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Sunday, October 18, 2020

DCPS is using the DOH as an excuse to risk lives

 DCPS is risking lives, that's a fact, and another is they are using the DOH as cover to do so. Contact tracing that quarantines half of a married couple, one sibling and not others, teachers but not their students and takes days to do is useless. I know it, you know it, and the district does knows it too.

A SB member I actually like said they are doing what the DOH tells them to do. This, by the way, is the same DOH that wouldn't return their calls over the summer and which is politically compromised. 

If you want to be horrified by how bad a job Florida is doing, read the link below.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/fl-ne-coronavirus-positivity-rate-florida-explainer-20201014-tfho3kvw7jaabmlv2d7gwndgii-story.html?

What's to stop the district from saying, well, if this teacher is quarantined, their students should be too, or the other half of a set of twins or a married couple, or you know things that make sense.

You ever notice nothing is ever the district's fault? The state made us do it, the DOH says, it happened at a party? The super and board are in charge of the district, and them repeatedly, REPEADELY giving up their authority is going to destroy public education.

Charters, testing, screwing over veteran teachers, keeping teachers on one-year contracts, risking lives,  they say over and over there is nothing they can do. Then why the hell are they there? Why do we have them? They are supposed to stand up for public education but instead, they ask how high they have to jump and how far they have to get out of the way as public education and the teaching profession are steamrolled. If they care about us, I haven't seen it.

The district says they are just following orders, which is never an acceptable excuse, but the truth is the DOH is giving them cover for what they want to do, keep butts in the seat, so they don't jeopardize the referendum.  

I want to share some things with you in case you did not know. Contact tracing in our schools as we do it is a bad joke, social distancing, by and large, is not happening, and the dashboard is not an accurate representation of what is happening in the district. We have been lucky so far, but that luck will run out.   

People's lives are worth more than a roll of the dice. Just ask the Jaguars.  

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/30130808/jacksonville-jaguars-closing-their-facility-positive-covid-19-test

    

Monday, October 12, 2020

DCPS's be lucky rather than good strategy is reckless.

 It pains me to put these words on paper but the undeniable truth is DCPS is not doing all it can to keep its staff and students safe and has gone with an “it’s better to be lucky than good” strategy.  

Let me tell you about my personal experience with their contract tracing. 

Last week a colleague went out on a Monday not feeling well thinking it was probably allergies. They went to the doctor who also thought it was probably something fairly benign but since they did have some COVID symptoms, there is a lot of overlap with colds, flu, and allergies, they should have a test just to be safe.   

Three days later when the results came back, unfortunately, it turned out they were infected. What did we do in the meantime? Absolutely nothing. Everyone who had been around them carried on as if it was business as usual. As infuriating as that was, what we did next was even worse. 

The staff has to cover classes like never before. When the superintendent over the summer said we had 2000 ready to go, she was at best wildly inaccurate. So schools have either been splitting classes up or creating sub-teams. My now sick colleague was part of a sub-team that went to a resource one day to help cover.   

So when the district did its contact tracing they checked the room that she was usually in all day every day and the room she was just in part of one day. Mind you now this person has been out four days and the district only found traces of COVID in the resource room.  

So instead of quarantining the staffs of both rooms they just quarantined the staff of the resource room, but none of the kids that go into that room every other day, which would have been at least four different classes on multiple occasions, including mine twice, since the staff member first felt ill. They did practically nothing to the class that she was in every day, all day, except for that one period, THAT ONE PERIOD, that they were in because they were part of a sub-team. 

Now they did quarantine two of the students in the staff members room and three in the class they helped to cover that one day, and I was told it was because they did not wear masks, which is an entirely different and reckless issue. When I asked about my three students who either don’t or won’t wear masks, who were in the class where the COVID was found, I was told that the information would be passed along, which is maddening because now we are almost a week from the first showing of symptoms and maybe three weeks from the initial infection. However, friends, it gets even worse. 

One of the resource staff that was required to quarantine, you know because she was in a room where traces of COVID was found, is married to another staff member, who was at school and just as confused about the process as all of us were.  

Did I mention that this is the second time people going to or in this particular resource have been required to quarantine because there is that too?  

I just want to say I am not mad at my school administration who have had their hands tied or my colleagues, we are all doing the best we can. It’s the district with their feckless and inconsistent policies that has me both infuriated and scared.   

So to sum up, nothing has been required of my children who were in the infected room multiple times, nor the majority of the children who worked with the infected staff member. Only two resource instructors and five maskless children have been sent home and the reason apparently is DCPS is not interested in keeping us safe and instead only manifestly cares about keeping butts in seats.     

