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Friday, January 31, 2020

Our newest state board of education member, Ryan Petty has a history of anti-public education tweets.

Sigh was he really the best the state had to offer? In addition to not being an educator, though in his defense, no one on the state board of education is, he has a history or disturbing and anti-public education, and union tweets, and others that many would consider racist.
From the Sun Sentinel:
Ryan Petty, the father of a slain Parkland student who made a high-profile bid for the Broward County School Board, and has now been appointed to the state board of education  has a history of making provocative comments on Twitter.

In comments written mostly between 2008 and 2013, he often made jokes or sarcastic remarks that mention blacks, Jews, Muslims, gays, liberals and unions.

- Two of his tweets took jabs at public education. In April 2011, he tweeted to a user: “You’re a little slow on the comebacks. Public school educated, I’d imagine?” In a separate tweet on the same day, he told the same person: “Sorry your public school let you down. Life isn’t fair.”

-- In a November 2010 tweet about the Congressional Black Caucus, he wrote, “Is there a Congressional White Caucus?” When someone responded “that would be racist,” he asked, “Why?”

-- He retweeted comments, with his own modification, that slammed public sector employee unions, including one from February 2011 that described a union as “a cartel” and “immoral at its core.”

-- On April 27, 2011, he made several comments about Jews while in a Twitter discussion with someone he says is a Jewish friend. These include, “Just remember: Jews own that corner and that poop!” and “Barack Obama-the best friend a Jew could have.”

-- In November 2010, he tweeted a story about a court case involving bondage and the infliction of pain during sex, adding, “sounds a bit like a Sharia marriage contract.”

In an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board on Friday, Petty said he regretted some of the emails while others were taken out of context.

Um some of those were taken out of context?

How can anybody have faith is this guy at this point?

Did nobody in DeSantis’s office vet Petty, I know it’s just the state board of education but come on.
I know two things about Petty, he experienced an unfathomable tragedy that I can’t begin to understand, he has my upmost sympathies, that and if he cared about public ed at all, he would say no thank you to Governor DeSantis and ask him to appoint an educator.   

Image result for ryan petty"

Manny Diaz says despite their ability to discriminate and practically no accountability, there is nothing wrong with vouchers

Instead of reining in Voucher schools which have so little accountability you might as well say they have none, who are allowed to discriminate and who can hire, take, get rid of and teach whatever they want, Tallahassee is shrugging their shoulders and saying, nothing to see here.

From the Sun Sentinel:

 Private schools receiving taxpayer money through vouchers will likely be able to continue to discriminate against LGBTQ students, after a key GOP lawmaker indicated he won’t take steps to deny funds to schools with such policies. 

State Sen. Manny Diaz, a Hialeah Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee and who is a staunch supporter of the Tax Credit Scholarship voucher program, said he doesn’t want the state to meddle in parents’ decisions on where they send their child to school.8

“The money goes to the parents,” said Diaz. “The parents make the decision. A parent is never going to put a child in a situation that is not beneficial for the child, and if it is not beneficial, they have the ability to move them.”

Wow that's a lot to take in there.

Here is what we learned-

He hates public schools, because most parents choose to send their kids to them and he fights against them everyday.

Parents never make mistakes.

Discrimination is okay if parents are okay with it.

There you go, this is Florida, this is us.

I think we deserve better. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Despite revelations of rampant discrimination, Tallahassee is calling for less oversight on the states voucher programs (draft)

It is like up is down, black is white, and wrong is right in Tallahassee. Hot on the heels of revelations about rampant discrimination, instead of clamping down on the state’s voucher programs, Tallahassee is looking to loosen their accountability.

So not only are they planning to expand vouchers paid for with public money but they are looking to decrease the amount of accountability on its number one provider. Um, you know who also gets audited? Every school district.

Above by the way, are tweets from Politico's Tallahassee education reporter.

Tallahassee instead of saying no to discrimination just shrugged its shoulders and said more is fine with us. They hate public education that much.

I just want to remind everyone once again, voucher schools are allowed to discriminate pick who they take and keep, they are outside the accountability system that Tallahassee thinks is so important for public schools, their teachers don’t have to have certifications, let alone degrees, the can teach whatever they want, and many teach junk science and history, and most don’t have to even report how they spend the money they get. Oh and the public is paying for all that and now they want to give them even less over site.

