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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The State Board of Ed says never waste a crisis, pushes for massive expansion for Florida Virtual school

It's no secret that the state board of ed is filled with people who don't like public ed and all you have to do is look at Ryan Petty's twitter feed for proof of that.

During the pandemic Florida learning has gone on-line and there have been bumps and growing pains to say the least. I think the most predictable thing ever has happened some of which could have been mitigated if we wouldn't have rushed head on, but that being said I think the public school system will get a handle on it and provide effective learning. The state board of ed however doesn't want to wait for it. In an effort to never waste a crisis or kneecap public education that have pushed for a massive expansion of Florida virtual school.

From RedefinedEd,

   Florida Virtual School (FLVS), the state’s online K-12 school, is seeking $4.3 million in technology upgrades that will boost its capacity from its current 170,000 students in district, charter and private schools to 470,000 students by April 17 – eventually expanding to 2.7 million students by May 4.

Founded in 1997, FLVS is a publicly funded non-profit that operates as its own $240 million school district. It served 215,505 students in 2018-19, which included 5,540 who were enrolled full time and 209,965 who were external learners.  All Florida public high school students are required to take at least one virtual class, and many choose FLVS as the provider. Its students perform as well as, or even better than, other students in Florida in most Advanced Placement course exams.

Um they want to go from 5,500 full time students to 2.7 million?

For years the powers that be have hated brick and mortar schools and have been chipping away at them. You can bet they see both an opportunity and dollar signs now.

As for FLVS it has a troubled past to say the least.

Leader resigns

Board dismantled

Under scrutiny

And I could have gone and on.

Instead of giving millions more to FLVS the state board should help families without computers and the internet get connected, you know something that will do some good, but since that is the case, of course we know they won't.

Never waste a good crisis or a chance to kneecap public ed, should be the FBOE's motto.

Know your online teaching habits.. | leftyconcarne

Monday, March 30, 2020

DeSantis should stop parroting Trump and close our schools for the rest of the year (rough draft)

That doesn't mean learning should stop, it does however mean we should make the transition to e-learning for the rest of the 19-20 school year.

Last week DeSantis kind of threw Richard Corcoran under the bus and it was a beautiful thing. It shows that our leadership is loyal to no one, well maybe their donors and Trump but other than that people are far and few between, and you are only useful until you aren't. DeSantis said the decision to close schools was made with input and not data and surmised we might be back to business as usual mid April.

That's not going to happen and even Trump is getting it.

Now DeSantis is a Trump guy, he made his ridiculous rant after Trump had made a similar one saying the country may reopen by Easter. So hopefully now that Trump has reversed course the governor will as well. It looks more and more like he is devoid of independent thought and in way over his head, so who knows but maybe like Trump is being dragged kicking, screaming and tweeting to do the right thing, DeSantis will as well.

People deserve two things during these trying times, leadership and certainty both of which have been in short supply in Florida.  DeSantis should announce physical school closings for the rest of the year. It has become apparent to just about everyone but him that we aren't coming back.

Closing schools is not a surrender, it's a siren call that for at least the next few months e-learning will be the new normal and we need to embrace it and do the best we can.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won't talk about texts with donor indicted ...

Saturday, March 28, 2020

In lean times education is always the first cut, well friends Florida is in for some lean times.

Nobody likes what is happening but the truth is for the 19-20 school year Education is going to be fine, the money is already spent. The 20-21 school year however could be in real trouble.

Despite DeSantis and Corcoran's optimistic outlook there is noway we will be business as usual on April 15th and as the amount of Corona cases and deaths continue to rise. the beginning of May is looking doubtful and it's even money at this point that this will linger to June or the summer months and that means tax revenues that have already taken a hit are about to crater. 

The states ridiculous largess towards its corporate players means it is going to be even harder to dig out of this hole as the state almost solely relies on tourism to pay its bills.

Here are a couple must read articles so you can see how dire things are going to get if it takes 3-6 months for tourism to come back.

Florida will undoubtedly have to call an emergency budget session and that means kiss those meager teacher raises goodbye as we will all have to sacrifice, except most likely charter schools and voucher schools and more cuts will probably happen as well.