This is not an isolated incident either. You can see all over social media how teachers and students are out, and it’s not being reported and unless something happens during school hours’ contact tracing is kept to a minimum. 

Somewhere along the way, DCPS decided it is better to be lucky than good and I will be honest, we are doing better than I thought, but somewhere along the line that luck will run out. 

What we are doing is reckless and that is the bottom line.  


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Curry shills for charter school pac to push referendum

 Lenny Curry is just plain gross. I have thought this for a while, be he really cemented it in his TV spot supporting the referendum (something I support). These commercials are funded by a charter school PAC and charter schools are about to make a huge windfall, as millions will be diverted out of our schools and the community and into the pockets of their owners. Millions will go to Curry's donors and not our schools.

So there are two groups ostensibly working for the referendum.

First, there is Duval Citizens for Better Schools, chaired by Warren Jones.  Let's call this the good pac.

Then there is Together for all our Students, run by Eric Robertson, a Republican operative who has worked for Lenny Curry and Jason Fischer. Its primary funder is Gary Chartrand, and let's call this the bad pac.

Jason Fischer and Gary Chartrand fought tooth and nail against the referendum. They said they wanted charter schools to get a cut based on enrollment, not based on need, but what they really wanted to do was get paid. You see, Chartrand is owed millions by the KIPP school, and Fischer is paid, well paid, to do Chartrand's bidding.

Now with dollar signs in their eyes, they are ponying up to make sure the referendum passes, and it is sickening.

I hope the referendum passes but let's not fool ourselves or sugar coat things, because the district is now required to share with charters, hundreds of millions of dollars will be diverted from schools and communities that need them to the bank accounts of charter owners and millions of that won't even stay in Jacksonville.

This gets a little wonky, so I apologize and hope I explain it well enough.

Charter schools will be able to spend the referendum money on lease payments. Not surprisingly, 29 out of the city's 32 charter schools are leased, including the KIPP schools, which owe Chartrand millions of dollars. Much of that money won't go to upgrades or filling needs or making improvements.  Nope, it will go to make charter owners richer, and that's because quite often, the charter pays its lease payment to a company that is also owned by the charter operator.

And here you might have thought charter schools were around to educate kids.

Lenny Curry, Jason Fischer, most of the Duval delegation and city council thought this, siphoning money out of neighborhoods and schools so rich people could get richer was a better plan than taking care of our schools, children, and neighborhoods. 

Hundreds of millions of dollars will be diverted from our schools and that hopefully outrages all of us. 

Oh, let's not forget our school board has approved the expansion of or just plain new ones something like 9 charter schools in the past six months. Curry's gross but in my eyes, they aren't much better.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Voluntold to sub

 Teachers all across the district are being voluntold to sub for absent colleagues, give up their planning and lunches, and the system is set up so teachers cannot say no. Not if they want to keep their jobs, their teaching assignment, or their standing that is.

Did you know you could be a 12 year veteran of teaching, TWELVE YEARS!!!!!, and you can be let go at the end of the year for any or no reason. It was a decade ago that teachers lost job protections.  Principals know this and use it to their advantage too. 

Oh, you can't cover, okay make sure all your paperwork is perfect, or don't expect that highly effective evaluation, what's your thoughts about being a traveling teacher or having multiple preps? How about I just single you out at every opportunity?  

I think it sucks that we don't have enough subs, but that's a district problem that they should solve. Mrs. McGuilicutty at P.S. whatever is already overwhelmed and doesn't have enough time or support. She and thousands of others need every second they can get.

From time to time, you hear that district staff will teach a class, well its time they stepped up, and if they feel they are too busy, welcome to the world of every teacher in the district.  

It's a shame what is happening in many of our schools and shame on the super and school board for letting it happen too.




Wednesday, September 30, 2020

I am voting for the referendum because I believe in the district, I just wish they believed in me.

I got an email from my school administration telling me if I wanted to vote for the referendum, I had to register by Monday. I am pretty sure it wasn't their idea to send it to me, which undoubtedly came from higher up. So much for the no-politics rule. 

It's okay; I plan to vote for the referendum because I believe in the district and understand it desperately needs the extra resources; I just wish the district believed in the rest of its staff and me. It's hard to forget that during the pandemic, the district has taken resource, planning, and even lunchtime from thousand of teachers and prioritized making sure standards are on our walls rather than taking care of its staff.

A colleague kind of summed it up in a Facebook post a few days ago.














That summed up a lot of people's feelings, though it really just scratched the surface.

Let's add basically useless and reckless contract tracing, a lack of teaching materials for many, and the seeming lack of a coherent plan to the list. 

