Teachers, do you ever hate your job and it has nothing to do with the kids? (rough draft)

I hear that all the time, and where I think we would all
agree we would like to make more, what I never hear about is our salaries either, most times it’s the actions of other adults that make teachers feel that way. In my case it’s district staff and the administration, who are telling me to do things they never had to nor will ever have to do, greatly increasing my work load and they are doing so with a smile and without an explanation . 
Let me tell you what is going on with me.
I work at a center school just for profoundly intellectually
disabled children, well except for the few violent kids they sprinkle in
because they don’t know what to do with them.
Well they want us to start using this new software to
collect daily data on the students IEP goals. ESE students have what are called
individual education plans that have goals students are supposed to be working
Now we have been collecting data on goals for I guess
forever, but they want us to use this new system, Dsctop.
It seems like a nightmare, which is only backed up by the
service providers (speech pathologists, Occupational therapists, etc) who I have spoken to who have
been required to use it for the last few years, which have
said it ranges from, nightmare to soul crushing.
Now I went to the union which has been very attentive and after
they talked to the district they seemed very confused. Chris, they said, the
district reports it being very easy to do, after the initial set up, which they
admit can be a lengthy process, it should only take five minutes a
Oh, did I mention when I asked the service providers how
long it took them to daily input their data, they invariably said, an hour. Now
we will have different goals to enter, but I have eleven kids on my caseload
all of which have at least 5 goals.
Here is the thing too, this is the beginning of the year.
What am I going to do when IEP writing season starts, or testing season starts (my kids are give their tests individual and learning literally grinds to a halt for weeks, or addendum ESY season starts because the district can’t tell us when ESY is. Times when I barely have enough time in the day
to think let alone teach.
I pointed out that I believe ordering teachers through fiat violates the teacher
contract in many ways. It adds new paper work, it forces us to create a data
notebook, it wasn’t brought to the union, and I must say I think the district
was straight up lying about how long it’s going to take (I could be wrong) which greatly increases my workload. One service provider said to me when I asked about the difference
between what they did (an hour a day on dsktop) and what the district said we would be doing (5-10 minutes) and  they said, well they don’t have to do it, so they probably don’t have a clue.
Isn’t that always how it is too? People who don’t have to do
it, telling those that do how easy it is?
So yesterday I was told by my administration I wasn’t a team
player, when it got back to them that I told the union teachers (I am the union rep at my school), I had no plans
to do Dsktop, until the union got back to me. I pointed out that in this instance the teachers needed a zealous advocate more than a team player. 
Then today on the way out the door, the staff received an email saying, we are undoubtedly going to do Dsktop, and to hell with my and
others concerns, okay that last part was just implied not said.
So, I came home with tears in my eyes feeling overwhelmed
and its not even the end of week three, and not because of anything my kids did,
but because of what adults, adults who are telling me to do things they won’t
have to do, did.

When will the powers that be realize that if they continue
to violate the contract, put yokes on the backs of teachers and make them hate
their jobs, there will be significant repercussions, when will they care?

It certainly wasn’t today.

The Times Union’s disappointing reporting about KIPP

These are facts

Gary Chartrand gave mayor Lenny Curry and pacs supporting him, buckets of money

Lenny Curry had the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, change it’s rules to send buckets of money to Chartrand’s KIPP school.

They did so at the expense of poor children at other schools on the North and West sides of town.

The KIPP school is loaded, and I know, I have seen their filings.

Finally I had to read the article three times to catch it but we aren’t paying for an extended day program at the KIPP school we are paying so their school day can be longer. That’s messed up as up to now the money had just gone for extended day programs. 

In the Times Union’s article they didn’t mention the first two things and I know they know them because I have told them several times since the spring.

From the Times Union:

KIPP’s after-school funding, in addition to the shakeup in the way the children’s commission awarded funding this year, caused fear among parents and after-school providers that some 16 locations would get no money this year, said Warren Jones, a School Board member whose district includes many of those after-school sites.


WTF Jacksonville, this is how banana republics are run.

Does Trey Csar believe teachers are professionals? And why you should care

Who is Trey Csar? He is the president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and among other partnerships with the district most notably the administration of the Quality education for All funds, they are running the Teacher of the Year awards.

I had the following email exchange with him and I will let you be the judge. Mr. Csar is in bold


I had this message in my inbox after I wrote a piece about the upcoming teacher of the year events.

 When I worked with Trey, he said that he thought that teaching probably should NOT be a profession but a job that people do for a while and then move on.

He seriously believes that the TFA model should be the national norm!

