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Sunday, October 18, 2020

DCPS is using the DOH as an excuse to risk lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    

Monday, October 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Curry shills for charter school pac to push referendum

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

So there are two groups ostensibly working for the referendum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Voluntold to sub

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

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

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

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

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

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