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Sunday, February 28, 2021

DCPS try's to trick parents into sending their kids back into school... during a pandemic.

 DCPS is like an onion. On the outside, it may look normal, but as you peel back the layers, it makes you want to cry. Recently the district has been sending letters to parents whose children are doing just fine with DHR, implying they are failing and must return to school. This is beyond the pale.

A teacher reached out to me to tell me the district sent one of his families a letter saying their child was failing when the student in question had a B average in actuality. You can rest assured this wasn't a one-off either, and hundreds, maybe thousands of students got this letter. 

This is unacceptable. It undermines teachers, it lies to parents, and since it is a pandemic could potentially put people in jeopardy.

DCPS has lost its way; we could and should be doing better.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

DCPS creates problems, then wonders why there are problems.

One-sixth of DCPS teachers leave from year to year. Where there are many reasons teachers leave, the lion's share of why they do has to fall on the shoulders of the district. Bad leadership and bad policies have led to this exodus.   

The Times Union recently reported on a JPEF study about teacher recruitment and retention. If the article seems familiar, it's because a variation of it comes out every three to four years.  

From the Times Union, 

In an analysis of three years of data from the school district, Jacksonville Public Education Fund revealed that Duval County's teacher retention rate is about 84 percent year-to-year across the entire district and about 75 percent year-to-year in the average school. The district said these numbers are on pace with national statistics… 

…Jacksonville Public Education Fund's research also showed that higher-performing schools with lower grades have teachers with less experience and schools with more students that are eligible for free and reduced lunch experience less teacher retention than schools with fewer students eligible for free and reduced lunch. 

The article had more to do with recruiting minority males to the district, a worthwhile endeavor, but I thought these two passages pertained most to DCPS’s ongoing issues.  

First, I am blown away that it is only 1 in 6 that leaves annually, but who wants to bet that number is about to go up.   

Then schools with teachers with less experience don’t do as well, um, well duh. This isn’t an indictment of young teachers either. They just don’t know what they don’t know, plus we often overwhelm them with extra tasks and, if we are honest, some of the hardest classes. We bind their hands and feet and throw them into the deep end. It's no wonder that many leave shortly after arriving. 

Younger teachers usually go where the jobs are, and the jobs are often at the economically disadvantaged schools, where gains are slow and small.  

So does the district assist them with academic and behavioral supports, make their classes smaller, take tasks off their plates? Nope, nope and nope, they are treated the same as ten-year veterans for the most part.  

It gets worse, though, because the district actively recruits teachers through Teach for America, spending thousands of dollars on each, and they know the vast majority won’t stay past their two-year commitment. Heck, the last stat I saw said about one in six; imagine that they do not even finish that commitment. The district is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a program that does the opposite of what we know our most vulnerable children need, which exacerbates the turnover rate. How does that make any sense? The answer is it does not.  

When teachers leave, there is no exit interview to find out why and I believe the district does not want to know. They do not want to hear about bullies masquerading as administrators, the soul-crushing workloads, and the lack of support. No, because if they knew definitively about those things, they might feel obligated to do something. 

Some good news and bad news. The good news is these problems are solvable; the bad news is that we don’t have a district interested in doing so. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Biden is off to a real slow education start.

 You know you want to give the new guy some time, but how long does it take to do what is right? Well, since Biden just punted on high stakes standardized tests during a pandemic, it will be at least another year. However, since Obama's education policies were truly dreadful and destructive, I wouldn't hold out much hope that Biden will be different.

The Biden administration showed a real lack of leadership today when it punted to the states on high-stakes testing.

 From the letter the acting secretary of ed sent to the states. 

To be successful once schools have re-opened, we need to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on learning and identify what resources and supports students need. We must also specifically be prepared to address the educational inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, including by using student learning data to enable states, school districts, and schools to target resources and supports to the students with the greatest needs. In addition, parents need information on how their children are doing

I love how it finishes, you know, because we can't trust teachers to tell parents, and be honest, so since we have no idea we have to have a test to find out. Sofa king lame. I included a link above, and I would urge you to check it out.

This on the heels of Biden straight up saying he would not forgive student debt, which to me was the most important issue. Now you might think I am greedy, but if I had been paid what I was promised when I started, I would be close to paying my student loans off; however, since I wasn't, I will retire at this rate with student %$@#ing loans.  

You know I am glad the country isn't being debased routinely, and I don't think he will steal the china on the way out, but at the same time, I haven't had a president that truly cares about public education in my lifetime.

Once again, sofa king lame.   

Saturday, February 20, 2021

In DCPS scholar bowl out, sports still in.

 Do you ever get the feeling DPS is just making stuff up as they go along? That there is little rhyme or reason? Well, today's version features the cancelation of scholar bowl while sports chug along.

So our schools are too dangerous for scholar bowl but not for the classes the scholars are taking? Not for sports? Also if any activity screams can be done over teams, it is scholar bowl.

This doesn't make sense, nothing makes sense.