I think the source is pretty credible so I am going to write about it, but I thought I would give you a chance to refute, explain, give context  if you want.
Chris —

Thanks for reaching out. I think your source is misunderstanding the context of what we’ve started to talk about relating to the teaching profession and the desires of an increasingly millennial workforce.

What we know from a ton of generational research (see this and this, among others) is that millennials are significantly more likely to change jobs, and even careers, and to do so more frequently than their peers in other generations. When you put that up against the traditional view of a classroom teacher, who spends the majority, if not all, of their career in that role, there is clearly a mismatch.

Across the country, districts need to be asking themselves what they can do to create opportunities for teachers to customize their careers in ways that allow them to have additional impact, and gain additional professional respect and compensation. We also have to be proactive in thinking about the impact of a workforce where the average tenure is likely to continue to get shorter, including additional professional development and recruiting costs, and whether districts and states should explore changing compensation systems to increase early-career pay (and retirement benefits) to be more competitive in recruiting talent.

If we as a society don’t address this, and soon, we’re going to continue facing the quality teacher shortages we’ve been seeing grow in recent years.

At JPEF, we have been exploring, with teachers, how such a “career lattice” could be structured that allows for great teachers to keep one foot in the classroom, teaching a reduced class load, while also contributing to the needs of their school and district in news ways, such as coaching new teachers, writing curriculum, and the like.

We don’t have all the answers, that’s for sure, but we’re eager to continue that conversation with educators to see whether Duval County can find innovative ways to address these challenges.

Again, I appreciate you reaching out in advance to seek additional input and clarification. I’m eager to continue to conversation at any time. If any of your readers want to be part of these discussions, many of them happen as part of our Teacher Roundtable work, and folks can contact Zak Champagne at zak@jaxpef.org for information about how to get involved.

— Trey
Thanks for getting back to me and where what you said is vastly different from what i was told and when I went back to them they were more than a little incredulous, I will take your word for it, sometimes misunderstandings occur. Just so I am clear though you are not for using the TFA model as a national model and you want to help find solutions to get teachers to stay longer such as having them do other things besides teach.

This is what always baffles me about the ed reform movement, they never say, you know what we have to pay teachers more, a lot more, sure they try merit pay schemes every once in a while and like the QEAs has they ultimately fail or are patently ridiculous like the best and brightest but raising salaries has never really been on the table, especially here in Florida.
Then they never say, also lets make classes smaller, a lot smaller because that has evidence it works, no, here in Florida when the citizens demanded it, the legislature gutted it.
Also they never say, lets take some pressure off teachers, lighten their work loads, give them more resources, lets back them up with discipline or you know common sense things that teachers have been begging and clamoring for.
It seems like your solution is, hey let a few write curriculum, be coaches or move to administration, which seems like only a small percentage of teachers could do. there are only so many AP and coach positions available. To professional teachers that’s not a solution and spoiler alert no veteran wants a 27 year old AP or coach with three or four years experience telling them what to do or critiquing them.
So can I use what you sent me for a piece? I will send it to you for review before I put it up.
Thanks again
I didn’t hear back from him so I figured I was good, but if I do I will let you know.

Cheryl Grymes absent again

Mrs. Grymes has been absent from several very important school board meetings over the last few months leaving her district unrepresented and seeing how she leans that’s probably a good thing.

My sources tell me her husband Warren Grymes is in hospice care and if they are right this is truly sad. Mr. Grymes just retired from Big Brothers and Big Sisters a few months back after years of notable and laudable service. His ill health is a tragedy not just for the Grymes family but the entire community.

Mr. Grymes and I sparred a few times but even though we didn’t always see eye to eye I could just tell he was a good guy.

I think we should all offer the Grymes family our thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.

If Mrs. Grymes needed to step away from her responsibilities as a board member I don’t believe anyone would fault her.

Duval Joins HB 7069 law suit

It took us a while to get there but we finally did. Voting 4-2, Shines and Smith Juarez against and Grymes absent yet again, the school board voted to join ten other school boards/districts to join a lawsuit against the disastrous HB 7069.

From the Times Union:

The law known as House Bill 7069 contain a number of measures that lawyers for school district’s around the state say are unconstitutional and will hurt school districts but benefit charter schools.

The biggest legal target is the new law’s so-called “schools of hope” measure, which sets aside more than $100 million to create charter schools in areas near D- or F-rated public schools. Some of those schools will be forced to close by other sections of state law.

Opponents of the law removes most of what little oversight school districts have over charter schools, which are privately run public schools. Duval County has 31 charter schools.
The schools of hope provision would divert local tax revenues districts receive for school capital improvements to charter schools. Duval officials estimate they’ll lose at least $16 million in school improvement dollars over five years.
The law also absolves schools of hope from some local laws and allows the schools to employ uncertified teachers. It also appears some charter schools will be given a status similar to school districts and take more Title 1 federal money for poor schools, according to the analysis.
I want to personally thank the district and board members who voted to join the lawsuit. You showed bravery and leadership something that had been missing from the district.

