Days before the election Daryl Willie, school board district 4, doubles down on ridiculousness

People running for public office will often say what they think people want to hear. It’s a sad truth.
Darryl Willie says what he thinks people want to hear to the point of absurdity.
In the Times Union when talking about his haul from charter schools and corporate raiders, Willie tried to turn that into a positive.
She (Smith his opponent in district 4), like the other female candidates, has warned that much of the financial support the male candidates receive come from supporters of charter schools and private school vouchers, which drain students and funds from traditional public schools.
Their opponents disagree that such contributions come with strings attached. Each of the candidates vowed to strengthen Duval’s neighborhood schools and hold charter schools accountable.
Willie, for instance, vows to bring the same fundraising skills he used in his campaign and on behalf of Teach for America to play for Duval’s District 4 schools, which serve the most disadvantaged students.
“This is an example of what I’m going to be able to do as a board member,” he said. “I’m going to reach across the city and bring financial resources to District 4. I’m getting dinged for it, but at the end of the day I’m not afraid to ask for money to invest in our kids.”
Um this is Willie’s second run at school board, he has lived in Jax for 7 years. He says he can bring money into district 4 but how much money has he raised for the district 4 schools again? The answer is nothing. Now I know he has raised a heck of a lot of money for himself. 5 million dollars from the QEA went to teach for Jacksonville, not into the classrooms. Is he saying he will only raise money if he wins? That it’s to heck with you if he doesn’t?  Imagine if district 4 had extra money for safety, coaches, a librarian, well they could have but instead of giving, all Willie has done is take.
There is no doubt Willie is affable and he can sure do the KiKi challenge, but what’s also not in doubt is he is self-serving. It’s him first, TFA second and I believe when if he gets elected his donors, which have been paying his six figure salary and for TFA to survive, even though DCPS has said no thanks to them going forward, third. Kids and schools, well if past is prologue there won’t be much left for them once their turn comes around.     
If you care about our schools, vote Smith, not only has she proved herself, but she puts kids and schools first.

The District 2 school board race explained, Vote Andersen and experience over Howland and Hubris

District 2


In District 2 we have former DCPS teacher and current mental
health counselor Elizabeth Anderson going against Navy veteran and businessman
Nick Howland. Before I continue you should know the corporate reform movement
hardly ever supports teachers preferring to go with the businessmen to lead our
schools a pattern you will see when we discuss the other two races.

In the Primary, Elizabeth Andersen raised 6,845 dollars while
Howland took in 56,559 dollars or more than all the other candidates, 4,
combined.

Andersen went on to spend $5,236.99
and received 4,823 votes for $1.09 a vote. Nick Howland spent $51,496 dollars
or nearly ten times as much and received 6,678 votes for a cost of $7.72 per
vote. I am told he spent 17 thousand on his commercial, where he touted that he
was a conservative businessman which should have raised flags for many, as
school board races are supposed to be nonpartisan because what is best for our
children is supposed to transcend political ideology. Howland however has taken
every opportunity he could to let people know he is a republican even having
the republican party of Jacksonville canvas for him.

This however wasn’t Howland’s only
questionable decision.  He also accepted
a defacto endorsement from the Seaside Charter school when he accepted an
invitation to the ribbon cutting ceremony where they proceeded to push his
candidacy for the school board. Public schools and nonprofits are not supposed
to engage in political activities but that did not stop the Seaside charter
school and Nick Howland.

Howland then used misleading and
false data to push his narrative that DCPS schools are not safe, claiming if we
continued the way they were going then 1 in 11 of all students would be a
victim. When the blog education matter pointed out what he was doing he changed
his campaign web page but made no mention of the mistake he repeated for
months.   
His campaign site on August 7th.

His campaign site currently.



