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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.

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

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.

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,

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.

Instead, they were steered to T5

Which is owned by Robert Talley,

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

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.

 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.

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,

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.

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".

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.