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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Diana Greene the Teflon superintendent, part 2, Scandals in Duval are barely acknowledged by the local media but they are there

Scandals didn't stop when Greene arrived in Duval, but the attention they got was minimal.

Who remembers that a grand jury lambasted the DCPS police department and said they committed outright fraud? Well, it happened in December.

From the Florida Times-Union,

A new statewide grand jury report studying school safety issues lambasted the Duval County School Police Department for "outright fraud" and underreporting incident and crime numbers to make a better impression. Now in response, the school district is launching its own review.

Late Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court website published the third interim report issued by the grand jury — a 27-page document meant to implement and review how well recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission were being realized. The grand jury was brought to fruition last February following a request from Gov. Ron DeSantis following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. 

While the interim report largely focused on Florida's mental-health systems and deficiencies in funding, separately, the report pointed out issues with schools' abilities to differentiate criminal behavior from simple misbehavior. Duval School was used as the key example.

Outright fraud. Not could have done a better job. Not their systems need to be tweaked either, but outright fraud.  

Seen any follow-ups in the media?

Also, this is partly why Robert Runcie lost his job in Broward County. He was accused of lying to the Grand Jury investigating school safety issues, not that his county was accused of outright fraud.

How is it possible that DCPS is accused of this and nothing happens? Well, not nothing; around the same time, Greene won the superintendent of the year award from the state superintendent association, but what's a little fraud among friends.

Then what about charter school expansion? I get it the state does not make things easy, but DCPS has approved charters created by homophobes and arguably white supremacists...

directly across the street from an A-rated school...

and three from a charter chain that just fired its founder for financial irregularities.

Then to counter all these and the other charter schools, DCPS is going to spend 1.2 million dollars.


A contract worth as much as $1.2 million has been drawn up with Tennessee-based firm Caissa Public Strategy, which says it specializes in targeted ad campaigns to recruiting students to public schools, including from charter schools and private schools. 

According to DCPS, as many as 30,000 of the district’s children don’t attend their neighborhood school. About half of them go to one of 35 charters, according to an analysis by WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union

The matter of recruiting and retaining students appeared in DCPS’ most recent financial report, which said, “Full-time equivalent (FTE) dollars flow to the charter schools based on the number of FTE students. Over the last five years, charter school FTE has grown from 10,834 in fiscal year 2014-15 to 17,445 in fiscal year 2019-20. The District is marketing public schools and programs to attract students back to District schools.”

I guess just saying no to unnecessary or corrupt charter schools is out of the question, but more on that in part 4.

Two more scandals, or what should be scandals, are how Greene handled the pandemic and how the district handles race relations. 

First, the pandemic, contact tracing was between abysmal and non-existent, and social distancing was just non-existant. Rather than take responsibility for the contact tracing, the district continuously passed the buck to the state department of health, which media reports said was compromised, and the district itself said for weeks would not return its calls. Yes, the department of health is responsible for keeping our citizens safe, but so is the district. This is also just another example of how rather than taking ownership for education decisions, like charter schools, the district repeatedly prefers to pass the buck.  

That's a big issue, but another is how instead of doing everything they could do to lighten the load on teachers, they doubled down on district micromanaging and testing. The street of the pandemic wasn't enough, but now staff and students had to worry even more about the district. 

They either couldn't or wouldn't read the room, that testing would not be so important this year, and even cajoled DHR families into returning to campus to take practice tests. Practice tests! They also failed to read the room, with their shoddy treatment of veteran teachers but that's for another piece.

The district mishandled the pandemic from the moment Greene, ignoring staff concerns, declared she wanted schools open regardless. 

 There were better options, but and this is just my opinion, Greene wanted that district A grade that DCPS missed out on two years ago so badly, she was willing to step over the bodies, mostly metaphorically speaking, of staff and students to get it.

Then there is how poorly the district handles race relations, which started last June with the push to change the names of schools named after confederate generals and culminated with removing a teacher for flying a black lives matter flag. 

I have a theory as to why this administration is so bad with race relations, and that is our superintendent doesn't see children as black, brown, or white, she sees them as test scores, and she probably thinks everyone else should as well. 

In February, the district had a disastrous mental health rollout, which sought to co-op black history month and led to several school walkouts; the district soon doubled down by allowing racists to spread their hate at meetings about changing the names of schools named after confederate era figures and then allowed a teacher to be targeted by them. Rather than stand up for the teacher, they inexplicably later suspended her. 

Any one of those is bad enough, but it displays a complete district failure when so many are taken back to back.   

More on this in part 3.

Outright fraud, passing the buck, risking the health of students and staff, an inability to read the room, and poor race relations aren't bugs of the Greene administration; they are features. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, I repeatedly reported to my principal, my principal's boss, my assistant principal, Vicki Schultz, my school board rep, the Office of Professional Standards and DTU that the dean at my school lies on legal documents each and every time he processes referrals and I have been involuntarily transferred.