Candidates that Gary Chartrand supports tend to lie and distort facts

You know what they say about how birds of a feather flock together.

In 2014 his candidate in district 4 Darryl Willie sent out a deceptive mailer.

Now his candidate in the district 7 race Greg Tison is trying to trick democrats and independents not to vote as well as making the race a partisan one.

Jason Fischer another candidate he supports in the past has been deceptive about his military service.

Does anybody see a pattern there? Gary Chartrand has supported them all.

Greg Tison plays dirty tricks, uses deceptive advertising in an attempt to suppress the vote.

Greg Tison is running this add in neighborhood editions of the Newsline, a small independent paper .

Notice anything there? It’s not a republican primary on August 30th for school board it is just a primary where everyone regardless of political affiliation can vote. Furthermore school board races are supposed to be non-partisan and he has to know it. Which means with a wink and a nod he is telling people hey, looking for a republican to vote for, then I am your guy.

He joins Fischer from 2012 who not only had many of the same donors but played up his conservative street cred and remember Fischer was deceptive about his military service. Tison has joined Angela Corey and Charlie Van Zant in clay county as someone who isn’t above using dirty tricks to keep turnout low.

Is this the kind of guy you want representing our schools?  A guy who will say and do anything.

Finally I just want to remind you one more time and get used to it, this guy has ran for different positions in 2012 (soil and water) and 2014 (city council) and he has taken a lot of money from people who would privatize our schools and replace them with substandard charters, and Friends that’s not just me saying that, the Times Union just did too.

District 7, we have a lot riding on you and you have several solid candidates, Dern, Hershey and Tascano, so you don’t even have to consider this guy.

No excuses Tom Majdanics of the KIPP school sure has lots of exscuses

I will just let his own words do the talking for him:

From the Times Union: 

KIPP Impact Middle School, for instance, had the lowest passing rates in fifth grade math among charter schools in Jacksonville. It got many of its fifth-graders from non-KIPP schools, said Tom Majdanics, executive director of the three KIPP schools in Jacksonville.
“Because KIPP Impact students come to us in fifth grade performing significantly below grade level — and in cohorts that are well below the district average — it’s hard to come up with a meaningful comparison,” he said. “We meet our students where they are at and we really focus on whether our students make progress once they’ve come to us.”
He said KIPP eighth-graders’ performance is a sign of the school’s progress.
“After a few years at KIPP, our eighth-graders’ [English language arts] and science pass rates are higher than the district average,” he said, “and half of our eighth-graders earned high school-level algebra credit this year. That’s far above the Duval average for eighth-grade completers.”
Majdanics said the school doesn’t compare itself with Duval schools; it sets its sights on college or careers after high school.
Your first question might be, why do I even care. well the reason is this school is considered the model charter school in Jax, it’s the gold standard and quite frankly when you consider the advantages it has, it spends about a third more per pupil, puts requirements on parents, has a longer school day and school year and at the end of the day its mediocre at best. heck it even has a lower percentage of free and reduced lunch kids when compared to other schools in the area.
KIPP is supposed to be one of those no excuses school but it seems to me Majdanics is both making excuses and overselling KIPPs accomplishments. Did you know they don’t back fill? That means once they counsel out a poor performer a child leaves they don’t replace that child, which is crazy once you consider that they say over and over what a waiting list they have. 
KIPP and schools like them are not the answer. Charters are not the answer and as the Times Union piece points out, in Jacksonville they do more harm than good.

What passes for education reporting in Jacksonville, updated

Friends the sad fact is when it comes to education we don’t have the media we deserve. An uninformed electorate will never make the best choice who to elect to the school board and the media has all but abdicated their responsibility to inform us. To prove my case I present two examples.

First a local political writer all but admits the media doesn’t do its job.

From Florida Politics: Two powerful incumbents on the Duval County School Board got through the qualifying deadline without drawing opposition Friday, ensuring their re-election.

