Multi-Year Disaster At Neva King Cooper Educational Center, Part Six

The general public may not know much about the yearly achievement test given to profoundly mentally retarded children. This test is called the Florida Alternate Assessment (FAA). A person who is not familiar with how this test is scored could look at FAA test scores and be fooled into thinking that students have performed far better on this test than they actually have.

Here’s how the test works: The teacher asks a test question and the child has three choices to choose from.  (The majority of profoundly mentally handicapped students do not look at the test book, and make no choice.). If the child makes the correct choice, he/she is awarded 9 points. If a child makes no choice at all, or makes an incorrect choice, the teacher covers up one of the incorrect choices (the child now has only two choices to choose from)  and asks the question a second time. If the child makes the correct choice at this point, he/she is awarded 6 points.  If the child makes no choice, or chooses incorrectly, the remaining incorrect response is then covered up so that only the correct response remains. The teacher asks the question a third time. If the child answers correctly, he/she is awarded 2 points. If the child makes no response, the teacher then grasps the child’s hand and places it on the correct response. The child is then awarded one point.

At the end of the 20 question test, a child who has not made one single independent choice, and who may not have even looked at the test booklet during the entire testing process has a score of 20 points! Additionally, awarding test takers 9 points for a correct answer the first time, or 6 points for a correct answer the second time gives a test score that sounds more impressive than it actually is. Tragically, the farce gets even worse. The only way a test taker can score a zero on a test question is if the child refuses to allow the teacher to place the child’s hand on the correct response. Many profoundly mentally retarded children are “touch aversive”. This means they do not like to be touched in any manner. Therefore, when the teacher attempts to place the child’s hand on the correct response, the child violently resists this touching, and attempts to jerk his/her hand away. At “The People’s Republic” of NKC, a teacher’s job is on the line if a student does poorly on the test and the teacher may have children of his/her own to feed and clothe, so a wrestling match ensues, with the terrified student attempting to wrestle his or her hand away, while the terrified teacher attempts to wrestle that hand onto the correct answer.

A passerby, observing this, may think he or she is witnessing child abuse, and to be perfectly honest, what is occurring IS child abuse. However, these achievement tests to children with IQ’s of 25 and below generate money for vendors. The repeated pleas (over a period of many years) of administrators at schools for profoundly mentally retarded children throughout Florida for either a test appropriate for children of this IQ range, or a waiver from this yearly achievement test have gone unheeded.

Two further points need to be made regarding the FAA.

  1. Much of the FAA consists of three side-by-side pictures. (For example, the test question may show pictures of a comb, a hat, and a fork). The teacher then says, “Point to the fork.”  Since Dr. Roos became the NKC principal, NKC students have shown an astonishing improvement on their performance on the FAA. Dr. Roos may explain these astonishing gains by saying that she has instructed teachers to bring in actual objects that correspond to the pictured objects. Thus, the teacher shows the student an actual comb, hat,  and fork and then asks the child to point to the fork. Dr. Roos does indeed do this. Dr. Alberto Fernandez also did this  when he was the NKC principal, so that would not explain the dramatic improvement in FAA test scores after Dr. Roos became the new principal of NKC.
  2. Starting last year, profoundly mentally handicapped students (with IQ’s of 25 and below) were given an essay test as a part of the FAA (Ah, the emperor’s new clothes are indeed magnificent!)

If this blog writer is correct, the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) contract states that it is the sole responsibility of administrators to put unruly students on the bus in the afternoon when they go home, or to take unruly students off the bus when they arrive in the morning. Nevertheless, at NKC, as a courtesy to our two administrators, male teachers put on or take off unruly students from the buses. (Nearly all NKC students come to school on buses). One of the characteristics of profoundly mentally handicapped (PMH) students is an inability to transition to new activities. When PMH students arrive at school, or when they go home in the afternoon, they may not want to get on or off the bus. When this happens, staff first attempt to coax or cajole the child into voluntarily exiting or boarding the bus with a favorite toy, a favorite food, or promise of a favorite activity. If this fails, the child’s hand is gently grasped and the teacher attempts to pull the child to a standing position, while speaking to the child in a gentle and encouraging voice. If this fails, several male faculty members are summoned who explain to the child that he/she has a choice to either exit/board the bus or to be carried off/on the bus. If the child still refuses to exit/board the bus, several male staff members grasp the child by the arms and legs and as gently as possible escort or carry the child on or off the bus. Students attend our school until the age of 22, so some students are adult in terms of both size and strength, and they fight like tigers when they are carried on or off a bus. The writer of this blog has been bitten, kicked, scratched, and had many back, wrist, and arm sprains as a result of helping to put students on and off buses. Neither this blog writer or any other male staff members take these student struggles personally, and we are careful to use the minimum amount of restraint needed to escort unwilling students on or off buses.