How is any of that right? The answer is, it is not, none of it.

When people call for accountability and transparency and an end to LGBTQ discrimination, CM Rory Diamond attacks teachers

Scott Maxwell has done amazing work spreading light on the fact Florida’s voucher schools are allowed to discriminate. On a side note, he liked two of my tweets, and I was giddy about it.
Well when another representative said Step up for Students, the state’s main voucher provider, should have accountability and transparency, he attacked the rep and the state’s teacher unions.

This from the guy who took a million dollars from Gary “Charter” Chartrand and who has been doing his bidding fighting against the city’s schools and children for going on a year now.

Also his push back against accountability and transparency is particularly disgusting because he is in charge of an investigation looking into the JEA fiasco, promising transparency as he goes.

Then think about this, he is scoffing at the discrimination of LGBTQ people. He’s dismissing the informing of the public of businesses who pay for that discrimination as a ploy somehow engineered by the teacher’s union. He doesn’t say discrimination is wrong, he doesn’t say the public shouldn’t be paying for discrimination, no he blames teacher unions. How is that acceptable?

The beaches and Jacksonville deserve better, much, much better.

To see the entire tweet, click the link,

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Secret donations, discrimination and lack of accountability sum up Florida's voucher programs (draft)

Florida's voucher program is a mess. The schools are allowed to discriminate, they don't participate in the testing system which Tallahassee uses to bash public ed under the guise of accountability being so important  for public schools and most don't even have to report how the money their receive is spent. If that wasn't enough, which companies donates to them and how much is allowed to be kept secret. Think about that, companies are allowed to divert money from the tax rolls and keep the transactions secret as they do so.

Scott Maxwell, left this little nugget on Twitter today.


Um, how is this possible.

This is money diverted from the public coffers and the public isn't allowed to know how much and by who?

Now some people might point to Step up for Students, the main voucher provider annual report, but that's far from timely as their last published one was from the 17-18 year and where it did have a list of donors, how much they gave is suspiciously absent.

If this is such a great deal, why all the secrecy?

I think it's worth noting once again that voucher schools can teach whatever they want, and take and kick out whoever they want for whatever reason, and their teachers don't have to have certifications, let alone degrees, but for some reason, Tallahassee thinks that is a good deal. Oh what's the reason? They want to destroy public ed.

Thankfully some companies as they find out they are funding discrimination, have decided to stop. Also from Maxwell's twitter feed.

Fifth-Third Bank follows Allegiant airlines and Rosen Resorts -- the original company that immediately pulled out, saying it wanted to fund school choice, but would never agree to fund blatant discrimination. Many funders said they had no idea.

If you don't know, now you know.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

High stakes tests for 4 year old, no tests for voucher schools, welcome to Florida

Florida, Florida, Florida, you be crazy.

So this is us, right now in the legislature they are about to pass a bill which says 4 year olds in pre k schools have to be tested three times a year at the cost of about 15 million dollars, while voucher schools, also paid for with tax payer money don't have to take any meaningful test and for that matter, can teach whatever they want. Um, how does this make any sense?

From the Tampa Times,

Senate Bill 1688, sponsored by Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, would measure programs’ effectiveness in a way that combines children’s progress made over the course of the program with their test scores at the end of pre-K, plus the quality of the children’s interactions with teachers. 

While early childhood education used to be thought of as babysitting, research has shown that a child’s first years of education can have an impact on their success for the rest of their lives. 

Pre-K is “essential,” Harrel told the Senate Education Committee. “It is one of the most important things we do in brain development.” 

Currently, pre-K providers’ effectiveness is determined by how their students perform on a computerized test when they first start kindergarten — a whole summer after they finished pre-K. Teachers and providers have long complained it was an unfair metric that also made their performance data perpetually behind, making it difficult for them to quickly solve any issues with their programs. 

Additionally, the bill requires more training for pre-K teachers and sets up a way for providers to be graded from "A" to "F" so parents can more easily decipher which programs are top-notch. Programs receiving high grades will be eligible for extra funding.

Um, shouldn't schools that don't do well get more resources to help them improve? This system seems ripe for cheating as well. I don't know a lot of four year olds, but I couldn't imagine the ones I do know, sitting for a high stakes test.

