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Sunday, September 25, 2022

DCPS sits on 20 million dollars that could be used to pay staff

 I have a feeling it may actually be more.

I am beyond disappointed that the district told the community these were desperate times and we needed to pass a millage increase to help pay salaries, and then after it passed, shrugged their shoulders and said, we will get to that next year. The fact they are sitting on a little over 20 million they could use doesn't help things. 

The district is required to keep three percent in reserves, not 5.07 percent. This means they are sitting on 20 million n dollars that they could use to address staff salaries.

A couple of things, I and most of the city was led to believe something would happen this school year. I was told it would probably be after the winter break.

Everyone knows that when you pass a mileage increase on Monday, money doesn't start to flow in on Tuesday. I figured they would borrow money using the future money as collateral, something they have done many times or they would take from their excess reserves, which right now is 20 million dollars.

I would have supported the mileage increase even if the district would have said it wouldn't kick in until next year, but they never said that. Then if it was so important that the district had to come hat in hand to ask the community to step up, how is waiting till next year to address it even a consideration?

DCPS has long preferred to look good rather than be good, and this is yet another example.     



Sunday, September 18, 2022

The solution to helping teachers has been staring us in the face, it is more work

 I am working on a piece about planning in our elementary schools, and it is abysmal. Now just about every teacher will tell you they need more planning but what we do to the teachers in elementary schools, especially those smaller schools that don't have a full complement of resources, is criminal. This blog, however, is not about that; instead, its about helping all teachers and by having them work more.

Teachers in my district work 7.33 hours a day. I say it that way because that's what I am supposed to put on my leave forms. What would happen if teachers worked 8 hours a day and that extra 40 was additional duty-free planning? I think it would help solve some of our problems. 

That would be the key, though, additional duty-free planning. Districts couldn't look at it, or the other planning teachers and think of ways to load teachers up even more.

Right now, much of my "planning" is already designated for other things. A fifth has been set for common planning, and as an ESE teacher, about 48 of my planning periods, a quarter of my total, will be spent either writing or having IEP meetings. This means almost half of my planning won't be spent, um, planning.    

There are lots of issues in education, and this isn't going to solve the lack of support and respect issues; no, we have to work on the soul of the country to help solve those problems, but it will help with the lack of time and a little with pay too as this would amount to an almost 8 percent bump in pay.

Most teachers work 10-15 and even more unpaid hours after their duty time ends each week. Time they should be with their families or taking care of themselves. An extra 3 hours and twenty minutes a week will help with that. Not solve it, mind you, because the system depends on suckers, err sorry dedicated teachers sacrificing their time and energy, and without it, things would grind to a halt, but it would help.  

So powers that be, if you care about teachers and I have doubts that you do, figure out a way to work them more. It will help us all. 

  


 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

In a letter to Jax Today, the district all but tells teachers to expect mileage money this year (draft)

 I feel duped and betrayed by the announcement the mileage change won't kick in this year, and I know I am far from the only one. Before you lambast me for not understanding, money won't start immediately; I did understand that, and I didn't expect any mileage money until after the holidays; read what the district told Jax Today just a few short weeks ago.

From Jax Today

In an email to Jacksonville Today, a Duval County Public Schools spokesperson says there are three reasons the district chose to bring the tax increase to voters in August instead of November. The first: because “the teacher shortage is real, so the sooner they know about their future salaries the sooner we can impact that trend.”

The district also wanted to start union negotiations for the pay increase as soon as possible. 

https://jaxtoday.org/2022/08/26/askjaxtdy-why-wasnt-the-school-tax-referendum-during-the-general-election-when-more-people-vote/

Um, as things stand now, passing the mileage will do nothing to help this year, absolutely nothing, despite it being sold as a necessity to fend off a pending disaster, and that's how the district sold the mileage rate for months. Help us, please; we need to save our teachers; there was never a "we will do it next year" caveat.

Then how hollow are those excuses? We have to get it done quick so we can get the ball rolling, well friends, that ball screached to an almost immediate halt.

I never expected the district to have mileage money this year, not for a second; I did expect the district would borrow money on expected income and or tap into their reserves to start things off, something I believe they could still do if they wanted to. If they were sincere about taking care of its people, but the reality is DCPS has never cared about its staff; we are all just a means to an end, and up till recently, an easily replaceable means to an end. 

You may not have been one of them, but lots of people voted for the mileage increase with the expectation something would kick in this year, and those people were tricked, and if you want evidence, look at every single thing the district said about it.



Saturday, September 10, 2022

DeSantis's failed teacher pay scheme

 As election season ramps up, so do the lies and half-truths, and as a teacher, the one that infuriates me the most is DeSantis claiming he raised teacher salaries. The truth is he did raise salaries for beginning teachers, people who had never been in a classroom, but he did so by cutting the salaries of veteran teachers, people who had dedicated their lives to the state's children.

To raise beginning salaries, the state took money from two programs, Best and Brightest, and school recognition funds, two admittedly flawed programs that mostly benefitted teachers in affluent schools but did put money in veteran teachers’ pockets. The effect was tens of thousands of veteran teachers took pay cuts. So while DeSantis was saying look at me, look what I did, veteran teachers were looking at their bank accounts shrink.

Then think about the plan that DeSantis was so proud of. He made it so that a teacher who just started and a teacher who spent over a decade in our schools was paid basically the same. He did not just shrug his shoulders at this disrespect, but he reveled in it. He could have made it, so every teacher got roughly a 2,700-dollar raise, but no, he decided hurting people who had dedicated their lives to the children of Florida was the way to go, and now we are reaping what has sown with none thousand teacher vacancies a problem he promised would go away with his teacher pay scheme.