Friends we will undoubtedly need a federal bail out and we shouldn't forget the last one was a disaster for education, no it should be seared into our collective memory. It opened the door to privatization, ramped up testing, created blame the teacher evaluations, made VAM a thing and gave us race to the top. Now it did save jobs but looking back at the last decade the cure may have been worse than the disease.

Race to the top has been a race to the bottom.

When there is another bail out we have to be sure it is beneficial to education and educators, we need to bail out teachers not tests.

Friends, there is going to be a lot of uncertainty in the coming months, one thing however I am certain of is education will be the fall guy if we let it.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Parents who have been stressing over distance learning.,don't, it is going to be all right.

Hello all, I hope this finds you safe and well.
All over my social media feeds I can see parents stressing about distance learning perhaps even more than teachers which is considerable, let me give you a little bit of advice, don’t. You have a lot of things to stress about during these trying times and if your kid is on the computer six hours a day or a lot, lot less, should not be one of them.
First if school were in session this would be testing time which means a couple weeks of preparing for the tests and a couple weeks of taking them. I am not saying meaningful learning doesn’t occur during this time, but I am saying meaningful learning doesn’t occur during this time if you get my meaning.
Then it’s not a secret but things slow down some after test season is over. Again I am not saying meaningful learning doesn’t occur during this time, but I am saying meaningful learning doesn’t occur during this time if you get my meaning.
Think of it like hitting a home run in baseball, at first the batter sprints because he doesn’t know where the ball is going to land, but once he is sure it’s going over the fence, he might ease up as he heads into home. We are at the easing up as we head into home phase of the school year calendar. In a way if we are going to have a pandemic, now is the best time academically.
Then friends if your student was engaged and present for the first three quarters of the year, I can’t see many teachers, most of whom are just trying to figure things out as well, being too upset or too harsh as the school year comes to an end during a pandemic, if your kid skips and assignment here or there.
I am not saying put them on the x-box or the I-pad, but I am saying they aren’t going to fall to far behind or behind at all if you make a schedule that cuts down on the stress of daily distance learning.
There are other things you and they can do too, what about a book report, a research paper, virtual tours or a science project, all take time and can be worthy endeavors that keep the brain going.
In short you are not a bad parent if you don't want your kid on the computer for six hours a day or five or four or and you don't want to fight with your kids to make sure it happens. 
As for teachers giving tests, quizzes and expecting participation in virtual meetings, my hats off to you, but maybe slow down a little bit too for the first few weeks anyways as parents and children get more comfortable with whatever system you and they are using. You wanting to jump in with both feet and get things as close to normal is laudable but at the same time slow and steady win the race.
So friends, I would say for teacher and parent alike, do something but do what works for you but if you are stressing out about it, maybe what you are doing isn’t.
Stay safe and well.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Teachers seem to be having wildly different experience with distance teaching (draft)

You know what kind of annoys me, when people say, well it's only day one. I don't know about everyone but I like to be able to be successful from the get go, I like to put my kids in a position where they can succeed and I expect the district to do the same for me.

You know what else is starting to wear thing, look how far we have come in just a couple days and we are figuring it out as we go along. These are qualifiers for a less than idea situation and you might as well say, well it is what it is and we all know what that means.

Let me tell you about my experience, which is similar to what other people are going through.

Against my better judgement I built my team over the weekend and set up a weeks worth of lessons. I don't think teachers should work on their personal time but I thought get ahead because you know there will be problems. 

Monday actually started fine. I had everything up and even interacted with a few students, I thought this was going a lot smoother than I expected, until about one o'clock when my team and everything I did disappeared, gone lost to the ether.

My admin which is swamped suggested I call tech support to see if I could get it back. So I did but I have a 50 minute on hold rule so at minute 51 I gave up. Frustrated I grumbled, well tomorrows a new day.

However again against my better judgement I spent last night rebuilding my team and uploading the weeks worth of work I had done and went to the bed at least feeling I wasn't slipping behind.

Well this morning, my team was still there but all the files I uploaded were gone. It gave me an oops/retry message so I guess they could come back, but I won't hold my breath  because I think that would be a bad strategy.

I and by extension my families are not having a good experience, we have not been put in a position where we can succeed.

