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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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.”


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.

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.

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.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The ZOOM Lawsuit to decide the fate of teachers and students

This is surreal. The state is holding the lawsuit to see if Local districts have control over education or the state does is being held over ZOOM.

I am confused why the judge didn't just say, well as long as we have to have court through zoom, we should have school through zoom too.

Corcoran and DeSantis are attempting to usurp the authority of districts and force them to do what they want them to do, not what the local supers and boards think is best, and nowhere is this more evident than in Hillsborough county.

From the Tampa Times, 

Hillsborough County school officials were up against a deadline. 

State officials had instructed them to revise their reopening plan or lose millions in funding. The School Board’s vote to start the year with four weeks of virtual lessons to lessen the chance of coronavirus infections didn’t meet state expectations. Plus thousands of teachers and more than 200,000 students were in limbo. 

So on Thursday, superintendent Addison Davis announced a new timetable: The school year will begin Aug. 24 with all-virtual instruction. Then, for those who choose it, in-person school will begin a week later.

The state's strategy seems to be delay, delay, delay. First, they wanted a change of venue, then they wanted to dismiss. Now having survived the motion to dismiss we go to mediation while more and more teachers and students go back into dangerous situations and all this happens on zoom. ZOOM!!! It's like an episode of the Twilight Zone. 

Even if you think schools should be open, you should be outraged at the usurpation of local control, which republicans claim they believe in. I say claim because over and over again, they seek to strip localities of control.

DeSantis, who recently compared opening schools to opening a Home Depot and the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden, is woefully out of his depth, and I have to say he makes an Ivy league education look meaningless.

School districts should get to decide, and if it is too dangerous to meet in court, that should tell us all we need to know about the decisions they should make.   

Friday, August 14, 2020

Empowering the voters with knowledge

Empower Jax is an organization known for wanting to strip protections away from LGBTQ people. They fought against the HRO and push an agenda that wants to see gay people shoved back in the closet, and don't take my word for it, take the Times Unions. Oh, and why does this matter? It's because they found their candidate in district 3.

From the Florida Times-Union,

The newly formed group trying to repeal Jacksonville laws designed to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination is tied to a statewide organization known for its anti-gay platform.
Empower Jacksonville is registered with the state as a fictitious name for Florida Family Action, a step businesses take when they want to operate under a different name. Florida Family Action and sister organization Florida Family Policy Council are both led by John Stemberger, a conservative activist and attorney based in Orlando.
They are an astroturf group whose main purpose ist to strip rights away from LGBTQ citizens.
I received a survey from them in Mid July, and after answering a few questions, I couldn't continue because I could see where they were going, and it was a place that I found unacceptable.
Mrs. Pearson, however, must have seen it differently as she just deposited a five hundred dollar check from them, and this continues a disturbing pattern of getting donations from anti-LGBTQ individuals as she also took three thousand dollars from John Rood.
John Rood is responsible for bringing the new classical charter school, and he hired a woman named Erika Donalds, who, among other disturbing and gross things, has publicly said gay people will burn in hell if they do not repent, to run it. 
I have met Mrs. Pearson several times, and she was always pleasant and polite, which begs the question if she does not share their views why do they think she does. I can tell you for a fact I believe in the views of the civic, educational, and labor groups that gave to me. There wasn't one where I said, you know I don't like them but I could sure use some more buttons. 
We must strive to protect all our children regardless of sexual orientation, or at least I believe that.
I just wanted to say in years past, I have covered school board races extensively, but because I am in this one I have tried to just talk about ideas and solutions giving a pass to things that would have generated a red flag and a blog in years past, but this I can't ignore. Some of our most vulnerable students who have and routinely go through so much deserve a school board member who will support them and not seek to strip them of protections or treat them as if they were second class.  
Some more about EmpowerJax
Seeks to repeal the HRO

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Why is it so hard for DCPS just to do the right thing. (draft)

I tried to come up with something where I talked about the Premack principle and how if you are in a hole stop digging, but I couldn't because the bottom line is DCPS is making a conscious choice to treat it's employees poorly. Every time they are given an opportunity to do something right, they choose wrong.

First, the district has had it backward from day one. They should have put everyone in Duval homeroom, and people should have opted into danger. Those 12 percent of teachers who want to be back could have gone in. Who wants to bet things would have run a lot smoother and schools would be a lot emptier and thus safer?