I get it, there is a pandemic that ratchets everything up, but the district seems to have said to itself, let's take it even farther. Let's dump and overwhelm teachers like never before. 

Greene is making miss me Vitti (though not Irenetta talk about failing up). I said it, and I know many of you are thinking about it.

So my plan is to support the referendum; our system shouldn't suffer because the current iteration of our administration pulled back the curtains and revealed they were capricious and inept. I believe we will see better days, those of that survive or don't quit anyway.   

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The district is "just following orders"

 Like that was not acceptable historically it should not be acceptable today. 

I am absolutely sick of hearing its the state that made the schools open and it's the DOH who is responsible for our woeful contact tracing. Absolutely untrue on both fronts but what they have done is given the district cover for some of their dreadful decisions. Just following orders is an unacceptable excuse.

Greene wanted schools to open.

She didn't want to inform people about the spread of COVID in our schools either. These are facts.

I want to remind everyone the state lost the lawsuit about their executive order, and I don't believe for a second they would have even attempted to claw back any money if we would have gone completely virtual for the first nine weeks. 

Then there is also the fact that the state constitution gives the district the ability to run its schools. 

We could and should be doing better.

I would say when you are in a hole stop digging but the truth is we are aren't in a hole we are right where the district wants us to be or you don't give in to bullies but the truth is the district and the state are on the same page.     



Saturday, September 26, 2020

DCPS's contract tracing is worthless

 Let me tell you what happened at my school, a class and the staff that worked with it were was quarantined. This class and staff went to electives; the elective teachers and their paras weren't even told to get tested. The other classes that went to those classes weren't either, you know, because reasons, the chief being safety is not a concern.

Then there is this which is absolute b*llsh*t,

So they expect us to believe this member of the football team didn't come into contact with any other member of the football team? That's beyond belief, but it gets even worse.

I hear about and read all the time about cases that don't show up on the dashboard, and that's probably because the district is only counting cases that seem to happen while actually at school. If you were at school and get sick, then don't go back to school; the district appears to be saying, shhh, don't ask, don't tell. I can't say for sure this is happening here; the media has widely reported it is happening elsewhere.   

The district is risking lives and them blaming what they want to do anyways on the state is unconscionable.  

We deserve leadership that is going to work hard and fights for us, not one that sits backs and embraces the clutterf*ck that is ongoing. We deserve one that fights for and insists we are safe, not one that plays the system and doesn't care.

In my 20 years of education, and my 13 years of covering the district I have never seen something so despicable and dangerous. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

About those 2000 subs, we are missing 1500 (draft)

 I don't like saying the superintendent lied but when one bluffs they should understand it may be called. She said we had 2000 subs some trained in DHR ready to go but the reality is we have closer to 500 as daily over a quarter of jobs go unfilled.


Now I want to be fair, some positions are harder to fill than others and if somebody fails their test in the morning it may be hard to get a sub at a moments notice, but that being said if Greene was being honest over 1600 of those ready to go subs are passing on gigs on a daily basis.

I think this however exposes and even bigger problem. When she talked about the subs she also said we only had 80 something openings when the truth was we had twice that many. If she is going to be what some say deceptive, though others might say overly optimistic about these things, what else might she be either of those things about, the spread of COVID in our schools definitly comes to mind. 

Then when she left Manatee she left a fair amount of scandals in her wake. Rising and unexpected construction costs, a new costly computer program, and a grade inflation scandal.  I barely covered any of these thinsg because Vitti was such a disaster and I wanted her to succeed. At some point don't we have to consider all of these things aren't just one offs and maybe there is a patern there?

To read more about Greene's past scandals, click the links,

https://thebradentontimes.com/best-of-2019-public-kept-in-dark-on-scandals-as-they-voted-for-tax-increas-p21492-158.htm?fbclid=IwAR1Lk8fCvtOt1uEfRhvU8BjjXtJDfStAxlwWJ7-dWUiICkSOmeuFQHpzme4

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2018/12/coal-in-superintendent-greenes-stocking.html

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190317/construction-costs-soar-for-manatee-schools


 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Set up to fail

 I was so mad I was on the brink of tears. Yesterday I could use a curriculum that I had for years and where not perfect, gave me lots of material to work with, then like a light switch turning off, it was gone. The district didn't even think teachers were worthy of a heads up. I felt set up to fail, and sadly, I am not the only one, and the district's only response seemed to be, cry me a river.

In the last few days, I have read about on Facebook or heard from several how they too felt set up to fail.

No books or the right materials.

No access to a printer, or a working one anyways.

12 hours of work over the weekend and still not caught up.

They spent their planning calling parents of students who hadn't shown up or shown much interest if they did.