DCPS's insidious effort to get more kids back in school

 During a zoom call, I asked the superintendent if having kids come in to take a practice test was wise. She said we are using this latest round of tests to prepare for the FSA. I also asked if the district was going to follow other district's leads and ask the state to cancel the tests. She pointed to a superintendents association letter sent a few months back but said they didn't have any plans. Greene has joined the high stakes test group, which believes that is all education is. 

So this is what is insidious. All year long, DHR kids have been able to take district tests through performance matters but not this time. This tells me collecting data isn't the goal, because if it was it wouldn't matter where the kid took the test, it's to get butts in seats, it's to bow down to the altar of big testing.

This is the alter that Greene worships at. What has she done to push back against the state? Signed onto a quickly ignored letter? No, she's doubled down, she has said, the state says they have to be there for the FSA so we're gonna make sure they are there for a practically useless test too.

Why? It's not to get data, they could do that at home. It's also not to keep people safe because in my opinion, they haven't cared about that all year long. No, it's to show fealty to a state that hates and loathes public education and that is pathetic and short-sited at best. 

If the district really cared about students and staff they would immediately cancel any district tests, and explain family's options to opt-out. 

Dr. Greene, it's a pandemic. It's time to get a heart.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

This week in Ron DeSantis, he blasts CDC guidelines, threatens to withhold vaccines and lies about the pandemic.

 Ron DeSantis is a menace, before the pandemic is over he will be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. 


 DeSantis is calling it a “disgrace.” He says these new guidelines are not rooted in science.

“We’ve been open the whole time, since August. We had kids doing camps and athletics and all that over the summer and we’ve been in-person as much as anybody in the country and yet, we are 34th out of 50 states and D.C. for COVID-19 cases on a per capita basis for children,” said the Florida governor during his press conference. “Thirty-three states have more cases per capita than Florida children and many of those don’t have a lot of in-person instruction in school.

You know we are in trouble when they start throwing out words like "per capita". The things is I am not sure Desantis understands science because he lies about it so often.

From NBC6,

 As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis travels the state promoting his performance fighting the coronavirus, he often points to a relatively low infection rate among children — even after his administration compelled school districts to offer in-person learning. 

But this week, the NBC 6 Investigators found, he twice misled the public about how Florida stacks up to other states when it comes to infection rates among school-age children. 

During comments Monday lambasting Democrats for, he claimed, putting teachers' unions "ahead of the well-being of our children," he touted how well Florida protected school children from the virus, compared to other states. "We’ve been in-person (learning) as much as anybody in the country. And yet we’re 34th out of 50 states and DC for COVID-19 cases on a per capita basis for children," he said. 

That is not true, unless -- as the governor did -- you ignore more than 50,000 children over the age of 14 who contracted the virus. 

By using a statistic for children under 15, he effectively removed high school students from the data he cited twice this week to validate his decision to offer in-person classes to all public schools students. 

The states DeSantis was comparing Florida to do, in fact, include those older students. 

When states reporting cases among children under 18 are compared to Florida's rate for the same age group, Florida ranks ninth -- not 34th -- according to an NBC 6 analysis of state Department of Health and U.S. Census Bureau data. 

So our governor is a liar, disappointing but at this point well known, but as bad as above is, perhaps worse is him threatening to withhold the vaccine from people he doesn't like.

From the Sun Sentinel, 

Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his decision Wednesday to steer COVID-19 vaccine to a planned community with family ties to a Republican power couple, threatening to pull doses if local officials criticize his distribution methods. 

DeSantis is facing questions over his decision to provide seniors living in two of Manatee County’s wealthiest ZIP codes with special access to the vaccine. The pop-up vaccination site is serving residents of Lakewood Ranch, a planned community in Southwest Florida with family ties to Liz and Dick Uihlein. The New York Times dubbed the pair “the most powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of.” 

The couple’s list of political contributions includes $900,000 Dick Uihlein gave to DeSantis’ political committee in 2018 and 2019. DeSantis brushed aside concerns of political favoritism during a news conference Wednesday and then issued a warning to local officials complaining about his plan. 

“If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, we are totally fine with putting this in counties that want it,” DeSantis said.

And there you have it.

To paraphrase Dean Wormer, ignorant deceptive, and cruel is no way to run a state, but that's the way the governor is doing it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Greene just can't be honest about the pandemic.

 In a community meeting, Greene said cases of COVID exploded in January because we had just returned from Winter Break. She showed a graph backing this up too. The thing is cases exploded because the district changed the way it revealed cases. Basically, up to that point, we had been lowballing the numbers, and it was a Christmas miracle that they finally decided to be more honest.   

From the Times Union, 

Wednesday evening, when Duval Schools families refreshed the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, they saw a massive spike in cases. But the district says it’s because of the new, more proactive way they're reporting things, not a school-specific case surge. 

Instead of waiting for confirmation from the local Department of Health, Duval County Public Schools announced Wednesday that it will start reporting potential COVID-19 cases into its system as soon as officials become aware of a case.

