School choice parent wants God to be the common denominator at her school.

From Redefined Ed:

In the Catholic publication CruxRamona Denmark describes how her children are
thriving
in a Tampa Bay-area ACE Academy,
even though they haven’t been raised as Catholics.


“By having a common denominator,
which is God,” she writes, “people can see past their differences and other barriers.”
What Romona Denmark really wants is for the public to pay for her child to attend her school where God will become the common denominator.  How does sending the school public money not violate the first amendment? It does and her statements indicate her version or another version of God will be pushed upon the students attending there. 

Here is the thing, if you want your child to get a religious education, then go for it, good luck and all the power to you but don’t expect or ask the public who have many different versions of God or no version of God to pay for it. 

I think children should go to schools where learning, not God, is the common denominator.

Trey Csar of the JPEF gives credit where it isn’t due.

Here is my obligatory, I have met Trey Csar and have found
him very affable and even though he is paid by a man who wants to privatize our
schools I think he genuinely cares about the fate of our children, statement. 
Now to explain how he is wrong once again.
From the Times Union, when talking about Superintendent Vitti’s
self-evaluation: “He has put an explicit focus on closing the achievement gap,
which is born out in the graduation rate and college preparedness rates,” said
Trey Csar, president of Jacksonville Public Education Fund, a think tank and
philanthropic organization. ”When it comes to low-income students and students
of color, that is something that has long been needed in our community.”
And thank God we have these two white recent Harvard grad
transplants to Jacksonville to save us and our poor black children right? The Hubris
that drips from this quote is stunning and by long does he mean the five sine
he has been here or the less than three for Vitti?
Yes nobody has been focusing on the African Americans in our
community before Vitti got here, not Pervaila Gaines Macintosh and Bradford
Hall. Not the NAACP, not any of the churches on the North and west side of town
or me for that matter who have been fighting and pleading for years and years.
Nope it all started when Vitti got here.  Geeze louise?!?
And Trey gives Vitti credit for the rise in graduation rates
and the closing of the achievement gap, something that had started before the
two of them graced our city with their presence. That’s freaking unbelievable.
Then look at their solutions, Teach for America which does
the exact opposite of what we know to be best for our students and charter
schools which do worse than their public school counterparts and before you
throw KIPP at me, they have smaller classes, longer days and spend about a third
more than public schools do per child.  And
that’s the rub about Trey, all he knows is KIPP and Teach for America having
never worked in a public school let alone a Jacksonville one.
If his statement is indicative of the think tank label the
Times Union has given JPEF, then it’s apparent there isn’t much thinking going
on.

Pigs Fly, Rick Scott get a little something right about charter schools

We were all, and rightfully so, outraged at the prospect of the state giving for profit charter schools one hundred million dollars for maintenance and construction. Here is the thing, Scott has announced there will be strings attached and real ones too.

From Redefined Ed: To qualify for state capital funding,
new charter schools would have to be accredited by the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a surety bond to
ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be established primarily
to serve students in the attendance zone of a school” that is struggling
academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.

The schools would also have to
receive a school grade from the state.
The requirements are
contained in the proviso language, or fine print, of Scott’s budget
proposal, which can be found here.
They would only apply to charter schools authorized after July 2015 that
seek state capital funding.