So what have we learned. Florida loves tests, sorry, loves paying for tests, even if they don't make sense but at the same time it doesn't care about tests as voucher schools don't have to take any. Um what?!?

Shouldn't the kids in voucher schools have to take as many tests as the state's 4 year olds? I mean seriously.

To read more, click the link,

Monday, January 27, 2020

Tallahassee's latest education targets, school boards and home rule. (draft)

Yet another target of Tallahassee’s education attacks is school boards as for the second year in a row they have sought to tell districts how long school board members can sit for.

From the Tampa Times,

  Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey in the Hills, sponsored the proposal to force board members from office after eight consecutive years in office for the second year in a row. He contended the concept would have broad appeal in large and small counties, rural and urban ones.

The polls show backing that nears 80 percent regardless of party affiliation, Sabatini told the PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee, the first of three panels to hear the resolution for a constitutional amendment vote.

He stressed that HJR 157 would not enact term limits.

“This is a bill to give the voters the opportunity, if they wish, to vote to enact term limits,” he said.

This Sabatini guy is a real piece of work. He recently voted to make Jacksonville, a city he does not live in, vote to go from an appointed superintendent to an elected one, a manifestly terrible idea.

This is the thing, I am okay with school boards having 2 four year terms, but I think local districts should choose what's best for them and the crazy thing is they currently can. Right now districts have the ability to choose how long board members can be board members. In short the voters already have that opportunity. What's wrong with each city choosing? Well it doesn't send the message to school boards which is get on board or we'll come after you too.

Just like their attacks on the unions, this proposal is nothing but political payback for some group that dared to defy them.

Home rule also used to be a tenant of republican politics, but not anymore. Every few days you hear about bills that strip local counties of their authority, dogs in restaurants and sun tan lotion bands are two other ones that have been in the news recently.

Tallahassee has been a disaster for public education as they push their pro privatization anti public school agenda; along with terrible pay proposals, unsatisfying standards, and attacking unions, school boards and home rule are this session's next victims. Where and when will it stop? Oh yeah when there is nothing left.

 Friends your city should choose how long school board members sit. Not Tallahassee. Friends your city should choose how it is run and again not Tallahassee where con men and grifters have been purchased by lobbyists and special interests. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

DeSantis's new "Be BEST" standards are going to make one group really happy, the testing companies.

From the, I can't believe how stupid this is file.

I think most of us can agree that high stakes tests are both expensive and have limited value, well the governor doubles down on both of those with his new standards. 


So all kids have to take the test, which we will pay for, but they don't have to make any particular score,  but we will use that score to evaluate schools and teachers. Um how does that make any sense?

Then friends, the SAT and ACT? Many colleges are Phasing them out.  


One in four institutions no longer requires these tests for admission, for example, Nietzel said. Combined with tutoring that wealthy families can afford, extra time their kids are more likely to get than lower-income classmates and downright cheating, he said, “they’ve lost their luster as a common yardstick.”

Then for years people have known the real thing Florida's tests measures is the socioeconomic status of our students, and nothing will change by using the SATs as our test. The schools that did great will still do great, and the schools, the ones in neighborhoods wracked with poverty will still struggle.


  Researchers have repeatedly found that wealthy students enjoy significant advantages throughout the college application process, and that income greatly impacts a student’s performance on standardized tests. In a 2013 paper titled, “Race, Poverty and SAT Scores,” researchers Ezekiel J. Dixon-Roman from the University of Pennsylvania and John J. Mcardle from the University of Southern California found that wealthy students earn higher SAT scores compared to their low-income peers and that the difference in SAT scores between high- and low-income students was twice as large among black students compared to white students.

Friends, why can't we give a pre test at the beginning of the year to see what kids need, share it with the schools so they can use it, and then a post test at the end to see if they got it? You know what they are supposed to be used for?

DeSantis has offered nothing but more of the same, which means we will get more of the same.  

He's not a hero hes a villain.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

For this being the year of the teacher, Tallahassee sure seems to be coming after teachers a lot (draft)

The latest attack on teachers is on their representatives, their unions and it's about as bad as they come.

From the FEA website, 

HB 1, sponsored by James Grant, is the latest legislative attempt to attack labor unions in Florida. The bill would require union membership to be an annual membership with each member having to sign up each year.