The change took effect Wednesday night, with 170 new cases populating for one day.

The district said in a post to its website that this will help families and the community make informed decisions and with overall transparency.

Could this have been a result of returning from Winter break? Maybe I guess, but this was the second week back.

I don't like calling people a liar, but the super seems inclined to stretch the facts some like she did last summer when she said we had plenty of subs and fewer openings, neither of which turned out to be true.

I think this is even more maddening because it was unnecessary. She didn't need to bring it up; it was filler during her 30-minute presentation.

For the first five months, everyone knew the district was under-reporting cases, and kudos to them for finally being more honest, but blaming the surge on winter break and not a policy change is her being less than honest, and if she is going to do that here, where won't she do it. 

In a pandemic little things matter. Everything matters.

If Greene and the board will not stick up for staff and students during a pandemic, when will they?

It is tough being a teacher, a student, and a parent right now. Every day on social media, I see good people stretched to the limit and about to snap. It is heartbreaking, but what is equally heartbreaking is how the superintendent and school board DON”T care. I used the word don’t purposely because where they occasionally say they do, their actions, or often lack of actions speak much louder.    

It started last summer when the super said she was for opening schools. That if she had the say, that is what would happen, and I believe because of that, rather than look for things that would have made us safer, she haphazardly made them open. Contact tracing is dreadful, social distancing is nonexistent, mask-wearing is inconsistent, and the list goes on and on.  

Then rather than making it easier for everyone involved, she made it more difficult by putting more on people’s plates while simultaneously giving much less time to do it. The board’s reaction has been to sit back and shrug its shoulders, well that, and give the super a glowing review. Warren Jones gave Jesus a 45 and Greene a 44.    

Every step of the way, rather than supporting staff and students, the district inexplicably has decided to go the other way, and the latest example of this is with testing. 

Rather than cancel all district tests, and push for the cancellation of state tests, DCPS wants families to send their children in for a practice test. How does that make any %@#$ing sense? Don’t they know there is a pandemic? Don’t they know people are stressed to the breaking point? Of course, they do; they just DON”T care.  

Other districts are pushing back, but DCPS sure isn’t one of them. 

DCPS cares about every little thing but the most important thing, and that is the people. 

The district could have fought against the executive order, but nope, Greene said that was a south Florida thing. 

The district could have demanded robust contact tracing, but nope, Andersen said that’s all on the DOH. 

Instead of canceling the state tests, DCPS says, nope, we want even more tests. 

Every time the district is given a chance to do the right thing for students and staff, it has passed; it has said nope.   

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Testing in Florida is nothing but a scam

There has been some concern about what will happen to teachers if too many kids opt-out, will they not get their growth scores and be eligible for raises? Some have mentioned their schools may lose funding too. I don’t believe we should worry about these things. Everyone knows that high-stakes testing is bad for public education; everyone but the voters, that is. I would like to see Tallahassee explain why they are taking away funding from public schools for not taking the tests while doing absolutely nothing to private schools for not taking the same tests.   

 In Florida, the high-stakes tests give at the end of the year aren’t designed to help public education and the teaching profession; on the contrary, they are designed to harm them. Want proof, look at the hundreds of thousands of kids that Florida sends to private schools on the public dime. They don’t have to take any high stakes tests, their teachers don’t have VAM scores, their schools don’t lose money based on performance or the number of children who take them, and they damn sure are retained based on a test. Yet both are paid for by taxpayers. Testing in Florida is nothing but a scam.  

Florida now spends billions on school vouchers. Those schools do not have to give the FSA or EOCs. In fact, they can teach what they want to who they want, and it is all funded by the taxpayers and friends its getting worse. Each year the program is expanded, diverting more and more money to schools that are so unregulated you might as well say they have none. Heck, most schools don’t even have to report how they spend the money. Can you imagine a public school doing that? 

Then let's throw in the hundreds of millions the state spends on testing and the weeks kids lose to it. It’s a terrible system all around, and I know it, you know it, but wildly even Tallahassee knows it too. 

From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 

A member of the audience pointed out that private schools do not have the same accountability measures imposed on public schools, including the same testing requirements. 

Both (Representatives) Robinson and Gregory argued that there is too much testing in public schools, and said that they would rather scale that back than impose new testing requirements on private schools that enroll voucher students. 

“I don’t think the answer is to take these ridiculous burdens and apply them to everyone,” Gregory said. 

 Um, do you know what representatives Robinson and Gregory did to scale back the testing going on in Public schools while voting for tens of millions more in vouchers at schools with no testing? Absolutely nothing, then they have the chutzpah to say public schools are tested too much. If the Republicans in Tallahassee didn’t have corruption and hypocrisy, then they wouldn’t have anything. 

The republican party’s goal is to dismantle public education, and at this point, there can be absolutely no doubt about it. 

So parents say no to testing, and if they try and defund your child’s school or not, give their teacher a raise, make them explain why and hold them accountable for it. It’s the right thing to do all around. 

