Nothing Trey Csar nor the Jacksonville Public Education fund says, can be taken seriously.

Sigh, I wish it wasn’t so. I wish we did have an independent organization that was dedicated to helping our public schools but sadly JPEF isn’t it. They have a financial stake in convincing the people of Jacksonville that our schools are doing well as where the district stops and they start has become increasingly blurred. They must have been very nervous last fall when the supers job was on the line because they probably would have had to hit the road with him.

From the Times Union

  Public perception about the School Board’s performance and Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s performace — as very or somewhat effective — fell slightly, about 2 percentage points down from last year, but that was still within the margin of error. More than half all adults felt that Vitti and the School Board are effective.

Um what? Who are they taking to? They may have reached out to the only 256 people in the city who finds the board and super effective. Did they use the Super and Trey Csars Rolodex to find who they would survey? Did they talk to anybody who was aware of what happened last fall?

I don’t want to say everything JPEF does is bad, they have done teacher round tables and held discussion groups which are valuable, though everyone I went to left possibilities on the table but make no mistake their agenda is to privatize our schools, to give them over to vouchers and charters and what’s worse is they know, like the Super does that the charters in Duval when compared to public schools grossly under perform.  

Furthermore where we should acknowledge our rising graduation rates, we shouldn’t be throwing parades like Csar suggest quite yet.


“There is, in Jacksonville, a cultural bias against improving public schools,” Csar added. “There is a community belief that our public schools are not improving and I think when you look at measures like the graduation rate, that is demonstrably not true.”

DCPS had a 79% graduation rate in the 2015-16 school years, while those who were polled thought it was at 62% on average. A similar trend took place the year prior when the actual was at 77% and the perception was 61% on average.

Um do you know where else graduation rates are up, why that would be everywhere and by the way my high school teacher friends tell me they are often cajoled I am surprised our graduation rate isn’t 99 percent. 

The reality is we a have a lot of great things going on in Duval, thousands of amazing teachers and tens of thousands of amazing students, we even have a couple board members worth their salt too, but I firmly believe that our teachers and students are succeeding in despite of the super and administration not because of them, and I likewise believe, JPEF should go all in for our public schools, or step aside. 

There is no reason to put prayer back in school, heck I pray all the time.

Religious Zealot and state representative Kim Daniels is attempting to put prayer back in school. I guess we’ll handle that pesky poverty problem next week.

The think Mrs. Daniels doesn’t get is there is a lot of prayer going on in schools already, heck I pray all the time.

I pray little Johnny won’t show up so I can teach.

I pray little Suzie makes even the slightest bit of effort.

I pray my administration will back me up if there is a problem.

I pray the crazy parent doesn’t blame me for failing their child. I pray they understand that rarely coming, doing no work and disrupting class is grounds for failure. I pray my administration understands that too.

I pray that when my vice principal walks in she is more concerned with my teaching than my standards based bulletin board.

I pray my family understands that I have more work than I can possibly do in the day and I will make up the time I am missing with them when I can.

I pray downtown realizes that teaching kids things like discipline and a work ethic is more important than just passing them through to keep up the districts numbers. I pray they realize teachers are valuable assets not easily replaceable cogs.

I pray Tallahassee leaves education alone. They have done enough damage.

I pray President Trump can find a person  other than Betsy DeVos the most unqualified candidate ever to run the department of education. Sir, I know she gave you a ton of money, but educating our kids not rewarding her should be your top priority.

I pray society understands that closing schools and privatizing education is not the answer and investing in education is. I also pray they stop blaming teachers for societies ills and will realize we have to stop ignoring and finally address poverty f we want to see real improvement.

I pray wall street types and hedge fund managers, you know those behind the wave of charter schools, virtual schools and voucher legislation grow a conscience and realize our children are more important than filling their wallets.

Yeah, I pray in school all the time. There is no way I could get through the day without doing so.

The conservative attack on teaching begins anew in Tallahassee

There are two hundred teacher openings in Duval and thousands across the state. Fewer and fewer people are going into education as more and more people retire or leave the profession. Teachers are overworked, under paid, put in positions where success is hard to achieve and blamed for many of societies ills. We don’t have a looming crisis, we have a current one.    

So what’s Tallahassee’s solution? Well at least one conservative member of the House of Representatives wants to further injure the profession by stripping away districts ability to give continuing contracts to effective and highly effective teachers (something Duval by the way does not guarantee). 

