All that being said, isn’t testing the last few days before a long break a recipe for disaster? A lot of kids are going to miss and even more have checked out thinking of a fat man in a red suit bring merriment and joy.
I ask because of the following note I received. I edited it to take out all possible identifiers. the teacher in question did not want to get a lump of coal from the district.
Holiday cheer comes in all shapes and sizes! I teach XXX grade XXX. Was told, earlier this month, I was not doing mid year PMAs. TODAY, at I was told the District IS REQUIRING xxx grade to do this assessment and the window is only open through . , is our school wide Holiday Celebration Day…hmmm…should we cancel that for xxx grade? Or maybe, let’s test kids on the last day before our break…those are sure to be accurate results. Well, maybe we can just wait to test on or 6th our make-up hurricane dates. Those dates will be MUCH BETTER because all of our students will be back and “ready to roll.” SURE!
I still occasionally hear stories about her brow beating and ridiculing staff but hey we wouldn’t be Duval County if that didn’t happen from time to time.
In honor of her promotion I will republish some of the stories that have appeared on Education Matters over the years.
Like with most things in DCPS I will just have to hope the damage is minimal.
The article is kind of non-descript. The only thing I found really interesting was that Education Directions has scored yet another contract from the district (where are the bodies buried education directions?). A few years back they were contracted to turn some of our high schools around and all they really did was make teachers miserable and tell them what they already knew while collecting a hefty pay check.
A few hours later though I received a note from another teacher and they told me that the curriculum review wasn’t anything that the district couldn’t have done itself and for a lot cheaper than hiring these education mercenaries.
From the Times Union:
The audit explored only the English Language Arts for elementary schools in Duval County, and is being completed in a three-phase process.
The first phase examined instructional materials, datasets, curriculum guides and products used within Duval County, while the second phase will see how those items are implemented throughout the district.
Call me silly but don’t we already have people, and a lot of them that are already supposed to be doing that?
Look I get it, we want to do right by our kids, but shouldn’t we know if we are doing that before we start doing what we are doing? What would have happened if they came back and said, geeze Louise Duval the curriculum is a disaster? I mean it is December and the year is half over.
And see that’s the thing, it is a disaster, and the district just refuses to ask the right questions. Does it align with the standards, yeah I bet it does, but it is a good curriculum for a district with a reading problem, teaching with a bunch of copied hand outs?
The vast majority of teachers I have spoken with say no and even hate EngageNY, they think it is inappropriate for our kids and doesn’t come close to serving their needs, but the admin can now go, hey, it aligns with the standards wink, wink, it must be good.
We’re spending thousands and thousands of dollars on lip service and that’s dreadful.
My teacher friend also pointed out that they “…have to pay for the copies because my school can no longer afford to do so, there is no ELA high school curriculum and we’re basically required to work hours and hours of unpaid overtime but hey lets spend money on something we should already know to get the answer the administration wants. What a waste.”
Welcome to Duval County.
From the I can’t make this up file and the Times Union:
Deep breaths, deep breaths, now I don’t want to be that guy who hates puppies because the super likes them, you know who is just anti-whatever the super says and does, just today in the paper he talked about the need for additional mental health resources something I have been writing about for nearly a decade because so often why a kid acts up or does poorly in school has nothing to do with school, so if the super recognizes that and can marshal more resources to dealing with the problem, then kudos to him and we will be better as a district for it, but that being said there is a lot to unpack in that Times Union passage.
First principals are just as often retaining new teachers who don’t know they can say no and can be brow beaten into working eighty hours a week, while running off veterans. Good luck keeping them around for long.
Then the super refuses to name names. Um does he have a list of teachers that think poor and mostly minority teachers can’t make it? Was there a survey I missed and that was a question? At a meting did Mister and Miss so and so go you know what Superintendent Vitti, I’m not giving my all because have you noticed that my students are poor? Where is this list of names coming from?