To learn more about opting out, click the link: 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Families, opt your children out of all the tests you can.

 In an action news Jax piece the district was deceptive about having children take tests in the schools because they can always just say no to or taking the tests.

Mr. Pierce has to know parents have always had the ability to opt-out of the FSA tests. They can just say they don't want their children to take them. Also, this is just another example of the district passing the buck and I for one am tired of that. 

Now for some EOC tests, there are consequences because they count for a large percentage of the grade, but for grade-level tests, there are only two that count for promotion, 3rd and tenth, and both have workarounds, in third grade, you can have a portfolio done, and in tenth, you can take the SAT. Peirce and the district know this too.

I have some concerns that the district, instead of working with families, is threatening them to take the tests instead; one family told me, if they didn't take the 6th grade FSA, their student may be put in remedial classes despite the fact they have excellent grades, and I just got this on Facebook.

This is inexcusable.

I always encourage families to always opt-out, even before there was a pandemic. I believe the district is more concerned with putting people in seats for what are basically worthless tests rather than keeping people safe.

If you want to learn more about opting out, here is a link.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Contact tracing in DCPS is bad and shows no signs of getting better

 Let me ask you a question, if a student found a gun in a classroom, would the district wait a week to look for the bullets, or would it evacuate the class immediately? Would they call the police but let it sit there for a week until they got there? Well, when the district allows contact tracking to be days or weeks behind, it's putting staff and students in danger, but rather than do anything about it, the district just shrugs its shoulders and passes the buck.

Another question, do good leaders ignore problems, pass the buck, or do nothing to fix them? Well, that's what Greene and the school board have been doing. I will puke the next time Andersen references the department of health, the same politicly compromised DOH that refused to give districts guidance for months last year. I am willing to believe they are overwhelmed, but so the %$@# what. That doesn't give the district permission to risk lives, or it shouldn't anyway.

Also, it's bullshit, and please excuse my language that the district can't do anymore, that they are bound by HIPPA laws because nobody is asking to have names revealed. People just want to know if they may have been exposed. The district could tell staff and students who have been in close contact with an infected person without revealing the names and allow them to make decisions regarding their health until the DOH can catch up with its contact tracing. Let people decide for themselves, including staff taking COVID leave. That is the responsible and decent thing to but DCPS refused to be either. 

Then more than a few people think contact tracing has gotten worse as the testing season begins to ramp up because keeping butts ins eats is more important than keeping people safe. I think Green wants that A district grade so bad, she is willing to step over the bodies of the sick and worse to try and get it. I hope I am wrong but based on what I have seen and heard, I don't think I am.

Contact tracing is bad, even the district admits it, so the last question is, what are they doing to try and improve it? You don't have to answer because we all know it is nothing. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Who listens to teachers in DCPS? Nobdoy.

 The answer is apparently no one.

On the one hand, I am glad after a week of unrest, the district listened to students and changed their ham-fisted and tone-deaf "take off the mask" campaign but incredibly disappointed again at the realization nobody with any authority listens to and cares about teachers. We shouldn't pretend for a second that they do.

When Vitti left, he said, and I am paraphrasing him here, that he regretted thinking he could just replace teachers, that they were just easily replaceable cogs. 

Through their actions, Greene and the board repeatedly show that they don't care about teachers. Last summer, teachers overwhelmingly said they didn't feel safe going back to school, and Greene and the board shrugged their shoulders and said, fine, quit if you don't want to.

Then they didn't plan for the pandemic making sure things like substitutes were in place. 

Then as the year went on, instead of helping teachers like taking things off their plates, they double-downed on things like walk-throughs, learning arcs, and testing. 

They know many teachers have less planning time and more stress but do you think that deterred them? Absolutely not; they must think, if they quit, we will just get more, and why wouldn't we just increased starting salaries. 

The thing is, they won't. This starting salary is not going to slow the exodus, and in fact, it may hasten it as they %$@#ed veteran teachers to raise starting salary.

So what do they do? While not mentioning the pandemic one, and taking ownership for the fact they are the cause of most staff stress, they say, hey just take off the mask. Nothing will change, but at least the mask will be off.  

Over and over again, the district has had the opportunity to listen to teachers, to help teachers, to be there for teachers, and they passed. 

Friends valued colleagues; they don't care about you. Please don't pretend that they do.

So I will close with this suggestion. Work the contract and not one second more. Do all you can for your students, while on the clock, and then not one thing more. Stop being the abused partner in an abusive relationship; you are better than that. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The year before Pratt-Dannals was fired he got stellar reviews.

I mention this because the school board recently rated superintendent Greene highly effective, a sentiment I don’t think the majority of staff and, at this point, families would agree with. I have a different take than the school board one that comes from being in the classroom and doing the novel thing of actually talking to teachers, and that is she needs to be thanked for her service and shown the door.     

Pratt-Dannals, during the financial crisis, declared a financial emergency, which did a lot of things, including freezing teacher salary. When the board found out the district was sitting on 120 million dollars, he didn’t last long. Unfortunately, they never made teachers whole and reinstated their step, you know, because never miss an opportunity to &#$% teachers when you can. 

