Our newest state board of education member, Ryan Petty has a history of anti-public education tweets.

Sigh was he really the best the state had to offer? In addition to not being an educator, though in his defense, no one on the state board of education is, he has a history or disturbing and anti-public education, and union tweets, and others that many would consider racist.
From the Sun Sentinel:
Ryan Petty, the father of a slain Parkland student who made a high-profile bid for the Broward County School Board, and has now been appointed to the state board of education  has a history of making provocative comments on Twitter.

In comments written mostly between 2008 and 2013, he often made jokes or sarcastic remarks that mention blacks, Jews, Muslims, gays, liberals and unions.

– Two of his tweets took jabs at public education. In April 2011, he tweeted to a user: “You’re a little slow on the comebacks. Public school educated, I’d imagine?” In a separate tweet on the same day, he told the same person: “Sorry your public school let you down. Life isn’t fair.”

— In a November 2010 tweet about the Congressional Black Caucus, he wrote, “Is there a Congressional White Caucus?” When someone responded “that would be racist,” he asked, “Why?”

— He retweeted comments, with his own modification, that slammed public sector employee unions, including one from February 2011 that described a union as “a cartel” and “immoral at its core.”

— On April 27, 2011, he made several comments about Jews while in a Twitter discussion with someone he says is a Jewish friend. These include, “Just remember: Jews own that corner and that poop!” and “Barack Obama-the best friend a Jew could have.”

— In November 2010, he tweeted a story about a court case involving bondage and the infliction of pain during sex, adding, “sounds a bit like a Sharia marriage contract.”

In an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board on Friday, Petty said he regretted some of the emails while others were taken out of context.


Um some of those were taken out of context?


How can anybody have faith is this guy at this point?

Did nobody in DeSantis’s office vet Petty, I know it’s just the state board of education but come on.
I know two things about Petty, he experienced an unfathomable tragedy that I can’t begin to understand, he has my upmost sympathies, that and if he cared about public ed at all, he would say no thank you to Governor DeSantis and ask him to appoint an educator.   

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Manny Diaz says despite their ability to discriminate and practically no accountability, there is nothing wrong with vouchers

Instead of reining in Voucher schools which have so little accountability you might as well say they have none, who are allowed to discriminate and who can hire, take, get rid of and teach whatever they want, Tallahassee is shrugging their shoulders and saying, nothing to see here.


From the Sun Sentinel:


 Private schools receiving taxpayer money through vouchers will likely be able to continue to discriminate against LGBTQ students, after a key GOP lawmaker indicated he won’t take steps to deny funds to schools with such policies. 


State Sen. Manny Diaz, a Hialeah Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee and who is a staunch supporter of the Tax Credit Scholarship voucher program, said he doesn’t want the state to meddle in parents’ decisions on where they send their child to school.8


“The money goes to the parents,” said Diaz. “The parents make the decision. A parent is never going to put a child in a situation that is not beneficial for the child, and if it is not beneficial, they have the ability to move them.”


https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/os-ne-voucher-programs-lgbtq-legislature-20200130-jbnxzjs5fjfldm4kfgsrc4gaay-story.html?

Wow that’s a lot to take in there.

Here is what we learned-

He hates public schools, because most parents choose to send their kids to them and he fights against them everyday.

Parents never make mistakes.

Discrimination is okay if parents are okay with it.

There you go, this is Florida, this is us.

I think we deserve better. 

Despite revelations of rampant discrimination, Tallahassee is calling for less oversight on the states voucher programs (draft)

It is like up is down, black is white, and wrong is right in
Tallahassee. Hot on the heels of revelations about rampant discrimination,
instead of clamping down on the state’s voucher programs, Tallahassee is
looking to loosen their accountability.

So not only are they planning to expand vouchers paid for
with public money but they are looking to decrease the amount of accountability
on its number one provider. Um, you know who also gets audited? Every school
district.
Above by the way, are tweets from Politico’s Tallahassee education reporter.

Tallahassee instead of saying no to discrimination just
shrugged its shoulders and said more is fine with us. They hate public
education that much.
I just want to remind everyone once again, voucher schools are allowed to discriminate pick who they take and keep, they are outside the accountability system that
Tallahassee thinks is so important for public schools, their teachers don’t
have to have certifications, let alone degrees, the can teach whatever they
want, and many teach junk science and history, and most don’t have to even
report how they spend the money they get. Oh and the public is paying for all
that and now they want to give them even less over site.
How is any of that right? The answer is, it is not, none of
it.