The thing is I see (online) numerous teachers who don't seem to be having the same experience. I don't know if they are super optimistic or patient or if things are going great for them but I can't imagine such a range of experiences being good overall. This is the thing too, I am glad for them and more than a little jealous, I just hope they realize that maybe it's not good that some teachers and students have it good and some teachers and students don't.

I also believe if we would have waited and slowly built capacity and given people more than a power point and a webinar we would be in a better place.

Being put in a position where all teachers and students can succeed, not to be the first to say look at us we got something out there, should have been the districts goal.

I guess it is what it is.

Monday, March 23, 2020

To do more DCPS should try doing less

So for many teachers and staff the most predictable thing ever happened and they had a frustrating or poor experience on the first day of DCPS distance learning. It’s no secret I preferred the slow down and get it right method rather than jump in feet first and hope for the best one.  

During good times with lots of prep and lead time DCPS has a difficult time rolling things out so to think we would have anything but a difficult time switching 8000 teachers and 120 thousand students to distance learning was pie in the sky stuff that dreams are made of.

Deep breaths, woosha, deep breaths.

Now that I am done bitching, let’s try and come up with some solutions and let me suggest we do less so we can do more.

The system is overwhelmed, duh, does anybody remember the first few days of school when the internet didn’t work or does anybody try and do grades on days they are due? When it’s just a few thousand teachers it gets overwhelmed, well now those teachers are all down loading videos and assignments, and attachments and this and that while tens of thousands of students and parents try to reach them. I am surprised we haven’t heard the sounds of transformers blowing.

First let’s take a deep breath and then let’s take a step back.

Teaches, friends, maybe let’s not do any videos which I imagine suck up a lot of what little internet resources we have, then let’s not have any live meetings either. These things may or may not come, but let’s put a pin in them for now because we have to unburden the system. We have to lighten it’s load.

Then let’s cut down on the assignments too (sort of). Like many of you I was gung ho and put up a half dozen but as I looked at my team page, I thought, this looks cluttered and confusing. So I took them all down.

That’s not to say I didn’t post any assignments. I created a file and uploaded a word document with links, to it so everything is in one neat looking place. I included it below so you can see it.

I mean seriously is anybody else looking at their team page and feeling overwhelmed by all the clutter because I know I was.  Then finally I emailed my families and that works for me because I have a smalls amount of students, so I know it won’t work for everyone, but for those it does, include your assignment in your email. I attached a document named assignments March 23rd with what I would like them to do. Not what I needed them, or required them, but would like. Tomorrow I will email them with an attachment named March 24th.

When we were put on lock down I felt like the best plan was to just relax, take care of ourselves and family members, nobody is going to die, err, you know what I mean, missing a month of school and while staff was out the district could slowly start to train teachers, and rollout resources, so if we are going to be out past the 15th everything could be tested and in place. I didn’t and don’t feel as if a power point, a webinar and a go get em, was nearly enough but right now we are where we are and I think doing less may be the best way for us to do more. Just my two cents.    

Two more things, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do more or wanting to jump in with two feet, it is admirable, it is laudable, and then I have seen some amazing esprit de corps the last few days’ teachers and staff helping teachers and staff, it makes me proud to be a DCPS teacher. Then what the district staff has done has been herculean to say the least. Even for us to be where we are is impressive, and they should be proud of themselves and we should be proud of them.

All that being said, I think our leadership at the top has some questions to answer, I don’t feel like they have put us in a position to succeed. Leadership isn’t saying, go do the impossible, it is putting people in a position where the possible is achievable. People including people I respect and appreciate have lauded the super’s performance. I have a different take on that. Slow and steady wins the race, not here is a power point and a webinar, good luck.

This is what I uploaded as a file to my Team page and emailed to my families. No assignments, no videos, no meetings. Just a word file and a PDF 


First let’s take a moment and relax, please click the link:

Now let’s help plan for our day by checking the weather. When you sign on you will have to add your home town or zip code. If you don’t know ask your parent or care giver.

Okay now that we know what our day is going to look like let’s find out what is happening in the world by watching the CNN10. Remember this won’t tell us everything that is going on in the world but it will give us a nice slice of stories.
If you want to discuss with your parent or caregiver any of the stories you found interesting

You are doing great. Now I would like you to open the PDF Telephone 3 and read pages, 6-8. If you need help with some words you can ask your parents or caregivers.
Caregivers and parents if you look through the PDF you can find different versions that you think may be more appropriate for your student.