DeSantis has been a failed education leader for many reasons, but one of the biggest and most unnecessary was his teacher pay scheme that robbed Peter, veteran teachers, to pay Paul, people who had never even stepped foot in a classroom. 

 


Saturday, September 3, 2022

The school board should consider firing Greene before they can't. What comes next will be worse.(draft)

 DeSantis replaced most of the Broward county school board. Four democrat women, with four republican men, and they promptly took over.

https://www.local10.com/news/local/2022/08/29/newly-appointed-broward-school-board-members-prepare-to-take-seats/

DeSantis used grand jury findings as his reason for doing so; the same grand jury now has DCPS in its crosshairs. 

From Florida Politics, 

 The grand jury report that shook up the Broward County School Board last week also prompted the state Department of Education to send letters to four other school districts warning of failures to follow the state’s school safety requirements.

The letters arrived Monday asking superintendents in Broward, Duval, Orange, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties to meet with officials from the State Department of Education (DOE) to address items that Tim Hay, director of the Office of Safe Schools said required an in-person meeting due to the “gravity of the issues.”

“We have reason to believe that some of the policies and actions the grand jury found are ongoing and require immediate action,” all five letters dated Monday say.

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/553484-grand-jury-report-puts-four-more-school-districts-safety-procedures-under-state-scrutiny/

What has to be most troubling in the grand jury findings is the DCPS police chief was allowed to keep his job a year after the findings had come out...

https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/education/executive-director-of-duval-co-school-police-department-resigns/77-1774378c-e549-4eb5-91c7-ce6ab9e3888a

and Duval Schools administration enabled Edwards' actions, the report says. 

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/education/2022/08/19/statewide-grand-jury-former-duval-schools-chief-underreported-crimes/7843861001/

DeSantis is coming for duly elected democratic school board members in blue counties, and Willie, Jones, Hershey, and Andersen may all be replaced in the next few days or weeks. If you don't think it could ever happen here, look at Broward County. The Governor is not a man who plays by the rules; like a fascist, he makes the rules up as he goes along.

A couple of things. You might think Greene's been great and the district should keep her; well, she hasn't, and even her victories, the referendum, and millage have been two steps forward and one step back. The referendum didn't pass until after the district was forced to give charter schools hundreds of millions of dollars, and the district has still not committed to giving staff milage money this year. After some token resistance to Tallahassee when she started, she has been all in on the destructive agenda because, in my opinion, there is only one person Greene cares about, and that is Greene.

Hershey's a republican; they would never let her go. Hershey has been a reliable supporter of public ed and accept those calculated hiccups when she considered running for state office as a solid school board member. The Governor wouldn't hesitate to cut her if it meant a complete takeover of the school board.

How could the Governor keep Joyce and get rid of Willie? Well, I could see a scenario where the Governor says he was in leadership on the board, and Joyce was not. Her incompetence, in effect, saved her. 

Couldn't Greene resign and take the hit for DCPS after all, she has to be at least partly and probably mostly responsible. HAHAHAHAHAHa good one; I couldn't imagine her doing anything that doesn't advance or serve her agenda. 

The board could preempt any moves by DeSantis by laying all the problems on Greene's feet, where I am sure they rightfully belong, and move on. Heck, if they rush things, they could have a new super in place before our insurrectionist Barbie sb member is sworn in.

I get the board has inexplicably been some of Greene's biggest cheerleaders, but if they don't do something soon, they may never be able to do something, and what comes next will be worse for everyone, everyone that cares about public ed, that is.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Passing the millage increase was the right thing to help teachers, but it wasn't the neccassasry thing.

 Passing the millage increase was the right thing to help teachers, especially veteran teachers who had seen their salaries go backward and were the victims of Governor DeSantis's pay new teachers more scheme. 

You see, two years ago, when DeSantis, with much fanfare, announced he would solve the then emerging teacher shortage problem by raising starting teacher salaries, he did so not by allocating new money but by ending two admittedly flawed programs, school recognition funds and best and brightest, that despite the flaws did put money in the pockets of many veteran teachers, pockets DeSantis reached his hands into to pay for his new program.

Fast forward two years, and this disrespect where the state robbed Peter, veteran teachers to pay Paul, new ones, and exacerbated by his constant culture wars against education and the pandemic, the emerging problem had transformed into a full-on disaster, one where a 13-year veteran teacher and a first-year teacher made basically the same amount. 

So the city did the right thing by fixing another of DeSantis's education mistakes, but it did not do the necessary thing.

You see, during the run-up to the vote, the Superintendent, school board, the teachers union, and various public education supporters pushing to pass the milage increase kept a secret from the public, a secret that if the public knew, might stop them from supporting the mileage increase and that's it will do very little if anything to stem the tide of teachers leaving. In short, it will have a negligible effect at best.  

Most veteran teachers, those in the profession for 15 years or longer, lifers, weren't going anywhere. They had decided that despite the overwhelming demand, unrealistic expectations, the odious and often ridiculously unnecessary legislation, and the constant attacks from the governor and his allies, they weren't going to stay. Teaching is in the blood, and if they haven't left by now, they weren/t whether the mileage passed or not.

The real churn and burn in the teacher corp are younger teachers where the mode, the most common number of years of experience is one, and the majority don't last five years. 

More money will not fix that exodus, and the governor's beginning teacher pay scheme more than proved that. No, if we want to save public education, something that will be made worse with the governor's latest veteran and first responders scheme, we have to address what I mentioned above. The crushing workload, the unrealistic expectations, and the governor and his allies constantly using teachers as punching bags to gin up their culture wars. 

