Just what the BEEP is happening in Duval County?!?

Budgeting can never be easy in this time of limited
resources and priorities have to be made but with that being said, what the
BEEP is happening in Duval County?!?
Last year we need extra security, testing coordinators, more
assistant principals and reading coaches and all we had to do was sacrifice the
districts librarians. Fast-forward a year and it turns out we don’t need those
things as much as we thought we did as they as well as three hundred support staff
are on the chopping block. Throw in hundreds of teachers being surplussed and
the district announcing it plans to ignore the class size amendment then what’s
going on?
It seems like the district is making a concentrated push to
save millions and millions of dollars but to what end? No really to what end?
The QEA board is supposed to pay for those initiatives so what are all of the
savings above going to?

Even during the height of the recession there wasn’t
this much churn in staff and I for one am very concerned.

The Florida Foundation continues to give Bush credit where no credit is due.

Jaryn Enholf the spokeswoman for Jeb bush’s foundation said,
“In Florida since the A+ Plan was passed and implemented in 1999, Florida
has reversed a generation of decline in education.”
  The thing is where she might believe that
she cannot prove that.
  You see other
states that did not embrace Bush’s draconian accountability measures and
privatization agenda have also seen improvement. The truth is me saying his
reforms have held us back has as much validity as her saying they propelled us
forward. I also like how Bush and the foundation refuse to even mention the
citizen driven class size amendment and its effects, I mean haven’t our
supposed gains coincided with its passage?

Furthermore Bush never mentions how if we factor out poverty
then our international scores zoom to the top of the rankings. How is common
core addressing poverty? Will it make a hungry kid feel full, a scared kid feel
safe, make up their pre-school deficits or get parents who have been absent
involved? The answer is no and the truth is we don’t have a standards problem
we have a poverty problem. The problem with bush and his supporters is they
haven’t figured out how to make money off of mitigating poverty. 

One final point, we should all find it both very interesting and
telling how all the parties that stand to make money off of common core have
lined up behind Bush to support it, while the parties that won’t make any
money, groups mostly composed of teachers and parents are opposing it.

Arguments for Charter Schools don’t hold water.

The Charter School Consortium’s spokesperson Lynne
Norman-Teck did not have a very convincing argument in favor of charter
schools. She pointed out that in 63 comparisons charter schools performed
better in 58 categories usually by a point or so I might add but this falls
apart when you consider charter schools are able to counsel out poor
performers, discipline problems and take fewer ESE and English as a second
language learners. With these advantages shouldn’t charter school be out
performing public schools by a mile?
They aren’t and all the consortium can do is point to
comparisons made by the very charter school friendly Florida Department of
education. The FLDOE also says kids attending charter schools were five times
more likely to be attending an F schools but she didn’t mention that because
the only thing supporters of charters schools can do is to point to cherry
picked evidence with little context.
An even bigger question though is what about the students
that attended the 250 plus charter schools that have failed where do the kids
that attended them get counted? Most likely it is in the public schools they
have to return too. How would public schools be doing if they could ignore the
scores of the bottom ten percent?
Then her second argument about how Charters receive less
money falls apart too. First yes per pupil charters do get less but how about
the hundreds of millions in PECO construction funds they have gotten over the
last few years while public schools relieved none? A few hundred million
dollars divided by a few hundred schools quickly adds up. Furthermore despite
her claim charter schools get less per pupil it hasn’t stopped the owners of
Charter Schools like Academia and Charter schools USA from becoming
millionaires, or other schools paying their administrators/owners as much or
more than some superintendents of entire districts.

If charter schools were parent-teacher driven
laboratories of innovation that supplemented districts then I believe they
would have a role to play. Unfortunately here in Florida too many are run by
mercenary outfits whose first goal is to earn a profit and who compete with districts
while producing an inferior product.

To read more, click the link: http://extracredit.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2014/05/31/charter-school-group-fires-back-at-critical-league-of-women-voters-study/

Vitti, disingenuous or ignorant?

When talking about FLDOE’s investigation into the district’s
ESE practices, Vitti said: “There are concerns that the principal may have
been using ESE personnel for non-ESE-related issues for more operational type
things like bus duty, hall patrol, general disciplinary issues,” he said
Um, “the” principal? 
That implies one principal, well at an ESE meeting this past Christmas
at least a half dozen ESE teachers in my region alone complained, among other
things, that they were being pulled from working with their ESE kids to cover
other non-ESE duties and Mason Davis, the director of ESE was in the room with
So did he not let Vitti know and he is down playing it or is
Vitti just down playing it.
This is bad but I also think the states new policies are partly responsible (more on that later). 

The important thing going forward is just to get it

District hires charter school executive to lead Ed White High School, 4th change in six years

Replacing a crappy principal is a good thing. Replacing one
with an out of town charter school executive, well let’s just say the jury is out.
This will also be Mr. Paul’s third job in three years, not a
good sign for a school that has seen turnover with such regularity.
Former principal Chris Jackson will be taking his boot to the throat
leadership to Ribault high school, where he will reunite with area chief
Iranetta Wright.