Crazy big Duval homeroom classes.

Crazy big brick and motor ones too.

Way too much to do, and not nearly enough time to do. No slack is given, expectations higher than ever.

Then there is that pesky pandemic too. It's almost like the district office is unaware. You would think they would be bending over backwards to lighten the load but that is obviously not the case for many.

Teaching in 2020 is hard, and don't let anyone tell you differently.

I felt disrespected and pissed, so I went all the way to the top and sent superintendent Greene this email.

Superintendent Greene,

 

ESE teachers all over the district just received an email that we would no longer have access to ULS. I tried to log in to download the rest of the lessons I had started, but I can't. We received no notice, and I guess we are just out of luck.

 

We are switching to a new curriculum called Teach Town. The ESE department might tell you they consulted with staff, but that is a misrepresentation; they consulted with a handful of staff, some of whom liked it and some of whom did not. I personally don't like it. It does not give us nearly the range of activities as ULS does, and where it might make a good supplement, as the driver of instruction, it is woefully inadequate.

 

I get it though, curriculums change, and the district rarely takes into account what teachers want; the thing is there is a pandemic going on, and as teachers are more stressed than ever and expected to do more than ever, is this really the right time to radically shift our instruction? I don't think it is, and I am probably not the only one.

 

Please instruct the ESE department to slow down with the shift and restore our access to ULS. Please put me and my colleagues in a position where we can succeed.

 

Chris Guerrieri


To which she responded.


Dear Mr. Guerrieri,

 

I understand your frustration.  This year has been very unsettling for many of us, and changes that would be easy to accept in the past are causing distress amid the backdrop of a global pandemic.  The ESE department reached out to receive feedback from teachers and did a pilot of the Teach Town curriculum in the spring.  With the uncertainty and stay at home order during the spring you may have missed the opportunity to give input. However, I am very familiar with both curriculums; both have positives and areas that don’t address the FSAA and or Access Points well.  Teach Town does a better job for our students who function on the higher levels of Access Points Standards and has specific lessons focused on essential transition skills.   

 

To provide some relief, I’ve asked the ESE department to allow you access to ULS for the remainder of the school year as we transition to Teach Town.  We only have limited licenses available, so ESE will work with any teacher until the licenses are gone as we will completely transition to Teach Town as the Core for students in the transition program.  Thank you for reaching out, and we will get through this together.  

 

 Kind regards,

 

Dr. Diana Greene

Superintendent


Now I think she missed some things like, quite frankly, the way the district makes curriculum choices is plain wrong and what the district did to its teachers was disrespectful, but right there, she says, at least for now, any teacher that wants to use ULS can use ULS, and I plan to hold her to that. In fact, I am grateful first for her response and then for at least our temporary reprieve.


So friends don't take it unless you are going to take it right to the boss. Your planning period getting stolen, your books still not there, no printers, or whatever it is, take it straight to Greene, nothing may happen, but who knows, she may just listen.


Now I have to be honest; I still feel overwhelmed, and I still don't think the district seems to care, but every journey starts with a step, and I had one today.   

Monday, September 14, 2020

Where did all the, planning, time go.

 Let me tell you my story first.

I didn't lose my planning period, I still have the 90 minutes I had last year. I did however since we are self-contained go from two preps to five. Now I have been sharing with my department and them with me, but it's still a lot more work.

I did lose my lunch however as the kids eat in the room. Now I guess technically I could go somewhere else, though I have no idea where that would be.

This morning a colleague asked me if they should reach out to the super (YES!!!!) because the thirty minutes they had been getting in elementary school was now being eaten up by serving breakfast in the class, and no you can't really plan around eating children. Mind you elementary school teachers already get the short stick when it comes to planning.

Then there is my high school and middle school friends who lost almost half of their planning when they went to a 6 period day. Now I actually like the 50-minute class, but the idea behind that is staff gets two of them off to plan.

Now you might be thinking well the classes are shorter so there is less to plan, but the thing is now they meet every day instead of every other so the reality is there is more.

Teachers in effect all across the board have more to do and a lot less time to do it. You would think the district would bend over backward to lighten the load, but according to the dozens of teachers across all grade levels that I have spoken to, that is sadly not the case. So if they are not going to do what it is right, it's time teachers did and that starts by them just saying no.

Want me to cover a class, you had your freebie so no.

You want me to let students into my class in non agreed upon times, no, sorry,

They want you to do just as much paperwork, no, I will give an honest day's work until the day ends, and then that's it. What's not done will go into the to-do pile and I don't care how big it gets.