From the Tampa Times

State Rep. Michael Grant, a Port Charlotte Republican, filed a bill Monday to bar the practice that several districts, including Pinellas County, have adopted.
HB 373 would provide that school boards may not award an annual contract “on the basis of any contingency or condition not expressly authorized.” Boards also would be barred from altering or limiting their authority in granting annual contracts beyond the provisions in law. The measure would apply to collectively bargained contracts only.
I always find it interesting too, that Republicans claim to be the champions of home rule but continuously tell Districts what they can and cannot do.
I don’t want to be to critical of the republican leadership in Tallahassee because after years of a failed testing agenda there have been signs that the legislature is going to dial it back. My concern however is who is going to be left to teach if this assault on teachers continues.

President Trump says our public schools are flush with cash, um come on man!

From the Gadfly on the wall blog

Donald Trump lies.
If you haven’t learned that yet, America, you’ve got four more cringe-inducing years to do so.
Even in his inaugural address, he couldn’t help but let loose a whooper about US public schools.
“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves,” he said. “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. … An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”
To which nearly every poor, nonwhite public school parent, student and teacher in the country replied, “What’s that heck did he just say now!?”
Los Angeles Unified School district routinely has broken desks and chairs, missing ceiling tiles, damaged flooring, broken sprinklers, damaged lunch tables and broken toilet paper dispensers.
They’re flush with cash!?
New York City public schools removed more than 160 toxic light fixtures containing polychlorinated biphenyls, a cancer causing agent that also hinders cognitive and neurological development. Yet many schools are still waiting on a fix, especially those serving minority students.
They’re flush with cash!?
At Charles L. Spain school in Detroit, the air vents are so warped and moldy, turning on the heat brings a rancid stench. Water drips from a leaky roof into the gym, warping the floor tiles. Cockroaches literally scurry around some children’s classrooms until they are squashed by student volunteers.
They’re flush with freakin cash!?
Are you serious, Donald Trump!?
And this same picture is repeated at thousands of public schools across the nation especially in impoverished neighborhoods. Especially in communities serving a disproportionate number of black, Latino or other minority students.
In predominantly white, upper class neighborhoods, the schools often ARE “flush with cash.” Olympic size swimming pools, pristine bathrooms – heck – air conditioning! But in another America across the tracks, schools are defunded, ignored and left to rot.
A full 35 states provide less overall state funding for education today than they did in 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which focuses on reducing poverty and inequality. Most states still haven’t recovered from George W. Bush’s Great Recession and the subsequent state and local budget cuts it caused. In fact, over the same period, per pupil funding fell in 27 states and still hasn’t recovered.
And the federal government has done little to help alleviate the situation. Since 2011, spending on major K-12 programs – including Title I grants for underprivileged students and special education – has been basically flat.
The problem is further exacerbated by the incredibly backward way we allocate funding at the local level which bears the majority of the cost of education.
While most advanced countries divide their school dollars evenly between students, the United States does not. Some students get more, some get less. It all depends on local wealth.
The average per pupil expenditure for U.S. secondary students is $12,731. But that figure is deceiving. It is an average. Some kids get much more. Many get much less. It all depends on where you live. If your home is in a rich neighborhood, more money is spent on your education than if you live in a poor neighborhood.
The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world – if not probably the ONLY country – that funds schools based largely on local taxes. Other developed nations either equalize funding or provide extra money for kids in need. In the Netherlands, for example, national funding is provided to all schools based on the number of pupils enrolled. But for every guilder allocated to a middle-class Dutch child, 1.25 guilders are allocated for a lower-class child and 1.9 guilders for a minority child – exactly the opposite of the situation in the U.S.
So, no. Our schools are not “flush with cash.” Just the opposite in many cases.
�But what about Trump’s other claim – the much touted narrative of failing schools?
Trump says our schools “leave… our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”
Not true.
Graduation rates are at an all-time high of 83.2 percent. Moreover, for the first time minority students are catching up with their white counterparts.
It’s only international comparisons of standardized test scores that support this popular myth of academic failure. And, frankly, even that is based on a warped and unfair reading of those results.
It depends on how you interpret the data.

Betsy Devos is far from the best and brightest

Tonight, Betsy DeVos refused to commit to enforcing the law to protect students with disabilities, and didn’t seem to know that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law. The U.S. Secretary of Education must know and promise to defend the rights of all students, including those who experience disabilities, and my concerns about Mrs. DeVos’s suitability to lead the Department of Education are only heightened after tonight’s hearing.- Senator Maggie hassan

Superintendent Vitti blows off teacher openings

From the Times Union

“Vacancies have always been a challenge,” Vitti said. “The numbers are not significantly different than they have been in the last couple of years. I don’t think we need to be sounding five alarms over it.”

Um, this is the same guy who created an entire school to service one of his children. Must be nice to be the boss right. Who wants to bet none of his children have had a long time substitute or even a Teach for America teacher?

Superintendent Vitti, instead of blowing the problem off the correct response is, any opening pains us and we are working around the clock to fill them.

Oy vey