Is Duval County slitting its own throat by getting into bed with Gary Chartrand?

A couple years ago I went to an event at
the public library down town and one of the speakers, Gary Chartrand said,
there is no one hundred percent solution to fix what is wrong in education,
instead there are a hundred one percent solutions, and I thought how true. Unfortunately
I didn’t know at the time Chartrand’s solutions included race based goals and
here is a spoiler alert, we don’t have very high expectations for our African American
students, putting poorly trained non education types in our neediest schools,
charters that specialized in kill and drill for tests curriculums,  more high stake testing, demonizing teacher
unions, and merit pay. In short just about everything that is wrong in
Chartrand’s one percent solutions are
making things 100 percent worse.
So what does Duval County do? They get
in bed with him.
In recent weeks the District has paired
up with his faux education organization the Jacksonville Public Education Fund,
and that’s okay with the are throwing rallies and hooking up donors with
teachers but now the JPEF woefully out of it’s depth is foraging into the realm
of education policy and thus far are on the wrong side of the issues. They have
come out for common core and for a VAM style school report card.

Very quickly, the problems with common
core are being exposed daily chief among them is it doesn’t address poverty and
VAM is a measurement that shouldn’t be used to make important decisions because
the accuracy of it can vary widely. These are two more of Chatrand’s one
percent solutions, solutions that will throw our education system into chaos but now he has a policy arm behind him that the District is giving legitimacy too by embracing it as a partner.
Why any reputable education organization
gives him the time of day is beyond me and they do so at their own peril
because his ideas are so counter productive to education.
I don’t believe the average citizen knows it but Jacksonville
is home to one of Florida’s most influential people in education, Gary
Chartrand. Mr. Chartrand created the Professional Education Network an
alternative to teachers unions. He brought both the KIPP impact charter school
and Teach for America to town. He is the chair of the state board of education
and John Peyton, President of the University of North Florida, Deborah
Gianoulis, Director of the Schultz Center, Duval County Public Schools
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, Colleen Wood of Save Duval Schools and Trey Czar,
of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, where Chartrand is also a board
member, all call him Gary. He is without a doubt one of Florida’s most
influential figures in education, and unfortunately most dangerous too.
is his profile form the Florida Department of Education: Gary R. Chartrand is
the Executive Chairman of Acosta. Acosta is a leading full-service sales and
marketing agency, providing outsourced sales, merchandising, marketing and
promotional services to manufacturers in the consumer packaged goods (CPG)
industry. The Company represents more than 160,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs)
for over 1,600 manufacturers, and services more than 120,000 traditional
grocery stores, mass merchandisers, club stores, convenience stores, drug
stores and natural food stores, as well as the wholesalers who serve these same
channels. The Company employs over 22,000 associates and operates 64 offices in
the U.S. and Canada.

Gary joined Acosta in 1983 as a Business Manager, and subsequently was promoted
to Vice President, Regional Vice President of Florida, President, and in
January 1996, President and Chief Executive Officer. Gary became Chairman-Chief
Executive Officer upon the merger of Acosta and PMI-Eisenhart in July 1998.
Under his leadership, Acosta-PMI joined forces with Kelley-Clarke in June 1999,
Morris-Alper in August 1999, and Luke Soules in September 1999. In May 2002,
Acosta expanded services into Canada by acquiring four regional sales and
marketing firms to form a North American network.

Gary has served on the Board of Directors of the Grocery Manufacturers
Association. He has served on several Advisory Boards for the consumer products
companies represented by Acosta. Gary received the Ernst & Young
Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the State of Florida in May 2001, and was
named to the Supermarket News Power 50 list from 2003 to 2009, indicating the
50 most influential people in the industry
Gary currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Chartrand Foundation,
Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Fresh Ministries;
He serves as Chairman of the Board for Acosta, Inc. and the advisory board of
CNL Bank of Jacksonville. He is on the board of the Jacksonville Public
Education Fund and a director on the board of the KIPP schools in Jacksonville,
FL. Gary was appointed to the State Board Of Education by Governor Rick Scott
in 2011. He previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for the I.
M. Sulzbacher Homeless Center in Jacksonville. He is currently serving as a
Vice President of the MDA “Aisle of Smiles” campaign. He is also an
enthusiastic supporter of the Wounded Warrior Program, Catholic Charities,
Guardian of Dreams Catholic Schools, and the Diocese of St. Augustine.

Gary is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. He resides in Ponte
Vedra Beach with his wife, Nancy. They have two children, Jeffrey and Meredith.
I have to say that is a pretty impressive resume; he has
done some nice things. The reason however I reprinted it in its entirety is
because I want people to see what is missing. Nowhere does it say teacher or
what schools he worked in and that’s because those experiences are not there.
Mr. Chartrand never worked in a school and never taught a class, yet somehow he
has worked his way to the top of the heap. He is the equivalent of having a
plumber who watched a lot of Law and Order on the Supreme Court. Would you go to an accountant for a broke arm or a
fireman for legal assistance? No of course not but
for some reason Rick Scott thought with all that grocery store
experience he was perfect to run our schools.
Perhaps this is the reason his ideas are so counterproductive.
He brought Teach for America to Jacksonville
and they do the opposite of best practices by taking poorly trained
non-education types and putting them in our neediest classrooms.
He brought the KIPP charter school to town and
touted it as a savior, and despite tremendous advantages, like spending a third
more per student and being able to counsel out poor performers, the school’s
grades have been F, B and D, well the latest would have been a D if the
Chartrand rule, the rule that says school grades can only drop one letter grade
even if they are supposed to drop more, hadn’t passed.
He has been on the state board of education
since 2011 and I don’t think it is a coincidence that Floirda’s A-F grading
system after constant tweaking, massaging and adjusting has reached rock
bottom, destroying the few shreds of credibility it had.
Chartrand help create the states raced based
education goals. He doesn’t feel as if black kids have to do as well as white
kids. If you disagree with this then you aren’t the only one as the Department
of Justice recently filed a lawsuit saying the policy is discriminatory. 
His two choices for education commissioner
have also been less than stellar. First there was Gerard Robinson who lasted a
year before being forced out after a round of grade inflations and deflations,
to be replaced by Tony Bennett who lasted just seven months before resigning in
disgrace after revelations that he altered the grade of a charter school, owned
by a donor that gave him 130 thousand dollars. The main problem however is he
chose commissioners whose main goal was not to improve education but to
privatize it instead.
Throw in his push for merit pay, which has no
evidence that says it works and his criticism of the class size rule, which has
lots of evidence that says it does and it makes me wonder why anybody who cares
about our schools would give him the time of day. Deborah Giannoulis, Trey Csar,
Nikolai Vitti, John Peyton and Colleen Wood, several of the local education players,
I am talking to you.
But you know what is incredibly frustrating?
Mr. Chartrand could have done a lot of good had he checked his ego at the
door.  He is rich and willing to spend money, he knows rich people and has
been able to get them to contribute too. With that and his position in the community
he could have rallied us towards common sense solutions that helped instead of
hurt our schools.
Unfortunately hubris accompanies his wealth
and position. He thinks just because he is rich and teachers are not, then he
and he alone must have the answers. He doesn’t get that his solutions are
making things worse by siphoning resources out of schools and by preventing us
from implementing real solutions that will mitigate the crippling effects of
poverty and that will help our schools improve..
guy went from top fifty in grocery store news to running our schools and it is
showing but worse we are associating with him, we are embracing him. I
know the old saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer but this is

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