DCPS blew it with extending the school year, they did, but the real villains are Commissioner Corcoran and the FLDOE..(draft)

For years when the state has put DCPS in a hole, their first instinct has been to continue digging and the school closing snafu is no exception.

At one point we were told the year would end when scheduled, we weren’t given the caveat, if there was a waiver granted. People have a right to be frustrated. The district handled it terribly. They should have let people know this was a possibility and I think they should have fought to late may before making any decision. That being said when they did make their call they should have told people instantly. Most people including myself found out on Facebook. Since then teachers have told me their principals didn’t even know. That’s insulting and we deserve and should demand better.

Communication continues to be a fatal flaw in DCPS.

Also did you know most districts won’t even need waivers. That’s right, this is an issue they don’t have because they build an extra amount of minutes into the day so they don’t have to miss any days when things come up, but not DCPS. Nope, we want to save a few bucks so weather days.

Okay I am pretty critical of the district and they deserve it but the real villain is Richard Corcoran and the FLDOE. 

Corcoran has had an irrational dislike of Greene since she got here and shortly thereafter refused to give away a handful of schools to a charter chain. I don’t know if he doesn’t like to be told no or there is something else and feel free to read between the lines, but he doesn’t like Duval and doesn’t mine sticking it to us.

The thing is why should he. We elect anti public ed politicians routinely.  There are six representatives and 2 senators in the Duval delegation to Tallahassee and six of them would drown the district in a bath tub given the opportunity.

https://www.coj.net/departments/duval-legislative-delegation/delegation-members-jacksonville-info

Only Davis and Gibson are true friends of public ed and all the others are varying degrees of terrible. Why shouldn’t Corcoran stick it to us when most of the delegation is encouraging him to do so.

Not extending the year should be a no brainer, it is the right thing to do and who knows maybe Corcoran will grant a waiver after letting us twist in the wind for a while, however since Corcoran rarely does the right thing I am not going to hold my breath.

Now lets talk about getting rid of those weather days.

 Richard Corcoran, who once called teachers union 'evil,' was just ...

Betsy DeVos promises to give states money for education if they don’t spend it on public schools.

I liked Barack Obama as president, but without a doubt his education policies were dreadful and harmful. Race to the Top is how we got  Common Core, Vam and blame the teacher evaluations. You would think we would learn that bribing, sorry coercing states desperate for help was wrong but Betsy DeVos just said, hold my beer.


From Chalkbeat,


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will use $180 million in federal coronavirus relief earmarked for the hardest-hit states to create voucher-like grants for parents and to expand virtual education.
The education department will allow states to apply for a share of that money — a chance for the Trump administration to leverage the budget crunch facing states to advance its education policy priorities and a miniature echo of the Obama-era Race to Top competition.
For DeVos, those priorities include directing more public education dollars to families, rather than school districts, and creating alternatives to traditional schools and instruction.
“The current disruption to the normal model is reaffirming something I have said for years: we must rethink education to better match the realities of the 21st century,” DeVos said in a statement Monday. “This is the time for local education leaders to unleash their creativity and ingenuity.”
It’s the latest example of the department aligning its coronavirus response to the Trump administration’s political preferences, including limiting dollars going to teachers unions and undocumented immigrants.
In awarding these grants, the department says it will consider the coronavirus’ impact on a state — the stated purpose of the money, as allocated by Congress. But its criteria go far beyond that, raising the possibility that grants will end up in states that have not been hit hardest by the virus. Forty of the 100 points of the scoring rubric relate to a state’s coronavirus cases and ability to transition to remote instruction.
Um keep money away from teacher unions and immigrants? That is some hate right there.
DeVos thinks the pandemic is a good thing. She thinks it will hasten the privatization of education, and she isn’t the only one. The Godfather of privatization Jeb Busg tweeted this the other day.   
I.E. Don’t waste a crisis.
If you can stomach it, I would check out his twitter page, it’s all lets blow up public ed, and zero lets than public ed for all they have done during these troubling times. 
DeVos and the Trump administration are going ride this pandemic all over public ed if we let them.  They give zero you know whats about what public ed has done, their schools, teachers or children.
To learn more, click the link, 
 Contempt Citation and Possible Subpoenas - It's Getting Scary for ...