A higher salary is the right thing. It was great that the citizens of Jacksonville said that just because Tallahassee has shirked its responsibility to adequately fund education, we won't. It is a good feeling to know a sizeable portion of the city has teachers' backs. That being said, I think it's important people understand what they did, that they understand they did the right thing, not the necessary thing, if they want to stem the exodus of teachers, that is.

You see, most teachers don't make decisions based on money; if they did, they wouldn't be teachers.  

Teflon Greene helps cover up, up to 159 batteries on school board employees

 First, let me say discipline was bad before Greene got here; and what was reported in the grand jury report outlining gross mismanagement and coverups of discipline can't be laid entirely at Greene's feet; that being said, she was hired on 7/1/2018, and this report goes through 2019, the first 18 months of her tenure.

A scathing grand jury report came out in December 2020 about what was happening here. 

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/education/2020/12/11/duval-schools-police-department-lambasted-grand-jury-florida-safety-report/3893537001/

However, the fact the DCPS chief of police was allowed to keep his job for another year can be laid at her feet.

https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/education/executive-director-of-duval-co-school-police-department-resigns/77-1774378c-e549-4eb5-91c7-ce6ab9e3888a

He kept his job until January of 2021, despite the grand jury saying his leadership was a debacle. Greene must have looked at it and thought, whatever, he's doing a good job.


It gets worse because the grand jury reports to cover-ups by administrators. 

From the Times Union,

"We will have more to say about other Districts in the future," the grand jury said. "But one District provided an illustration of these infirmities so flagrant and unambiguous we have little choice but to acknowledge it now and take direct action."

"No other law enforcement agency treats any crime in this fashion, much less such a serious felony," the report said, voicing concern that serious crimes would not be reported to state law enforcement or go through the education department's mandated School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting process. "This conduct is not simply irresponsible; it is absolutely criminal." 

Duval Schools administration enabled Edwards' actions, the report says. 

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/education/2022/08/19/statewide-grand-jury-former-duval-schools-chief-underreported-crimes/7843861001/

Duval's school administration enabled Edwards actions, read that again, and then ask yourself, while those people that enabled, felonies, buried batteries on employees, and ignored accusations of child pornography and bomb threats still have their jobs.

Greene left Manatee county with a horde of scandals, and whatever she does here seems to slide off the backs of the SB, and it's not right.

What the &#%$ Duval? 



Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The system lets another teacher down

 You know there was a time when being a teacher meant something. It was a noble profession held in high esteem. Not anymore, and if you want proof, look at how the system ruined the life of a local teacher of the year.

 A slight 5'2 teacher was accused of bloodying a much larger student who had recently engaged in death threats against the teacher. Without any evidence, she was removed from teaching and forced to wait in limbo while the system took 10 months to come to its conclusion. There was no video evidence, and the teacher passed a lie detector test, but that didn't matter. The student who posted death threats was given every benefit of the doubt, while the teacher who had their life upended was given none.

It took ten months for there to be a conclusion, not an exoneration, not an apology, and definitely not a consequence for the student who posted death threats, just a decision where the parent of the child and the state's attorney agreed that the teacher could no longer work at the school where the allegations occurred. 


$&%# that, it's the kid who should be sent packing, not the teacher, but as usual, the system doesn't care about teachers; nope, all it wants to do is chew them up and spit them out.

Friends, I am stuck in the teaching profession, 5 years from retirement, but if you are not, run.

To learn more, click the link, https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2022/08/22/charges-dropped-against-former-teacher-of-the-year-accused-of-striking-student/?Q


Monday, August 15, 2022

Just some run of the mill corruption from DCPS

 So this is the long and the short of it; at the P.E. in service, a district person told all in attendance to not use one vendor and instead you a vendor owned by the husband of a district staff member; I wish I could make this up. 

For years various district sports teams have used BSN uniforms, and at the training were told to stop.

https://www.bsnsports.com/team-uniforms

Instead, they were steered to T5

https://www.t5sportswear.com/

Which is owned by Robert Talley, 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-talley-8445294/

and that name should sound familiar to you. He is married to Tammy Talley, the district's very own award-winning athletic director.

https://www.news4jax.com/sports/2022/06/23/humbled-and-honored-duval-county-ad-tammie-talley-stunned-to-win-national-award/

Humbled and honored and perhaps about to get a lucrative payday. 

I was told a few days later BSN came off the banned list, but the damage may already be done. Then think about this if you are in district sports and want to curry favor, what better way to do it than by supporting the husband of the athletic director? The phrase appearance of impropriety comes to mind. 

I am pretty sure none of this was illegal, and as far as I know, no one is slipping Mrs. Talley twenties under the table, or she is promising whatever she can promise to teams that buy her husband's uniforms either, but that doesn't make what transpired right.

We should and could be doing better. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

For a district with a reading problem, DCPS seems to be doing all they can to make it worse.

 First, let me start with my disclaimer. 

Before people blame the state and try and let DCPS off the hook, let me say I know the state is terrible, I know the state does DCPS and public education no favors. Still, I also know DCPS has a nasty habit of taking bad things and making them worse; this is just another example. 

So teachers were told not to create new or add to classroom libraries.

This despite nowhere in the state guidance is classroom libraries mentioned.

https://info.fldoe.org/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-9557/dps-2022-83.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0oLXUOOPjMEY00FDp46n4WaORl7qCdgX5tQDHzlp9Fg1NaCHIlE8RKx6A

 Now they do mention media specialists a lot; unfortunately, DCPS long ago got rid of most of their media specialists.