When people call for accountability and transparency and an end to LGBTQ discrimination, CM Rory Diamond attacks teachers

Scott Maxwell has done amazing work spreading light on the
fact Florida’s voucher schools are allowed to discriminate. On a side note, he
liked two of my tweets, and I was giddy about it.

Well when another representative said Step up for Students,
the state’s main voucher provider, should have accountability and transparency,
he attacked the rep and the state’s teacher unions.
This from the guy who took a million dollars from Gary
“Charter” Chartrand and who has been doing his bidding fighting against the
city’s schools and children for going on a year now.
Also his push back against accountability and transparency
is particularly disgusting because he is in charge of an investigation looking
into the JEA fiasco, promising transparency as he goes.
Then think about this, he is scoffing at the discrimination
of LGBTQ people. He’s dismissing the informing of the public of businesses who
pay for that discrimination as a ploy somehow engineered by the teacher’s
union. He doesn’t say discrimination is wrong, he doesn’t say the public
shouldn’t be paying for discrimination, no he blames teacher unions. How is
that acceptable?
The beaches and Jacksonville deserve better, much, much
better.

To see the entire tweet, click the link,
 https://twitter.com/RoryDiamond/status/1222895302866128896

Secret donations, discrimination and lack of accountability sum up Florida’s voucher programs (draft)

Florida’s voucher program is a mess. The schools are allowed to discriminate, they don’t participate in the testing system which Tallahassee uses to bash public ed under the guise of accountability being so important  for public schools and most don’t even have to report how the money their receive is spent. If that wasn’t enough, which companies donates to them and how much is allowed to be kept secret. Think about that, companies are allowed to divert money from the tax rolls and keep the transactions secret as they do so.

Scott Maxwell, left this little nugget on Twitter today.

  

Um, how is this possible.

This is money diverted from the public coffers and the public isn’t allowed to know how much and by who?

Now some people might point to Step up for Students, the main voucher provider annual report, but that’s far from timely as their last published one was from the 17-18 year and where it did have a list of donors, how much they gave is suspiciously absent.

https://www.stepupforstudents.org/wp-content/uploads/SU_AnnualReport17_Final-for-web_lowres.pdf

If this is such a great deal, why all the secrecy?

I think it’s worth noting once again that voucher schools can teach whatever they want, and take and kick out whoever they want for whatever reason, and their teachers don’t have to have certifications, let alone degrees, but for some reason, Tallahassee thinks that is a good deal. Oh what’s the reason? They want to destroy public ed.

Thankfully some companies as they find out they are funding discrimination, have decided to stop. Also from Maxwell’s twitter feed.

Fifth-Third Bank follows Allegiant airlines and Rosen Resorts — the original company that immediately pulled out, saying it wanted to fund school choice, but would never agree to fund blatant discrimination.

Many funders said they had no idea.


If you don’t know, now you know.

High stakes tests for 4 year old, no tests for voucher schools, welcome to Florida

Florida, Florida, Florida, you be crazy.


So this is us, right now in the legislature they are about to pass a bill which says 4 year olds in pre k schools have to be tested three times a year at the cost of about 15 million dollars, while voucher schools, also paid for with tax payer money don’t have to take any meaningful test and for that matter, can teach whatever they want. Um, how does this make any sense?


From the Tampa Times,


Senate Bill 1688, sponsored by Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, would measure programs’ effectiveness in a way that combines children’s progress made over the course of the program with their test scores at the end of pre-K, plus the quality of the children’s interactions with teachers. 


While early childhood education used to be thought of as babysitting, research has shown that a child’s first years of education can have an impact on their success for the rest of their lives. 


Pre-K is “essential,” Harrel told the Senate Education Committee. “It is one of the most important things we do in brain development.” 


Currently, pre-K providers’ effectiveness is determined by how their students perform on a computerized test when they first start kindergarten — a whole summer after they finished pre-K. Teachers and providers have long complained it was an unfair metric that also made their performance data perpetually behind, making it difficult for them to quickly solve any issues with their programs. 


Additionally, the bill requires more training for pre-K teachers and sets up a way for providers to be graded from “A” to “F” so parents can more easily decipher which programs are top-notch. Programs receiving high grades will be eligible for extra funding. 

https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2020/01/27/florida-lawmakers-throw-support-behind-major-pre-k-reform-bill/

Um, shouldn’t schools that don’t do well get more resources to help them improve? This system seems ripe for cheating as well. I don’t know a lot of four year olds, but I couldn’t imagine the ones I do know, sitting for a high stakes test.

