What to remember about school grades

Via Facebook

Florida DOE has released school grades today, so you will see a lot of references on social media for the next few days. While you are reviewing this data, here are some things to keep in mind (via Donna Yates Mace ):
Whatever the grades might be, it’s important to remember several things:

1 – The state changes the scale every year to suit their political purposes. It is a moving target.
2 – School grades offer parents a false sense of security. Children at D and F schools can and do receive a good education.
3 – They are not “easily understandable” like this press release claims. The formula is complex and utilizes invalid and unreliable data.
4 – Scores are based on 3-6 hours worth of testing, not 180 days worth of work.
5 – We can predict a school’s score by their socioeconomic status just as well as any manipulated, fraudulent formula. That should set of alarms for everyone who cares about ALL children receiving a free and appropriate education.
Now that you know this, what can you do?

1 – #OptOut of high-stakes, standardized testing. Deny the state the data so they can not use it against our hard-working students and teachers.
2 – Vote for local and state representatives who want what’s best for children, not their pocket book or political ambitions.
3 – Share this message to help keep your community informed.
h/t Jennifer Sabin
Want to see your school’s grade? Follow the link below

Supporters of charters have to take responsibility for all their fraud and failure

The founder of two Duval and fifteen Florida charter schools, Marcus May is in big trouble, accused of stealing money from Florida’s taxpayers and children and a local politician, Scott Shine and business leader, Gary Chartrand because of their charter school advocacy are partly responsible. 

Why do I single out Chartrand and Shine when there are many republican politicians and “business leaders” who advocate for charters?

Scott Shine recently said he is okay with a massive expansion of charters because union teachers would lose their jobs and Gary Chartrand has spent tens of thousands of dollars to elect charter friendly politicians. 

But to be honest anybody who has advocated for charters and their loose restrictions is also partly responsible. 

That doesn’t absolve Chartrand and Shine though because of they really cared about our public schools and children, instead of advocating for more charters they would be advocating for both less and serious restrictions on those that remain. 

From the Times Union:

The founder of a charter school company that managed two schools in Jacksonville was charged Monday, along with a business partner, with racketeering and organized fraud allegedly involving 15 charter schools in Florida.

Prosecutors say Marcus May, owner of Newpoint Education Partners, is accused of misusing and co-mingling charter school money, as well as taking excessive payments and “kickback” fees, and spending the proceeds on such things as cruises, numerous trips to foreign countries, plastic surgery, home mortgages and a personal watercraft.
“May obtained more than $1 million of public funds from a pattern of thefts from the state department of education, six school districts and 15 Newpoint-managed charter schools,” said District 1 State Attorney Bill Eddins, in a prepared statement.
In total, Newpoint’s charter schools in Florida received $57 million from the state and from six school districts, including Duval, between 2007 and 2016, the affidavit attached to the charges states.
I can’t say for a fact how all of the Newport Charter schools did but I can say the two on Sunbeam, San Jose Academy and San Jose Preparatory High schools grossly under perform when compared to other schools in the area as many charter schools do.
More outrageous is Tallahassee has just passed a massive expansion of charters supported by local business man Gary Chartrand and School board member Scott Shine which guarantee more of above, more fraud, waste and more kids getting a substandard education.
Over 350 charter schools have closed in Florida so what does Tallahassee do? They set aside 130 million dollars of crony capitalism for more expansion. What a %$#^ing travesty. 
More from the Times Union, but make sure you are sitting when you read it because its outrageous.
The new charges go beyond last year’s indictment, said Russell Edgar, assistant state attorney on the case, because they involve more charter schools and counties. “We thought this was not an isolated case,” he said. “It appears to be a pattern throughout the state.”
He said May used Newpoint to convince parents and others to start charter schools, form nonprofit corporations and take positions on school governing boards. (Charter schools are public schools run by non-public boards rather than elected school board members.)
These charter board members had little or no experience operating schools or handling bookkeeping, payroll or facilities, according to the affidavit.
May, through Newpoint, charged the charter schools a management fee of 18 percent of whatever the state sent the schools in per-student funding, plus his expenses, the affidavit says.
Instead of expanding charters we should be calling for a moratorium on them before more of above happens, because we all know it will.

Dear Republicans, please stop trying to destroy public education. Thank you, a tax payer.