Cheryl Grymes, targeted by at least one enterprising activist attempting to plant stories maligning her for taking money from charter school king Gary Chartrand, drew no opposition in School Board District 1.
I believe I am the enterprising activist looking to malign as I practically begged everyone I could think of to report on Cheryl Grimes campaign contributions. If by planting he means asked and by maligning he met inform then yep I plead guilty.
Now there was a back page article in the Folio Weekly submitted by a private citizen and WJCT did a very basic piece two days before the filing deadline on the education page of their web-site (not on the radio), what you didn’t know they had a website? But other than that the local media was disappointingly silent on the subject. I have a different view and that’s I want to know who paying for influence and I think it is important the people do too.    
Wouldn’t it have been nice if the media reported who Grimes was taking money weeks ago from rather than just dedicating a snarky throw away line to it, omitting her most egregious donors, after the filing deadline had passed?

Update: WJCT did  run a 40 second spot where they named the candidates.
Then today the Times Union did a piece about who has qualified for the August 30th ballot. Please take a moment to look it over.
Where they mention other local races they don’t even mention the school board races. two of which have already been decided. You know because school board races aren’t even important enough to mention.
It’s sad but we can’t trust the media to do their job but just because they have abdicated their responsibility it doesn’t mean that we can, we have to inform ourselves about the candidates especially in the district 7 race. 
The district 7 race is I believe the most important race in a generation. It will determine if we are full speed ahead with privatization/corporate style reforms and the destruction of our neighborhood schools or if we listen to teachers and put in place common sense policies.
Jacksonville does not have the media it needs but if we choose to remain ignorant then it does have the media it deserves.

Superintendent Van Zant breeds hate and contempt in Clay county.

I am not talking about how shoddily he has treated teachers either. Van Zant publicly came out against transgender children using the bathroom that they identify with over and over again. He made a video, did a robocall and has voiced his opposition at a school board meeting and to anyone and everyone who would listen.

This by the way was a solution without a problem as transgender children had been coexisting with their non transgender peers for years. Van Zant can’t say he was protesting federal overreach because the directive from the Obama administration wouldn’t have changed a thing for Clay county. No, this was without a doubt about homophobic cheap theatrics and a self serving attempt to score points with the far right base.  

I can’t help but think Brandon Carney a rising senior at Clay County felt he was just following his superintendents lead when he tweeted he was glad 49 LGBT members of the Orlando Community were slaughtered and he would like to slaughter more.

from Clay Today: 

And then, there’s the issue of the Clay High student, who on the morning of the Orlando massacre, sent out a Tweet stating, “I’d shoot up a gay night club also…Too soon?”
Brandon Carney, a rising senior at Clay High and a member of the football team, sent out the tweet at 9:21 a.m. on June 12, only four hours after the world was learning about the lives lost in the Orlando shooting.
However, the Clay County School District has chosen not to discipline the student who – after seeing others react online in shock and awe to his post – began to back pedal by saying it was “a joke.”
“I’m not shooting [expletive and smiley face] it was a joke.” However, two electronic shout outs later, Carney’s language digresses further when he posts, “All of you are pussy’s who can’t take a joke.” The tirade of perceived terror ends by him stating, “I’m keeping the tweet.”
The concerns of the outed student are as valid as the inane messages sent out to the webosphere by Brandon Carney. However, this is clearly a case of “you’re different from me, so I don’t have to care about you.”
When talking about Transgender kids, You are different from me, I don’t have to care about you, might be a sentiment an ignorant high school kid can have but its not one the superintendent of schools should but obviously does.
Clay county you have a big choice to make August 30th and I hope you make the right one as Van Zant must go. 

Jason Fischer leaves a parting present proving he is the worst of the worst

I am glad he resigned, he was a terrible school board member who used the seat to profit himself at the expense of the city’s schools, children and teachers. 

He did leave us a nice parting gift which shows just how bad he is. Currently he is running a commercial where he is in a school talking about how great he has been for public education. I have just been told he is telling people it was a private education facility and that he won’t name it.

If he is being honest, something he has struggled with in the past, this means he went to a private school to talk about how great he was for public schools? I personally think he is lying and it was a CUSA school and he didn’t get permission from the super.

This guy will say and do anything to advance his personal aspirations.

It’s good that he is gone though the damage he caused is substantial and sadly its the type of damage that the community may never come back from. 

