Duval County is actively trying to push kids towards charter schools.

Ugh last year the district allowed charters to use
genesis the district’s computer program to recruit kids and this year the
district and its partner the Jacksonville Public Education Fund are
 pushing the 8th annual urban
education symposium, whose main topic is
 “Charter Schools – A Viable School Choice
Option”
.

Education activist Bradford Hall asked the super some
hard questions in a letter.

Dr. Vitti, 
I received an invite
to the 8th Annual Education Symposium that I had planned to attend until I
learned of this year’s theme– “Charter Schools – A Viable
School Choice Option.” 
This group claims it discusses issues
related to “Reclaiming the Black Male Youth.” Are you in direct
support of this group’s cause to recruit black students to charter
schools? 

Based on an article written by Denise Smith-Amos of the Florida Times-Union
titled 100 young black men, youths vow to launch service projects,
this group hosted a workshop for 120 black male students from North
Jacksonville yesterday. “Participating schools included Raines, Ribault
and Andrew Jackson high schools and Ribault, Highlands, Gilbert, and
Northwestern middle schools and the Young Men’s Leadership Academy, KIPP and
Valor Academy.” Here is another interesting quote from the article: One
Ribault High group planned to help girls set up their own clubs at the school,
to cut down on fights and “drama,” the boys said.

It is no secret that
the co-chairs of this group are both founders and board members of two charter
schools, one located in North Jacksonville. In fact, it is in the heart of the
Ribault community.

Why are students from Raines, Ribault, and Andrew Jackson high schools and
Ribault , Highlands, Gilbert and Northwestern middle schools attending this
event hosted by charter school operators?  

Why are only students from North Jacksonville the target? 
And if this has gone
on in the past, why has it been allowed by your administration to go on
considering several mailing pieces attacking neighborhood schools like
Ribault? 

Are there any recruitment attempts taking place at this workshop where you give
them total access to our neighborhood school students?

I am concerned about the focus of the district. You continue to say the
community should embrace school choice and competition while at the same time
our poor neighborhood schools in North Jacksonville have little to no
competitive course offerings and no marketing resources to aggressively recruit
boundary students. 

What has the district done to increase marketing resources in neighborhood
schools so they can keep up with the charter and dedicated magnet schools you
and the Board continue to approve? 

Do the 1300 children at Ribault deserve deep investments like the ones afforded
to the Young Men’s Leadership Academy and the Young Women’s Leadership academy?
Or the GRASP Academy? Or do those students have to sit and watch the death of
neighborhood schools all around them? 

Again for the sake of consistency, where can I find a written plan
for closing the reading achievement gap for black students? 
Where can I find the
district’s plan to improve the number of low-performing schools? 
Until I can see
elsewhere, is it safe to assume the district’s plan is consolidating and
reconfiguring schools over fear of losing control because of low-performance?
And if such, how long did you know this was your plan?
In an article written
by Smith-Amos titled Vitti’s proposed changes could cost Duval’s school
district millions, 
your comments support the above-referenced
assumption. 

When did you and your staff discover you had a significant number of schools
facing sanctions or potential sanctions from the state? When did you inform the
Board? 

For the sake of transparency as I know you have stated you are committed to on
several occasions, please “reply all” to this message. 
I look forward to
seeing the district’s plans in writing. 

Best,
Bradford Hall
At this point can there really be any doubt that the super’s
overall plan is to privatize our district? On one hand the district complains
about charter schools which as a group underperform when compared with the city’s
public schools but on the other hand they partner with charter school operators
to push our kids to them.

What the #$@%!

2 Replies to “Duval County is actively trying to push kids towards charter schools.”

  1. I believe in order to raise the grade of the district, the lower performing schools either have to be chartered or magnetized. The superintendent needs to ensure his district's grade is high. It should be about the students. I worry unless something is done, our schools will continue to suffer. The students of lower performing schools will lose more than their neighborhood schools, they will lose their hope for a better tomorrow. When a school is turned into a charter or a magnet school it displaces the students who would benefit the most from a school improvement plan. I think each plan should be individualized according to student population, neighborhood demographics, and level of improvement. Rather than punish the neighborhood and the students, more resources should be funneled into the school along with an outreach program dedicated to support the surrounding neighborhood and the families. The current plan is to either close the school or transform it by bringing in students outside the boundary. If the new choice in sports bill passes, parents will have the ability to send their child to any school, in any district, within the state. In order for Duval to stay competitive, Vitti needs the grade to be high. What happens to those schools in poor neighborhoods? I can't imagine when given the choice, parents will send their children to a long-term failing school in lieu of sending them anywhere. What will happen to the schools then, they will be worse. This is a short term plan to correct a long term problem. We need real solutions and real leaders willing to improve every school, for every student, every day.

  2. Teachers have known for years that Vitti's plan is to destroy public schools and replace them with charters. All of his words and actions back up that assumption.

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