We didn't, and the district told teachers to sign up for Duval Homeroom but, at the same time, announced that those teachers would still have to come in. Why? No good reason was given. Friends that is just mean and petty, but it gets even worse.

So the school board passes a work from home resolution, to get as many people out of the building as possible, and for weeks the district ignores it. Then when staff asks about it, district supervisors don't seem to know what they are talking about.

How does that happen without a wink and a nod from Greene? I am not saying she ignored the school board, wink, nod, but that seems to be what has happened.

Okay, let's get back to Duval Homeroom, people spent weeks trying to figure it out. Will you lose your position, if there aren't enough students will you get surplussed, will you have to switch schools, etc. etc. etc.

So just yesterday, the day teachers reported superintendent finally said if you are teaching Duval Homeroom in a dedicated position, you can work from home. Nice, but why did she have to wait so long after so many made their decision to apply (or not) based on having to work from the building. More than a few people have told me had they know that weekes ago when they should have they may have made a different call.

Then some people are now being assigned DHR classes even though they didn't sign up for them, and others who did are being given a B&M class or two to make them come into the building.

This is what a district staff member told me earlier.

...they pushed elem schools to try and do 1/2 BM and 1/2 FF packages for departmentalized, and that keeps a FT DHR position away form a much-needed teacher. Then makes both teachers have to be in the building every day.

So the district's plan was to get as many people in the building as possible?

From the trickle, we hear yes, they left decisions up to principals but..... you know how DCPS can be very persuasive without putting anything in writing.

Yes, the district can be very persuasive without putting anything in writing, just like they can ignore resolutions to keep people safe.

Friends, this should be simple, keep as many people safe as you can, accommodate as many people as you can too, but instead of doing the right thing, we can't seem to.

I want to remind everyone that Greene thinks going in is the right call, the pandemic, a challenge, totally destroying the learning environment, a challenge, ignoring, demoralizing, micromanaging, and risking the lives of staff, a challenge. It's all just a challenge to her. Where too the rest of us, it is so much more.

We could and should be doing so much better.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

DCPS proves once again tells teachers they are not important

This is going to be a little inside baseball. DCPS decided to scrap it's ESE curriculum based on 24 responses to a survey given during a pandemic. That's a problem; the bigger one though, is the district continues to treat its teachers like afterthoughts.

So last spring, they introduced a program called Teach Town to supplement our main ESE program ULS. I didn't care for it, but I may not be a great barometer as I usually don't like new things.

So fast forward to our return, and I was told we are scraping ULS for Teach Town. Um, what?!?

So I wrote the director of ESE and said is this a good idea, you may have noticed there was a pandemic going on, and maybe this was not the time to stress everyone out with such a big change.

She responded and said they did a survey in the spring, and people overwhelmingly wanted to switch to Teachtown.

A survey? I looked in my inbox, clutter, and trash, and I did not receive it. I asked my four-person team if they had received it and what they thought about Teach Town. Like me, they did not remember the survey, and like me, they did not care for Teach Town. It was to one on one and way to low for a lot of our kids, and I want to remind everyone I work at a center school for intellectually disabled children.

So I asked to see the results of the survey.

151 people responded.

ULS was popular though not overwhelmingly.

Teach Town was crazy popular by almost three to one.

See, the director of ESE education said, we are right, and you are wrong.

Except, take a look at these two slides,

Hardly anybody answered the question about Teachtown because they were not in the study. They used this shoddy data to justify what I am sure of is the decision they already made. 14 people answering one question dictated the future of the ESE curriculum if you believe what they told me anyways.

During one of the emails, the director said they wanted to include as many people as possible, which I after seeing the results of the study call, well you know what I call.

This brings me to my point, we will never be the district we could and should be as long as we treat our teachers as afterthoughts, and lest you think this is just ESE, read this note I got from an advanced math teacher.

I know this seems rather small given everything else, but I’d thought you’d like to know that for upper level math (alg 2 and beyond), the District has dumped all the on-line resources for the curriculum, even the on-line textbook.  I just thought this was rather short-sighted given the current circumstances.  The sole resource is the textbook and whatever free things the teacher can find on the web.

This is something I confirmed with another math teacher.

So it's not just science they ignore but teachers at all levels as well.

We could and should be doing better.     