Something similar happened this year. It is true the state did the district no favors. Still, instead of letting veteran teachers know they care, the district decided to just go along with their horrible mistreatment, all while having about 15 million extra in reserves and refusing to read the room. The district didn’t need to rush to %@#$ them. They could have let things play out, which despite the pandemic, will be favorable. There has been some talk of circling back around to take care of vets, but the blatant disrespect can never be washed away.     

Then let's just look at February 2021, the last ten days. 

They rolled out a ham-fisted and tone-deaf social media campaign, “Take off the mask,” which, including being incredibly inappropriate, has led to at least one student walkout and, if media reports are correct many threats of violence. 

They are encouraging parents to send their kids into schools to take a practice test, a @#&$ing PRACTICE TEST!?! You know, risk your health, and possibly more so staff can give, and kids can take a practice test that many think have no real value.  

Both of these are just more examples of how the district is pretending the pandemic is not a thing.  

Then for a cherry on top, the district had to send out a clarifying email, telling principals to stop forcing teachers to give up their planning, which for many has been cut this year. Not asking for volunteers but forcing because that wasn’t clear the first time around. As far as I can tell, there has not been an apology or any compensation, just a, we got caught, so we aren’t going to do it anymore.     

Friends, this is just the last TEN DAYS!!!!! 

Her leadership since the pandemic began has been an unmitigated disaster, that is the long and short of it.  

To read the school board's review, and I rate their leadership right up there with Greene’s, click the link. 

DCPS High schools go on alert because of district incompetence

It's never good when you wake up in the morning and the media is reporting schools will be on high alert because of threats of violence. It’s made worse because the lion’s share of what’s happening falls squarely on the district’s shoulders. When I wrote about the district’s “take off the mask’ campaign, my wife said, why are they trying to coopt black history month? That’s not going to go over so well. Boy was she right. 

I want to say bringing more attention to mental health resources is a good thing, even if the district did it in a ham fisted tone-deaf way. The thing is they should have known better.  

First, take off the mask? It is a #$@ &%#$ pandemic! They should have known this wasn’t going to go over well. Furthermore, @#&$ them at least when it comes to staff. The lion's share of staff angst has been created by the district. Them acting as if the pandemic doesn’t exist, doubling down on more work, the lack of subs and planning time, and the list goes on and on. If they cared about the staff they wouldn’t launch some ham-fisted social media campaign they would do tangible things to help them.  

Then these are racially charged times, if my very white but woke wife saw launching this campaign during February could be a problem so to should have the district? They should have known this would cause issues and I bet they did, I bet somebody said, well it's Black History Month should we, and somebody with a longer title said, nah don’t worry about it, and as usual teachers are left cleaning up their mess. 

Now which is worse, the district doesn’t think about what their actions do, or they don’t care what their actions do, because it is one of them.  

To read more click the links, 


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

DCPS’s no good very bad week.

DCPS leadership is failing this district, and it is beyond me how the school board does not see it, which makes me wonder are they willfully ignorant or complicit. 

A while back, I was talking to a school board member and asked how they were. They told me they were busy as they had visited every school in their district in a short amount of time. Fantastic, I said, but what did you think about the classroom sizes. I asked because classroom sizes for many have exploded. They said to me, well, I had not actually been in any classes. They must have seen the look of horror on my face because they then tried to recover by saying, I had seen some of the school change classes.    

I do not want to speak ill of this person but come on, man. 

Then at the February school board meeting, despite skyrocketing cases and plummeting morale, Board Chair Andersen has sung Greene’s praises like a hype man. Un what was she seeing that I wasn’t, and the answer is she isn’t seeing anything or apparently talking to anyone either.  


Last week was one of the worst in memory for DCPS and gave us two prime examples of how the leadership has failed us. First, they launched a woefully tone-deaf social media campaign, take off the mask, and then they pushed for families to send their kids into the schools for a practice test. A %@#$ing practice test!!!! How the hell do they think either is acceptable. 

As our governor, it's almost as if they think the pandemic is over or no more of an inconvenience than being caught by a train on the way to work. Sure, it sucks for a few minutes, but no big deal. The problem is the pandemic is a big deal. It's killing people, making people sick, and messing with people psychologically too, and what do the state and district do? Cajole and mislead families to come in for a practice test, and basically ignore it when talking about mental health. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Why is DCPS misleading families about testing during a pandemic.

As testing season fast approaches, not even a pandemic and the threat of getting sick is deterring DCPS. Instead of striving to keep people safe, they have referred back to cajoling families to send their children into schools, which sadly seems to be the only tool in their tool kit.

The district has sent out a letter to the DHR families that isn't quite honest.


  It is so ironic, the state talks about parental choice, except when it comes to testing, then the district would have you believe it is mandatory, which isn't quite true.