To
qualify for state capital funding, new charter schools would have to be
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a
surety bond to ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be
established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a
school” that is struggling academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.
The schools would also have to receive a school grade from the state.
The requirements are contained in the proviso language, or fine print, of Scott’s budget proposal, which can be found here. They would only apply to charter schools authorized after July 2015 that seek state capital funding.
– See more at:
http://www.redefinedonline.org/2015/01/scott-budget-reserve-facilities-funding-charter-schools-struggling-areas/#sthash.xl8qQE4Z.dpuf
To
qualify for state capital funding, new charter schools would have to be
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a
surety bond to ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be
established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a
school” that is struggling academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.
The schools would also have to receive a school grade from the state.
The requirements are contained in the proviso language, or fine print, of Scott’s budget proposal, which can be found here. They would only apply to charter schools authorized after July 2015 that seek state capital funding.
– See more at:
http://www.redefinedonline.org/2015/01/scott-budget-reserve-facilities-funding-charter-schools-struggling-areas/#sthash.xl8qQE4Z.dpuf
To
qualify for state capital funding, new charter schools would have to be
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a
surety bond to ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be
established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a
school” that is struggling academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.
The schools would also have to receive a school grade from the state.
The requirements are contained in the proviso language, or fine print, of Scott’s budget proposal, which can be found here. They would only apply to charter schools authorized after July 2015 that seek state capital funding.
– See more at:
http://www.redefinedonline.org/2015/01/scott-budget-reserve-facilities-funding-charter-schools-struggling-areas/#sthash.xl8qQE4Z.dpuf
To
qualify for state capital funding, new charter schools would have to be
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a
surety bond to ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be
established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a
school” that is struggling academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.
The schools would also have to receive a school grade from the state.
The requirements are contained in the proviso language, or fine print, of Scott’s budget proposal, which can be found here. They would only apply to charter schools authorized after July 2015 that seek state capital funding.
– See more at:
http://www.redefinedonline.org/2015/01/scott-budget-reserve-facilities-funding-charter-schools-struggling-areas/#sthash.xl8qQE4Z.dpuf
To
qualify for state capital funding, new charter schools would have to be
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a
surety bond to ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be
established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a
school” that is struggling academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.
The schools would also have to receive a school grade from the state.
The requirements are contained in the proviso language, or fine print, of Scott’s budget proposal, which can be found here. They would only apply to charter schools authorized after July 2015 that seek state capital funding.
– See more at:
http://www.redefinedonline.org/2015/01/scott-budget-reserve-facilities-funding-charter-schools-struggling-areas/#sthash.xl8qQE4Z.dpuf
o
qualify for state capital funding, new charter schools would have to be
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a
surety bond to ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be
established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a
school” that is struggling academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.
The schools would also have to receive a school grade from the state.
– See more at:
http://www.redefinedonline.org/2015/01/scott-budget-reserve-facilities-funding-charter-schools-struggling-areas/#sthash.xl8qQE4Z.dpuf
o
qualify for state capital funding, new charter schools would have to be
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, obtain a
surety bond to ensure they’re on firm financial ground, and “be
established primarily to serve students in the attendance zone of a
school” that is struggling academically, to the point that it requires state intervention.
The schools would also have to receive a school grade from the state.
– See more at:
http://www.redefinedonline.org/2015/01/scott-budget-reserve-facilities-funding-charter-schools-struggling-areas/#sthash.xl8qQE4Z.dpuf

Okay sure it is only for new charter schools but it is something right? Though why do I feel that since there isn’t money to be made in the small, rural counties nobody is going to take him up on it.

Duval County’s new policy is to stop writing referrals, teachers told the discipline problem is fixed.

Well you would think it was anyways considering what Superintendent Vitti said in the Times Union.


Vitti cited a 24 percent drop in in-door suspensions, a 12 percent decline in out-of-school suspensions and a 20 percent decline in arrests to show that school discipline and safety are improving, but “this is an area I must continue to hone, address and improve,” he said.
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2015-01-26/story

Well it got me thinking about how many times I heard something similar to above.

From 2009, describing how suspensions have dropped 30 percent from year to year;
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/schools/2009-12-08/story/duval%E2%80%99s_number_of_suspensions_drops_dramatically

Here is something from 2010 when they said we had a 71 percent drop in suspensions.
http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2010-01-17/story/school_suspensions_altering_the_tide

From 2012, talking about a 35% drop in suspensions over three years. I guess the bulk of that came in 2010. Here they at least questioned the possibility of under reporting.
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-01-28/story/discipline-duvals-public-schools-are-students-really-behaving-better

From 2013 talking about how suspension centers saved Christmas:
http://jacksonville.com/opinion/premium-opinion/2013-05-29/story/suspension-centers-have-been-big-success-jacksonville

And I could have went on and on. As you can imagine there have been quite a few stories about dramatic drops in suspensions and referrals over the years.

Who knows too maybe we were suspending kids at to great of a rate and we needed to make changes but from what I hear the change we have made is to ignore discipline which I think leads to much greater problems.