Republicans have dominated state government since 1999. They
have been in charge of both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion
and since the governors appoints supreme court justices the legislative branches
as well. That is 18 years.
Since Jeb Bush was governor with a brief slow down by
Charlie Crist, Republicans have done all they can’t kneecap public education.
High stakes testing, a republican idea, ignoring poverty, a republican idea,
basing teacher’s evaluations on a nearly incompressible VAM formula, a
republican idea, underfunding schools and underpaying teachers, a republican
idea and there is school choice, the worse republican idea of all.
Vouchers for private schools annually drain hundreds of
millions of dollars from the state coffers and where run of the mill
republicans may like the idea of vouchers, I bet they don’t like the idea of them
not having any accountability. Schools that take vouchers don’t have to take
the state tests which are so important for public schools, have certified
teachers or a recognized curriculum and most do not even have to report how they
spend the money.
Then there are charter schools. I bet most people don’t know
that over 350 charters schools have taken money and folded. I bet most people
don’t know that as a group they underperform when compared to public schools
and most of the ones that do well, are set up in neighborhoods and communities
that already have public schools that are doing well.  
Most of the charter chains are for profit and business has
been good making their owners multi-millionaires and one of the biggest special
interest’s groups in Tallahassee giving millions to politicians who push their
expansion. In fact, several republican legislators who introduce and push
charter school bills either work for or own charter schools or have families
that do. That blatant conflict of interest is okay here in Florida too, which
again is a republican idea.
Charter schools admittedly a noble concept are nothing more
than crony capitalism that destroys home rule. Up till now I thought were two
things that real conservatives and republicans railed against.
Then there is the abomination of house bill 7069. This 278-page
train bill was created on the last day of the session, behind closed doors
without input or debate from the public. Senator Corcoran, one of the men sequestered
away crafting the bill, wife owns a charter school by the way. Then the
governor didn’t sign the bill until after a special legislative session where
his pet projects, Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida were funded. Public
schools, the children that attend them and the teachers that work at them were reduced
to bargaining chips.
The bill makes it easier to close schools and creates a 130-million-dollar
fund to replace them with charter schools despite their awful track record. It
also forces cash and resourced starved public schools to share tax dollars
earmarked for repairs with for profit charter schools.   
Republican’s is this what you wanted and voted for?
Republicans argued, we must change the status quo. Well
friends they are right, except the real status quo is how republicans have been
completely in charge of education for nearly 20 years, to which the bulk of the
time they have spent knee capping, starving and chipping away at public
education. Not unions, not democrats, but republicans.

Are there problems in public education? Yes definitely, the
biggest ones are ignoring poverty, a lack of resources and republicans who have
done all they can to hurt public education. Republicans, ordinary ones, not those getting rich in Tallahassee, isn’t it time you said, enough.  

Gary Chartrand has already donated to Scott Shine’s reelection campaign.

What does it mean when a millionaire gives another millionaire a thousand dollars?


The election is still 14 months away and Shine I bet plans to raise more money, most of which I am sure will come from charter schools an their supporters than any candidate in Duval history. He knows because of his shoddy performance the only way to get reelected is to buy the seat.

Just a reminder that Scott Shine blamed union teachers for school performances and said a benefit of school closings would be union teachers would lose their jobs.

District 2 if you are looking for I am sure yet another reason to replace Scott Shine here it.

How to fight back against House Bill 7069, it’s not over yet.

Picture from
Florida Politics
The first thing you can do is share this with every
public-school teacher you know, every parent of a public-school student you
know and everyone who you might even think cares about public education. We
have to get the word out and a half dozen shares among likeminded people is not
going to work. We need hundreds of people to share.
Then you can write a letter to your editor and it doesn’t
have to be long either, just two hundred words or so and this bill is so bad
letters practically write themselves. You can talk about.
-How the bill is
filled with crony capitalism
home rule of school boards
hundreds of millions to for profit businesses
-Conflicts of interests as it was
pushed and promoted by legislators who had direct or family ties to charter
-It was crafted at the last
minute, in secrecy and the public didn’t have an opportunity to weigh in
-It violates the singe subject
rule and cobbles together dozens of different nominally related issues.
siphons away funds from already resource deprived schools
-It gives money to an industry
that has already seen more than 350 charter schools open and close, leaving
families and communities in a lurch
-How it gives charters different rules, like how they are exempt from recess.
And that’s just for starters. Then after you have written a
letter to your editor, send the same one to every major paper in the state, and
it will only take about twenty minutes because the addresses are in the link
below. I have to believe if people knew both how bad this bill was and how it
was created they would demand changes and it is up to us to inform them.
Next notify your respective school board members and tell them,
no demand that they fight this in the courts. 
As I stated above the bill violates the single subject rule and I
believe it violates the state constitution by stealing power away from local
school boards as well. 