District 7, you have to get it right this time, please vote for somebody who actually cares about our schools.

Jason Fischer resigns from school board

District 7, I am going to say it, I told you so, and you should have been a bit suspicious when he ran for the soil and water commission before he ran for school board.

This guy cared not one iota for our children, teachers and schools, he saw an opening in a right leaning district where he could play up his conservative credentials and took it. He is nothing but an opportunist of the first order and our school system and our city paid the price for it.

District 7 you have to do better this time and that means to stay as far away from Greg Tison as possible. Like in 2012 you had several good candidates unlike in 2012 the city cannot afford  for you to make anther mistake.

Update: I just get the vibe there is more to this as well. I just went to his Facebook page which reminds me of my crazy uncle’s jimmy, that’s lots of far right posts and there isn’t a mention of him resigning from the school board.

He literally posts daily but there is nothing about this decision to stop representing the people he was elected to do, nothing.

School board races are incredibly important and its time we treated them that way

For weeks I have been trying to get the local media to report on who’s donating to school board candidates. I believe these associations are a good indicator of the candidates’ politics* and how they would steer the board. Other than a back page Folio article that first appeared on the blog Education Matters, the media has been silent.

One reporter did tell me that they were to busy covering up-ticket races, i.e. races they consider more important. *It is thinking like that that has gotten us to where we are at.
Look at districts 3 and and 1, two of the 0dd-numbered districts that are coming up for re-election in August.
*Despite constant criticism about the curriculum, classroom behavior, and privatization, School board members Cheryl Grymes (1) and Ashley Smith Juarez (3) are running unopposed.  And Grymes has taken thousands of dollars from for-profit education companies. In fact, as Richard Birdsall wrote for Folio Weekly, more than half of her $18,000 in contributions hail from contributors outside of Jacksonville, and many of those come from other states.
If people know and don’t care, that’s one thing, but right now most people don’t know, and the media is not *informing them. I guess the reason is they don’t think school board races are important.
Let me convince you other wise.
·         7 people control a 1.7 billion dollar budget, that’s about $800 million more than the entire city budget. There are also 19 city council members.
·         14,000 people work for the school board, which makes them the second biggest employer in Jacksonville, * behind the U.S. Navy.
·         120,000 children go to Duval County public schools. That’s 120,000 futures the board members are helping to mold, people who will be working for you, taking care of you and assisting you.
·         DCPS indirectly affects an estimated 500,000 family members for the 120,000 students they serve.
·         Schools also affect property values, insurance rates, and decisions about whether businesses come to town or not.
How are the school board races not more important to the day-to-day lives of Jacksonville citizens than any other race?
School board elections are far more important than any state legislature position and, I would argue, congress too. Yet the races go ignored for the most part and about twenty thousand people will decide the four races coming up.

For a long time, the school board has been used by politicians and would-be politicians looking to move up to other political positions. They don’t care about our schools, don’t know about or understand education, but time and time again we elect them and then we wonder why our schools are in the state they are in. We end up blaming teachers and parents for the no-win situations they are often put in by our apathy.

Only three current members of the board have any real education experience, and they are often overruled by the members with no education experience. Those four board members, by the way, have also taken a lot of money from for-profit charter schools and their supporters as well.

The media needs to start doing its job informing people how school board campaigns are being financed. Then, the people of Jacksonville–whether they have children in DCPS or not–need to do their jobs as well and vote for candidates who are interested in fixing our schools, not ones who represent special interests or see the board as a stepping stone to something else.*

School Board Candidate District 7 Melody Bolduc wants to segregate children

It’s no secret where I stand on the use of restrooms by Transgender children. Segregating them is a solution without a problem. Duval County has had a policy in place since 2008 that has worked which allows children to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity a policy that now some people want to change including a candidate for the district 7 school bard race, Melody Bolduc.


 A minority of the commenters, like former teacher Melody Bolduc whose filed to run for school board, said transgender students should be accommodated on a case-by-case basis only. She’s afraid boys who aren’t transgender will enter girls’ bathrooms.  
“I don’t know who here, out of all the men in this audience are willing to say, ‘You know what, I would have done some crazy things as a teenage boy.’ I am a teacher.  I have studied a great deal of adolescent psychology,” she said.