Trump says there is probably no help coming for public education.

As Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos pushes to expand vouchers and charters, using tens of millions of  public dollars, the president says there is probably no help is coming for public education. 


https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2020/04/11/devos-makes-new-charter-school-grants-from-troubled-fund/#36b501767298


Ed Week projects public ed will need 70 billion a year over three years to make up for what has happened and what will.


 https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/04/20/how-much-federal-money-do-schools-need.html


Cities and states are being crushed by the lack of revenues, kind of like the businesses that have lined up at the trough. Why is bailing out your state or hometown which provides essential and often life saving services even a discussion? It should be a no brainer.


From NBC News,

President Donald Trump suggested Monday that the federal government should not be responsible for bailing out states and cities that are struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help?” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
He is fooling himself if he doesn’t think the red states in the south many of which already take out far more than they put in aren’t going to come around with their hats out.
Now Trump did add the caveat that he was willing to discuss it, but here he is echoing Mitch McConnell who said he is all in favor of letting states go bankrupt. 
The main reason he is willing to let states go bankrupt? So they can get out of paying pensions, sorry your neighbors pensions.
We have given trillions to bail out Wall Street and not doing so wasn’t even a consideration, but the president has to be convinced or begged to bail out, cops, firemen and teachers, along with so many other services, which friends will also include fighting the coronavirus.
Do you ever feel like we live in the upside down from Stranger Things? I do.
Study: Out of 13 hours of Trump's coronavirus briefings, just 4.5 ...

72 percent of the bail out has gone to Wall street, 28 percent went to main street, and education was nothing but an after thought

With the Pandemic, Washington D.C. has been sending out money faster than they can print it.


Notice however nothing for state and local infrastructure, which is paid for with taxes, that aren’t being collected because nobody is doing anything.


Ed Week said we may need as much as 210 billion over the next three years to keep public ed whole.  


From Ed Week,

America’s public schools will need $70 billion for three consecutive years in the next round of federal stimulus spending to avoid painful cuts such as teacher layoffs, according to a new analysis.

That level of spending—from fiscal analyst Michael Griffith—would help blunt the dramatic budget cuts that districts will likely be forced to make because of the economic fallout brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan right now as you can see from Mitch McConnell’s quote thus far is to do nothing, which means state after state will have to cut budgets and we all know what gets cut first.
Now some of you might be thinking, well we can’t pay for everything. True but we seem to have unlimited money for businesses.  
But Chris, businesses employ people. Sure, but I bet if you live in a city that doesn’t have a military base or two, your school system is probably one of if not the biggest employer, now add cops and firemen to that equation and how are we supposed to restart the economy if they are being cut?
In 2009 education was the first to be cut and in many states like my home one of Florida despite the recession being over for years, education has never recovered to pre recession levels.
People like graphs, so here is a graph and just a reminder the T is for trillions and the B is for billions.
Why isn’t main street, why aren’t regular folks as important as wall street and fat cats the movers and shakers of the world.
If the government invested in people wouldn’t we spend the money on the goods and services of business? This top down approach where we save the people at the top and cross our fingers hoping the people at the bottom will be taken care of has never really worked. 
We have to insist that our schools and our cities and states are taken care of, because if we don’t, then they won’t be.


Thanks to Billy Townsend for the graphs above and to learn more, click the link.

Will Florida try and balance its budget on the backs of schools and teachers again?

Tough times for a lot of people are here and more are coming, that being said I think teachers and public education which reinvented itself on the fly and proved they were essential to communities shouldn’t accept it when  somebody invariably says, well you should be happy to have a job, if they have jobs that is.


Do they ever say that to the police or fire departments when they cut their budgets? Oh wait that’s right they never cut those budgets, but you can bet your bottom dollar, hmm maybe you should save it, that they have cut education budgets before and if they can get away with it, will do it again.