One older, very strong male student is frequently difficult to get on or off the school bus or his parents’ personal vehicle. On several occasions, these parents have personally witnessed male staff members getting their child into or out of  a vehicle. One day, an NKC administrator appeared to decide to use a male staff member’s extraction of this young man from a vehicle as a weapon against that staff member (Javier Ruiz Lopez). Mr. Ruiz Lopez is still an NKC staff member. (Again, Mr. Ruiz Lopez has had no contact with this blog writer since this blog writer’s retirement, and he played no part whatsoever in the creation of this blog. Hopefully, this will be enough to shield Mr. Ruiz Lopez from retaliation at the hands of “The People’s Republic.”) Mr. Ruiz Lopez was accused of using excessive force to extract the student. This extraction happened in full view of the entire staff, who are very protective of our students, and would report any staff member who abused a student. No other staff member witnessed Mr. Ruiz Lopez using anything more than the minimal amount of restraint needed to extract this young man from the vehicle. When the mother of this NKC student was contacted by the administration and urged to file charges against Mr. Ruiz Lopez, she became very angry and said Mr. Ruiz Lopez had done nothing wrong and she refused to be a party to charges that were blatant lies.

Whether by their own design or by orders from MDCPS district officials, the present NKC administrators give the appearance of going out of their way to create a hostile work environment to terminate staff, cause them to retire, or to seek transfers to other schools.

Given the fact that the present NKC administration appears to have chosen to make a favor that male staff have done for the two administrators of NKC into a potentially career ending weapon, this blog writer is asking that UTD visit NKC and tell the two administrators that from now on, getting unruly students on and off buses is now (as the contract states) the SOLE responsibility of administrators. This does not mean that male staff members continue to do this job under the supervision of administrators. It means that administrators do the job all by themselves. This way, administrators can be assured that excessive force will not be used!

NKC recently lost the services of a gentleman who has nearly 40 years of teaching experience. He has joined a very long list of staff who have left KNC since Dr. Tracy Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez have become the school administrators. He is now teaching at another MDCPS school. If a survey were taken among NKC staff to determine the best teachers at the school, it is probable that nearly the entire staff would have listed this recently retired teacher as one of the best teachers at NKC. This outstanding educator was one of the teachers who forced the MDCPS district to open an official investigation into possible cheating by Dr. Roos on the FAA. He also agreed to testify on behalf of Ms. Morales at her reinstatement hearing. Finally, he testified on behalf of Dr. Alberto Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol at their unlawful reprisal and abuse of power  legal hearing. Prior to his participation in these legal and protected activities, this teacher had an unblemished record spanning well over 30 years. This teacher appears to have been the victim of a vigorous program of retaliation by MDCPS for his participation in legally protected activities. Sadly, this highly accomplished teacher found himself facing several bogus charges shortly after participating in the above mentioned protected activities. Among the false accusations against this teacher were inappropriately going to the rest room with a student, cheating on the FAA, and gross neglect of a student. As a result of these potentially career ending charges, this teacher incurred substantial legal fees. This teacher has a pending lawsuit against the school board in state and Federal court. Therefore, this blogger will not provide much information about the charges and the incidents related to the cases.