Finally friends, I know things have been stressful, so please watch the video to help you get through this.

That’s it for today, stay safe and you will hear from me tomorrow.

Note: Sometime around 1 my team disappeared, so be careful to back up, what you put up.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Um what does DCPS plan to do by the weekend?

Let me explain why I am not optimistic that switching 9000 teachers and 120 thousand kids to distance learning over the weekend is going to work.
The district switched to a new IEP program which has been a disaster. It is glitchy, unwieldy and confusing and I say this after a few rounds of training and after using it for months. Now you might be thinking, Chris your brightness and tech savvyness aren't top notch. Sure. I am not going to fight you on that one, though I will point out everyone I know has similar complaints.
Then this happened, after using it for months, the district said, hey sorry about this but every IEP you wrote before November you are going to have to redo completely if you want the kid to go to ESY (al our center school kids go to ESY), oopsie, except they left out the sorry part.
As easy as I would say, puppies are cute and the sky is blue, the district said, hey we're going to double your work, get to it.
Friends in good times, with lots of prep and lots of lead time, the district has a hard time rolling things out. These are not good times.
A couple things, this is not a dig at district staff, they are hard working and in my estimation have been put in an impossible situation.
I am not trying to be lazy, or negative, I just think slowing things down is the right thing to do. Taking the next few weeks to get all our ducks in a row and implementing it the 15th if we are still out is a better plan.
This is just me venting, I hope I am wrong. I hope people go that Guerrieri guy, he's a moron who doesn't know what he is talking about. I would like to have egg on my face over this.
Finally I want to close with this, a friend on Twitter said, Our main priority should be to “flatten the curve.” After that, create a safety net for our children and communities. Academics is way down the list. That's what I believe.
Okay gang, stay safe and see you at the training, well not really because I will be doing it from my couch, but you get it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Superintendent Greene is looking at this the wrong way. A potentially dangerous and ineffective way. (draft)

We got an email from the superintendent which I will post in its entirety at the bottom but I wanted to concentrate on the following two paragraphs. 

I understand that many of us are exploring new territory in these rapidly changing conditions. We will certainly learn lessons along the way, and I am convinced the lessons we learn will enhance our practice across the district when we return to our normal operations. We know learning takes support, and we are ready to support you as we move into this new era. That support will begin with a day of training and coaching for school-based personnel this Friday, March 20.

Your school principal will contact you directly regarding the details of that training. So that principals and others working on this roll-out can focus on the logistics of our plan, we ask that you please hold your questions and feedback until Friday’s training. I can assure you this training effort will respect all guidance for social distancing and other requirements for health and safety.

Definitely new territory but as I get it, staff is supposed to return Friday for some hastily thrown together professional development. 

So does the district really expect us to go back Friday?

Spring break was extended to the 23rd yet now we are coming back Friday? and the FLDOE says all campuses are closed, their words not mine.

 All public and private K-12 and career and technical center campuses are closed through April 15, 2020.   

I am not trying to be difficult but shouldn't we be just trying to get through this? My school only has 2 dozen teachers but what about schools with 50 or more or you know, most of them.

What about those staff who may be compromised or who have already reported having to isolate? Is it take a sick day for them?

So let me get this straight, the districts plan is to take a bunch of stressed out teachers give them some hastily thrown together professional development and then to roll out distance learning to 120k kids many of who are just as stressed, and more than a few of who don't have internet resources.  

Talk about new territory.

This is what I think. We just have to survive this. If kids miss a month or learning that sucks but its not going to stump their growths and now that we don't have to spend a month of testing they are going to make that up quick.

What's wrong with people just being safe. 6 months from now we can look back and go wow, but right now I am to busy washing my hands 39 times a day and staying 6 feet away from everyone. 

The district should spend the next few weeks coming up with a plan that won't be half assed and will have a chance of succeeding that they can implement on the 15th if we still have to be out then. Not rush into anything. 

Is saying we did something worth anybody getting sick or worse?

What am I missing.

If you disagree, I get it, please just be polite. I won't be mad at you. Like Greene said, this is new territory.

Here is the entire email.

 Team Duval,
We are ready.