Here is the thing friends, I am willing to entertain the thought I am just plain wrong on this one and if so I would love for you to enlighten me. How is discipline/behavior where you are at?

Is getting a step really getting a raise? If DTU thinks so they are falling down on the job.

Duval Teachers United sent out an e-mail today saying we have gotten a
raise every year but one for the last ten years. Now yes it is true when I have
got my step my salary did go up a few nickels here and there but I always
equated it with the difference you would pay a plumber verses a master plumber.
A fifth year teacher does get paid a little more than fourth year teacher but that’s
because we value years of experience. The salary schedule hasn’t changed in something like seven years.

Semantics, some might say, and I guess it’s a lot easier
for the union to go “hey look at us, we’re looking out for you” but I also don’t think
it should be lost on anybody that the year they acknowledge teachers didn’t get
a raise, the district was sitting on over a hundred million dollars in reserves.
 Furthermore I think for professional
teachers that plan to make a career out of it, taking a 900 dollar bonus in lieu
of a step, something we did in 2011- 12 is a suckers trade.

The union mentioned something else and that I think was a
bit disingenuous. They mentioned the 2,000 dollar bonus that teachers got last
year. Well that was money given by the state to districts to give to teachers
as a raise and many districts did just that, they gave raises. Duval with the
support of the union optioned instead to give a 2000 dollar bonus which was also
less than what most districts gave their staffs. Again I feel like we’re
falling behind and it is frustrating.
This is from their e-mail:  There is speculation that we haven’t received
raises in years.  Teachers have received raises each year but one in the
last ten years. We completed a three year salary agreement in 2013-2014. In the
first year of that agreement (2011-2012), teachers received a $900 bonus in
lieu of step
. That year, money did not go on the salary schedule and is why
teachers are behind one step.  In the 2
nd and 3rd years of the agreement, however, teachers received
step and $500 at the top step. In addition to step and money at the top in the
3
rd year of the agreement (2013-2014), teachers
received a negotiated $2000 supplement from additional state monies that were
allocated to districts. This year, step will be received along with additional
money as a result of the conversion to the new Grandfather Schedule. The missed
step in 2011-2012 was the only time in the recent past that teachers did not
receive a raise.
Finally no matter how you split it up, no matter what spin
you put on it I and every other teacher are still in the hole from the three
percent salary the state took from all teachers three years ago and DTU and
Duval have done nothing to make that up while several other districts have.
I know we have a lot of hard working and dedicated people
working on our behalf from the union and I hope I am wrong but I just get the
sense that the district is playing chess and the union is playing checkers.   

School choice week, really bad or the worst thing ever?

It is school choice week and I think people should know
school choice is a scam. Parents shouldn’t have to pick a “good school to attend”,
just like they shouldn’t have to pick clean water or air, or dependable police
and fire departments.  A high quality and
uniform public schools system is a contract its citizens should have with each
other and it is also what the Florida constitution calls for.
School choice is really a euphemism for school privatization
and the people behind the movement hope you don’t notice. In Florida over 270
charter schools have taken money and closed leaving communities in a lurch.
Some job the parents sending kids to those schools did right? Charter schools
are businesses and their primary goal is to make money not to educate our
children.
As for schools that take vouchers we really have no idea how
they are doing because the system is set up that way. Sure some might be great
but there are undoubtedly terrible ones too and rather than weed out the bad
apples the supporters of choice just bang the drum of expansion.  
The most maddening thing is public schools do better as a
group than charter schools and voucher schools fight against accountability so
we have no idea how they are doing but our leaders in Tallahassee tell us we
need more of them not less.  
Instead of diluting our resources and making charter school and
private school operators rich for doing a substandard job we should invest in
our public school system and make it one we can all be proud of. Choice just
for the sake of choice is a poor choice indeed.