First if it is a district test, I would encourage DHR families to skip it unless the district develops a way to do it remotely. As for B&M students, maybe take a family day when they are given. We have to push back against all this testing, which robs children of actual instruction.

As for the state test, there are a couple required for promotion, though even they have workarounds, third grade a portfolio and tenth grade the S.A.T. and there are a couple that counts for a huge percentage of a grade. Sadly for those tests, you have to do what you have to do. The rest, though, unless the district is being vindictive, carry zero consequences if your student misses them.

Drill and kill testing has been the bane of public education for over a decade; it has drained the love of learning for many teachers and students alike. It also robs kids of weeks of instruction time, which could be better used, you know, learning. Remember when grades determined things like promotion, were those such dreadful times?  

So no, parents, your children are not required to take district and state tests.

It's a pandemic, something DCPS is painfully unaware of; keeping students and staff safe should be their main concern, but sadly it doesn't even seem to register.

Finally, I do think testing has a role, just not as the end all be all it has become. Teachers should give a pre-test at the bringing of a nine weeks and a post-test at the end. Teachers should then have immediate access to both to help with their instruction, and they shouldn't play a role in any grades whatsoever. 

To learn more about opting out, something tens of families already do, click the link,


Saturday, February 6, 2021

The District can pretend they care with a video, but their actions speak a lot louder than their words.

Ask, and ye shall receive.

Here is a DCPS PSA for staff; please watch it and try not to cry, spit out your mile or smash your computer. Warning that will be a challenge. 

Once again, no mention of the pandemic; you know it's like it's not happening. That is a problem, a big problem. Can you imagine the production meeting? Hey, there is a pandemic going on; should we mention it? How about those schools that have bullies masquerading as principals, bring that up? What about the district violating the contract? Should any of that get a mention? 

You know, I guess they were heading in the right direction, but even that's a huge problem.

So the district knows teachers are working themselves to the bone, stressed about making gains, and about how teaching is super difficult, so what do they decide to do? Make a video, that's what. They aren't actually helping anyone, and in fact, they are making things worse.

It's almost like a big joke to them. Teachers are withering on the vine. What should we do, make things easier for them? Nah, let's just make a video.

With the video, I guess they can pretend they care, but the truth is their actions speak a lot louder than their words. 

It's also the little things that make you think DCPS really doesn't care.

 If DCPS really cared about the welfare of students and staff, they would cancel all-district testing, tell each group to do their best, get through this, and if we have things to make up post-pandemic, we will, and that staying right, should be your only priority. But they aren't. Instead, they are putting more pressure on teachers than ever before, and for kids, well, it's business as usual.   

So the district sent out a note to parents and guardians, telling them it's all right that kids take off the mask, metaphorically. The thought behind it, let students get it out what's inside them that's dragging them down unless it's COVID or testing, then they had just better suck it up. 

Here is the letter.

You know, nothing says we care, like not knowing what time of year it is. We care so much we cut and pasted something! Is it just me, or have we been back from winter break for going on six weeks now?

Okay, if at this point you are saying, um Chris, I have read your stuff, everyone makes mistakes, and you are right, except I am not the high-priced communications team; I am a guy sitting on my couch blogging during the commercials of Chopped. 

Also, I get it, you might think on the scale of forcing teachers to break CDC guidelines, the total disrespect of veteran teachers and making people miserable, this is relatively minor, but the thing is it isn't. It shows how absolutely tone-deaf and out of touch the district is, and I think I can prove it; take a minute and watch the video they want families to watch.

Did you notice anything there? Like zero mention of the pandemic? It's like the district is pretending it's not happening, which I guess makes sense because they aren't doing a whole lot to acknowledge it in our schools either.

I can imagine the production meeting. Should we mention the pandemic? Nah, it practically over and not really bothering people anymore.  

For @#&$s sake, it gets even worse. At the school board meeting, they showed a staff video like the one above, and it's even more tone-deaf.  I have been looking for it all week and haven't been able to find it. I just hope they said to themselves, nope, we can't put that up, which, if the case, maybe one of the few right things they have done. 

Friends, I don't know what else to say.

Friday, February 5, 2021

In DCPS it is risk your life and get a gift card… maybe

It’s surreal the disdain for staff and students the district has, it really is. Forcing staff to give up their planning, and to violate CDC guidelines is just the tip of the iceberg. The latest affront is the balls to the wall effort to get students in DHR to come in for district testing. Teachers at one school have told me that they have even been offered to be put into a drawing for a really swell gift card if 95 percent of their students participate. A #$%@ing gift card. 

More people in the buildings means there is a greater chance for more people to get COVID. If they get COVID there is a chance they will get sick and worse an obvious fact the district has chosen to ignore. They don’t care, friends, getting people in for these tests that many consider worthless are all they want to do. If a couple gets sick, that’s just the price of doing business. 

Why are we testing, during a pandemic? I have a theory based on observing how this superintendent and administration have acted since last summer. I believe Greene wants that A district grade that we just missed out on two years ago so bad she can taste it and is willing to walk over the bodies of staff and children to get it.  Imagine that picture with the prove me, wrong guy, here. 