I just want to say, if you love Teachtown, I am not mad at you and its okay to hate ULS too and believe you me I have a love-hate relationship with it, but if we are doing the work, I think we should be considered, we should be asked what works and what doesn't.  We shouldn't have things forced down our throat, not during a pandemic and not during good times either.

Some of the problems with Duval Homeroom. SOME!!!!!!

Duval Homeroom initially sounded great. The thought of high-risk teachers being able to teach from home was comforting to many, though unfortunately, it didn't work like that, and you had to apply and hope you get it. Then we learned that Duval Home from teachers would have to teach from the schools, and we all let out a collective what the %$#@, how does that make any sense.

I have since heard it is up to principals and asked the district for clarification.

Speaking of principals, I am told they have incredible leeway as to who is assigned teach in Duval Homeroom or not.

Several teachers told me their principals told them they were too strong, and they needed them in the classroom. The reward for doing a good job just became to risk your life.

Numerous teachers who signed up have said they are being turned into hybrid teachers who will see DHR children and those in the building, sometimes at the same time and sometimes at different times. This means their first period may be entirely B&M, their second entirely DHR, and their third a combination of both.

I am having a hard time visualizing being both a DHR and a B&M teacher at the same time, but I guess that one day of extra training will smooth everything out (sic).

Some teachers are being told they are now DHR teachers at least part of the day. They didn't apply for it or want it, but now they are doing it.

DHR was designed to keep people home and safe with the added benefit of making in class schools smaller, but that may not always be the case either. I have heard of teachers that have been told to expect considerable numbers in DHR and the same in their regular classes, though if we are honest,  any classroom with more than 10-12 kids, it will be impossible to socially distance.

Also, how is it the day before (most) teachers show up, and we have many more questions than answers?

We are flailing as a district. We are in a hole and continuing to dig. We could and should be doing a lot better.

If anyone reading this is having success with DHR, they think it is working at least for them well, please let me know because I would love to be wrong and to hear some good news.

I don't know what else to say.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Greene is ignoring the resolution to let people work from home. Danger is her default

I try and be sympathetic to Superintendent Greene. On good days she has a really tough job, and these are about as far from good days as you can get. In late July the school board passed a resolution saying as many people as possible should be allowed to work from home, and thus far, the super has ignored it. She is forcing people who could work from home to come in despite the board telling her to do the opposite.

You know there is a big difference between not having the guts to fight the state and their reopening executive order and agreeing with the order and just going along. Sadly this is what our superintendent is doing, but for her to ignore the school board's work from home resolution which was put in place to keep as many people safe as possible is unconscionable.

If you are entirely Duval Homeroom, you don't need to be in the building.

If you are a district staff member who has been doing their job from home for the last five months, you do not need to be there either, and the school board by passing the work from home resolution agrees. The only hold up is Greene and her myopic zeal to return to school.

She wants people to be in the building. She is fine with people risking their lives, and every day she insists people that don't need to be in the buildings go in, she proves it.

I try and be sympathetic, but at some point, she has to own her actions and decisions, and right now perhaps the biggest she is making is needlessly requiring people to risk their lives, and that is unacceptable.

I just want to say if I am in the building and some of my colleagues and district staff aren't, that they are working from home, I am more than okay with it. I don't think they are getting over, or skirting their duties and in fact, I am both glad they are safe and that there are fewer people in the buildings.

Greene through her actions must feel otherwise.

If our leaders aren't going to do what is right, we need new leaders.

It is time we pushed back against DeSantis's lies

It is 2020, and it is beyond sad that the governor continually lies to the people of Florida to push his deadly agenda. Almost daily, he says schools should open because kids don't get the coronavirus when the truth is they do and are getting it a faster and faster rate. Won't it be something when we find out they hadn't been getting it because we kept them safe by closing schools?
180 Children in Orange County,

Orange County officials said Thursday that 1,785 children are among the 30,000 confirmed cases that have been confirmed in the county since March.
And that includes more than 100 infants, and hundreds more children in all age ranges.

Children, especially minority children, are susceptible. 

While most children who catch the coronavirus have either no symptoms or mild ones, they are still at risk of developing "severe" symptoms requiring admission to an intensive care unit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report released Friday. 

Hispanic and Black children, in particular, were much more likely to require hospitalization for COVID-19, with Hispanic children about eight times as likely as white children to be hospitalized, while Black children were five times as likely. 