The bill would further require each local membership form be updated to include information to “inform” members of their rights not to join the union in 14-point bold font.
For a right to work state, where nobody has to be in the union, they sure come after unions a lot.
From Florida Politics:
The Hillsborough County Classroom Teacher’s Association is speaking out against a measure in the Florida House its believes is meant to cripple public labor unions.
Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins is the executive director for the Hillsborough teacher’s union. She described the latest “union busting” legislation as a clear indication certain lawmakers are targeting teacher’s unions.
“This state has shown very clearly over time that it is very intent on privatizing the public school system,” Baxter-Jenkins said. “One of the few voices that fights against it is the [Florida Education Association,] which I believe is the largest union in the state of Florida. If you cripple the FEA it allows us to have less voice and less power in other means and I think it’s very clear that they would like to see that happen.”
At issue is a bill (HB 1) sponsored by Rep. Jamie Grant that would require public unions including teacher, police and fire unions, to collect signed authorization forms from employees indicating their desire to join the union and pay the required dues.
The bill would also require unions to cancel membership and stop collecting dues from employees who turn in written requests to sever their membership.
One of the biggest points of contention among union leaders and supporters is a third provision that would require unions to collect reauthorization forms from members every year.
Even more insidious is they are moving to exempt fire and police unions, which should eave no doubts in people's minds who this attack is for. 

This from the FEA Twitter page:

Rep. @JasonFischerFL
speaks in favor, "I don't agree with every single word in the bill. I want to work with you around issues with our public safety employees (he specifically mentions police and fire) Let's remember educators are public safety employees as well. #HB1

Furthermore this is far from their first attacks on teacher unions' as well.

Friends, I don't know what the FEA and Florida's other teacher union's one of which I am proud member of aren't getting. DeSantis and the GOP want to destroy them but they aren't alone on the list.

Superintendents, school boards, public schools, the teaching profession and unions are all on the GOP's list to get rid of. They want to break the God Damn wheel and instead of fighting, we're calling for honest conversations and going on bus rides, and the rally which I went to didn't move the needle one bit, if anything it has motivated Tallahassee to work harder and faster to push their drown public ed in the bath tub agenda. Our prospects are fight or die and for evidence all you have to do is look towards Tallahassee where it is overwhelming.

The FEA should call a strike conference and invite all the parties, supers and boards too so we can discuss our options, which are two as far as I see it, fight or die.

Did Jason Fischer come out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana?

When Fischer spoke in favor of his J1 bill this past week, he said he went door to door and asked 200 people, and they were all for it, which I think is a blatant bold faced lie, and he had a UNF poll which said that 70 percent of Jax was for it and since the people were for it so was he.

Well friends in that same poll people also came out overwhelmingly for decriminalizing marijuana and since Fischer loves that poll, it's no stretch to think he supports that as well. I mean unless he was being a hypocrite and trying to weaponize a poll. Also for those of you wondering, I am definitely for decriminalizing marijuana.

Wow that conservative christian mandarin rep all about the Mary Jane, I wouldn't have believed it.

Oh and about that poll which said the city wanted an elected super, Emily Bloch of the Times Union did something which I am sure Fischer didn't do and that's follow up.

From the Times Union:
As an example of the public’s support, Fischer pointed to the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab poll from November. When asked if the school superintendent should be an elected or appointed position, 70 percent of Duval voters surveyed said it should be an elected role.
Critics, like local education advocate Susan Aertker, who attended the meeting and spoke against the bill, chalk that up to the original question’s phrasing and people not understanding what they were supporting.
Mike Binder, director of the Public Opinion Research Lab, said she’s not necessarily wrong.
“If you ask people if you want to vote for something they’ll disproportionately say they want to vote. It makes perfect sense,” Binder said. “It’s also true that these people might not have necessarily realized the implications of that. I’m not saying one or the other is better, it’s also true that a lot of these folks haven’t thought about what this could mean for the people up for election.”
I have no doubt once people learn the ins and outs of electing a super they will be overwhelmingly against it.

The bottom line is Jason Fischer's J1 bill, is a bad bill, put out for bad reasons by a bad representative.

We could and should be doing better. Fischer has to go.