The Florida Freedom to read project offered guidance to the districts, which included not neutering teachers and treating them like professionals, or you know, the opposite of what DCPS prefers to do.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/flfreedomread

And did I mention that DCPS long ago got rid of most of their media specialists? If I did, I am not sorry because it begs to be repeated often. 

What the district is doing is a choice, they did not have to play it this way, and would it kill the super or board to stand up for public ed? Fight back? Inform the public? Treat teachers like professionals? I ask because my view from the cheap seats seems to indicate it would.

A district media specialist who is about to become insanely busy reached out to me and said.

I wanted to let you know that many of the media specialists at Wednesday's district service were left with more questions than answers. The person in charge of textbooks & instructional materials basically told us to "not make a big deal out of the new law" and everything would "blow over" in time. Dr. Renfroe basically echoed these comments and told us the district was still trying to receive guidance from the state and in a reactive position. Other counties have gone so far as to ban media centers til further notice. They have not done so in Duval but we were advised to cancel any fall book fairs with Scholastic because they were not vetting their books to make sure they were in accordance with state law. (I do not blame Scholastic as I would not like to open myself up to lawsuits either.) We were encouraged to seek out other vendors, but as you probably Scholastic is by far the biggest in the country.

One of my colleagues also inquired about DTU's response to all of this. They were stonewalled and given the impression that media specialists were pretty low on their priority list. Many of the media specialists at the district training are worried about what might happen if we read the wrong book during read-aloud. Will DTU protect us, or will

we be thrown to the wolves/helicopter moms? Dr. Renfroe seemed to suggest that we could not be held liable since the training media specialists are to receive to be in compliance with this law will not be until JANUARY. This did not ease our concerns. Many of us hold master's degrees in Library Science and have been certified for years. Yet we are told that we need this training to review the content of books for whatever they don't like at this time? To me, a good book is one that offends somebody. It's all subjective. There are forms available for parents to fill out if they do not wish for their children to check out certain types of books. But for those same parents to dictate what other parents want for their children is to me censorship.

It is censorship, and if the district has a problem with it, it sure is hard to tell.

In fact, it is censorship and the district seems to be reveling in it.

DCPS neuters the teaching of social studies, tells teachers they are no longer professionals. (draft)

 Before people blame the state and try and let DCPS off the hook, let me say I know the state is terrible, I know the state does DCPS and public education no favors. Still, I also know DCPS has a nasty habit of taking bad things and making them worse; this is just another example. 

At the mid-week social studies meeting, teachers were told not to use extraneous materials unless they are approved. For those at home who don't know how things work, teachers are given standards to teach and often a curriculum in which to teach it; sometimes, however, they are just given the standard and have to develop their own materials or use other materials to enhance their teaching. Social studies teachers were warned not to do the latter unless they received permission; a process, knowing the district, won't be quick.

Think about that Newspapers out, current events out, location-specific materials like teaching Axe Handle Sunday, or how at one time, the district was almost decertified because of racial animous, out. This means most teachable moments and creativity are, you guessed it, out. You know, because teachers can't be trusted to be professionals.

It gets worse because this directly contradicts some standards that various classes have like:

 SS.7.C.2.13: students will examine multiple perspectives on current issues

SS.7.C.2.11: students will analyze media and political communications for bias, symbolism, and propaganda

I guess since those standards might outrage a Mom 4 Liberty loon, they are out too. Think about that, rather than sticking up and fighting for teachers; the district would rather neuter them all to appease a handful of loons who may or may not say something.

This may affect more than social studies teachers. I teach a life skills class to profoundly disabled children, and as part of my morning meeting, we watch CNN10 and do a Brain pop episode; sometimes, they talk about real things like politics and civil rights; do I need to get permission for them as well?

I am sure there is a workaround that allows teachers to be professional and creative and follow the new laws, but the district never looks for them; they ask the state how high they want them to jump and then try and jump even higher, and it's despicable.

We could and should be doing better; unfortunately, DCPS's leadership doesn't seem interested in doing so. Below and not its teachers is who DCPS has sided with to the detriment of us all.





Sunday, August 7, 2022

Teachers need to finally learn a hard lesson

The education system depends 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. Unfortunatly many teachers think these sacrifices are noble, and they are not. By doing so, they allow this awful system to continue and doom future generations to endure the same horrible conditions. Teachers, for many of us its time to learn a hard lesson and that's we are a huge part of the problem.

If teachers aren't going to be treated with respect and compensated appropriately, and both, not one or the other, then the system should get an honest day's work and nothing more. Do not come in early, do not stay late, do not volunteer for extra (unpaid) duties, and do not stress about things that do not get done. It's not your fault; it's a system that thinks it's okay to put a yoke on you. It's a system that thinks overworking, under paying and disrespecting its people, is just fine.  

Some teachers and families and many elected officials might think teachers can't do that, that their students desperately need all the extra they do, and it's true. Still, it's families and elected officials' jobs to provide it. 

A few years back, teachers all over the nation were tired of being blamed for society's ills and both paid and treated like second class, citizens rose in protest and demanded more pay and better working conditions, and at the time, they won too. So what did society do? They punished teachers. Teachers went from heroes to zeroes, pedophiles and groomers, and who stood up for us? Some parents, sure, but not enough, and it sure wasn't superintendents and school boards. In very few and far between instances, they were challenging these lies and calling them out. Nope, they preferred to remain quiet less they get the attention of a small but loud and sometimes scary mob. 