But say he has this list, he is at the same time saying, I’m gonna just shift them to more affluent schools because they will make more of an effort there. It is just the poor kids that they go through the motions with. does that sound rational to anyone? Maybe to a super who approved a charter school in an affluent area of town that he said he wouldn’t let near poor kids, but I think to most of us that sounds pretty ridiculous. Also I have found that a lot of veteran teachers at our poorer schools think of it like a badge of honor, they aren’t just collecting a check with their feet up on the table.
Thank God we got rid of those crappy teachers right?
UGH!!!! Are you kidding me?
Why did those schools improve? Maybe it’s city year, that is making a difference, or the QEA which pays veteran teachers a kings ransom to go to our neediest schools, and yes I am a critic of the QEA, but not of having veteran teachers work with our neediest students just the system we are using to do it. Maybe it’s just one year and we got lucky, or maybe its the new test which the super has railed against which led to the gains at the schools that had all those crappy teachers who didn’t believe in poor kids.
I have no doubt that there are great things going on at those schools just like there are at all our schools and for the most part I believe it is happening in spite of not because of the district and I believe I can use the last part of the TU passage as proof of that.
The super says, “They get out of that tradition that says, ‘I’ve taught it, now I’m moving on,’” he said. “Now they might have to reteach it.”
Um, what tradition is that? That’s not a tradition I have ever heard of and I have been in the classroom for sixteen years, as for teachers reteaching, most I know lament that they can’t because the pacing guide is to be so strictly enforced that any deviation is met with frowns and veiled threats. Is he talking about another district there or is he making up things out of whole cloth like he did with he won’t name names thing?
Some of you might be thinking I am being to critical and that the schools and to some degree Superintendent Vitti deserve a victory lap and I agree on the lap. I just wish our super wold say something like, there is a lot of hard work going on at those schools and it paid off. That after all is really what happened.
After I cleaned up the milk I spit out of my mouth upon reading he won a communication award I did some research.
From the district’s press release:
Dr. Vitti was recognized yesterday at an awards luncheon during the 2016 Annual Joint Conference for school boards and superintendents held in Tampa. Dr. Vitti’s communication outreach included hosting community based “Chat with the Supe” meetings, launching “The Parent Academy” to increase engagement, expanding the use of digital platforms and broadcast programming, and collaborating with schools to develop internal marketing plans to strengthen brand equity. The award recognizes the superintendent’s vision to use traditional forms of engagement, such as frequent town hall meetings and focus groups, but also nontraditional mediums, such as social media and podcasts.
I attended most of the chats with the supe and if he would have actually listened to people I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog right now or many blogs for that matter and I think his parent academy is a great idea though to be honest I do wonder how effective it has been. He has also had schools sell their brand, ugh, writing that made me a bit ill, but the reason they have had to sell their brands is because of the proliferation of charter schools under his watch and seemingly one scandal after another since hes been here, his wife following a school board member, baker acting instead of arresting children, the ESE investigation, the department of justice investigation, etc.
As for the other points, are they talking about our dog mascot? What’s his name Mr. Dumbestideaever?
I then looked into the organization which gave him the award. The Sunshine State School Public Relations Association.
It didn’t start well as the first thing I saw was a McAfee security warning, suggesting I not go to the site. Not a good start.
It turns out the organization is 40 years old which is about 39 years older than I thought it would be but at the same time it is sponsored by for profit companies looking to make inroads into our schools. Furthermore I couldn’t find out who their members are because you had to be a member to go to the section.
Let’s just say I have my doubts about the veracity of both the award and the organization. I will leave it to you to be the judge.
Communication award, wow.
These schools also managed just Ds and Fs during their short existence will now end up leaving hundreds of families in the lurch and wasting millions of dollars.
I don’t believe these are the last of Vitti’s charter schools to fail either.
From the Times Union:
This is just shameful and I believe should fall directly in Vitti’s lap.
Duval’s charter schools share two things in common, as a group they under perform and they have been allowed to thrive under his watch.
I was told by the district that Valor was recommended by the prior superintendent. Sorry for any confusion, to avoid this in the future i have asked the district which superintendents approved which charters,