It is the “JPEF teacher of the year” now

or at least according to WJCT it is. Today they did an article and the title is, 

Fifteen Duval County Teachers In Running For JPEF Teacher Of The   The JPEF teacher of the year, you know kind of like the Tax-slayer Gator Bowl.

http://news.wjct.org/post/fifteen-duval-county-teachers-running-jpef-teacher-year

I wrote the writer to ask if it was some in artful title writing, I know I have been there and done that but they didn’t get back to me, but even if it is a bad title its just another example of how in Bed with the city’s privatizers that WJCT is. 
They have taken their thirty pieces of silver from Gary Chartrand and can’t even entertain the notion that maybe his ideas are bad for education and that his ideas hurt children and teachers despite the fact evidence says it does. They have crossed over from newscasters to shills for Chartrand’s privatization anti-school teacher agenda and it is a shame.

Picking Condoleezza Rice to head his education foundation, Jeb Bush shows his disdain for teachers.

When deciding to think about running for president one of
the first things Jeb Bush did was to distance himself from his Education
foundation, like me he probably doesn’t think his support for common core is
going to go over so well with the base.
To replace him he has tapped former National Security
Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Not bad credentials if you are
going to run a think tank on foreign policy but where is her education
experience?
There isn’t an educator he could have went too, even a
conservative one? None?!? This is par for the course with these guys and sadly
society too. Education is the one job that the people who actuary do it are
constantly marginalized and Jeb Bush is the worst of the worst.
I also think it shouldn’t be lost on anybody that just a
couple years ago Condoleezza Rice said the state of our schools was a national
security problem, blaming our schools and teachers for society’s problems and
attempting to use this false flag narrative as a reason to overhaul public
education.
Then on a side note, I think this should also show how far
Michelle Rhee who has been conspicuously absent in recent months has fallen. Once
the darling of the right in education circles, this would have been right up
her alley but instead she has completely fallen off the map.

To read more check out the link: https://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/

How Sh*tty does Duval County Public schools pay it’s paras?

Two things, first we already know the District pays their teachers very poorly, we were something like 108 out of 115 in pay for large school districts.  Furthermore this is my 14th year as a teacher and I am fifteen thousand dollars below the national average. There hasn’t been a raise in seven years and the district has withheld steps twice now over that same span. 


With all that being said, what we pay our paraprofessionals is not much different from how other districts and states pay their paras and it’s a crying shame how little we give these employees. There may however be a little leeway as the district is looking at 32 extra million dollars next year. Sadly most of that comes from the three percent pay cut teachers too three years ago.


When talking about additional funding next year this is an idea Vitti had. 
From the Times Union: Among Vitti’s ideas: add 46 more paraprofessionals at a cost of $1 million. Similar to education aides, paraprofessionals in Duval spend 80 percent of their time helping students in class and 20 percent on other tasks.
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2015-01-14/story/duval-schools-look-forward-32-million-budget-boost

Are you freaking kidding me? We can hire 46 people, and when you add their salaries and benefits together that come to a million bucks?!? That’s 21,739 dollars a person. That’s not take home salary by the way, that’s the whole kit and caboodle. That’s what we are paying these people to take care of our children. That’s shameful.

Next year the district is looking at an extra 32 million dollars and I believe we must use every penny of that not on more of Vitti’s computer programs and not on more slots for his ever growing cabinet but on teacher and para pay.

Pro School Choice (privatization) group has a chief story teller!

Sometimes Step-up for Students, the states chief voucher supplier is honest even if unintentional,


From ReDefined Ed, SUFS propaganda blog: Public school options  especially those that emphasize the arts  got a shout out from Florida’s Teacher of Year, Christie Bassett, who leads the art department at Highlands Grove Elementary in Polk County.


“When parents have more say in where their children go to school, everybody wins,” she said, adding: “We love having choices in every area of our lives. Education should be no different.”
Step Up For Students Chief Storyteller Lisa Davis contributed reporting


Wow what inspirational words from our Teacher of the Year, who must have taken a day off to come speak. We like choice when picking milk or shoes, so picking a school should be the same thing right? I hate to denigrate a teacher but how did this moron sell out get voted teacher of anything?
Anyhoo, I wanted to draw your attention to Lisa Davis, SUFS chief story teller, and since she is the chief one, it implys they have an entire team of story tellers, who contributed to the ReDefined Ed post. They need story tellers to peddle their propaganda, a team apparently. You see that’s all they have, because when facts and evidence are applied to charter schools and vouchers the veneer quickly fades away.