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; it has exploited them, and because teachers permitted it to happen, the entire system has suffered for it.

My wife works in multi-family housing, and for the most part, with great residents, but in every community, a few cause most of the drama. I tell her don't be surprised when assholes act like assholes; well, friends, that is the education system; teachers shouldn't be surprised they are given too much to do and not enough resources or enough time to do it because that's what assholes do. It's only going to stop, and things are only going to improve when enough teachers say enough and when enough teachers say no more. 

Teachers have now become nurses, social workers, disciplinarians, 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 four-page, 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. We didn't start this fire that's always burning, and it's time we put it out because, unlike in years past, we finally have something we haven't had, and that's leverage.

There is a projected 300k shortage of teachers. In Florida, they have 9k openings and only graduated 2k teachers. It doesn't matter how far they diminish qualifications; things will only get worse when those remaining teachers are required to do more and more. What will they do to you if you just work really hard during the time you are paid to work? They aren't going to fire you, that's for sure.

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



Thursday, August 4, 2022

April Carney refuses to answer the J6 question

 Your child, while standing next to the open cookie jar with crumbs on their shirt may not answer the question, did they take some cookies or not but you can be pretty sure of the answer. At this point April Carney may have not answered if she participated in the insurection but we should all know the answer.

I asked her is she had and she refused to answer and I know at least one other local news outles has as well. If she has nothing to hide, then why is she doing all this hiding?

She has skipped forums, where the question might have come up and scrubbed her social media from the time period, this along with her silence speaks volumes. 

If she didn't participate, this is an easy fix, she could say so, her dogged refusal however is more than revealing.

To lean more, click the links,

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2022/07/sb-candidate-april-carney-will-go-on.html

 https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2022/07/was-sb-candidate-april-carney-at-j6-and.html

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2022/07/did-sb-candidate-april-carney-scrub-her.html

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

WJXT reporter Joe McLean throws M4L Candidate April Carney a slew of slow pitch softballs.

 I get it; unless you are in the @&%#, it's hard to understand the @&%#. Channel 4's education reporter Joe Mclean is an observer. He isn't in it, but that shouldn't exempt him from doing his job and asking the tough questions. How's your day going, and what did you have for lunch? The equivalent of the questions he asked Carney in a recent interview didn't do his readers any favors and don't count.

Take a second and read his interview with the district 2 candidates, Liz Andersen and April Carney.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2022/08/01/prospective-duval-county-school-board-candidates-share-their-views-ahead-of-race-for-district-2/

Did you notice anything there, like anything approaching a tough question to Carney, and her behavior dictates that she deserved more than a few.

First, her involvement in J6 is something she has refused to either acknowledge or put to bed. If she doesn't have anything to hide, then why is she doing all this hiding?

Next, her group M4L showed up en masse to a couple school board meetings and accused teachers of being pedophiles and groomers. Does she share her group's thoughts? If so, what will she do to root out and expose all those deviant teachers? Follow up, how many of DCPS's teachers are deviants? Shouldn't she disavow them if she doesn't share their point of view?

Then there is the governor. Now I don't expect her to decline his endorsement even though it is the decent and right thing to do. Still, I would like to know if she believes all the crazy things he says about teachers, the latest being that teachers ask children if they think they have the right gender and would like to switch. A sentence that has never happened in a DCPS school.

What about her skipping the JPEF forum and the Delores Bar Weaver panel but going to an event put on by Raymond Johnson, a man who routinely attacks the LBTQ community and recently said that Superinetendte Greene should be arrested? Does she share that view? 

Heck, she didn't even say if she was for the millage increase. Joe, what about a follow-up question, like what the &#%$ do you mean you haven't made up your mind? Come on, the election is three weeks away.

These are all questions that demand to be asked, but unfortunately, the local media and Mclean's recent piece, he couldn't be bothered to do so.

One of my frequent complaints over the years is the media doesn't ask the tough questions, or you know their jobs. Unfortunately, in this race, nothing seems to have changed. 

 Say it ain't so, Joe, say it ain't so. 



Charlotte Joyce has stopped giving a @&!$ It is time to send her home.

 Charlotte Joyce passed on the JPEF forum, the Delores Bar Weaver panel, and now the Jax indivisible forum about the millage increase. She has been given opportunity after opportunity to engage, and she has refused. One thing she did not pass on was speaking at a panel hosted by Raymond Johnson, a noted homophobe who has accused teachers of being pedophiles and groomers and who has inexplicably called for Superintendent Greene's arrest for "reasons". 



https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2022/05/charlotte-joyce-sides-with-rampant.html


Charlotte Joyce has been a disaster on the board, on the opposite of every important education issue, and she has pushed anti-teacher, and anti-public ed stances that she has to know are not true.  It is time to send her home.

 Luckily there is another candidate, Tanya Hardaker, and if you care about and support public education, she is the only candidate in that race. If you live in District 6, please vote for her; if you don't, encourage your friends to do so.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Superintendent Greene says we are all in this together, um are we?

 In the media, Greene said we are all in this together, against the rising realization that we won't have enough teachers when school starts in two weeks. She announced several plans, including increased class size, certified staff teaching instead of doing the jobs they were hired to do, paying subs more, and admin, including her subbing. Funny, I don't feel like we are in this all together.

Before I continue, I want to say the district made this announcement because they got caught. I made a media inquiry about it last week, and I am sure real media outlets did too. There had been rumors for a couple weeks, and only after the district knew they could no longer hide their plan did they make an announcement. I sincerely believe they were just hoping teachers would show up and either not notice or, like they usually do, just take it. By the way, I am still waiting for a response to that inquiry.