From the Sentinel,


Florida school districts could see 25% cut in state funding” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The coronavirus pandemic could result in cuts of up to 25% in state funding to public schools, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie predicted.


https://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/schools/fl-ne-broward-schools-bond-program-reserves-20200421-5uptueryszfptij4d3abpw5cvq-story.html?


Education is going to need a bail out, that’s a fact.


From Ed Week,

America’s public schools will need $70 billion for three consecutive years in the next round of federal stimulus spending to avoid painful cuts such as teacher layoffs, according to a new analysis.

That level of spending—from fiscal analyst Michael Griffith—would help blunt the dramatic budget cuts that districts will likely be forced to make because of the economic fallout brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of getting to work however Mitch McConnell has said he doesn’t plan to give any bailouts to the states and would prefer for the to declare bankruptcy to get this, get out of paying pensions.
From Bloomberg,
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he favors allowing states struggling with high public employee pension costs amid the burdens of the pandemic response to declare bankruptcy rather than giving them a federal bailout.
“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” he said Wednesday in response to a question on the syndicated Hugh Hewitt radio show. “It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available.”
McConnell has billions in public money for wall street, but not two nickels for main street and that is shameful.
Did you know DeSantis hasn’t signed the budget yet? Well one of the reasons is despite the session ending almost two months ago is the legislature hasn’t sent it to him yet because they know there will have to be a special session and cuts will be made.
From the Orlando Sentinel, 
The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature faces tough choices in balancing the $93 billion state budget decimated by the coronavirus crisis, decisions that could wipe out or drastically reduce teacher raises, road work, affordable housing projects and more. 
Lawmakers last month passed the spending plan based on revenue projections made in January, well before the coronavirus brought much of the economy to a halt. When state economists make new projections, likely no sooner than sometime in May, the Legislature will know how big of a hole they have to fill.
Last time we had a go around like this was in 2009 with the great recession and it was on the backs of schools and teachers that Florida balanced its budget and undoubtedly that will be the plan again. The question you should ask is how much you will take… or won’t.
Also don’t forget that while the rest of the state recovered from the recession Public education and teachers were never made whole. 
Coronavirus 'doesn't seem to threaten' kids, Florida Gov. Ron ...

DCPS announces the beatings, err testing will continue until morale approves

This is a letter staff just received about iReady and Achieve 3000 testing that will commence next week, presented without comment:

Teachers,
Next week students in Kindergarten through 11th grade will begin taking the iReady and/or Achieve3000 diagnostic assessments in reading and mathematics.  While we will not be administering state and district tests, it is still important to assess the academic growth of our students for this school year. 

This diagnostic will not be graded and it will not count in the students’ final grades.  While we understand that there are inherent issues with administering a diagnostic in this manner, we want to reassure you that this is for student diagnostic purposes only to determine student growth, develop learning paths, and provide an additional data point for course placement for summer and/or the next school year.  In addition, this diagnostic will not be used for teacher evaluation purposes in any way.

It is also important to note that this diagnostic assessment will provide information that may inform us of the impact that Covid-19 and home instruction has had on our students. In addition, this diagnostic assessment should be taken in context along with many others throughout the year when making academic decisions about a student.  As teachers, we know you may spot anomalies in student data including significant underperformance/overperformance.  Your assessment of previous performance along with current course participation will be a vital piece of information as we begin to plan for the summer and next school year.

Your principal will be sending out information regarding your school’s administration of the diagnostic assessment.  The attached directions for at-home administration will be provided to parents and students on the Duval HomeRoom Portals, but it would be helpful for you to reiterate the information.

While students are assigned to take these diagnostics, please be particularly sensitive to the amount and types of work you assign.  We want students to give their best effort so that the data we receive back is reflective of their actual performance.  If students are worried about signing in to other classes or missing work deadlines, they may rush through the assessment or their performance may be impacted in other ways.   

We are providing the following link for teachers to submit additional questions/concerns regarding the Spring Diagnostic Administration:  Teacher Comment Survey Link

We will follow up with an FAQ document in the Weekly Briefing this Friday to ensure we have addressed all of your concerns.