Notice the numbers are different? What you won’t find is an
oops, sorry got the years and numbers wrong.
Now you might be saying, well the sentiment is the same, but he
only changed his page after a blog pointed out he had the numbers and year
wrong. That means for months he went out saying something that was at best
wrong. With no effort on his part to get things right.
Isn’t getting things right important? Isn’t using data correctly
important? The Times Union reported that it’s a small percentage of kids that
are constantly in trouble and getting in fights but that probably wouldn’t sell
as well on the stump.
Now if Howland would have said our discipline has been bad, or
one fight let alone several thousand is to many I would agree, though to be
honest that’s not a plan to fix things, but he is saying, 
if this trend continues, nearly 1 of every 11 students
could be a victim every year.  He’s saying that to scare people
because he thinks scared people will vote for him.
Howland received the maximum
contribution from 30 people or companies and the Times Union reported that he
received money from several PACS and many of his donors are known to support
charters and private school scholarships. 

Perhaps what is most remarkable is
Nick Howland’s resume is nearly identical to the current school board member
Scott Shine whose resume was nearly identical to his predecessors Fred “Fel”
Lee.  All are wealthy business men who
nibbled on the edges of public service having never been elected but having
served on various boards and none having anything approaching relevant
education experience. 

If Howland really cared about our schools he would drop out and let Andersen the professional educator and mental health counselor ascend to the board. It’s hubris however that keeps him going as he says, I’ll give that a try, a sentiment the last two representatives form district 2 had and we see how poorly that worked out. Our children deserve better and District 2 desperately needs experience over hubris.
Finally,
the other candidates for the district 2 school board seat, Shannon Beckham,
Casey Ayers and Sam Hall have all rallied behind Elizabeth Andersen and her
uniquely qualified background, being both a former teacher and a current mental
health counselor in an era when schools are finally starting to take mental
health seriously. 

The district 4 school board race explained, vote Smith over Willie who has to many poor ideas and dubious connections

District 4

In district 4 we have teacher and lifelong resident Cynthia
Smith versus Teach for America executive Darryl Willie who has been in
Jacksonville for seven years and has now run for school board twice.
Cynthia Smith has a compelling story, she started as a book
keeper and worked her way up to assistant principal before leaving to run a preschool.
She served in DCPS schools for sixteen years, which is only sixteen years
longer than Darryl Willie did.
Smith is also certified in ESOL, Reading, Guidance and
Counseling and leadership while Willie has no certifications.
Darryl Willie did spend three years in a classroom in Arkansas
over a decade ago. Since then he had a variety of jobs but has been with Teach
for America since 2011, becoming the Jacksonville location executive director
in 2015. These however are troubling times for TFA and that more than anything
may have influenced his decision to run again.
It’s no secret that Teach for America is on its
way out of town. They only brought in 50 new teachers this year and none of
them are working at traditional DCPS schools, just charters. Superintendent
Green told me personally the district planned to honor last year’s contract but
the district wasn’t going to bring in any more.

Teach for America Jacksonville did get 5
million, yes 5 million from the Quality Education for All initiative, money
that never saw the inside of the classroom but even that money has to be
running out by now.

That brings us Darryl Willie’s six figure salary.

According to the supervisor of elections page,
his salary is 120,000 dollars. Pretty good right? And an amount no teacher in
Jacksonville will ever see, and that few principals that oversee hundreds of
staff members and thousands of kids will take home.

However, if he along with Chauncey also a TFA alum got on the
board then the two of them may be able to reverse TFA Jax’s current standing.
It’s not just Wilie’s dubious connections to charters and their supporters who he has taken lots of money from and the privatization movement, it’s his terrible ideas which all seem to benefit TFA and poor judgement like first putting public school kids on blast in a campaign video and then being told by the district t take it town.
Finally, if you think District 4 has been capably represented
the last 8 years by Paula Wright, she wrote on Facebook,
Cynthia Smith, School
Board Candidate, District 4 is the education advocate who deserves
acknowledgement.