I know it's hard, many of you feel like you will be letting your kids and school down if you don't work like a yoked ox, but the truth is, by doing so, you are letting them down.

The district depends on you working unpaid overtime, and they set the system up so that's what you will have to do. They didn't give a second thought to your or their well being.  The system doesn't care about kids or teachers, it cares about the system.  

Things will not improve until you say no.

Those of us that care about public ed and the teaching profession needs you to say no. I am begging you to say no.

Just say no.  

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Greene gets what she wants, more people in schools.

 More people in schools mean more danger for children and staff. This, however, is what Greene wants, and let that sink in.

Over the next few weeks, the hybrid model which allowed middle and high school students to do some of their learning from home comes to an end.

From First Coast News, 

More students are about to be in Duval County Public Schools as the school system begins phasing out its hybrid learning model in accordance with Florida's emergency order mandating full-time, in-person learning options.

https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/education/more-students-in-school-dcps-hybrid-model-phase-out-begins-monday/77-2fc70368-6344-4b27-862f-

Greene says this complies with the executive order from the state but like usual she blames the state for doing her dirty work. She doesn't even acknowledge that the state lost its court case, though it was stayed to keep the new normal, which in Jacksonville includes the hybrid model. 

She might say the rollback of the hybrid is a compromise, but it's only a compromise if there were other options on the table. It is only a compromise if the super proposed keeping the hybrid through the first nine weeks or something else. The state just agreeing to Greene's proposal is not a compromise.   

Thus far there have been dozens of infections and hundreds of quarantines. What does she think will happen when we put tens of thousands more back in the schools? She knows and if she cares one iota I haven't seen it.

People might say we are doing better and cases are down and sure maybe, I don't know who or what to trust but even if that is true, and I have my doubts, this isn't the time to let up. It's time to bare down or we will be right back to where we were or worse and I want to remind everyone we are still in a much worse position than when we shut everything down in March. 

In my opinion, Greene's choices through the pandemic have been reckless and dangerous and I think it is time for her to go.   

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

If the superintendent is going isn't going to be honest about subs what else will she not be honest about.

Superintendent Greene has not been honest with us and that may be as uncomfortable for you to read as it was for me to write, but it's the truth, and if the superintendent is going to decive to us about job openings and sub positions, where is her limit? 

On Facebook, I posed this question:

 The super said we had 2000 subs ready to go, including some trained to do virtual learning. I don't think this is accurate. Every day there is a call for several sub-teams at my school. I was wondering if any teachers have had a hard time getting a sub or have had to cover classes because of teacher absences.

I put in on my personal page and four others whose primary focus was local education. The response was overwhelming and damning.

The posts received over a hundred comments, and I received 11 personal messages about subs, and overwhelmingly they reported issues.

Classes are being canceled, classes are being split, and teachers are being called to cover their colleagues' classes at a pace like never before. Why? Because we don't have the subs like Greene said we did.

Now somebody supposed when she said it, this was her doing a poker bluff, and sure I buy that but should the super be bluffing during a pandemic about coverage for classes? Should she be making stuff up? She also did so when talking about openings. She said we had 80 a few weeks back when we had twice that many.

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2020/07/about-those-2000-subs.html

Being deceptive isn't her only disturbing behavior. She has ignored science from the get-go and also ignored the board's effort to have people work from home.

Maybe we have been lucky so far as the district said last week we only had 15-17 positive cases, though when you aren't honest about one thing, it tends to harm your credibility about other things, so maybe we haven't. These things tend to snowball and take a few weeks to get rolling.

This is the thing I am sure she can produce a list with 2000 sub names on it, but by now, we all know that it is not true. I am also sure she can produce something similar for the dashboard. Though I personally know more people than who have quarantined, including a class at my school. Maybe that's the question, how many people have quarantined, that the media should be asking.

It's a pandemic. This is potentially life and death. Don't we deserve a leader who is going to be honest with us, even if it's not good news? A leader who is going to do absolutely everything to keep us safe? I do, and unfortunately, we don't have it.

We don't have 2000 subs ready to go, not even close, and maybe one of the reasons we don't is the super presented like we did.

I do want to say out of the 100 plus comments and private messages I received, a few people reported that things were fine with them or at their school. These comments, however, were far and few between. I would say 15-20 to one against.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Work to the contract and not a minute more.

Up till recently, the entire education system depended on teachers giving millions of unpaid hours, sacrificing their time with friends and family, and what little money they have to make sure things keep moving. Now it still requires all that, but now it also wants teachers to risk their and their families' health, and it is way past time teachers said no. The system will never change unless teachers give it a reason to do so.