Unpopular opinions, Superintendent Greene addition (draft)

You ever have an unpopular opinion, like ketchup on macaroni and cheese is okay, or the Lord of the Rings movies weren’t that great? Hmm I fear I am sharing a lot, but I think you get where I am going. Another opinion I have which I think will be unpopular is superintendent Greene has not handled the pandemic well.

I want to give her credit. She has been bold and dynamic. Going from nothing to on-line learning in three days while still fighting for the referendum are the very definition of those words. It would be disingenuous for me not to acknowledge that. 

That being said, going from nothing to distance learning in three days, was to big of a lift. Many of the problems we have were easily predictable. Infrastructure, training, resources, we should have spent a minimum of a week if not more putting those things in place. Then where is the direction from the district? Following teachers on-line it seems like 162 different schools and 8,000 different teachers are doing things 162 and 8,000 different ways.

Heart, effort, commitment have not been an issue in DCPS, however that sounds like a song. I have 99 issues and those three aren’t among them.

Then there was her giving hope that graduations would occur on time. A noble and nice sentiment that unfortunately would put people’s lives in dangers. Just recently the district announced graduations may happen in July, another noble and nice sentiment but it too will put people’s lives in danger. I get it and I agree we should have graduations, everybody wants these kids to have the experience, but proposing we do it before we know people will be safe is reckless, postponing them indefinitely is the smart and prudent move to make.

Also why have we finally announced postponing graduations when there is still the very real possibility we may return to school. The governor has proved he will do whatever Trump wants him to do and the president wants the economy reopened which cannot happen if schools are closed. It just can’t. Greene unlike several other supers has been silent on the issue. So graduations are a no, but bringing students and staff back to the petri dishes schools are is potentially okay? What is she waiting for? 

It would be nice if she stood up for the staff and students and said, it’s not going to happen, that risking lives under her watch is irresponsibility and she won’t be a part of it but sadly it’s radio silence from the district.

Then finally other than the elderly no population has been more ravaged by Covid 19 than special needs people, yet the district is going forward with plans for in person summer school. We shouldn’t care that is is supposed to happen in July because most experts say the virus will still be going on then. Why would we risk lives, for 14 days of extra instruction? I think they should cancel ESY outright but if not why not announce it will be virtual, giving families and teachers the opportunity to plan. Is virtual education ideal for many of our ESE students? Absolutely not, but getting sick or worse is far worse.

I don’t want to just knock Greene, she has a tough and important job, she is the leader of the district, and has done some great things like getting the referendum through unfortunately to me she has been doing a lot more following than leading, to me the rush to be seen doing something or anything has been greater than doing what is right.

Superintendent / Biography

Will Greene do the right thing is DeSantis orders school openings? Anecdotal evidence says no

I am sure this will be an unpopular take or at least title but at give it a read before blasting me.

Several Superintendents have announced that schools reopening this year would be the wrong move.

https://www.local10.com/news/local/2020/04/15/physical-return-to-school-unlikely-and-imprudent-superintendent-says/

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2020/04/15/rocky-hanna-strongly-urges-florida-governor-ron-desantis-keep-schools-closed-coronavirus

Greene has been silent on the subject.

In fact Greene has held out hope for graduation ceremonies in May.

https://testing.gfordistrict3.com/2020/04/superintendent-greenes-announcement.html

A sentiment where nice is reckless and potentially dangerous.

Then the district is proceeding with plans for in person ESY for ESE kids, though they do add the caveat it could be virtual.

Why would we take the risk of in person ESY? All the medical professionals and real doctors says a flare up isn’t just possible but likely.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/pandemic-summer-coronavirus-reopening-back-normal/609940/

Educators know it too.

https://grumpyoldteacher.com/2020/04/16/till-covid-19-takes-your-t-bird-away/?fbclid=IwAR1A0fAFInCznPLSv6Fs9IeUaBMmTTdTDv-wyzxgASxmrSDY-LQjUvAVZX8

The best plan seems to be to stay away from each other as long as possible or you know the exact opposite of what Greene has been indicating she believes.

I think if DeSantis, maybe  because she is gun shy by the abuse the district has received from the FLDOE or not wanting to cause waves because she thinks it might impact the referendum, said lets reopen schools, Greene would say sure.