Despite persistent rumors that children are "almost immune" from the virus, the analysis of 576 children hospitalized for the virus across 14 states found that one out of three was admitted to the ICU — similar to the rate among adults. Almost 1 in 5 of those were infants younger than 3 months. The most common symptoms included fever and chills, inability to eat, nausea, and vomiting.

Despite rumors? Rumors spread by people like the governor though since minority children are more susceptible, we may now know why he doesn't care as much, sorry at all.  

97,000 children test positive,

Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds. Just over 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus from July 16 to July 30, according to the association.
Out of almost 5 million reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S., CBS News' Michael George reports that the group found that more than 338,000 were children.

So in a few weeks, we had a little less than half the amount of cases we had in the first few months. Think about that; as kids started going out, the number of cases skyrocketed.

When the governor says kids don't get sick, he is lying.
When he says schools are safe, he is lying.
When he says things will be fine, and we are heading in the right direction, he is lying.
The governor is lying, and that will undoubtedly cost lives.

It is time we called out the governor's lies. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Teachers from heroes to zeroes, by design (draft)

Never waste a crisis. Last spring, after a solid year and a half of teacher action, when they pushed back against the conditions that were strangling the profession, teachers were lauded as heroes as they switched to distance learning in a couple of days. The memes and accolades were everywhere. Fast forward to today when many teachers are protesting going back to unsafe conditions, and suddenly they are the villains of the story, lazy and unprofessional, and no offense to the clerk at Wallmart, but if he can do it, so should teachers. You have to think this new narrative is a little by design.

By now I think we have all heard if the clerk at Wallmart can do it, why can't teachers as if they are the same. On the other end of the spectrum, if nurses and doctors can do it, so can teachers. You know, because teaching is the same as both jobs.

It is probably a surprise to all the nasty commentators on news stories, but teachers are neither. Sevice workers deal with a customer or two at a time for a few minutes, often in places where social distancing can occur. Not crammed into classrooms and schools, which are already as close as you can get to Petri dishes.

Then nurses and doctors, the true heroes of the pandemic, signed up for this, that's the job they chose. Their bravery and dedication are truly admirable, and their PPE is truly impressive as well. I am not sure if my batman mask and gallon of hand sanitizer are going to get the job done, and it's scary.

Teachers proved they could get the job done remotely, or they had until politicians wanted to open the economy and their low wage workers needed daycare. 

Schools aren't daycares, and it's not teachers fault the powers that be have not mandated companies provide daycare, or the government hasn't done their $%#ing jobs.

Suddenly distance learning became a failure and only the people that wanted to open schools cared about the learning gap and poor and disabled kids, something those people pushing to open schools had never cared about before. Since there has been education, all of those things existed, and the same people trying to force teachers and students into unsafe situations ignored them like it was their job. They pushed that they cared and teachers didn’t. That’s called gaslighting and it is both wrong and reprehensible.,  

Science, medical experts, plenty of examples of how bad it's going to be, have no effect on their decisions as they push ahead. Everything can be dismissed because they say we have to open schools and it is only those ingrate and lazy teachers standing in the way.

Then these trolls that call teachers lazy and say if you are scared just quit don't realize teachers are fighting for them as well. When schools open, the virus will spread, and things will get worse, and after a week when just a handful of schools opened that has already played out over and over again.

That hasn't slowed Trump, DeSantis, and so many other politicians across the country from still pushing for schools to open. They have to know how dangerous it is and they don't care, now it's probably true and they really don't care, but hey if they can stick it to those teachers who had become "defiant" over the last few years, then all the better. How dare teachers stick up for themselves (and their families and students too) we will show them and turn the uninformed against them.

I think we should all admit that distance learning didn't work for a lot of students, but school has been out for months. Why haven't we funded schools so they can make sure that it works better for more? Nope, we would rather invest in plexiglass screens, and hand sanitizer, something that nobody thinks will keep them safe over the long haul.

When teachers rally and protest against going to school, it isn't just their safety they are concerned about, but their families, and their children and their families, and all the people that will be put in a worse position when schools inevitably shut down, that they are fighting for as well.

Instead of supporting these efforts, the powers-that-be fan the flames against teachers. They twist the knife in their back.