Governor DeSantis can't help but stick his thumb in the eye of the teaching profession

Governor DeSantis really seems to hate public education and teachers. Whether its his terrible pay plans, his support of attacks against their unions, or his plots to privatize, he proves that at every turn. Well now we can add his appointment to the state board of education where he refuses to put an educator on the board.

From WLRN:

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday appointed Ryan Petty to the Florida Board of Education, subject to state Senate approval. 
Petty’s 14-year-old daughter Alaina was murdered in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and he has since become a national advocate for school safety reforms. 
Petty founded a nonprofit called the WalkUp Foundation. The organization’s mission is to persuade students to “walk up” to their peers who seem like they need a friend and seek help from adults if necessary.
He has also held a seat on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, a state investigative entity created to identify what went wrong before, during and after the Parkland shooting and recommend policy changes to prevent future massacres. Petty said he expects to keep that position if confirmed to the Board of Education.
“As we’ve learned on the commission, the Department of Education plays a role in ensuring that the districts in the state are taking school safety seriously and are complying with state law,” Petty said, “so I take a keen interest in that.”
Petty also ran unsuccessfully for a county-wide seat on the Broward school board in 2018.
Petty may have a tragic and compelling story but that doesn't mean he is qualified to sit on the state board of education and if he really cared about education, he would say no thanks, please appoint an educator. I also find it very interesting that his own community didn't want him representing them.
I also don't think this is a coincidence as Scott Maxwell, on the same day of the appointment published an article about how the state board of education didn't have any educators and the reason why. Spoiler it's not a good reason.
From the Orlando Sentinel: 
Guess how many members of the Florida State Board of Education are educators? Zero! That’s right, not a single member of the Florida State Board of Education, the group that makes the rules for the education of your children, is a teacher.  
Why on Earth is a group consisting entirely of lawyers and business people with absolutely no education background or experience making the decisions about our children’s education? Why are our politicians not required to appoint people with education backgrounds and classroom experience to the state board of education? 
Teachers are not treated as professionals. No one without training or experience in the field would think they have the knowledge to make rules governing doctors, lawyers, or engineers, yet that is exactly what is happening in the field of education. 
People think that just because they sat in a classroom as a student, they know what is best for education. While it is true that parents and community members also have a right to have input in decisions affecting their children’s education, shouldn’t the teachers educating the children have the same right? 
We must have educators represented on the Florida State Board of Education. They are the ones who have been trained to educate your children. They are the ones on the front lines who do educate your children. Why shouldn’t they be on the board that makes the decisions about education? 
The reasons there isn't an educator on the board is twofold they don't respect the profession and they want to destroy it.
This is Florida. This is us. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Florida sends 129 million to private schools that push discrimination and segregation

While Governor DeSantis is pushing his terrible pay proposals through the front door, he is trying to sneak a massive expansion of vouchers through the back. The sad truth is many these vouchers which are paid for with public money are little more than excuses to push discrimination and segregation as Florida sent 129 million to private schools that either exclude or have anti LGBTQ views.

From the Orlando Sentinel,

In Florida last year, 156 private Christian schools with these types of anti-gay views educated more than 20,800 students with tuition paid for by state scholarships, an Orlando Sentinel investigation found.

Florida’s scholarship programs, often referred to as school vouchers, sent more than $129 million to these religious institutions. That means at least 14 percent of Florida’s nearly 147,000 scholarship students last year attended private schools where homosexuality was condemned or, at a minimum, unwelcome.

Friends we are paying for this. Do you know who else these private schools can exclude? Here is a short list.

Latino and Black children, children with disabilities, something they already do with great regularity. Kids with discipline problems, kids behind grade level, and any kid for any reason and once again we are paying for this. Is this really where you think our tax payer money should be going.

School choice in reality is nothing more than an excuse for discrimination and segregation and that’s a problem we should all have.

Rather than investing in our public schools this is where Tallahassee would rather send our tax money

If at this point you aren’t disgusted, then you are part of the problem.

Florida could and should be doing better.

Seaside's north side campus not going anywhere for now.

I revived this response to my inquiry to rumors the North side campus would soon be closing.

Mr. Guerrieri,

Our school on the North campus has a long term lease agreement in place for the Dunn Avenue property.  We have a five year contract with Duval County Public Schools. There are currently no plans to close the school.  We do need to increase enrollment and our board discussed ways at our last meeting to make that happen.  All of our board minutes, once approved, are posted on our website.  If you have any further questions, please let me know.