One of the biggest problems the district has had for years is a lack of concern for the district’s staff. They really haven’t cared about us widgets. Greene’s actions or lack of them only reinforce this, in my opinion.

If I am wrong I would urge her to follow what her colleagues from Tallahassee and Miami are saying and let people know going back to school at least until the 20-21 school year starts is a bad idea.

Okay, if you read it and disagree, now you can bast me. 

Why is DCPS considering ESY for ESE students?

That is a lot of letters I know. yesterday we had what I considered a rather infuriating ESY training where they said they are planning for in person instruction but it may happen virtually or not happen, and do the paper work anyways. Then the facilitator said we were doing it because the director of ESE wanted us too. Um, what, who gives a $#@& what they want. They won’t be the one potentially putting their lives on the line.

Anyhoo, I stewed and then wrote the super and board. My letter is below, what are your thoughts?

Hello,

Yesterday I attended a training about extended school year for ESE students. I wanted to give you my and some of my colleagues thoughts. At the training they said they were preparing for in person instruction but said it may be virtual or it may not happen. In person instruction should not be considered. The district has moved sporting events and canceled field trips all in an abundance of caution and it should be the same for our most vulnerable children many of whom have underlying health conditions and deficits when it comes to personal care. The chances of them falling ill if exposed in short are much greater.
I fully acknowledge that virtual learning for many, especially our lowering function students is less than idea, but getting sick or worse during a pandemic is less than idea too and experts expect it to last well into the summer if not longer.
Furthermore as I understand it ESY is not mandatory, It does not have to happen. Why take the chance with something that is optional?  
My preference would be for the district to cancel ESY it is just 14 days in July and I can’t imagine any students falling so far behind if they missed it, that they would be wiling to risk their health and safety, furthermore it is their health and safety which should be the district’s only priority. 
This is a sacrifice, I know. Many staff look forward to the extra three weeks of pay and many families look forward to the three weeks of summer instruction, but in these time sacrifices have to be made.
I would urge you to cancel ESY or at least announce if it happens it will happen virtually, that way families could be better informed, telling them it may be in person, virtual or not even happen leaves to much guess work, and I would urge you to tell them sooner rather than later, so families and staff can make plans.
Once again, the health and safety of the students and staff should be the districts only priority, and going without 14 days in July where a sacrifice, at least won’t potentially harm anyone.
Thank you and stay safe

Not wasting a crisis, DeVos and the federal government seek to expand charter schools.

How much does DeVos and the administration hate public education? Well yesterday it was sixty five million dollars worth as that is the amount they plan to spend to create and expand charter schools, that is their priority rather than help public schools providing unprecedented services.


From WWW.ed.gov 


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today $65 million in new grant awards that will fund the creation and expansion of more than 100 high-quality public charter schools in underserved communities across the country. Through the Expanding Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Program (Charter Schools Program, or CSP), more students will have the opportunity to move off waitlists into schools of their choice.


https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-awards-65-million-create-and-expand-public-charter-schools-areas-greatest-need?


DeVos and the Trump administration have not been friends to public education as they push their privatization agenda. Sadly things like giving tens of millions of dollars to charters is to be expected. However lets talk about timing.


Public schools across the nation have gone through seismic shift in how they educate and more than a few have become leaders in providing social services and basics like food. However instead of lending a hand, DeVos says, you know what, lets get some more charter schools.


This on the heals of charter schools applying for small business grants and loans. You know because in addition to being a school they are businesses too.  


https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dc-charter-schools-consider-applying-for-federal-loan-program-for-businesses-and-nonprofits-hurt-by-the-coronavirus-crisis/2020/04/02/10705dd4-750f-11ea-85cb-8670579b863d_story.html

Public schools all across the country have stepped up during the crisis, and for this they get zero suspect from DeVos and the federal government, who in fact they are looking to undermine them. This would be bad during regular times, but during a pandemic it is unconscionable.

This is America, this is us.

to learn more, click the link.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2020/04/11/devos-makes-new-charter-school-grants-from-troubled-fund/#238f27777298

Contempt Citation and Possible Subpoenas - It's Getting Scary for ...