Morale is pretty low district-wide, maybe, just maybe the district could show it cared, and not with a drawing for a gift card. Instead how about returning planning time or not threatening teachers if they don't form small groups.  

The district should immediately cancel all district tests, the risk and stress it is creating are to great and it is hard to imagine the results will be anything close to valid. It's surreal that the district isn’t just going forward with them but thinks it's okay to risk lives and make people miserable to do so, but hey who knows maybe you can get a gift card. 

For #@&$s sake. 

School Board Chair Andersen says teachers have free will when it comes to social distancing in schools.

 Board Chair Andersen says teachers have a choice when it comes to social distancing, not any good choices but choices. 

I have been writing about the things our local education leaders have said and done for over a decade. Sometimes they get mad at me and say, well, even though those are my words, it's not what I meant. I believe words have power, and Andersen’s words were when it comes to socially distance,  teachers have free will, i.e., they can make a choice whether they do so or not which boils down to socially distance the districts way or quit, if there is another choice you think she might have been talking about it, please let me know. 

In a long Facebook post that I have included below, Andersen said the following about social distancing. 


First of all, teachers are indeed being required to violate CDC social distancing guidelines, just being in school and the districts push to have more kids return make it a certainty that they will. When I talk about social distancing, I am not talking about the everyday lie that is happening in the district. I am talking about when administrations tell their teachers to do small group instruction, move desks together and pull students out on their planning, and threatening them if they don’t. 

There is a big difference between the run of the mill lie that the district tells the city so it can sleep at night that social distancing is occurring and forcing staff to further violate the guidelines, or their jobs and evaluations will be in jeopardy. The first is bad, the second is mother %@#ing bad and unconscionable.   

Andersen may not have known I was talking about this. However, in my defense, I sent her and the rest of the board an email on Monday outlining how teachers were being threatened if they didn’t ignore CDC socially distancing guidelines and included over a dozen notes from teachers. Though you know, like the pandemic or teacher's cries for help, she may have just ignored it. 

Then she writes; also, none of this has been easy for anyone. Well, it has been a little easier for some, right? Like the super and the school board, like the admins who are cajoling teachers to risk their health and more but don’t actually have to do so… as much. It’s been a lot easier for more than a few. 

It’s funny, Andersen is always passing the buck to the DOH or Corcoran’s executive order. Um, doesn’t she have free will? Couldn’t she fight or push back against them? I mean, she has a choice right, go along with what we know to be reckless or dangerous or strive for something better. Well, friends, we know what choice she has made.   

So, teachers have free will; they can make a choice, sure, quit or risk your life, at the end of the day, that’s not much of a choice.     

I had high hopes for Andersen, 800 bucks worth, but she has missed her moment; though since she has free will, I guess she could turn it around, that is a choice she will have to make.    

To read the entire post and comments, click the link,

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Board chair Elizabeth Andersen accuses me of spreading false narratives

 I asked her which narratives were false? That contact tracing was terrible that teachers have been threatened to social distance or the fact that the school board got a 6200 dollar raise while many veterans are about to take a pay cut. All of those things, whether she wants to acknowledge it or not, have happened on her watch.

On the Artilces About Public Facebook page, Mrs. Andersen posted about SB48, a truly dreadful piece of legislation that has to do with vouchers. Strangely I haven't seen any posts from her on the legislation that saw veteran teachers take a pay cut while she got a huge raise. 

I replied.

The school board, school boards, by and large, are partly responsible for where we find ourselves. Every time they pass a bad law or put out a ridiculous executive order and go unchallenged, it just emboldens them, and if you want more proof, look at any 5 year old in a check-out line having a tantrum and the mother say, come on sweetie not now. If you do not address problems or stand up to bullies things, get worse.  

Later she replied,

Um, what well I, deep breaths, I will just show you my reply.


Here is the thing, at this point, Andersen can't hide behind ignorance; we have three dead and hundreds sick in the last month. She doesn't have to believe me about how bad it is, but what about Terrie Brady, who talked about the same things I have been on Tuesday? Is she spreading false narratives too?

Andersen knows I am not spreading false narratives; she just doesn't like being called out for her role in the terrible ongoing train wreck that is DCPS leadership. She doesn't want to accept any responsibility for what's going on. Well, Mrs. Andersen, you are the school board chair; where should the responsibility for all the bad decisions fall?

I had high hopes for her, and when things were easy, she was fine; things, however, aren't easy, and she, in my opinion, has not been up to the task at hand. The thing is she could change that and let me give her some suggestions.

End district tests, ugh, there is a pandemic.

Let it be known that small groups are optional, and if a teacher doesn't feel comfortable doing it, that's okay, and if a principal threatens them or their evaluation suffers from it, that principal will pay a consequence.

Ease up on the district micromanaging; it's as bad as it has ever been.