Fair enough, we never like to hear about mid year closings, though I wonder what their low enrollment says about the new Classical Academy, that looked to pull from the same demographic group.

If I hear more I will let you know.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Is Seaside Charter school about to close one campus? (draft)

From a parent who attended a recent board meeting

At the board meeting last week, Ms. Bowles said she was quitting-- and that the North Campus (of the Seaside Charter group) was being merged with Somerset due to financial troubles. I guess the concern and urgency is that the North campus has been approved for an $800 Federal Charter School Grant that Dr. Greene is supposed to sign by Friday-- and if the school is going to be merging with somerset, then why haven't they withdrawn their grant.  

Bill Sorenson, the board treasurer is blaming it on enrollment, but the fact that the Ms. Bowles hired so many noninstructional staff  using a budget that was not presented to the whole board last summer is raising some concern with the parents.
The board asked the parents to submit questions and Jessica Morgan (who is a close friend of Trisha Bowles and was hired for $55K as the communications director, even though she doesn't have a degree) said there were 40 questions. The board refused to show the questions.  You may want to do a public records request for it. 

Wow, I have reached out to Somerset and Seaside for comment and when they get back to me i will get back to you.

Image result for somerset academy jacksonville fl

If Florida teachers aren't going to strike, then it is time they just worked to the contract

If teachers aren’t going to strike, something I believe we should do and would win, then starting now, they need to work just to the contract. The entire education system depends 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. Enough, if we aren’t going to be treated with respect and compensated appropriately then from now on the system should just get an honest day’s work and nothing more, you know like every other profession is expected to do.

Two things, you might be thinking you can’t do that, that your students desperately need all the extra you do, well in the moment you might be right but in the long term you are hurting them and every student that will come afterwards. The system has no incentive to change if we keep giving and giving while receiving nothing commensurate in return. Then how about this, try it for a week. When your day is over instead of staying and working go home every day for a week. I guaranty you, things will not fall apart. People will survive, and if grading piles up, give fewer assignments. If we are not going to strike then we need to exercise what power we have, and that’s just to do our job, nothing more, nothing less.

For the last couple 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. Sadly, Florida’s teachers did not join them, partly because it’s illegal to strike, what teachers did in Arizona, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Oklahoma and so many other placed did, and partly because half of Florida’s teachers are at will employees and can be fired for any or no reason. In short Florida’s teachers felt stuck, they felt powerless to do anything. Well I say no more because even without striking we have power.

I would like teachers to seriously consider something. It's not reviewing the latest scholarly article or their pedagogy. It’s not putting yourself in your children or their parents’ shoes to see where they are coming from either. Where those things are important what I ask you to do is much more so and much less at the same time. What I am asking you to do is just work to the contract, nothing more and nothing less.

For decades now, school systems have only been able to function let alone succeed on the backs of the unpaid labors and sacrifices of their teachers. If it wasn’t for millions of teachers working late into the night and on weekends, often at the expense of their own friends and families’ education would have grinded to a halt and the powers-that-be both know this, depend on this and have taken advantage of it.
Teachers by their nature are givers and I am here to let you know that their altruism is a big part of the problem. It might sound counter intuitive but if teachers were a little more selfish, both they and the system would be better off.

Why should state legislatures and for that matter the nation properly invests in education when they know they have millions of suckers who will shore up the cracks with both their free time and own money?

The truth is this may have been an acceptable arrangement when teachers were just required to teach but that’s not the case today, along with being a psychologist, social worker, nurse, and tutor, we are expected to collect and analyze data, be experts on technology, differentiate our curriculum to meet every child’s individual needs and make individualized materials. Teachers are now disciplinarians and truant officers because administrations won’t get involved until you try multiple interventions or attempts, and we are paper pushers, and boy oh boy do we push paper. When I started teaching just nineteen years ago my lesson plan was a little box on a calendar, now it’s a two paged, 8 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 just 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.

In short teachers are 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. Then societies demands are increasing as well as teachers have become the scapegoats of much of society’s ills. Because of this the dam broke in a half dozen states and those teachers said enough and its time in teachers in Florida said enough as well.