If teachers aren’t going to be treated with respect and compensated appropriately, if our safety is not assured, then from now on, the system should just get an honest day’s work and nothing more. Then we can rush home with white knuckles so that we can decontaminate ourselves.

Some teachers and families and lots of elected officials might be thinking teachers can’t do that, that their students desperately need all the extra that they do, well friends, teachers need to survive. They need to get home to their families, and if that means not doing all the extra things they would normally do, and for free, then GOOD!!!

In a good year, not working to the contract was a bad thing. The system before the pandemic had no incentive to change. It churned and burned through teachers, and we see how little society has appreciated all the effort teachers did. They appreciated them so much that they now require many of them to risk their lives on top of all the other things they would do.  

For the last couple of years’ teachers all over the nation tired of being blamed for society’s ills and both paid and treated like second class, citizens rose up in protest and demanded more pay and better working conditions, and they won too. 

Then when we in a weekend we switched to distance learning, we suddenly became heroes, well friends that acclaim was short-lived because now we are expected to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of the economy.  It is our responsibility to save society, and it is just to bad we aren't paid like professionals.

 Teachers, by their nature, are givers, and I am here to let you know that in years past, their altruism allowed the system to run roughshod over them, and now it may cost them their health and more. 

It might sound counter-intuitive, but teachers need to be selfish, not to teach their children or society a lesson, but because it is past time the system changed, that and because that may help you get home healthy and safe.

The truth is this teachers and education did not have a good relationship before they decided we had to risk our lives, and now an already bad situation is made even worse. 

Teachers have now become nurses, social workers, disciplinarian, and truant officers because administrations won’t get involved until you try multiple interventions or attempts. Then we are paper-pushers, and boy oh boy, do we push paper. When I started teaching twenty years ago, my lesson plan was a little box on a calendar, now it’s a two paged, eight font monstrosity, and then there is the data I am required to take on every student, in every class, every day. Data that, for the most part, sits there helping no one. Teachers today often have fewer and fewer resources and more and more demands and responsibilities. These demands also often take away from the number one thing we are supposed to do, teach. Now let's add wear a mask and hope for the best to the list.

In short, in good years, teachers were given way too much to do and not nearly enough time and resources to do it, all while their actual pay because of the rising costs of benefits and inflation is decreasing.  That was in good years. GOOD YEARS!!!

Somewhere along the way, things changed. Teachers went from revered members of the community too; you're lazy and selfish if you don't think schools should solve all the ills of society, and you care about your and your family's health. How dare you, what about the children?   

We need to stop working for free, especially now that we could literally get sick and die for doing so. If enough teachers did that, then this alone would send a big enough signal that things need to change.

So, teachers do you and your students a favor, work to the contract, and not one minute more. The future of education, the teaching profession, and your health may depend upon it. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

About those rapid COVID tests

With a lot of fanfare, it was announced that teachers would be able to get rapid tests if they were exposed or showed a symptom. The thought I and I am sure many had was this would allow for contact testing to begin immediately or if negative for teachers to return to work, inexplicably this is not the case. 

Several teachers have told me and the union has confirmed that if a teacher gets a negative result on the rapid tests they are then instructed to get a more invasive test which can have a much longer turnaround time for results. The reason? The rapid tests can give a lot of false negatives. This means healthy teachers are sent home, and unhealthy teachers may be exposing the virus to friends and family. We don't know, it's all a guess at this point. 

This also begs the question, why are we doing rapid tests again?

I think it is because the city and district want to be seen doing something while in reality, they aren't doing much. Plexiglass shields, masks, social distancing, what a joke, spoiler it is impossible, are a few other examples.

We do need testing, a lot of it, how staff and students were allowed to return without a test is negligent. The thing is we need reliable testing, not just something to throw money at to trick the public into thinking something is happening.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Something doesn't add up CARES edition

So the CARES act was designed to help schools set up and be safe during the Pandemic.

Detroit a school system about 2/3rds our size received 85 million.


I know we spent 4 million on screens, 200k on masks and I am sure that the bottle of hand sanitizer I received wasn't free but according to my calculations and I am no math major we are still a long way from 85 million.

By June 30th we had only spent 10 million dollars.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/06/22/duval-school-district-has-spent-over-10-million-in-response-to-covid-19/

Still a long way from 85 million dollars.

Staff in Detroit, by the way, are getting Hazard pay.

You should check this out, Vitti not making friends in Detroit.

https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nancy-kaffer/2020/08/30/detroit-schools-covid-pandemic-superintendent-nikolai-vitti/5659914002/?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

In Florida, Choice is great unless it is the choice to stay safe and healthy or not

You know DCPS is saying the state has told them they can't release information about COVID cases in schools, which is reprehensible and I guess just dumb luck that weeks ago the district announced that was their policy too.