So what have we learned. Florida loves tests, sorry, loves paying for tests, even if they don’t make sense but at the same time it doesn’t care about tests as voucher schools don’t have to take any. Um what?!?

Shouldn’t the kids in voucher schools have to take as many tests as the state’s 4 year olds? I mean seriously.

To read more, click the link,
https://floridapolitics.com/archives/317198-effort-to-overhaul-pre-k-is-on-the-move-in-senate

Tallahassee’s latest education targets, school boards and home rule. (draft)

Yet another target of Tallahassee’s
education attacks is school boards as for the second year in a row they have
sought to tell districts how long school board members can sit for.



From the Tampa Times,


  Rep.
Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey in the Hills, sponsored the proposal to force board
members from office after eight consecutive years in office for the second year
in a row. He contended the concept would have broad appeal in large and small
counties, rural and urban ones.


The polls show backing that nears 80 percent regardless of party
affiliation, Sabatini told the PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee, the first of
three panels to hear the resolution for a constitutional amendment vote.


He stressed that HJR 157 would not
enact term limits.


“This is a bill to give the voters the opportunity, if they wish,
to vote to enact term limits,” he said.


This Sabatini guy is a real piece of work. He recently voted to make Jacksonville, a city he does not live in, vote to go from an appointed superintendent to an elected one, a manifestly terrible idea.

This is the thing, I am okay with school boards having 2 four year terms, but I think local districts should choose what’s best for them and the crazy thing is they currently can. Right now districts have the ability to choose how long board members can be board members. In short the voters already have that opportunity. What’s wrong with each city choosing? Well it doesn’t send the message to school boards which is get on board or we’ll come after you too.

Just like their attacks on the unions, this proposal is nothing but political payback for some group that dared to defy them.

Home rule also used to be a tenant of republican politics, but not anymore. Every few days you hear about bills that strip local counties of their authority, dogs in restaurants and sun tan lotion bands are two other ones that have been in the news recently.

Tallahassee has been a disaster for public education as they push their pro privatization anti public school agenda; along with terrible pay proposals, unsatisfying standards, and attacking unions, school boards and home rule are this session’s next victims. Where and when will it stop? Oh yeah when there is nothing left.

 Friends your city should choose how long school board members sit. Not Tallahassee. Friends your city should choose how it is run and again not Tallahassee where con men and grifters have been purchased by lobbyists and special interests. 

DeSantis’s new “Be BEST” standards are going to make one group really happy, the testing companies.

From the, I can’t believe how stupid this is file.


I think most of us can agree that high stakes tests are both expensive and have limited value, well the governor doubles down on both of those with his new standards. 


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So all kids have to take the test, which we will pay for, but they don’t have to make any particular score,  but we will use that score to evaluate schools and teachers. Um how does that make any sense?


Then friends, the SAT and ACT? Many colleges are Phasing them out.  


From PBS.org:


One in four institutions no longer requires these tests for admission, for example, Nietzel said. Combined with tutoring that wealthy families can afford, extra time their kids are more likely to get than lower-income classmates and downright cheating, he said, “they’ve lost their luster as a common yardstick.”


https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/record-number-of-colleges-stop-requiring-the-sat-and-act-amid-questions-of-fairness


Then for years people have known the real thing Florida’s tests measures is the socioeconomic status of our students, and nothing will change by using the SATs as our test. The schools that did great will still do great, and the schools, the ones in neighborhoods wracked with poverty will still struggle.


From CNBC.com:


  Researchers have repeatedly found that wealthy students enjoy significant advantages throughout the college application process, and that income greatly impacts a student’s performance on standardized tests. In a 2013 paper titled, “Race, Poverty and SAT Scores,” researchers Ezekiel J. Dixon-Roman from the University of Pennsylvania and John J. Mcardle from the University of Southern California found that wealthy students earn higher SAT scores compared to their low-income peers and that the difference in SAT scores between high- and low-income students was twice as large among black students compared to white students.


https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/03/rich-students-get-better-sat-scores-heres-why.html


Friends, why can’t we give a pre test at the beginning of the year to see what kids need, share it with the schools so they can use it, and then a post test at the end to see if they got it? You know what they are supposed to be used for?


DeSantis has offered nothing but more of the same, which means we will get more of the same.  


He’s not a hero hes a villain.

For this being the year of the teacher, Tallahassee sure seems to be coming after teachers a lot (draft)

The latest attack on teachers is on their representatives, their unions and it’s about as bad as they come.


