Superintendent Green and the new school board must start thinking big

With three new members on the school board and a superintendent that is still getting their feet wet, I think it’s time they started thinking big.

First we need to move the school board building. For a second year in a row Jackson high school which is in a neighborhood desperate for economic development has less than 500 students. They should be folded into Ribault, Raines, Paxon, Stanton, Darnell-Cookman or A. Phillip Randolph and the central offices should be moved there. The cost plus a nice piece of change could be made up by selling the current building which is a prime piece of real estate.

Next we should change the start time for high schools. All the research indicates we are starting our high school students behind the 8 ball with our early start times. Neighboring counties are starting later in the day as well. St. Johns starts at 9:15, and Nassau county starts at 9. Forgive my pun but its past time Duval got with the times.

Then we desperately need a one cent sales tax to address local education issues. There is no help coming from Tallahassee as they have abdicated their responsibility to properly fund public education. Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation and our buildings are some of the oldest. We have to give the people of Jacksonville like so many other counties have the opportunity to support our public schools, even very conservative Clay county approved a half cent sales tax for education. I get it nobody likes taxes but I hope we dislike teachers working multiple jobs to make ends meet, schools that are crumbling and ill prepared for life students more.

Finally no more charter schools or charter school expansions unless they prove they fill a need or employ some unique innovation. We have dozens and dozens of public schools which are way below capacity, negatively impacted by charter schools that bring nothing new to the table. There should be more requirements to opening a charter school than one can fill out a form.

We have a lot of great things going on in the district, a dedicated staff and amazing children, but i don’t think anybody believes we are where we could or should be. Above will help us get there.

6 Replies to “Superintendent Green and the new school board must start thinking big”

  1. Jackson has close to 700 students, a 40%+ increase enrollment year over year. They'll easily be at 1000 by 19-20 as they have great school leadership now after years of, well… Not to mention that a lot of sound research on school reform suggests that school cohort size impacts academic outcomes with smaller school cohorts outperforming our mostly over-consolidated school systems. Jackson is one of the most historic schools in town, with yearbooks onsite back to the 1920s. It's new magnet programs are cutting edge and provide such a better education experience for students that primarily live on the Eastside. These magnet programs currently have dozens of local businesses supporting their growth so they're sustainable, industry-aligned and fully STEM. Not every school has to be as large as Sandalwood to provide value to our district. So moving the school board building…sure, I get it. Suggesting it should be moved to Jackson is short-sighted in my opinion.

    1. I have a list of school enrollment from the district which says there are 480 kids there. You know its the district so who knows ow accurate that is. That being said, there are lots of schools on that side of town that are under enrolled and the neighborhood desperately needs economic development. I get it though, earnest people can disagree but I don't think what we have is sustainable and sooner or later schools will have to be consolidated.

  2. No worries on a full post. I'm definitely for some of the things you propose but wanted to offer a second point of view on Jackson. Having worked at multiple CTE focused high schools I feel like they're some of Duval's best kept secrets. Plus I was privileged to present some local research on school consolidation to the school board a few years ago. I realize that correlation is not causation but there is a significant positive effect on academics when students are in smaller cohorts. If budget wasn't a factor we should be looking to decrease cohort size particularly in our Middle Schools.

  3. I recently had an informal observation on Domains II and III and received five D/NI's because students had their heads down during my 10 minute mini-lesson. These are my students, not my children. If they were my children they would go to bed at a reasonable hour (8 p.m.) without their phones. Of course, 8 p.m. is not reasonable for a high school student, but they need 9 hrs. of sleep. Funny how I never had this problem in middle school. Was I more engaging? No, middle school students never sleep in class.

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