The district 6 school board race explained, why Joyce is the choice and Chauncey is not

District 6

District
6 sees long time teacher and lifelong Jacksonville resident Charlotte Joyce
going against recent transplant, former Teach for America corp member and
current lawyer David Chauncey. Mrs. Joyce has been working in our schools since
Chauncey was in middle school.
Joyce
would have the unique experience of being a school board representative of not
just the schools she worked at but the schools she went to as well. Chauncey on
the other hand does have some relevant teaching experience, teaching for two
years at Ribault middle as a Teach for America teacher. He left however as soon
as his two-year commitment was over while Mrs. Joyce has spent her entire adult
life in our public schools.
Joyce raised $9,455, spent $8,396.47 and
received 6,629 votes, for a cost of 1.22 per vote while Dave Chauncey raised
$75,247 and spent 65.952.24 on 6,624 votes, for a cost of a whopping $9.92 per
vote.
Then Becki Couch the two term current school
board member has supported Joyce as well saying, 
If you live in
my district, I ask that you vote for 
Charlotte Austin Joyce to represent the school board seat I am vacating. She
is a seasoned educator who will put the needs of students first. She has grown
up on the Westside and attended Stilwell and Ed White. She is an experienced
educator with school aged children, so she understands the needs of our
students and community on the Westside.

Of
Chauncey’s 75 thousand 57 thousand came in the form of a maximum donation which
was seventy-nine percent of his total, furthermore 75 percent of his money came
from outside district 6. This begs the questions how many teachers and parents
from within district 6 can afford to drop a grand on a school board race and
why are so many people who don’t live in the district supporting him?
 While Joyce was bringing in small dollar
amounts from teachers and parents the Times Union reported, Among (Chauncey’s) donors were pro-school-choice
advocates, including people who support charter schools and state-funded
scholarships for private and religious schools.
For instance, Gary Chartrand and organizations linked to him
donated at least $4,000, records show. Ten political action committees
contributed, including the Watchdog PAC, First Coast Conservatives, and
Floridians for Economic Freedom.
Since Chauncey took so much money from charter schools you may
be wondering how Chauncey feels about charter schools, here is a tweet of his
from last year that seems to indicate that he is all for them.
When Corcoran and Chauncey speak about “high expectations, high
support” charter schools, one of the schools they are speaking about is the
KIPP chain which recently expanded into Miami. It shouldn’t be a surprise to
anyone that Chauncey received a lot of financial support from the KIPP
Jacksonville board and leadership.
  Did I mention his wife works there as well?
There is a huge distinction between the candidates in district
6, a lifelong educator and resident of the district or a well-connected lawyer
new to the district who has close ties to and lots of support from the
corporate reform movement.

Note: As of today Chauncey has brought in over a hundred grand, for a school board race, and practically none of it from teachers, parents or from within district 6

https://www.voterfocus.com/CampaignFinance/candidate_pr.php?op=cv&e=21&c=Duval&ca=840&rellevel=4&committee=N

Paula Wright goes all in for Cynthia Smith in the district 4 school board.

Wearing a vote Cynthia Smith she was at the Highlands library supporting Smith to take her place on the school board.

She spoke about her impressive education resume which saw Smith spend 16 years in our schools or sixteen years longer than Daryl Willie.

She also mentioned how Smith is a lifelong resident and graduated from DCPS schools two more things that Willie can’t say.

https://www.facebook.com/paula.wright.37853/videos/1505933436217242/

Paula Wright, “Cynthia Smith is best suited to ensure the continued progress that District 4 is enjoying.”

I agree Mrs. Wright, I agree.

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Charter super pac, runs ads for Dave Chauncy

Oh, he’s not in bed with the charter school industry.

Not only has Dave Chancey taken in over six figures from the charter and business community but he is having Charter Super pacs pay for and run ads for him too.

On Facebook he has been running the ad below paid for by Parents for Great Schools

A more honest name for the pac might be, We want to make money off of your children.

http://parentsforgreatschools.com/?fbclid=IwAR1WOS7il2gRrDVntO3hv9TU0fqux9s-1sXkpTXLHKlTeRJrr_yLSZbZCjQ

Who are the parents? They were John Danner of the Rocket ship Charter chain. You may have heard of them as they are famous for having rows and rows of children sit in front of  computer, with one teacheresque person navigating through the warehouse like classrooms providing assistance when needed.