Scott Shine shows a complete lack of leadership, while blogging

Let that bit of irony set in for a second.

When discussing HB 7069 instead of being a leader of our school system, he attempted to justify his complete lack of leadership and voted not support a lawsuit against the disastrous bill. He basically had a word salad full of reasons.


The best predictor of the future is the past

Shine says the lawsuit is a loser because in the past other lawsuits have failed. If we are looking at the past, we see that the Florida Legislature has been openly hostile towards public education and on balance public education has just gone along. If we’re not going to push back now, then when? Shine would prefer us to wait until public education is irrevocably destroyed. 

Public schools need funding now

Shine says if we start a law suit then the legislature will be less willing to fund public education. Mr. Shine has apparently been vacationing in clueless land because the legislature has never properly funded public education. Furthermore Shine initially supported HB 7069 because he thought the legislature was going to add a hundred dollars in per pupil funding, unfortunately they ended up adding just 17 dollars. I think its safe to say, he’s just guessing about what they may and may not do.

The concern of retaliation

This one made my head hurt. Tallahassee is like a bully that nobody stood up to and got more and more aggressive hence we are where we are at. Saying they might do something to further harm public education is like saying puppies are cute and the sky is blue, it’s a foregone conclusion. We can take it or fight back because the truth is if Tallahassee cared about public education they wouldn’t have passed HB 7069 in the first place.

Litigation as an option

Here he says we shouldn’t bother because it takes time and we may lose. Well if we don’t bother and if we don’t take the time we definitely know what will happen. For profit companies will get more money without any oversight and our pubic schools will lose millions of dollars and be further hurt. I wonder if this is Shine’s philosophy on everything, oh why take out the garbage, there will be just more tomorrow.

He finished with his worst and most pathetic reason of all.

The conflict of democracy

Basically he says, because people who were elected passed the bill it must be what people want. A few weeks back he said many of the people who voted for it were ignorant, they didn’t know what was in it, and gutless, they were afraid of Richard Corcoran, now he is changing his tune. The people of district 2 elected him to be a zealous advocate for our schools and they as sure as heck didn’t get what they expected, I would guess that is the case in Tallahassee as well. 

Scott Shine showed a complete lack of leadership but sadly nothing is new there and then tried to justify it with ridiculous and specious reasoning.

District 2, you have to do better.

So that happened at school, teacher of the year addition

We had a hastily called Shared Decision Making Meeting today to discuss Teacher of the Year nominations, because the results have to be in by September First, um what??? Yeah for some reason the district wants to have each schools nominations in a week from Friday so there is an abridged and rushed selection process. At my school we are going to give people one day and a smidge more to get their picks in. I guess it sucks to be one of the dozen or so new staff members, who are still looking for the teachers lounge.

So there at the top of the three page selection document was a logo for the Jacksonville Pubic Education Fund, which for some inexplicable reason has been allowed to co op the Teacher of the year awards.

I and in all fairness was about five minutes late said, let me throw out a crazy idea, and please feel free to vote it down.

I had the groups attention, so I continued. I said, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund was founded by a man named Gary Chartrand, he is anti-teacher, saying it’s good that teachers are now on one year contracts and don’t have job protections and is pro charter school. JPEF is not pro public school/ teacher organization, why don’t we send them a signal we are not going to put up with it and say we won’t participate.

Yeah, i knew it was a long shot, and to be honest not knowing what the meeting was about before I arrived, just thought about it on the fly but I thought it important enough that we spend a few minutes talking about it, and right then and there, the Shared Decision Making Committee Meeting  became the Assistant Principal Decision Making Meeting and i was summarily dismissed. I thought to myself, why am I here again and didn’t say another word.

Yeah, that was annoying but what is far more annoying is the District has outsourced its teacher of the year awards, to a group that is pro charter school, pro privatization, which pushes Teach for America and whose founder, is an enemy to teachers everywhere. Sorry that’s not just annoying, that’s heartbreaking.

Now I think teachers should be recognized, why doesn’t the district recognize 20 or so a week? Each region could have one representing each level, and electives and ESE too, we certainly have enough great teachers that this is more than possible.

Throwing them a few hundred extra dollars is what the QEA money should have went to fund instead of its doomed to fail merit pay scheme.

for the record I am not against Teacher of the Year awards, I just wish a group that was pro public education and really pro teacher was in charge of it.

So that happened today. 