Oy vey that’s a lot to unpack there. First I think the amount of men who would either admit to or were deviants when they were teenagers isn’t as great as Mrs. Bouldc thinks. Also if she would have studied the policy as much as she says she studied children she should know that some kid can’t just show up one day and go, hmm I think I am a girl now.  

Instead it sounds to me like she has studied a great deal of right wing fear mongering and not adolescent psychology.

Where were her complaints about the policy for the last 8 years? The answer is along with Jason Fischers they were nowhere because trans kids using the bath room they identify with wasn’t a problem until those on the right decided to make it a problem.

Mrs. Bolduc is either ignorant or pandering to the bigoted and ignorant and the district 7 race is to important to consider somebody who would do either.

We do have serious problems in the district, this however is not one of them.

23 year veteran teacher has had enough with the war on kids

Another school year finished. It feels like yesterday when I
embarked on my teaching career 23 years ago, filled with hope and the promise
of truly making a difference in the lives of my students. I pushed myself so
hard to graduate with high honors so that I could get my first teaching job
with ease and be the most effective English teacher possible. I believed I
could change the world for the better, one student at a time.
Teaching was all I ever wanted to do. I admired Annie Sullivan
and Laura Ingalls Wilder and played “school” with my dolls all the
way up to sixth grade. This future career as a teacher was more than that– it
was a calling to fulfill my Destiny.
Being a pawn in a corrupt educational system that is driven more
by money gained from testing was not on my radar “in my younger and more
vulnerable years.”
I’ve spent years refining my craft. I earned an M.Ed. in
Educational Leadership from Stetson, earned National Board Certification in
’02, and was awarded the Disney Teacheriffic Award five times. I committed to
performing at a high standard so that I might inspire my students to do the
My disillusionment regarding what is being done to children in
the name of education has reached a crescendo. It is dubious, at best, that the
rising flames of anger and frustration which have been ignited in the core of
my being can be quelled by a paltry seven weeks of summer break, but I’ll take
the little “breather” I can get.
I look back at my younger, more optimistic self with heartache.
I look forward and I feel deep sadness, as I see no end in sight
to the madness of public schools chasing the Federal and State dollars from the
maligned and developmentally inappropriate Common Core assessments, for which
districts are enticed to “sell out” their students.
What are we doing to children in the name of education?
I live by the words, “do no harm,” but my faith in the
belief that testing my students, ad nauseum, as an agent of the state, has not
caused harm, is questionable, at best.
My heart breaks for my high school students, especially. I see
the mounting pressure and stress caused by the fear of not graduating (based on
one flawed assessment which is not a true measure of ability, usually graded by
hourly, uneducated temp workers) after sitting at a desk for 14 years (pre-K
all the way up to twelfth) at best, shake their faith in their abilities and
cause undue emotional harm, and, at worst, destroy futures by withholding That
Piece of Paper.
Beyond these obvious Common Core-related shortcomings, I have
witnessed more and more students disengaged from wanting to learn for
learning’s sake. The fire of enthusiasm with which they enter Kindergarten is
extinguished by the time most of them arrive in my English III classroom, dead
in the eyes.
What message is Common Core really sending? Is it career and
college readiness? Ha. What a joke! Learning, in the dead eyes of way too many
high school students, now just translates into jumping through a series of
unrelated and seemingly arbitrary hoops. These students see this meaningless,
inauthentic game for what it is and have mastered playing it. Kids who don’t
think I see them snap photos of their work and share them in group chats all
day long. Answer keys are bought and sold. Phones are recording without the teacher’s
knowledge many times, all in response to pressure to play a rigged game and try
to win by any means possible or pay the ultimate price. I see it happen daily
and what saddens me more than the cheating is the low worth this system places
on engaging students in worthwhile, relevant, mindful experiences. Welcome to
the “dumbing down” of America, where multiple choice tests and
regurgitation of facts in an “essay” is more important than critical
thinking, connecting deeply with subject matter through individualized
exploration, sharing feelings, and developing useful skills to help one to