Then let people know if there is covid in their class and let them make a choice about their safety. DOH can still do their crap-ass contact tracing, but people deserve to know if their safety is at risk.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

DCPS admits they were wrong… after they got caught

 This year teachers have often had more to do and less time to do it. So what did many schools do? If you guessed bent over backward to find more time for teachers, you would be wrong, and instead, they required many teachers to pull out students for extra instruction during their planning, taking what little time they had to plan away.     

At the 2/2 school board meeting union head Terrie Brady mentioned this dreadful practice and then thanked the district for sending out a memo asking that it end. Okay, I might have taken a different tact but there it was. The district admitted what was happening and moved to stop it. I imagine they hope that will be the end of it, but it should not be. 

Are teachers going to be compensated for the planning periods they had to give up and if not, why not? 

Are principals going to be reprimanded for this terrible practice and if not, why not? 

Then why is Greene allowed to skate, not so much as a finger wag and a, you should have known better? 

Teachers always pay for terrible leadership and this year we have it in abundance. 

I want to thank the teachers that stood up and reported this dreadful practice and the union for fighting for it to stop, but I want to know what the school board is going to do about it. Or are they going to ignore it like they do contact tracing, forcing teachers to break CDC guidelines and cajoling families to come in for needless testing? Or are they going to pass the buck like they do when they blame the DOH and Corcoran’s executive order for their inaction?    

Yay, they admitted they were wrong after they got caught. 

I have asked for the memo, if I get it, I will put it up. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The DCPS administration has degenerated into bullies and thugs

I know those are harsh words but what else should I call an administration that tells its staff to violate CDC guidelines or face consequences, and tells parents to bring their kids in for an often worthless test or risk promotion or assignment to magnets? What do I call people that seem to have no idea there is a pandemic who are willingly throwing safety to the wind? I ask because those things are happening in DCPS. 

Teachers and families are being coerced to do something they know to be dangerous, that medical professionals recommend against doing. That is something only bullies and thugs would do. 

I have been writing about this district since 2007. I started the blog Education Matters in July of 2010 and I have never seen anything close to this in my life. Reckless and heartless are the two words that come to mind after bully and thug. 

Sure, we have had bullies masquerading as administrators before, but nothing to the extremes or risks going on now.  I get it too, being super is a hard job and these are hard times but bullying and threatening are never ever acceptable. Instead of working with everyone to make sure they feel safe and get what they need, Greene is cracking the whip, leaving nothing but scorched Earth and I guaranty you that will come back to haunt the district.   

Vitti would always try and claim some sort of plausible deniability. Greene on the other hand seems to relish in it. Were going to get that A no matter what and beatings will continue until morale rises. 

Greene has done something that up till now I thought would have been impossible and that is make me miss Vitti.  

We have to do better.

Elizabeth Andersen has chugged the kool aide.

 I had a spit out the milk type moment. While watching the school board meeting, Andersen laid praise of Superintendent Green like a hype man on speed. My question is, is Andersen willfully ignorant or complicit in the slow-moving car wreck that is Greene's leadership.

What does Andersen like best, the woeful contact tracing?

Cajoling teachers to ignore CDC guidelines?

Intimidating parents to send their kids back to school?

The rock bottom staff morale?

Needlessly risking lives?

Loading up teachers with more tasks while taking away planning?

The blatant disrespect showed to veteran teachers?

Greene practically ignoring the pandemic?

What is it, Mrs. Andersen? What about what Greene is doing puts her in such rarified air?

Then she pointed to the executive order? An order that on its face violates the state constitution. The state board of education is not a super school board, what they say doesn't have to go. We folded like a cheap suit, which only risks lives and emboldens them to be even worse. 

Complicity, ignorance, or cowardice, it was tough to watch.

I really felt she was an ally to staff and students who would fight for us, sadly it appears I was wrong. 

Why is it impossible for DCPS to read the room?

I think it is because they have their heads stuck up there, well, you know, but the thing is, District leadership seems oblivious to almost everything, and for some reason making people miserable is their default. If they could read the room, they could have avoided so much heartbreak, angst, and trauma. 

When DCPS proposed @#$ing veteran teachers, I get it, the state does us no favors, but I thought, what’s the rush. If Democrats win Georgia, help will be coming, but nope they insisted on moving forward, letting veteran teachers know what many already suspected, and that is they basically considered them worthless.    

Then how doesn’t the district not get that when they bully teachers and parents into doing things we all know is wrong, there are going to be consequences? Forcing families back into the building and teachers to violate CDC guidelines may get a few more tests taken and small groups given, but it tells people that the district doesn’t care about them or their families. Man, I see a disturbing pattern here.   

Then speaking of testing, everyone who follows education knew a waiver was coming from the federal government or the state, and this was not going to be a regular drill, kill and test year. I thought it would come from the feds, and I was concerned if the state would take it, but here the state has beaten them to it.  


Wow, look there. 

Now, this isn't a done deal, but once again, help is coming.

Time after time, the district gets it wrong and goes with make people miserable rather than do the right thing. The district is run by children, filled with hubris and bad instincts.