Earlier this summer the district said unless schools close they weren't going to announce COVID cases in schools. I thought and still feel this is reckless and reprehensible. So maybe the state learned it from watching us.

From WJXT,


After the first full week of classes in Duval County, school officials say they are still counting how many teachers and students test positive for the novel coronavirus. But, the district said, it can’t share those numbers.
The Duval County Health Department told Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) officials Tuesday they needed to get permission from the state level in order to tell parents and the community how many cases are in its schools.
On Friday, after multiple requests for answers, the Florida Department of Health said the information about the number of COVID-19 cases in schools was “confidential.”
“In the interest of public health in Florida, the Surgeon General instructed County Health Departments to provides [sic] school districts with information regarding COVID-19 cases in their schools. However, this information is considered confidential,” a Florida Department of Health spokesman said in an emailed statement.
You know the state talks about choice all the time, but the reality is the only choice that is acceptable to them is the one they give you and here the only choice is to cross your fingers if you are safe in school, because informing people is no longer allowed. I would be outraged by the state but sadly I am to busy being outraged by the district who already had that policy and has shown over and over keeping people healthy is not their top concern.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

DCPS hates politics except when they don't.

I am completely in favor of the special referendum for our schools that voters will vote on this fall. I hope you are too, it is long overdue, however, I also hope you know that one of the reasons the district has chosen to risk lives is because of the referendum. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Greene was scared it might not pass if we didn't open back up. Protecting staff isn't so much a priority when you can get a new roof for a middle school.

Today the district put out guidelines for the staff about the referendum. In my circles, I am not sure how necessary it was because not a lot of people are out there schilling for it.  How about in yous? Though I am sure the district would like us all to be and that's why they put them out. The district gave us talking points for goodness sake. They know exactly what they were doing just like when they put out their not so subtle threats about teacher social media.

I bet the district has an algorithm that tells them exactly how many votes they gain by opening schools and how many they lose if a teacher gets sick.

Also where they say this isn't political it is, they want the referendum to pass. This is important to them. You know what wasn't though teacher raises. Many of us asked for the district to take a weather day when the rally in Tally happened last January. Staff salaries are a really important political issue for a lot of employees, but it wasn't to the district. 

We should approach these things with our eyes open, we should understand where teachers and staff fall on the district's list of priorities.


Monday, August 24, 2020

Why today's court decision means little for Duval County

Finally, some sanity and good news today as the Tallahassee circuit court said the state exceeded it's authority when it threatened to take away district's funding unless it bowed to their will and opened schools and risked lives. Sadly this momentous decision will have little impact on Duval.

First about the decision, from the Tampa Times,

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of Florida’s statewide teachers union Monday, saying Department of Education officials “essentially ignored the requirement of school safety” when they ordered campuses to reopen for face-to-face classes this month. 

In his decision, Dodson also found that the department’s order, issued July 6, essentially overrode school boards’ constitutional authority to operate their own school systems. 

“The districts have no meaningful alternative,” Dodson wrote. “If an individual school district chooses safety, that is, delaying the start of schools until it individually determines it is safe to do so for its county, it risks losing state funding, even though every student is being taught.”

https://www.tampabay.com/news/gradebook/2020/08/24/school-reopening-lawsuit-judge-rules-in-favor-of-florida-teachers/

Weeks ago, I wrote I wish the board would have held up the constitution and said this trump's the state executive order, but instead, they decided to go the path of least resistance and gave.

So this decision will be appealed, and I am not optimistic the court packed Florida Supreme Court is capable of following the law, but it's still some good news. For the last decade, the state has eroded the authority fo districts to govern themselves with just token resistance.

The thing is Greene is on the record of staying schools should open, and she did so when things were much worse than they are today; to her risking lives is the right call, to me, it is reckless and unacceptable. Distance learning may not be great for a lot of kids but we have set up is just as bad or worse.

I can only speak for myself, but I am miserable at school, it's hard to teach through the mask, I have been getting headaches, and there is no social distance. I cannot teach six feet away from my students and have my lessons be meaningful. I have to get in there with them, and where I am just speaking for myself, I bet I am not the only one.

I hope I am wrong, but my opinion that schools will eventually close has not changed, and when they do Greene will have to accept the lion's share of responsibility because no matter what the state did or does, we are doing what Greene wants and have been since the get-go. 

Like I said, I hope I am wrong. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Richard Corcoran thinks he is king of education

First, Corcoran issues an executive order that flies in the face of the state constitution bullying districts with the threat of losing my money, and now he has told districts before you close a class or a school give him a call so he can decide if it is okay to do so, even giving out his personal number. I want to remind everyone Corcoran is neither a doctor nor an educator or king of education, nope he's a hatchet-man doing the bidding of the governor.  