Next, I have to say nobody believes the district when it says class sizes will go up a student or two. I have already talked to teachers who have seen their class lists, and they have seen jumps of 5 or more. Now I get it; things start to even out when the year begins, but this district long ago lost its credibility with teachers, especially when it comes to considering the district's actions toward them.

Also, do some of those suggestions seem similar? Oh yeah, we heard them all (except raising class sizes) earlier this year when the omicron wave hit. They didn't work then, so why should we think they would work now?  

Then can somebody let the super know that coming in late, leaving early, and not being alone for a second is not subbing? I would love for her to sub. I really would, but what she did was babysitting and a photo op.

Finally, if she were sincere, there are things she could do to show that we are all in this together. Let's eliminate common planning or pull it back to once a month on early release days. If they are putting stuff on teachers' plates, let's also take some stuff off. Streamline lesson plans. When I started teaching, they were notes on a box on a calendar. Now they are four-page 8 font monstrosities where I am supposed to plan and anticipate everything and spoiler; all they do is sit in my lesson plan book because I don't write them for me I write them for admins that wander in. Then be understanding when things inevitably break down, or teachers get behind. Friends, no one going to die if, god forbid, I forget to enter something into focus one day. 

We aren't in this together, and it's insulting that Greene says we are but actively shows teachers repeatedly that they are not.

The super has forgotten that nobody would notice if she took the day off, but when teachers do, everyone they come into contact with does. She has forgotten that the better the district treats its teachers, the better they will be for our students, and she has forgotten what it is really like to be in this together.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

DCPS pours gas on its dumpster fire!

 I want to point out that the state has done DCPS and public ed no favors. A large amount of the blame for where we find ourselves should fall clearly on their shoulders. That being said, Greene shouldn't get a pass. Her "teachers are easily replaceable cogs" policies of the last few years have exacerbated a terrible situation, and she deserves criticism too. With that out of the way, let's try and come up with solutions that don't make teachers miserable and put more on their plates, or you, the only solutions that DCPS ever comes up with. 

First paras, my para can't cover my class when I am out; nope, I have to get a sub, or another teacher has to.  This has never made sense to me. We have a lot of excellent paras that could cover for a class or a day or heck in this climate where wives of veterans with 60 hours can be teachers, an extended time. Ask for volunteers and pay them a little more and, hopefully, more than whatever terrible stipend they give to teachers now is.   

Retired teachers, let's bring them back and set up packages. You commit to just one period a day, get this, two, you get more, and so on. With inflation, I am sure more than a couple might want a part-time job, but the thing is, we have to make sure all that extra stuff like common planning, complicated lesson plans, and all the other BS that really makes teachers hate their jobs, never gets on their plates. Remember, friends, we are doing triage here.

Then let's go to the colleges and bring in what few colleges of ed kids there are and offer them a similar deal. They might as well learn now, and easing into teaching may be a better plan than shoving them into the deep end and hoping for the best.

Finally, and this one makes me cringe a little bit, offer signing bonuses to teachers from the surrounding counties, and instead of sending them to where they are most needed, let them pick their spots. I get it, this will not help at all our neediest schools, but if it fills some slots, it's a win. 

I have to believe there are better solutions than jacking up class sizes, and nobody believes it will be just one or 2 kids here or there, putting more on teachers' plates and surplusing an unlucky amount to fill holes. What I don't believe is the district is trying to come up with them.

Any suggestions? Let me know, and in a day or two, I will compile them and send them to the district, where I am sure Greene will promptly ignore them. The thing is, I figure I can't just complain. I have to try and be part of the solution even though, as a teacher, I am always the last one asked.

  


Saturday, July 23, 2022

DCPS raised starting salaries nearly 6k and the teacher shortage problem got worse

 First, I want to say, the state does public education and DCPS no favors. In fact, it often seems they are working to undermine public education. That being said, time and time again, when placed in a hole, the district's sole inclination appears to be to keep digging. Two years ago, DCPS raised starting salaries by nearly 6k, and are teacher shortage is worse than ever; one would think Greene would understand it's not all about pay, but nope, either she doesn't or she doesn't care.  

To mitigate the staffing crisis, DCPS seems to be employing two strategies, raising class sizes and involuntarily transferring people through the surplus process. Both strategies will join just raising starting salary as failures exacerbating staffing issues.  

Two years ago, when DeSantis proposed his payroll scheme, which robbed Peter, veteran teachers to pay Paul new teachers, I practically begged the super and SB to go on the offensive and to explain to people how detrimental this was going to be and either they didn't think t would be or like with so many other important education issues they chose to be silent.

Now I want to beg the super and SB to rethink this strategy which I believe will be devastating. The district cannot yoke teachers and work them insane amounts, and it can't force them to leave schools they chose to be at to go to schools they didn't. Sure, many teachers will sigh and go along, beaten by the system, but how many will leave? How many can we afford to let leave?   

I have been told our openings are closer to 700 than the 400 number they mention in the media, but we are approaching a tipping point with either number.

The district thinks that if they just throw money at the problem, the problem will magically go away, but if the past is prologue, we see the negative effects that just raising starting salary had, we should understand by now that money is not the only problem that needs to be addressed. 

Making teachers unhappy and giving teachers even more work is a losing strategy. If Greene doesn't get that, it's time to get rid of Greene. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Charter school operator John Rood obliterates the spirit of campaign finance laws to support April Carney

 People on the right often ask school board candidates what they promised teacher unions that give them donations, and I always wonder what they could promise them? To pay teachers fairly, to treat them like professionals? Seriously what could they promise? Now with charter school operators, I can imagine what SC candidates promise them because charter schools are a business, and business is good for their owners anyways.  