To read more click the link:  http://miamiherald.typepad.com/movers_in_south_florida/2012/07/eric-paul-joins-charter-schools-usa.html

The League of Women Voters blast charter schools.

From the Tampa times by Jeff Solochek

Following a year of research, the Florida
League of Women Voters issued a report this week that’s highly critical
of the state’s charter school movement. Education “reform” critics, such
as historian Diane Ravitch and AFT president Randi Weingarten, have
begun passing around the document, calling it a “bombshell.”

In it, the League observes that Florida charters have a 20 percent
closure rate because of financial problems or poor academic performance.
Charter proponents have seen this as a good thing, as it weeds out the
bad actors, and argue that the same should occur for traditional public
schools. The League isn’t convinced.

The report notes that many state officials with power over charter
schools also have vested interests in charters, including lawmakers Rep.
Erik Fresen and Sen. John Legg. These political leaders have
acknowledged their ties, but argued they have no legal conflict of

The League also suggests that some charters run by for-profit
management firms screen students and then drop those who are not
successful. Leaders of the McKeel charter schools in Lakeland told the Ledger in 2010 that they could dismiss students who did not meet academic requirements.

“Charter schools could fill a niche in Florida’s educational
spectrum, but for many, their biggest contribution may be to corporate
bottom lines,” League president Deirdre Macnab said in a news release.

The group recommends actions such as limiting charter schools to fill
unmet needs in local districts — primarily focusing on low-income
families, and creating stronger local oversight of charters.

Rebuttals to the League of Women Voters report have not yet begun. They probably will soon. Read the full report here.


Gary Chartrand 94% of the Florida standards are Common Core

The Grocer in chief was on WJCT talking about education and
below in bold are some of the highlights followed by my comments.
Chartrand, KIPP
school is doing great.
He didn’t mention how his own rule saying schools
can’t drop more than one letter grade protected it from dropping to a D.
Gary Chartrand, 94%
of Florida standards are common core.
More like 98%
Gary Chartrand,
Charter schools are public schools.
Um what was he smoking when he said
Gary Chartrand,
school choice is responsible for Florida’s improvement.
  He fails to mention how other states that did
not embrace choice have also improved. He also fails to mention the 250 plus charter
schools that have failed and how voucher schools have resisted accountability and the class size amendment, its like it doesn’t even exist to these guys.
Gary Chartrand,
teachers being on a one year contract is a good thing.
This guy really
hates public school teachers.

What common core supporters won’t tell you.

What common core supporters won’t tell you is that if we
factor out poverty then our scores on international tests zoom to the top. To
me that says, rather than blowing up the system and replacing it with an
experimental curriculum, which is what common core is, let’s put in place
things that mitigate poverty.  Wrap around
services, social workers and a longer school year would work wonders for many
of our kids.
Will common core make a hungry child full, feel safe, make
up their pre-school deficits or get parents involved? The answer to all those
questions is no. The truth is we have a poverty problem not a standards problem
and if you want more proof look at the third grade FCAT results. A fifth of our
children live in poverty and a fifth of our third graders scored a one on the
Common core does a few things however. It doubles down on
high stakes testing which has sucked the joy out of education for so many students
and teachers alike and it siphons hundreds of millions out of classrooms and to
testing companies and their affiliates.
Unless we address poverty then common core is just the
latest education fad doomed to fail.

Who is voting for and profiting off of charter schools in the Floirda legislature

And this list does not include people who just got campaign contributions.

From the League of Women’s Voters, charter schools study.

 Senator John Legg Chair of Senate Education Committee
is co-founder and business administrator of Daysprings Academy in Port
 Senator Kelli Stargel from Orange County is on board of McKeel
Academies. She is on the Education Committee and sponsored the Parent
Trigger Bill.
 House Budget Chairman Seth McKeel is on the board of McKeel Academy Schools in Polk County.
 Anne Corcoran, wife of future House Speaker Richard Corcoran has a charter school in
Pasco County. http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/pascos-classical-prep- charter-school-delays-opening-for-a-year/1276912. Richard Corcoran is Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
 Senator Anitere Flores of Miami is president of an Academica managed charter school in Doral.
 Florida Representative Erik Fresen is Chair of the House Education
subcommittee on appropriations. Representative Fresen’s sister is the
Vice President of Academica and is married to the president. http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida- politics/content/ethics-commission-clears-miami-rep-erik-fresen-alleged-voting-conflict.
 George Levesque, Florida House lawyer cleared Erik Fresen of conflict of interest
concerns over charter schools. He is the husband of Patricia Levesque,
former Jeb Bush Deputy Chief of Staff and currently Executive Director
of the Foundation for Excellence in Education which promotes school
choice. http://www.truthabouteducation.org/1/archives/01-2010/1.html.
 Representative Manny Diaz is Dean of Doral Academy, an Academica
managed school. He is the leader for the new statewide contract bill in
the Florida House. Doral College was cited by the Florida Auditor
General for a $400,000 loan from Doral Charter High School. Conflict of
Interest and procurement for Charters with federal grants: http://floridacharterschools.org/schools/taps/conflictinterest_att.pdf


So much for ethics in Florida.