navigate successfully through life as a happy, balanced adult who has retained
curiosity and a sense of-self worth.
This is the essence of a balanced life and is, sadly, NOT one of
the multiple choice answers of Common Core.
The effect of the nonsensical hodge-podge that is Common Core
both boggles the mind and crushes the spirit of many of these once-curious
young learners. They are forced to run a daily gauntlet between bells, which
arbitrarily segments their days into, for example: math problems that require
extra long, confusing rationales as to how they came up with the answer (when
some just “get it”– but that’s no longer good enough), reading two
dull, long articles in English on The History of Geocaching and then having to
compare and contrast the articles without giving your opinion or any original
thoughts on the prompt or you’ll be marked down for being “off
topic,” to starting the US History book after the Pilgrims, so they don’t
fully understand how this country started prior to the Civil War. Our minds
look for connections when we learn, and nothing fits together, creating
confusion, discord, and ambivalence in these kids. There are no connections to
their lives, and much of this seems irrelevant. All. Day. Long.
This crazy-making, dull, developmentally inappropriate
Alice-in-Wonderland Common Core curriculum is robbing our hope for the future,
our precious children, of their peace of mind and self-expression, and draining
all creativity and inspiration out of teachers who are now trying to sell a
useless product all day long.
The pressure to pass assessments removes an integral component
to learning something new: failure. We learn from failing and making mistakes,
and teachers used to be able to guide and coach students in a safe environment
where failing just meant we need to keep trying until we succeed. High-stakes
testing keeps students in fear of failing: the very element necessary for
growth. In this warped system, created by non-educators, kids get the distorted
message that failure is final. They quickly learn to fear failure. The pressure
is so intense. It wasn’t like this when I was in high school. I see more and
more red, glazed, hazy-eyes and sad heads down and sweatshirts worn in 90
degree heat to mask self-harm attempts. Our children’s mental health is at
stake. Teen drug addiction is on the rise, and so is teen suicide and
depression. I stand before dozens of once bright-eyed kindergarteners who are
now teetering on the edge and ready to give up at seventeen, and I feel
All I can really say is: I’m so sorry you are a pawn in this
game, kids. I have tried my best to create a safe, sacred space where
beautiful, thought-provoking literature is still read, enjoyed, and
internalized. I’ve tried to allow for opportunities to speak and write which
require more than regurgitating textual evidence so that your authentic voices
are heard and valued. Teenagers demand an outlet for self-expression in order
to feel whole, and it was worth being a rebel to give you that outlet. I’ve
tried to foster a sense of community and have given you as much creative
freedom and independence as I could get away with. I have tried daily to
deflect restrictions which would strip so many beautiful and worthy American
classics from my curriculum and got in trouble sometimes for teaching them,
anyway, because you are worth working around this flawed system, even though it
meant putting my position in jeopardy by deviating from the Common Core. The
workbooks filled with Common Core boring non-fiction articles still sitting in
my back classroom cabinets are the symbol of my defiance. We enjoyed The Great
Gatsby when we were “supposed” to be reading those dull Geocaching articles
(not that there’s anything wrong with Geocaching. That’s not the point. In
fact, it would have been much more relevant to TAKE the students Geocaching,
but that field trip would not have been approved).
As a teacher, I took a vow to stand “in loco parentis,”
and I have taken It very seriously over the past 23 years. With every choice
I’ve made on how to deliver instruction, I’ve always tried to stop and think
about how I would want my own child educated. I just hope it has been enough.
Now, I’m just tired, sitting in a puddle of tears of defeat, and
grateful for a break from the insanity. Both of my children will be enrolled in
private school next year because I refuse to subject them to one more second of
BORING, dry, uninspiring, confusing state-sponsored programming posing as
What am I supposed to do with my life now: keep trying to (not
so) secretly sabotage a system that’s broken by design and risk losing a career
that I’ve dedicated over half my life to, or create a new Destiny for myself?
I’ll spend seven weeks contemplating this. I just can’t see myself feeling like
this another year.

In the War on Kids that is Common Core, nobody