From the FEA website, 

HB 1, sponsored by James Grant, is the latest legislative attempt to attack labor unions in Florida. The bill would require union membership to be an annual membership with each member having to sign up each year.

The bill would further require each local membership form be updated to include information to “inform” members of their rights not to join the union in 14-point bold font.
For a right to work state, where nobody has to be in the union, they sure come after unions a lot.
From Florida Politics:
The Hillsborough County Classroom Teacher’s Association is speaking out against a measure in the Florida House its believes is meant to cripple public labor unions.
Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins is the executive director for the Hillsborough teacher’s union. She described the latest “union busting” legislation as a clear indication certain lawmakers are targeting teacher’s unions.
“This state has shown very clearly over time that it is very intent on privatizing the public school system,” Baxter-Jenkins said. “One of the few voices that fights against it is the [Florida Education Association,] which I believe is the largest union in the state of Florida. If you cripple the FEA it allows us to have less voice and less power in other means and I think it’s very clear that they would like to see that happen.”
At issue is a bill (HB 1) sponsored by Rep. Jamie Grant that would require public unions including teacher, police and fire unions, to collect signed authorization forms from employees indicating their desire to join the union and pay the required dues.
The bill would also require unions to cancel membership and stop collecting dues from employees who turn in written requests to sever their membership.
One of the biggest points of contention among union leaders and supporters is a third provision that would require unions to collect reauthorization forms from members every year.
Even more insidious is they are moving to exempt fire and police unions, which should eave no doubts in people’s minds who this attack is for. 


This from the FEA Twitter page:


Rep. @JasonFischerFL
speaks in favor, “I don’t agree with every single word in the bill. I want to work with you around issues with our public safety employees (he specifically mentions police and fire)

Let’s remember educators are public safety employees as well. #HB1


Furthermore this is far from their first attacks on teacher unions’ as well.

https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2018/01/25/house-passes-union-busting-bill-amid-labor-furor-214952

Friends, I don’t know what the FEA and Florida’s other teacher union’s one of which I am proud member of aren’t getting. DeSantis and the GOP want to destroy them but they aren’t alone on the list.

Superintendents, school boards, public schools, the teaching profession and unions are all on the GOP’s list to get rid of. They want to break the God Damn wheel and instead of fighting, we’re calling for honest conversations and going on bus rides, and the rally which I went to didn’t move the needle one bit, if anything it has motivated Tallahassee to work harder and faster to push their drown public ed in the bath tub agenda. Our prospects are fight or die and for evidence all you have to do is look towards Tallahassee where it is overwhelming.

The FEA should call a strike conference and invite all the parties, supers and boards too so we can discuss our options, which are two as far as I see it, fight or die.

Did Jason Fischer come out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana?

When Fischer spoke in favor of his J1 bill this past week, he said he went door to door and asked 200 people, and they were all for it, which I think is a blatant bold faced lie, and he had a UNF poll which said that 70 percent of Jax was for it and since the people were for it so was he.

Well friends in that same poll people also came out overwhelmingly for decriminalizing marijuana and since Fischer loves that poll, it’s no stretch to think he supports that as well. I mean unless he was being a hypocrite and trying to weaponize a poll. Also for those of you wondering, I am definitely for decriminalizing marijuana.

Wow that conservative christian mandarin rep all about the Mary Jane, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Oh and about that poll which said the city wanted an elected super, Emily Bloch of the Times Union did something which I am sure Fischer didn’t do and that’s follow up.

From the Times Union:

As an example of the public’s support, Fischer pointed to the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab poll from November. When asked if the school superintendent should be an elected or appointed position, 70 percent of Duval voters surveyed said it should be an elected role.
Critics, like local education advocate Susan Aertker, who attended the meeting and spoke against the bill, chalk that up to the original question’s phrasing and people not understanding what they were supporting.
Mike Binder, director of the Public Opinion Research Lab, said she’s not necessarily wrong.
“If you ask people if you want to vote for something they’ll disproportionately say they want to vote. It makes perfect sense,” Binder said. “It’s also true that these people might not have necessarily realized the implications of that. I’m not saying one or the other is better, it’s also true that a lot of these folks haven’t thought about what this could mean for the people up for election.”

I have no doubt once people learn the ins and outs of electing a super they will be overwhelmingly against it.

The bottom line is Jason Fischer’s J1 bill, is a bad bill, put out for bad reasons by a bad representative.

We could and should be doing better. Fischer has to go.