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2011/0901/John-Danner-shoots-for-the-stars-with-Rocketship-charter-schools

Where some people might like the idea of their children sitting in front a computer for 8 houes a day, they have a history of both failure

https://chalkbeat.org/posts/tn/2018/02/01/rocketship-becomes-latest-charter-network-to-pull-the-plug-on-tennessees-achievement-school-district/

and taking millions of dollars from our anti public education secretary of education, Betsy Devos

https://progressive.org/public-school-shakedown/betsy-devos-just-gave-12-6-million-grant-to-rocketship-chart/

This is who Chauncey his thrown in with.

If you care about our students and schools Charlotte Joyce is really your only option is district 6.                                                                                                                                                A Tfa alumni accused me of saying Chauncey had broken some campaign laws. That is ludicris.  If I thought he had broken any laws I would have put it in capital letters with exclamation points. There can be know doubt however that Chauncey’s charter connections run deep. 

Even the Times Union wants Ken Organes to be elected and to send Jason Fischer home.

I am no fan of the Times Union’s editorial board. A broke clock is more accurate than they are when it comes to education, so I was surprised when the Times Union in a blistering take down of Fischer endorsed Ken Organes for the HD 15 race.

From the Times Union:

Generally experience is the most valuable asset for a politician. 

But that’s as long as the experience is constructive.
Incumbent state Rep. Jason Fischer did not find the time to meet with the Times-Union Editorial Board.
He did not bother to provide a bio or answers to a questionnaire.
And even Fischer’s campaign website is skimpy on any achievements in Tallahassee.
In short, Fischer’s experience isn’t the plus that it should be.
Why not?
Because it is experience that Fischer appears have gained while also developing a sense of entitlement along the way. 
And that’s just not a good look for any public servant.
District 16 deserves a representative who is both knowledgeable and humble.

That’s where Fischer’s opponent, Ken Organes, comes in. 

https://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/20181023/tuesday-editorial-renner-organes-are-impressive

It’s pretty cool that Organes slogan is, You deserve to be heard, I am listening, because the only people Fischer has listened to is his mega donors.

I get why Fischer didn’t want to interview. he would have a hard time explaining the millions he sent to KIPP and his attacks on public education and school teachers. Who knows the board may have even asked him about his day job which is working for John Kirtley the state’s voucher king.

Fischer has been a disaster for public education since he appeared on the scene and its time to send him home.

If you care about public ed and I hope you do, then Ken Organes is the choice for you.

https://www.kenorganes.com/

DeSantis says education has plenty of money, and its just wasting what it has.

In a way I agree with DeSantis. There is a lot of money being wasted in education. We are wasting money on charter schools, vouchers and high stakes testing. We spend/waste billions on those corporate reform options. Unfortunately for DeSantis those are the things he supports. 


From The Tampa Times:


Florida’s school leaders have made plain for years their desire for more money to run their districts.
They’ve asked lawmakers for higher per-student funding, and the freedom to spend the money where it’s needed. They’ve requested more construction money, and pushed to keep property tax rates the same so schools can reap the benefit of rising values.
Not so fast, says Ron DeSantis, the Republican candidate for governor.
He suggests the system has plenty of money in it already — unlike Democrat Andrew Gillum, who has backed a corporate tax rate hike to bolster education spending by $1 billion.
It just needs to be spent more wisely, DeSantis suggested, calling for reductions in “bureaucratic waste and administrative inefficiency.”
Um reductions in bureaucratic waste and administrative inefficiency sound great don’t they? But without specifics they are just phrases people throw out when they don’t have ideas. DeSantis also talks about mandating that spending 80 percent of budgets in classrooms but he doesn’t detail what that means. I mean does that include lunch and a bus trip to school? Also from the Tampa Times.
 Officials in many districts argue that, depending on the definition of “into the classroom,” they’re already approaching that 80 percent mark DeSantis seeks. A huge portion of it comes in the salaries and benefits they pay to people who work with students, although not all of them directly.
Trying to get much higher, they suggested, could be difficult — particularly if the state continues to mandate how they use much of their money.
“If you think about it, we really haven’t had a big increase. And all of the increases we have received are most of our categoricals,” said Olga Swinson, the chief financial officer for Pasco schools, referring to state money such as lottery funds that are earmarked for certain expenses.
Swinson, who also chairs the Florida School Finance Council, noted that lawmakers this year directed millions of dollars in new funding toward security and mental health services — neither of which might be considered “classroom” expenses — while increasing the rest of the operating budget by just 47 cents per student.
“I don’t know how you restrict us to 80 percent of the money having to be instructional when we have little control of the money that comes to us,” she said. 
Hmm is it beginning to seem like DeSantis has no idea what he is talking about? That he is just dripping out gobbledygook that he thinks sounds good? Well lets add to that and remember he thinks schools have enough money the just waste it, and once again from the Times.
Meanwhile, the Finance Council she heads, which advises education commissioner Pam Stewart, observed in a recent white paper that Florida’s education funding has not kept up with rising costs.
“Average funding would need to be increased an additional $1,120, or 15 percent, to $8,528 per student to offset the estimated impact of inflation as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” wrote council members Michael Burke of Palm Beach schools and Ron Steiger of Miami-Dade schools.
Complicating matters, the state has forced districts — which in many counties are the largest employers — to reduce their tax rates an average of 18 percent over three years, they noted, while municipalities and local governments did not face the same reductions.
Sigh, everyone knows Florida has starved public education of resources, maybe everyone it seems but DeSantis  or maybe he does know and that’s just the way he likes it figuring his base will fall for more gobbledygook meandering. 
If you care about public ed, then the bottom line is you have just one choice and that’s Gillum for governor.