That brings me to investor John Rood, the one most responsible for bringing the classical charter schools to town. He has obliterated the spirit of campaign finance laws and donated to MAGA darling April Carney 9 times. Oh, and the classical charters are run by homophobes and get their curriculum from arguably white supremacists and have done a poor job educating their students, but that's another story.

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2020/02/troubling-details-about-jaxs-new.html

So if you or I wanted to donate to a campaign are limits would be 1k in the primary and 1k in the general. If you are rich, however &#%$ the laws, and donate as much as you want as John Rood has done.


















https://www.duvalelections.com/Candidate-Information/Search-Local-Contributions-And-Expenditures

9k from one guy, 9k from a charter school guy, 9k from a charter school guy who doesn't mind working with homophobes and arguably white supremacists.

I want to remind me that above is perfectly legal; it's how the system is set up. A system that benefits the rich and allows them unequal access; however, being legal doesn't make it right. 

April Carney and John Rood should have some explaining to do, and question number one is why they feel gaming the system and violating the spirit of laws is okay. The next should be if they are going to do it here, where else will they do it. 

 If you care about public education, if you have any concerns about the quality of charter schools and how they lack accountability and siphon money out of the system, please support Liz Andersen for the school board.

https://www.andersen4dcps.com/


Thursday, July 21, 2022

School board candidates April Carney and Charlotte Joyce snub girls in foster care. Who are they here to help again?

Guess who couldn't bother to show up at the Delores Bar Weaver foundations panel discussion about girls in the foster and juvenile justice systems and their dropout rates?  Well, I guess from the title of this blog, you already know.  

https://www.seethegirl.org/what-we-do/programming/

https://www.seethegirl.org/blueprint2022/?fbclid=IwAR3TvBuVUJwjcJ12zbN_MEWw9pFwtUlhL97-EliF_gZYwJm_W2SqxrOzJoc

All the people running for office were invited, and many, including Liz Andersen and Tanya Hardaker, were there because it's an important and relevant topic, things it seems Joyce and Carney could care less about.

Honestly, and it's probably an unpopular opinion; I have never been a fan of DBW's edu-philanthropy. Not because it's not needed, but because I think society should have the resources to solve its problems and shouldn't have to depend on the ultra-wealthy, not because many of the causes she supports aren't worthy.

But let's talk about some of the things DBW has supported because, in the past, she has supported a who's who of republican want-a-be and some who made it politicians running for the school board. To say she leans right is not an understatement, so something like this should be right up Carney and Joyce's alley. Them not going tells me a couple things. First, it's DeSantis/MAGA or bust, and they don't really care about important education issues or interacting with potential voters. Remember, both of these ladies skipped the JPEF forums' too.    

Do you know one thing Carney and Joyce made time for? It was DeSantis's visit this past Sunday where he continued his divisive language and hit all the made-up talking points like CRT and teachers teaching kids to hate this country. His constant attack on teachers and his terrible education plans have led to this massive teacher shortage, and friends, it's a disaster by design.   

Teachers teaching kids to hate their country, wow, that's a big accusation, one I think Joyce and Carney should be asked to respond to, and may e they would if they went anywhere where the most challenging question isn't who was your day.

https://www.facebook.com/april.a.carney/posts/pfbid02dJSmChqvfdSS5S4JxJnZbqLqNeqDEhqNNmBYEx1q4TsgN7ZAn5VgAVEG3GiLR1hLl

We can do better than Joyce, which is why if you care about public education, you need to support Tanya Hardaker.

https://www.facebook.com/people/Tanya-Hardaker-for-School-Board-District-6/100082013348100/?ref=py_c

Then it is just as important that we elect Liz Andersen.

https://www.andersen4dcps.com/




Charlotte Joyce has been terrible on the school board and don't take my word for it, take the school boards

 Charlotte Joyce has been on the wrong side of every major Jacksonville education issue. She was dragged, kicking, and screaming to support the referendum. Then she has been against changing school names, masks, and the millage increase. Lastly, she supported the "Don't Say Gay' bill, bringing a swarm of homophobes, bored moms for spritzers, sorry liberty, and the chronically misinformed down upon the district. I have seen it, you have seen it, and her fellow school board members have seen it as well.

She was elected alongside Darryl Willie and Elizabeth Andersen. Andersen was vice chair in her second year on the board and chair in her third. Willie was vice chair his third and is the chair now; you might think it was Joyce's turn next, but nope, Kelly Coker Daniel is the current vice chair and likely chair come November. 

Every person on the board has been chair or vice chair at one point or another except for Joyce and Cindi Pearson, who is just in her second year.  

Her co-workers, her fellow board members, seem to have no faith in her ability to lead, and every vote shows they have no faith in her judgment too. It's time to send Joyce home.

 Luckily there is another candidate, Tanya Hardaker, and if you care about and support public education, she is the only candidate in that race. If you live in District 6, please vote for her; if you don't, encourage your friends to do so.

https://www.facebook.com/people/Tanya-Hardaker-for-School-Board-District-6/100082013348100/?ref=py_c

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The districts haphazard plan to raise class sizes and surplus teachers (draft)

 This story is developing. I have asked the district a bunch of questions, but they haven't gotten back to me. That being said, I feel like I have talked to enough teachers, school administrators, and even a district administrator that revealed the district's terrible, terrible plan.