Somewhere along the way things changed. Teachers went from revered members of the community to the face, often presented as the lazy and selfish face, of America’s problems. If only Mrs. Mcgillicutty could have gotten little Billy up to speed instead of spending so much time in the teacher’s lounge complaining is a sentiment heard from Chris Christie, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Betsey DeVos, the Trump Clan and so many others. They blame teachers at the same time they cut budgets or raise them at a rate that doesn’t keep up with inflation. They invest in high stakes testing, blame the teacher evaluations and charter schools rather than the people doing the work and teachers, as well as loading teachers up with more work, piling on responsibilities while stripping them of authority, you, we, me, have let them.  

Does anybody see the irony in the fact that in a job that is routinely ridiculed and mocked, that many imply is easy has seen defections and shortages like never before?  

This must stop and step one is working to the contract. Teachers need to start just showing up and giving an honest day’s effort for a day’s pay but when the dismissal bell rings, just leave and don’t take home any work with them. If it doesn’t get done that day then it goes on the pile for the next and if it gets to the point where there is too much to get done, then so be it. This is not a system created by teachers, but it is a system that teachers have allowed to fester, and it is a system that will never change unless we say enough is enough.

I'm not saying we should throw up our hands and quit. Instead I am saying that if we stopped being afraid then we can make things better. The crazy thing is right now teachers have the power. Florida recently declared a critical shortage in just about every teaching position. States across the nation are facing exoduses and shortages.

We need to stop working for free. If enough teachers did that then this alone would send a big enough signal that things need to change.

I will be honest there may be consequences for doing and saying the right things but if enough of us do it then there will be rewards as well and not just for teachers though to be honest the better things are for teachers the better they are for their students, but students as well as they see benefits of their own.

A teacher not worked to death and pulled in dozens of different directions is a better teacher. Smaller classes, and teachers given enough time to plan, and who doesn’t have to rush to their second job or worry about paying for braces for their child or new tires for their ten-year-old car, will be better teachers too and that is a benefit that children would reap as well. 

Teachers must stop letting the powers-that-be get away with barely funding a system that all too often hurts teachers and students alike by putting them in a position where success is nearly impossible to achieve. The powers-that-be must be held accountable for the system they created, or the system will never change.

There is a quote by Gandhi that many teachers like to use and that’s “Be the change you want to see in the world.” The change I would like to see is teachers and students both getting what they need and if I have to do less to make sure it happens then so be it.   

So, teachers do you and your students a favor, work to the contract and not one minute before. Like many things it will be hard at first but if enough of us do it then we and our students will reap the rewards.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Governor DeSantis ignores teachers, pushes for more vouchers (draft)

10 thousand teachers and education advocates rallied in Tallahassee last week. So what did the governor do? He pretended like he didn't know what was happening and left town. Today a few hundred voucher supporters showed up and what did he do? He was front and center with a bull horn and that friends should tell you all you need to know about his commitment to public and teachers. 

From Florida Politics,

“We’re going to take it one step at a time because we know this is an important choice for people to be able to make,” he said.
Unlike traditional school choice scholarships, the Gardiner Scholarship is an education savings account. It gives parents the freedom to access a wide range of products and services — tuition, therapies, tutoring, assistive technology, curriculum materials and more — and the flexibility to mix and match them in a way that’s just right for the student. The average amount of the scholarship is $10,400.
Many Gardiner Scholarship parents say the program has been a game changer for their children, and Tuesday gave them and other supporters the opportunity to broadcast that message to the Capitol.
Raquel Baldwin, the principal of Baldwin Academy in Fort Lauderdale, was on a charter bus that left at 1 a.m. with 23 students and 10 adults from several private schools in the area. Baldwin has five Gardiner students at her school, which serves 120 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The Gardiner Scholarships have enabled the school to provide support services for the students with unique abilities, she said. But more money is needed to provide extra staffing for those kids.
Um, kids took a day off from school and were bused in? I wonder where all the critics of teachers taking a personal day last week are now?
The year of the teacher my @##, more like the year of shut up and take whatever we give you is more like it.
Friends, Tallahassee's education goal is to end the teaching profession and get rid of public schools and replace them with a hodge podge of charters and voucher schools and why anyone would think differently is beyond me. But instead of fighting here we are begging for nickles.
Image result for Ron DeSantis with a bullhorn