Because of our early spring break and the extraordinary measures being taken in the nation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our team has been working tirelessly, and in collaboration with our employee representative groups, to orchestrate a massive deployment of home education. Today, the Governor’s announcement moved us from planning to implementation.

We are now unveiling for our families and community, Duval HomeRoom, a comprehensive approach to engaged student learning.

Our new Duval HomeRoom initiative will provide opportunities to keep students moving forward educationally. The initiative will employ creative approaches to standards aligned instruction appropriate for all student grade levels, delivered at a distance for the health and safety of staff and families.

Tomorrow, we will be sharing more details and answering questions for how the Duval HomeRoom initiative will work.

I understand that many of us are exploring new territory in these rapidly changing conditions. We will certainly learn lessons along the way, and I am convinced the lessons we learn will enhance our practice across the district when we return to our normal operations. We know learning takes support, and we are ready to support you as we move into this new era. That support will begin with a day of training and coaching for school-based personnel this Friday, March 20.

Your school principal will contact you directly regarding the details of that training. So that principals and others working on this roll-out can focus on the logistics of our plan, we ask that you please hold your questions and feedback until Friday’s training. I can assure you this training effort will respect all guidance for social distancing and other requirements for health and safety.

As I have said in previous notes, this is an unprecedented time, but we are ready. Our Team Duval spirit, our core values, and our mission focus on educational excellence have prepared us to adapt. These are extraordinary circumstances, and together, as a team, we will thrive.


All across the country states are canceling their high stakes tests. So far Florida hasn't and we should ask why.

All across the country state after state has canceled their high stakes tests as the Corona Virus rages across the nation. Florida however hasn't and I think we all know why.

Florida uses its high stakes test as a hammer to bludgeon, schools, students and teachers. The test here isn't used to guide or improve instruction, no it is used to harm public ed and the teaching profession and the reality is even Florida knows they are unimportant and used as a weapon. That's why 2000 vouchers schools don't have to take them but that is an entirely different blog.

Perhaps the biggest state to cancel their high stakes test is Texas.


Today, Governor Greg Abbott announced that he is waving the STAAR testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.

Keven Ellis, the chair of the State Board of Education, said the decision to promote a student to the next grade will now be a district and teacher-based decision.

Wow, letting teachers and districts determine promotion, what a novel idea.

Indiana has also stepped up to help waiving the 180 day requirement.

From Chalkbeat:

School districts in Indiana will be able to waive up to 20 days of missed classes, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday in response to concerns about the coronavirus.
In a list of new guidelines, Holcomb said schools can use the days consecutively, or spread them throughout the rest of the year. This will allow schools to close without needing to use an eLearning day or make up the days later.

For some reason I don't think we're going to be back next week or probably even the week after. Florida is going to have to waive the 180 day rule. 

Even the Federal Government is considering waiving the tests.

Also from Chalkbeat:

States might be able to scrap their required annual tests for closed schools, the federal education department said Thursday, as concerns about the coronavirus swept the country
Guidance released by the U.S. Department of Education says it will consider waiving requirements for state-wide tests, currently mandated in grades 3-8 and once in high school. State testing occurs throughout the spring, and some school closures were already running into planned testing windows.

State after state thinks this is a good idea. 

Even the ACT and SAT are being canceled and postponed

From the Washington Post:

Standardized tests — including the SAT college admissions exam and annual K-12 exams federally mandated in states throughout the country ― are being postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The SAT exam scheduled to be administered worldwide Saturday has been canceled in more than 15 countries, and a growing number of U.S. schools that host it are backing out.
The Saturday administration of the SAT was canceled by the College Board, which owns the exam, in some 20 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Italy. A shortage of proctors led to cancellations at dozens of U.S. schools set to administer the exam. (You can see the list here.)
The next ACT college admissions test is scheduled for April 4, with Friday being the last day to register, according to ACT’s website. Whether events will lead the ACT to cancel or reschedule that test remains to be seen.

Friends, Florida's test is not designed to help or drive instruction, it's here to punish teachers, schools, and students. In a good year it is a bad thing and this is not a good year.

Then think about this, even if we are back in two weeks which is a big if, are all our kids going to be back? How about all our teachers? Those that do come back are they going to attend consistently, or is a sniffle going to have somebody home for a week.