About that new paper work your principal wants you to do.

Don’t do it, unless it has been approved the right way.
New paperwork must go through your shared decision-making
committee and principals must give teachers input.
Every department should be represented at SDMC meetings and
then those representatives should take any new proposals back to their departments.
Your principal cannot just give you more forms to fill out
because in their infinite wisdom they think it will help. Principals’ are
supposed to be instructional leaders, not instructional tyrants who rule by
From the contract:
1. Identification of Forms – The district and DTU have
collaboratively identified those workload documents/forms which shall be
required for use by all districts for 2015-2016. Only those district approved
forms, which shall be identified and marked as DCPS forms and made available on
the district’s official website, shall be required by teachers at any district
school. The initial number of required forms shall not exceed twenty (20),
inclusive al all elementary and secondary forms. No one level, elementary or
secondary, shall have more than ten required forms. Other optional forms shall
be provided but not required. Schools may utilize the waiver process to approve
other forms on a school-wide basis.
2. Addition of Subsequent District Forms – Prior to approval
of any additional required, DCPS forms, the district shall first consult with
DTU and shall provide the rationale, authority (i.e. federal/state requirement,
Pupil Progression Plan, etc.) and proposed method for training teachers in the
use of the newly required form. DTU shall be provided a reasonable opportunity
to provide input in the forms format prior to implementation.
3. Training – The parties shall jointly develop training for
teachers and school–based administrators on the use and requirements of the
approved forms prior to requiring teachers to implement them. Training shall
occur at the district or school level during school hours at no additional
complementation to teachers. Any training occurring after work hours or during
the summer shall be voluntary and compensation shall be as negotiated by the
Look we have some great principals who are going to do
things the right way, but then we have some bullies masquerading as administrators
too who are going to try and steam roll teachers too. Don’t let them.
Furthermore demand your union representatives make sure your
schools do it the right way, that is why they are there.  

I get it, it can be scary to push back, especially for teachers
on one-year contracts, but you can be a victim and most likely miserable or
stand up for yourself.

It is past time to take a hard look at the KIPP school

Even Pam Stewart, the Education Commissioner knows they are full of well you know.

From Politico: State education Commissioner Pam Stewart, in a sardonic text exchange with a colleague, accused a prominent GOP donor who chairs a Jacksonville charter school chain of using misleading data to boast about students’ test scores, according to public records obtained by POLITICO 

Florida.Stewart said in a text message to a top saff member that the leaders of KIPP Jacksonville overstated the percentage of third graders who passed state reading exams. 

In the May 19 conversation, Stewart was critical of Gary Chartrand, a member and former chair of the state Board of Education who also heads the governing panel for KIPP’s three Florida charter schools. Chartrand, executive chairman of Acosta Inc., a Jacksonville sales and marketing firm, is a reliable campaign donor to Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott. 

In the texts, Stewart suggested Chartrand and the network’s executive director, Tom Majdanics, had been bragging that 41 percent of third graders at KIPP VOICE Elementary School passed this year’s reading tests, when the figure was actually 35 percent.


If they are lying, err exaggerating about this, what else are they exaggerating about?

And if that was just it, I could move along, but its not, here are some of their greatest hits.

They combined there two schools in order to avoid a bad grade after taking money in grants to establish a second school.


While on the state board of education benefactor Gary Chartrand had the rules changed so school grades could only drop one letter grade protecting his KIPP school from dropping from a miraculous B, one year after being the worst performing school in Northeast Florida, to a D. What I call the Chartrand rule, a rule the state has since got rid of allowed KIPP to only drop to a C.


Then there is KIPP’s wait list which they point to like it was the crown jewels. Well how legit is it?

First Duval performs no over site to charter school lotteries, read that gain.


Then in 2015 despite a supposedly huge wait list, they still hadn’t reached their max enrollment


Also do they back fill or don’t they back fill?

Then google “KIPP wait list” and problems nation wide come up.

We are not done yet though.

How about the KIPP grades which are more up and down that a yoyo and remember the district just combined their two schools to protect their elementary school from a bad grade. The grades of the middle school have been, C,C,D,B,D,B, and F


Hardly great when you factor in, selection bias, they have a lower percentage of free and reduced lunch than their neighbors, have longer school days, spend more money per pupil and could put actual requirements on parents.

Finally, I am troubled by Gary Chartrand, KIPP’s founder giving money to politicians who in turn send wheel barrels full of cash to KIPP, then do his political bidding and his recent attempt to blackmail the district.





At the absolute very least, KIPP is not the model school that the Times Union’s editorial board and the city’s elite makes it out to be.

Also at the very least I have posed some legitimate questions and concerns.