Everyone knows the district has a teacher shortage, and to address it, the district has a two-pronged attack and spoiler alert, both put more on teachers' plates. First, the district will increase class sizes; bigger classes mean you need fewer teachers. Part 2 of the plan is to surplus teachers since classes are bigger and send those teachers to schools where raising class sizes didn't fill in all the gaps. I am told thus far, 31 teachers, including a handful of new ones, have been surplussed with more to come after yesterday's district budgeting conference.   

When school does start, the district will be able to thump its chest and says look, we filled all of those vacancies; however, they won't mention all it took was violating the class size amendment, overworking teachers, and treating them like they are just easily replaceable cogs rather than the professionals that they are.  

It's my belief that both of these parts of the plans will lead to even more teacher losses, and it's also my belief the district doesn't care.

Violating the class size amendment has a cost to it, a cost that Greene seems more willing to pay than to pay teachers, 

I want to be honest that after years of neglect, the state has put DCPS and all of the public ed in this very deep hole. Where we have over 700 openings, there are 9k statewide. I read an article that said there were only 2k graduating from teacher colleges too, but that being said, the district's solution shouldn't be to put more on teachers' plates and to forcibly move some around. When put in a hole, one should stop digging but unfortunately, DCPS always asks, where is the shovel.  

I support the millage increase; it is long overdue but and I keep screaming it to whoever will listen; a lack of fair pay is only half the problem, the other half is too much work, unreal expectations, and a lack of support and respect and the district's plan exacerbates all of these things. 

We could and should be doing better, but we sadly don't have leaders that are interested or capable of doing so.

When I learn more, I will share.

Superintendent Greene says there is no help coming from her

 So a few weeks back, the district started posting videos from teachers about why they were leaving or the trials and tribulations they endured. They put out the videos to rally support for the millage increase, something I wholeheartedly support and hope you do so too. The thing is, most of the videos were about how poor teacher working conditions are and how much they have to work and sacrifice, with very little tod o about income. I felt this was a mistake. So I wrote the district pointing out that where the millage increase and income were important, it was just half the problem, a problem their own videos exposed. 

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2022/06/dcps-is-terrible-place-to-work-and-dont.html

 Greene wrote me back, and her letter is below.

In the letter, she offered nothing in the way of what she would do to reduce stress and workload because, I guess, those things aren't an issue to her. The 700 district openings, however, tell me they are a huge problem.

In my 22-year career, I have known teachers who have left for more lucrative paying jobs, but I have known far more who left because of the lack of support, unrealistic expectations, tremendous workload, and stress, and these are things the millage increase won't help but Greene sure could if she wanted too. 

If she wanted to.

Mr. Guerrieri,

Thank you for your email. The point of the post was to inform our stakeholders that recruiting and retaining teachers is a challenge in part because corporations are now actively targeting teachers to switch careers. 

Regarding support for teachers and other staff struggling to cope with stress, we strongly encourage team members to take advantage of the free Employee Assistance Program. EAP services include confidential support 24/7 from a licensed professional counselor including six visits per issue. This support is available in-person and through telephone, text, video, and chat. EAP provides short-term assistance with stress and with other personal issues such as depression, anger, grief, family problems, substance abuse and more. Referrals are provided for additional treatment or special care. Additionally, EAP can assist an employee with work and life support for financial concerns, legal assistance, time-management, childcare, and eldercare.

In addition to EAP, employees have free access to the Headspace application which offers guided mindfulness activities connected to meditation, sleep, focus, and movement. At the Educator Wellness Conference in April, educators had an opportunity to engage in five breakout sessions focused on self-care and supporting youth. The Mental Health Matters monthly newsletter provides information about all these services along with resources and strategies for supporting self and students.

We also have technical support in place to assist teachers managing classroom situations that might lead to increasing levels of stress. These supports include:

•                  Providing training on CHAMPS as well as Guidelines for Success, classroom behavior support systems, to incorporate throughout daily rituals and routines to maintain instructional momentum.

•                  Assistance through professional learning communities to implement classroom structural supports to reduce classroom disruptions and attendance concerns based on data.

•                   Providing Foundations modules to assist with schoolwide movements to create an orderly and safe environment.

•                   Assisting teachers and school faculty and staff with utilizing Florida PBIS model critical elements schoolwide on way to achieving for schoolwide and classroom-based use.

Thank you for your inquiry, and I hope this gives you the background you are seeking both in the referendum education campaign and services available to you and your colleagues for managing stress and other personal issues. 

 

Kind regards,

 

Dr. Diana Greene


Charlotte Joyce betrays her voters for a seat at the radicals table

 In 2018 the republican party didn't want anything to do with Charlotte Joyce. Their candidate was Dave Chauncey. It was teachers and families who believe in and support public education who voted for her, leaving those people who just vote R no matter what to support Chauncey.

Fast forward to today, and she has given the middle finger to those people who actually elected her. Instead of meeting with parents and families, Joyce would rather meet with people like Raymond Johnson, a radical homophobe who recently called for the arrest of Superintendent Green for "reasons."

https://jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/2022/05/charlotte-joyce-sides-with-rampant.html

Worse than that, she has been on the wrong side of every critical public education issue since she was elected. She was against the referendum, the millage increase, and masks, which means she has been wrong, wrong, and wrong. She has shown lousy character and bad judgment and doesn't deserve another team on the board.

 Luckily there is another candidate, Tanya Hardaker, and if you care about and support public education, she is the only candidate in that race. If you live in District 6, please vote for her; if you don't, encourage your friends to do so.

https://www.facebook.com/people/Tanya-Hardaker-for-School-Board-District-6/100082013348100/?ref=py_c