It's time to cancel the tests and waive some days. It's the right thing to do and sadly since that is the case Florida will probably have to come kicking and screaming to it.

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Public education and the teaching profession were killed this session and that should be the only take away

Andrew Atternury the Tallahassee Politico reporter tweeted about all that education received.

8 million for tech which had been zeroed out, 500 million for raises  and 40 bucks added to the base student allotment. Seems like a lot right, it's not, and it's a drop in the bucket to all we lost.

Sigh, first that 500 million for raises replaces the 350 million we had for the best and brightest, that's a net of 150 million which for an election year where give aways come fast and furious is almost nothing. Then since most of that will go to raising new salaries, veteran current teachers will have a smaller piece of the pie and veteran teachers practically nothing. This is literally as close to nothing as you can get for current teachers.

Then that 40 bucks to the BSA is a joke too. First it's about a one percent raise which doesn't keep up with inflation and most of that will be clawed back as Tallahassee has increased pension payments. This is nothing as well. What are we thanking Tallahassee for?

Then what did we lose? How about 200 million to vouchers that now families with incomes off 77k can use and hundreds of millions more to charter schools which will now receive a per proportion cut of tax referendums. They showered vouchers and charters with money and threw some nickles at teachers and for some %$#&ing reason Fedrick Ingram the head of the FEA thinks we should thank them. This is his tweet from last night.

  The budget has just been finalized. We appreciate that the Legislature recognized that salaries and not bonuses are a better approach to teacher compensation. The allocation of $500 million for teacher salary increases is welcomed and appreciated.

I feel like Fedrick Ingram and the FEA have Stockholm syndrome as they thank Tallahassee adding the caveat, we have more work to do. We shouldn't thank them for doing all they could to destroy public ed which is what they did this session and the nickles they threw out us in an election year. Tallahassee shouldn't be thanked, they should be called out as Public Ed and the teaching profession took a beating and that's the only take away we should have.

We got rolled and acknowledging that will inform people that we need to work harder to elect pro education candidates. He also shouldn't be worried about making Tallahassee mad, because they don't care about public ed and the teaching profession and are going to do whatever they can do to destroy it anyways.

Fed's milquetoast leadership is getting us killed and he better acknowledge that fact and change it or get out of the way.

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Let's face it friends, the FLDOE has never had teachers or public schools best interests at heart, the Corona Virus is no exception.

All over the country in states hit a lot less harder than ours, schools are closing yet our FLDOE and governor shrug their shoulders. Lets face it friends Tallahassee hasn't really cared about public ed and teachers for years now. Why not risk their health if it saves them a buck.  

UNF Professor Chris Janson writes: 

 I'm going to be watching developments both locally and nationally over the next few days. Unfortunately, many experts are noting the expansion of infections in the US (as much as we can tell given the criminally incompetent lack of testing) is following a similar pattern to Italy, with us being about 10 days behind. If that holds, the decision to close all schools in this country will be obvious by the end of the weekend. And that is horrifying. Our only chance now is to flatten that curve of infections. We can't do that while also sending 130,000 kids to school together along with the thousands of teachers and staff. Ohio has 5 confirmed cases but estimate 100,000 infections. 

We have at least 44 confirmed cases in FL with 1 in Duval. By the way, many of you now know that Mayor Curry publicly stated his frustration that he wasn't even notified about the Duval case. The FLDOH is stonewalling attempts by the press to disclose testing info (how many, confirmations, etc.). So why on earth would we trust the judgments of the FLDOE? They don't even have the information required to make a sensible decisions. There is great uncertainty and that won't change soon.

The emotional duress and trauma we are all experiencing right now is rooted in uncertainty. We're all feeling it and it is anguishing. UNF has shut things down on campus. That helps. Less uncertainty. What DCPS teachers and staff are experiencing now must be excruciating. I know that my two DCPS high school students (senior and sophomore) are petrified. They see TPC shutting fans out, NCAA and NBA shutting down, movie releases being pushed back . . . and then they get a message from relaying the DOE's message to "continue normal operations at this time." My 18 year-old's response was, "what are normal operations? Empty soap dispensers? Soggy rolls of paper towels sitting in pools of water on the sink counters - if they're there at all." Absurd. It's also absurd to EVEN CONSIDER moving forward in our schools with damn standardized testing under these circumstances now. 