Teachers long-neglected and disrespected are heroes in my book, and they were long before the pandemic. They already sacrifice and give so much, they shouldn't be required to give their health or their lives too.

Teachers shouldn't have to protest and rally to teach remotely until things are safe. That should be the status quo and those people pushing to send teachers back, they are the villains of the story. 

District staff converned about theor jobs and there lives

It's not just school staff and students; we should be worried about but district staff as well. Many district staff don't have the protection of the union and are afraid to speak up about their safety, and that is just not how it should be.

In July, the board passed a work from home resolution.

Sounds great right, let's keep as many people out of the buildings and as safe as possible. Except it hasn't worked out that way. Some staff members have said they have gone to their supervisors who haven't even heard of the resolution. That sounds crazy right, well sadly, I hear about this type of thing all the time as board actions don't always trickle down to the staff.

Though other staff members have told me they are being voluntold to return. The staff is too scared to speak up.

I asked the district about resolution, and they told me staff members would have to speak to their supervisors to continue working from home. Which begs the question, if they have been getting the job done them, why is the district knocking the apple cart over? 

Speaking of returning, most are set to do so next week to floors where social distancing won't be possible.

I really don't get it, this should be easy. The district should be looking to keep people safe, but over and over again, when given the option, they have passed. We could and should be doing much better.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Simply following orders is not acceptable and it is going to cost lives

In history, when doing terrible things, people have often said they were just following orders? Well, friends, that's the same things directors of the local departments of health, superintendents and school board members have been saying the same thing in the face of DeSantis's directions and Corcoran's executive order. I don't think history will be kind to them either.

From the Palm Beach Post.

“It’s not up to the health department to say a yes or a no,” the governor said.
As Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed this summer for schools to reopen, state leaders told school boards they would need Health Department approval if they wanted to keep classrooms closed.
Then they instructed health directors not to give it.
We have all seen above, but perhaps just as disturbing, the article only mentions one local DOH director who broke ranks. One out of 67. The rest went along. They protected their jobs rather than the people they are supposed too.
Nobody has the guts to stand up to the governor? 
Then what about supers and school board members. So many have said, well, we might lose funding if we ignore the commissioner's order. They are letting themselves be bullied. Well, friends, if you don't stand up to bullies, the bullying never ends, and that's part of the reason we are where we find ourselves. We have let the state exceed their authority and bully districts for years and the culmination of letting all that happen, is we are now risking of lives.
If I was in charge I would say try and take our funding, you have the executive order, I have the state constitution, and we will see you in court.
History has never been kind to those people who say, I was just following orders, orders they had to know were wrong. Orders like DeSantis and Corcoran are putting out regarding returning to school, reckless and dangerous orders that ignore science and will cost lives. History will not be kind to those directors of health, supers, and board members who instead of standing up, just went along.   

After one week, there is more than enough proof that schools will close, so why are we risking lives?

I am sure we all saw the pictures of the school in Georgia. You know I don't blame the kids. Kids will do what kids will do, nope, I blame the adults. The ones who are supposed to use facts and evidence to make decisions, the ones who are supposed to make sure kids are safe. They are the ones who failed and failed spectacularly. Sadly Georgia isn't the only place this has happened.

There has been a trickle of school openings and to say the experiment has been a failure is an understatement. People have been exposed and schools have closed. Everyone knew this would happen but we rushed headlong into it for what?

Here is a round up of just a few stories.

90 staff members in Georgia forced to quarantine.

 A school district in Georgia has decided to start the school year with virtual learning, after more than 90 staff members were forced to quarantine due to a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19, or due to being exposed to someone who did.
"If today was the first day of school, we would have been hard-pressed to have sufficient staff available to open our schools," Barrow County Schools Superintendent Chris McMichael said in a statement on Wednesday. 
Two schools in Indiana close in less than a week.
A second Elwood student has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an email sent to parents Wednesday. 
The student was in close contact with the student who tested positive earlier in the week. Both attend Elwood Junior Senior High School, which is conducting a week of eLearning this week after at least one staff member tested positive and several others were exposed to the virus.

Chicago goes completely virtual.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she bowed to the science, not the teachers union, in abruptly shifting Chicago Public Schools to a remote learning plan for the fall that officials say will have far more structure and accountability than in the spring.
The mayor cited worsening public health conditions and parent concerns about in-person schooling Wednesday in backing off a proposal to return to classrooms next month. To improve the experience for parents and students, schools chief Janice Jackson promised full-day live online instruction by all teachers five days a week and some small group online learning.

