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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The district is "just following orders"

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

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

Greene wanted schools to open.

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

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

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

We could and should be doing better.

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

DCPS's contract tracing is worthless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Set up to fail

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

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

No books or the right materials.

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

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

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

Crazy big Duval homeroom classes.

Crazy big brick and motor ones too.

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

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

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

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

Superintendent Greene,


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


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


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


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


Chris Guerrieri

To which she responded.

Dear Mr. Guerrieri,


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


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


 Kind regards,


Dr. Diana Greene


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

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

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

Where did all the, planning, time go.

 Let me tell you my story first.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things will not improve until you say no.

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

Just say no.  

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Greene gets what she wants, more people in schools.

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

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

From First Coast News, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

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

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

On Facebook, I posed this question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Work to the contract and not a minute more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 4, 2020

About those rapid COVID tests

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

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

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

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

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