Or are we going to just act like our students and teachers are completely devoid of feelings? This is trauma on a national scale and moving forward with any tests is complete folly and an obscenity. EOC, AP, IB, FSA. Doesn't matter. They no longer will be testing content knowledge, but only ability to tolerate uncertainty and de-escalate the impacts of trauma.

My role as a parent includes helping my sons work through the anxiety, trauma, and uncertainty this event is causing. One way I'm doing this is telling them NOT to worry about having to be glued to their phones waiting for the next update from DCPS. Their safety, our safety, is not dependent on what the FLDOE or the superintendent decides. WE DECIDE. We decide whether they go to school or not (and if they decide that it's safer at home I'll make damn sure that deciding to do so does not negatively impact them academically).

Educators remember that the decision to protect your own and the community's safety is yours to make. Not the FLDOE or your district leadership.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

It's time for Florida to cancel school (draft)

Okay, my rational brain tells me we are over reacting to the corona virus, that my chances of catching it are minimal. Then however I look around and see they canceled the TPC, postponed the NBA season, March Madness will be played without crowds, all the public colleges have gone to on-line learning and so much more. If all those things are to much of a risk, then how can we shrug our shoulders put our kids and teachers in just as much danger?

Heck my district has already canceled field trips for the rest of the year.

Georgia is considering closing their schools for two week.

Ohio and Maryland have canceled K-12 school.

Indiana gives it's schools a 20 day waiver to protect against the Corona Virus.

This is also the best time to cancel school. I get it no time is good but most districts are either rolling into or out of spring break. What's an extra couple weeks if it stops a pandemic. 

Also I get this would undoubtedly cause some pain for a lot of families what with missing work or providing child care but the thing is Florida is sitting on 534 million dollars that it plans to give as a rebate to the most profitable companies in the state. They didn't expect it but there it is. Instead of helping the most financial well off why don't we use that to help families that would be hurt by a school shut down.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Florida is about to give more than $500 million to some of its biggest corporations.

That’s enough to more than double state funding for pre-kindergarten, where Florida currently ranks in the bottom 10 in the country. It’s more than the state will spend this year combating toxic algal blooms, fighting the opioid epidemic, buying conservation land, subsidizing adoptions and rebuilding beaches -- combined.

Or I don't know maybe help out with the Corona Virus.

Florida has money, we just like to give it to the wealthy not the everyday person. I guess our lobbyists aren't as good.

Then lets talk about testing, it should be canceled going forward. There is going to be a lot on people's minds for the next few weeks and probably a lot of absences if school isn't canceled as well. Testing will have even less value than usual, besides Senator Stargell who should be the poster child for the opt out movement inadvertently just admitted it is unimportant, if the parent thinks so anyways.

This is an exchange she had with Senator Lee about putting some accountability on vouchers, which we just allocated an extra 200 million for. Families with an income of 77k are now eligible for them too, so much for them being here to help poor children right?

Anyway here is the exchange, from Poltico Reporter Andrew Atterbury's twitter page.

Sens. Tom Lee and Kelli Stargel are going round and round about private-school oversight right now. Lee is proposing an amendment requiring the state to gather more data on private schools.

Stargel: Do you feel that the parent doesn't have the ability to decide what school is best for their child? Lee: I think that's a narrow view of accountability

A narrow view of accountability to say the least.

Testing in Florida is a club to punish, the fact we now invest over 1.2 billion on voucher schools who don't have to do any real testing should tell you all that you need to know.

I know what the arguments against are too. Schools are the places where some kids get their meals and where they feel safe. It's true and it breaks my heart but that is part of a bigger problem. Schools shouldn't be end all be alls for children and we need to start address that issue in a way that doesn't put all the responsibility on our public schools. To much is put on our public schools and not nearly enough is given. Then people might point out that young people "seem" to be less susceptible, um well what about teachers and their families, we can give them a good luck, but we can't give them a raise? No thanks.

If you disagree I get it. I for one am just so tired of public schools bearing the brunt of everything and then being treated like they are second class and I believe the bottom line is if the state thinks something is to risky for adults, then its time they started thinking about the state's children too.

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