From the Tampa Times, 

“Before you get to the point of closing a classroom, we want to have that conversation with you,” Corcoran told the superintendents, adding that he will provide several top officials’ cell phone numbers for easier contact. 

If a child exhibits symptoms, he said, there’s no reason to close the school and clean it. But schools should make sure if someone appears sick, that person should be sent home, and adequate communication should happen with families whose children might have been exposed. 

Perhaps an entire class might be sent home for the day. But, without a positive test result or continued symptoms, he said, the students should be allowed back the next day. 

The situation might call for even less drastic action, Corcoran added. School officials might want to determine who was within 6 feet of the person showing symptoms for longer than 15 minutes, he said.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/gradebook/2020/08/17/call-before-closing-school-over-covid-19-florida-education-commissioner-says/

You should read the article, it is terrifying.

Corcoran out every district in a hole, and he has now given them a shovel and instructed them to keep digging. Somebody needs to stand up to him, and if it isn't the superintendent, it has to be the teachers.

This is how one district in Arizona did it.

From the Guardian,

An Arizona public school district was forced to cancel its plans to reopen on Monday after more than 100 teachers and other staff members called in sick.
“We have received an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students,” Gregory Wyman, district superintendent, said in a statement on Friday.
Corcoran is going to get people sick or worse, and he is doing it with a smile on his face. How someone gets so hate-filled and nasty I beyond me.

IT IS Exactly like Florida is trying to get people killed

In the last week, Florida made three announcements that both don't make sense and will undoubtedly lead to sickness and perhaps deaths. In one district quarantined teachers are being required to go back into buildings to teach and yes read that again, the FSHAA has ignored the recommendations of their doctors and said HS sports can start and your governor has said schools with cases of COVID-19 shouldn't close. It's not like Florida is trying to get people killed, it is exactly like Florida is trying to get people killed.   

First, in a state where little makes sense, Martin County is requiring quarantined teachers to return to the classroom. It sounds like the first lesson the administrators in Martin County should learn is the definition of quarantine. 

From WBPFnews,

The Martin County teachers union president says teachers under quarantine should not be forced to return to their school buildings to continue instruction.
Ninety students and six teachers at South Fork High School are now under quarantine after a student experienced symptoms of coronavirus. This latest exposure comes after some students at J.D. Parker Elementary School, Hobe Sound Elementary School and SeaWind Elementary School were possibly exposed to the virus, and told to quarantine. At least 150 students total are now under quarantine following these possible exposures, which have all occurred within the first week of school.
The Martin County School District released the following statement about the new exposures at South Fork High School:
“We have received inquiries about the status of the six teachers at South Fork and their status as essential workers. The teachers will continue to report to campus to livestream lessons as long as they are not experiencing any symptoms of illness. They will follow all CDC guidelines related to essential workers: temperature checks upon arrival, wearing a mask at all times and maintaining social distance from others at all times. They will livestream lessons alone in their classrooms to the students who have transitioned to remote learning, as well as the students on their other class rosters who were not part of the quarantine protocol and will still be attending school in person. These students will participate in the livestreams from the media center or auditorium under supervision by other adults on campus. The District continues to emphasize that students and employees should monitor their health on a continuous basis- if they are experiencing symptoms of illness, awaiting test results or have tested positive for COVID-19, they must stay home.”
https://www.wpbf.com/article/teacher-union-president-upset-quarantined-teachers-must-return-to-school-buildings/33617483

Gulp

Then I had long suspected it but now it is official, sports trumps everything in Florida, including lives.

From FoxNews,

Florida's high school athletic board voted Friday to push aside the guidance of its medical experts and begin practices for football and other fall sports on Aug. 24, with games less than two weeks later.

Physicians had advised that sports not start for at least six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.foxnews.com/health/high-school-football-to-resume-in-florida-over-the-advice-from-doctors

Then there is the governor who at this point should just get a black cape and a scythe.

From the Herald Tribune,

Continuing his push to reopen schools during an event in Sarasota on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis emphasized the mental health ramifications of keeping children at home and said that schools should not be quick to shut down again if they have a coronavirus infection.

https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/2020/08/14/floridas-coronavirus-infections-increased-6-148-friday-563-315/3374892001/

Given opportunity after opportunity to do the right thing, Florida always chooses the opposite.

Schools will open, the virus will spread, people will get sick and worse and schools will close, wait strike that last part, people will die, and die and die. This is the system Florida has set up.