Schools in Tennessee closing down 

The district shared a Facebook post from the Coffee County School Bus Garage - Manchester, TN Facebook account, which attempted to "give some more clarity" regarding the closures. 

The account said all buses will run their normal schedule, but children who attend North Coffee Elementary and Coffee County Middle School need to stay home. Both schools were closed by Coffee County schools administration.

116 children in Mississippi quarantine.

Last week, schools in Corinth, Miss., welcomed back hundreds of students. By Friday, one high-schooler tested positive for the novel coronavirus. By early this week, the count rose to six students and one staff member infected. Now, 116 students have been sent home to quarantine, a spokeswoman for the school district confirmed.

A football team and band quarantine in Alabama. 

 The entire football team and marching band at a small-town Alabama high school are under quarantine following exposure to the new coronavirus

Oneonta High School coach Phil Phillips told WBMA-TV that a fifth player has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s the second quarantine of the summer for the team.

Above is from all over the nation and in some places where the virus is reasonably under control unlike say Florida where the governor and education commissioner are bullying districts to open.

This is already a disaster, one that will get much worse. When more schools open, more people will get exposed, some will get sick and worse and schools will close. The pandemic will get worse, everything will get worse. I know it, you know it, the medical experts know it and if our leaders don't they should. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Screaming into a pillow, Florida, Covid-19 edition

the revelation that Governor DeSantis said on one hand schools could close at the direction of their health departments and on the other told those health departments not to help, I spent more than a few minutes screaming into a pillow. His politicization of health is unacceptable and should be an impeachable offense, but it also should be a jailable one as well.

From the Palm Beach Post,

“It’s not up to the health department to say a yes or a no,” the governor said.
As Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed this summer for schools to reopen, state leaders told school boards they would need Health Department approval if they wanted to keep classrooms closed.
Then they instructed health directors not to give it.
Following a directive from DeSantis’ administration, county health directors across Florida refused to give school boards advice about one of the most wrenching public health decisions in modern history: whether to reopen schools in a worsening pandemic, a Gannett USA TODAY NETWORK review found.
Yesterday he said we should ignore positivity rates despite touting them when they were low.
This is the governor, whose first job should be to keep us safe. He is doing everything, but.
In my hometown, a lady was arrested for assault after she purposely coughed in someone's face.  If anything, what DeSantis has done is worse. He has knowingly chosen to endanger people's lives while conspiring to keep them in the dark. DeSantis has already cost lives, and if he proceeds on this course, he will cost more, and we all know where killers belong.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Ron DeSantis moves goal posts risk lives

When positivity rates were low, DeSantis said that was the measure we should look at, but now that they are high, he thinks we should ignore them. It is a sad state of affairs but he will move the goal line over and over again to get what he wants, which is teachers and students risking their lives for a few weeks of daycare. Sadly that's not even the worse thing he has done.

This is a post from the Vice-chair of Duval County's school board.

So he has directed the surgeon general and the DOH not to give guidance? During a health crisis? During a #$%@ing pandemic? I guess him moving the goal line is small potatoes but he is doing that too.

From the Washington Examiner,

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly stressed in April and May that the positivity rate of mass COVID-19 tests was a better way to gauge how Florida was faring in containing COVID-19 than positive case totals.
On Tuesday, with the state in a six-week surge of the disease, the governor offered emergency room visits as a better metric to gauge the spread and severity of the disease.
DeSantis acknowledged the flip during a roundtable, when he was asked about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that schools not reopen until positivity rates fall to 5 percent or below.
“I was religiously hyping positivity in March, April, May, because I was like, you know what, this is an asymptomatic illness largely for most people,” he said. “If you go back, I can probably find you examples of me in May talking about positivity is really important. I’m not saying it’s not something you would never consider ever, but I think we’ve understood some of the limitations.”
You know it's just lives hanging in the balance, and friends despite DeSantis's assurances things are getting better they are not.
The governor, through his reckless actions, is going to get people killed.
Science doesn't matter, decency doesn't matter, the lives of teachers and students don't matter either. This is where we find ourselves. Elections have consequences, and this last one for governor is going to cost lives.