Text of Section 4:
School Districts; School Boards
(a) Each county shall constitute a school district; provided,
two or more contiguous counties, upon vote of the electors of each county
pursuant to law, may be combined into one school district. In each school
district there shall be a school board composed of five or more members
chosen by vote of the electors in a nonpartisan election for appropriately
staggered terms of four years, as provided by law.
(b) The school board shall operate, control and supervise all
free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of
school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein. Two or more school
districts may operate and finance joint educational programs.[1]
The state constitution is unambiguous. It doesn’t say,
unless the legislature passes some terrible bill in the middle of the night. The
power of local control has been continuously eroded by Tallahassee well enough
is enough and our school boards must fight back.
Then ultimately, we must vote for better people, people who
put the states children and schools ahead of their or their campaign
supporter’s financial motives. People who will do things in the light of day
and the right way as well. We are not represented by this current group in
Tallahassee we are ruled by them and their personal interests not the good of
the people dictate what they do.
People talk about the status quo, how that must be changed,
well friends the real status quo is republicans have been in control of
education policy here in Florida for over two decades. That is both branches of
the legislature, the governor’s mansion and because they have ben appointing
supreme court justices, that branch as well. Are there problems in education
yes, most have to do with poverty, but many have either been directly caused or
by through neglect, by the republican party, and I get it republicans, you
might not want to hear that but it is the truth.   

We can change what has happened, we can right the wrongs and
fix the issues in public education but only if we collectively do something and
above lets you know how you can help and what you can do.

Governor Rick Scott and Speaker of the house Richard Corcoran are laughing at you

Governor Rick Scott and Speaker of the house Richard Corcoran whose wife runs a charter a charter school laugh about the theft of public money from the states public schools and children.

They think the people of Florida are idiots and that they can steal and pay no price and the worst thing is, so far they have been right.

HB 7069 crafted in the dead of night, without public input by three men who hate public education is nothing short of theft, theft from children to enrich republican donors.

Picture from Florida Politics


Floridians aren’t led they are ruled

From the Times Union

“This bill, which faced bipartisan opposition in the State Senate, has the potential to devastate Florida’s public education system,” wrote State Senator Gary Farmer in a letter Tuesday to Scott.

“This dreadful piece of legislation, if signed into law, would dramatically reduce the ability of school districts across the state to devote resources towards improving our public education.”
He noted that the bill’s 278-pae amendment includes some measures that never were discussed or debated in the state Senate.
“This bill is a textbook example of a failure in government transparency,” he wrote. He’s a Broward County Democrat on the Senate’s Education Committee.
House Bill 70160 was cobbled together is secrecy between three men, Floridians did not get to debate or present evidence either and at least one of these men stands to benefit directly from legislation he introduced.
Also from the Times Union
Scott said he will sign the bill at 3:45 p.m. at a private school in Orlando because it increases school choice options for parents. The legislation was a top priority for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, whose wife runs a charter school in Pasco County.
Um what the $%#@ his wife runs a charter school which will be the beneficiary of more public dollars. He was allowed to vote for this train wreck of a bill as was a half dozen or so other legislators who likewise work for or who have direct ties to charter schools and where this may be legal in Floriduh it sure as heck isn’t decent.
This is not about a difference in opinion about policy, this is about the theft of democracy from the people of Florida. Class size, medical marijuana , land conservation have all been approved by the people of Florida but likewise these measures have ether been gutted, twisted or at best partially implemented.then this bill crafted in the dead of night on the last day of the session by three men, who have all shown a disdain toward public schools is the biggest travesty of all. We are not led by Tallahassee we are ruled by them and I for one have had enough.

Scott Shine sad to see Iranetta Wright go

Proving a broke clock is right more often than he is, Shine bemoaned the loss of Wright in the Times Union.

From the Times Union: 

Last fall, when Vitti appointed Wright chief of schools, some School Board members noted complaints about her were coming from the rank and file. Since then Wright has garnered more support on the School Board.

Board member Scott Shine said that although he is optimistic that the school district is being run by experienced, capable hands, he is concerned to lose someone like Wright.
“Ms. Wright was a strong leader and I am concerned with any cabinet level staff moving on to new opportunities,” he said “I believe any time you change a superintendent, you likely will experience an additional loss of talent. I have expressed my desire that we work hard to minimize loss of key leadership.”
While Shine is sad to see her go hundreds of teachers if not more are celebrating.

You know what really bugs me? If shine was out there doing his job, talking to teachers, he would know what type of administrator, not leader, she was. Instead he says, he is sad to see her go. Ignorance most truly be bliss.

Wright’s departure gives the district a real opportunity to appoint qualified leaders whose focus is to build teachers up rather than to tear them down. 

Iranetta Wright leaves the district

When superintendent Vitti first arrived to the district he both said and did many of the right things. Perhaps the first chink in his armor was the promotion of Iranetta Wright from principal of Jackson to his leadership team. For somebody who claimed to be data driven, the data did not support this promotion.

Later he would fire or demote mostly new principals whose track records were at least as good if not better than Wrights.


Despite the fact she should have been no more than a dean of girls at a middle schools she was Teflon as she moved up the ranks, she must have known where the bodies were buried.


Where she did have her supporters her detractors were legion, well those she did not run off with her authoritarian, borderline cruel and often rude leadership style.


Many believed she was little more than a bully in meticulously tailored outfit.

Vitti was bad but his hatchet man, err woman was worse. This is good news for the district and hopefully signals that Superintendent Willis won’t put up with bullies masquerading as administrators.