff many of whom don't make a living wage. Instead of coming up with a serious solution however, DeSantis went with a headline, that leaves out 40 percent of teachers, the house isn't behind and that legally he can't initiate.  

We need serious solutions and we need serious people to come up with them. A governor who uses smoke an mirrors and is only looking for a photo op and headlines does a disservice and does nothing to help the problem.

Florida's teachers, some of the worst paid and most put upon in the nation deserve better, all of them, not just a few of them.

The city council votes to spend up to 1.85 million on lawyer

Remember when several members of the City Council balked at the around a million dollar cost of a special election for the referendum? An amount I remind you they were never going to pay as the district said it would assume the costs. Well I guess money's not that tight after all as they just voted to spend up to 1.85 million on a lawyer to represent them in the JEA sale. 

From Florida Politics,

The Jacksonville City Council is prepared to spend up to $1.85 million to hire outside lawyers to represent its interests in a potential sale of utility JEA...
...Council President Scott Wilson is no attorney, but attorneys on the Council had insight.
“I know some attorneys, some firms that would be great,” was Wilson’s characterization of his colleagues’ feelings.
It’s going to be a potpourri of billable hours for multiple firms, if discussion Tuesday afternoon in the Council agenda meeting is any indication.
“It’s going to be more than one counsel,” cautioned Randy DeFoor, given the need for lawyers who focus on issues ranging.
You know, because the OGC doesn't represent their interests.  Also the city council can hire lawyers but the district can't?
If you needed more proof though I couldn't imagine it at this point that the city council's fight against the district was so their donors could get paid, then this 1.85 million for some lawyers should be it.
What happened this summer was an embarrassing farce and we should all be ashamed at city hall. 
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Monday, October 7, 2019

Are Corcoran and DeSantis trying to improve teacher salaries or are they just trying to get a head line?

The speaker of the house Jose Olivia seems to be saying they are just looking for a headline.

No photo description available.

Um do these guys not talk to each other? The next session doesn't start to March, couldn't he have reached out to Olivia and said, Jose old buddy what do you think?

Nope didn't happen.

These are some things that have happened recently. The state board of education when you factor in inflation recommended a cut to education spending and Senate President Bill Galvano said we're (Florida) doing just great with education spending. Neither of those facts give me much hope that something is going to give and DeSantis going to come through.

Friends we need to strike, and I know they say striking in Florida is illegal, but good luck firing 80 thousand of us and it was illegal other places and prevailed. They don't care about teachers or public school kids and maybe a strike might force them to, despite DeSantis's headline grabbing proposal, the only thing it really was, they aren't interested in doing the right thing.

I asked a question in the title but I think we all know the real answer. 

DeSantis’s pay raise proposal is shameful and we shouldn’t pretend it’s not (draft)

Today with as much fanfare as he could muster, Governor DeSantis announced a teacher raise proposal that has been met with responses ranging from meh to outrage. He wants to raise the starting teacher salary to 47,500 taking Florida from 26th to second. He says over a hundred thousand teachers will get raises. The biggest problem is Florida has over 175 thousand public school teachers and this does between nothing and next to nothing for tens of thousands of veteran teachers who have seen their salaries actually go backwards over the last decade.
From Florida Politics,
 DeSantis noted that 100,000 teachers statewide would get pay bumps, with this proposal that would “take Florida from the bottom half of states” to “the top two in terms of teacher compensation.”...
 …“As Sen. Bradley pointed out during the governor’s Monday morning news conference, Florida needs to not only recruit qualified teachers, but to retain those teachers once they are in our classrooms,” Ingram added. “Looking at the big picture, our students need more than great teachers, and both students and teachers need support.
 “The FEA is waiting to hear how the governor plans to lift this state out of the basement in national rankings on education funding and to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity for a world-class education.”
 So to retain qualified teachers, we offer them, um looking at the proposal nothing.
 Also how are they going to pay for it and make sure the funding is available year after year? The state board after you factor in inflation just recommended a pay cut.
 They Governor and the republican party love smoke and mirrors, big productions that turn out to be nothing or far less than promised.
 Increasing starting salary is not going to attract many more teachers to our classrooms, giving teachers autonomy and scaling back punitive testing just might.  
Raising the minimum starting salary isn’t going to stop the exodus either, great I spend nearly two decades in our schools, and now I am making a weekend at Disneyland more than brand new ones.
I feel less motivated after his proposal and I bet I am not the only one.
I have an idea, raise the per pupil allocation by a thousand dollars, getting it back just to 2007 levels and let districts and teachers figure it out. This proposal was meant to grab headlines and divide teachers and nothing else.  
They say the devil is in the details, well friends I bet there are a lot of devils in the details of this proposal.  
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