Superintendent Greene’s troublesome leadership style

I was out last week and when i returned i was told the superintendent told us to change our bus release schedule.


I work at a center school for disabled children and everybody rides a bus and pretty much everybody has to be escorted to the bus. 


Then there are a lot of buses and they come in waves. This new schedule has thrown everything out of whack and now the last buses have typical still been picking students up after teacher and para hours end.


She didn’t discuss this with anybody, find out our reasons behind the schedule nope she just showed up and said change it and didn’t worry about the chaos that ensued.


Then there is this , from WJCT about meta detectors,

School board members had a lot of questions for who would be monitoring the metal detectors and how the process would work. A lot of that hasn’t been figured out, because the plan wasn’t supposed to be made public yet.
Edwards originally talked about the plans at Monday evening’s safety meeting at Raines High School. At Tuesday’s workshop board members arrived confused as to why they hadn’t been clued in.
Greene said there’s a school board workshop scheduled for next month where the grant application would be discussed. At that meeting, board members will be able to suggest changes to the district’s grant as prior to its submission, although requests are supposed to be based on needs principals identified. Greene apologized to board members about their finding out about the plan through news articles.
The board didn’t know and there was no stake holder input? Greene just ruled by fiat that we would have metal detectors. Her promise of inclusiveness thrown out the window replaced by her gut decision. That friends isn’t leadership. I am against metal detectors, and I get it, a lot of people might be for them, but isn’t this a decision the community should make?  Greene obviously doesn’t think so.

Duval county public schools elects to give into fear

I was very disappointed today that the district has chosen to put metal detectors in our high schools. 


This is a knee jerk decision which doesn’t address the real problem mental health and a lack of discipline, and which quite frankly I don’t believe will keep our schools safer. 


From WJCT,


Duval County public high schools will probably have walk-through metal detectors for checking students for weapons later this school year, according to the district’s police director Micheal Edwards at a school board workshop Tuesday.
The recommendation was made after security risk assessments of district schools, including principal feedback identifying their schools’ most vulnerable areas.
More cameras with better resolution and walk-through metal detectors in high schools were determined to be most needed.
“Our goal is to quadruple the amount [of cameras schools] have,” Superintendent Diana Greene said. “The average school only has about 16 cameras. Our high school campuses have thousands of square footage.”
State lawmakers passed school safety legislation after February’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. It dedicates $99 million to hardening districts’ schools. Duval is planning to apply for some of the state funding to get the cameras, metal detectors and other improvements.
Everyone wants to keep our children safe but I don’t believe we want our schools turned into prisons either. Metal detectors don’t do anything to address our mental health problem, nor do they address poverty or hopelessness in our schools.