However, this blogger can say that he was falsely charged with gross neglect of a student. This teacher had a student in his class who is prone to choking incidents. That fact is noted in the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). (In a previous year, this young man was a student in this blogger’s class. During the course of that school year, this young man also experienced a few brief choking incidents while a member of this blogger’s class). This young man frequently stuffs enormous quantities of food into his mouth, unaware of the danger he is putting himself into. For this reason, this young man is monitored very closely at meal times. Without getting into more details, let me just say that the teacher saved the student’s life. In a normal school, this teacher would have been warmly congratulated for his prompt and appropriate actions. In “The People’s Republic” of NKC, this teacher’s actions constituted gross neglect of a child, and he was written up on potentially career ending charges. In the 25 years this blogger has been a teacher at NKC, this writer has never seen a teacher written up for taking prompt and effective action when a student began to choke. Dr. Roos has taken an aggressive step never used before and appears to be using the choking incidents of our students as a weapon to use against teachers she doesn’t like and wants to get rid of. Only in “The People’s Republic” of NKC would a teacher’s prompt and effective actions to save the life of a choking child be twisted and perverted into charges of gross child neglect.

On June 8, 2015, this blogger wrote a 16 page letter that was sent to 5 important MDCPS officials (Three of those recipients are school board members). The letter stated that due to Dr. Roos decision to bring potentially career ending charges against a teacher who saved a child’s life, the potential exists for a needless and easily preventable death to occur on our campus. If food is deeply lodged in a child’s throat, it can take 2-3 minutes to dislodge. If caretakers are not next to the child when this happens, more time can elapse before help arrives. It does not take long before irreversible brain damage or even death takes place. A few years ago, a different young man at NKC attempted to swallow an entire pancake without chewing it. The pancake was so deeply lodged in his throat that an NKC staff member (who had graduated from the Fireman’s Academy and was a fully trained paramedic who rode in ambulances during the weekends) reached down into the young man’s throat and extracted the pancake. It took that fully trained paramedic, who was in the cafeteria when the incident occurred  2-3 minutes to save the child’s life. If this child had to wait until outside paramedics arrived, he would have perished. The name of that fully trained paramedic , (who has joined the very long list of staff who have left NKC since Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez became the NKC administrators) was Mr. Frank Lozada. During the time we were fortunate enough to have Mr. Lozada as a staff member, he saved the lives of three people on our campus. He saved two children who nearly choked to death on food and one staff member who went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.

To quote from the letter that this blogger sent EIGHTEEN MONTHS AGO to 5 high ranking MDCPS officials:

“This (charging a staff member who saved a child’s life) with gross child neglect has resulted in a climate of fear among our staff. If a student begins to choke, a relatively new and inexperienced staff member (as seasoned staff members have retired or transferred due to the inhospitable work environment at NKC, they have been replaced by recent college graduates) may hesitate for several seconds before summoning help from our on-site nursing staff. The new staff member may hesitate, hoping that the child spontaneously ejects the food and that the administration has not observed the event. The staff member may hesitate for a minute or so, fearing that his/her job may be at stake (in a dismal job market and economy). That single minute wasted where help is not summoned due to fears of administrative reprisals could mean the difference between an outcome resulting in no injury and an outcome resulting in permanent brain injury or even death. Staff need to know that if they act with due diligence, they will not be charged if a student experiences a choking incident.”

In this writer’s letter of 18 months ago, this blogger suggested two actions that could prevent one or more needless and easily avoided deaths at NKC. As it was June, and school was over for the year, one suggestion was that Mr. Carvalho replace Dr. Roos with a more seasoned principal. This blogger is puzzled by the fact that Mr. Carvalho seemed to have no qualms about removing two highly qualified administrators in May, 2012, for a (later disproved) charge of intimidating NKC staff, yet Mr. Carvalho chose NOT to remove a very troublesome administrator after the school year had ended! This blogger’s other suggestion was that in the future, staff whose diligent actions save the life of a child will no longer be charged with gross child neglect.

Timothy McVeigh, the evil man who bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was asked how he could kill over 100 kindergarten children who were housed in that building. He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “they were collateral damage.” While this blogger is not comparing Mr. McVeigh to Mr. Carvalho, it is only fair to observe that in the EIGHTEEN MONTHS since this blogger sent a 16 page letter warning of a potentially life threatening situation, virtually NOTHING has been done to prevent this easily avoidable tragedy from occurring! During that time, the situation at NKC has gotten much more serious, as Mr. Lozada (the trained paramedic) is no longer at NKC. A teacher at NKC who saved a child’s life has been charged with gross neglect of one child. Perhaps a charge of gross neglect of over 100 children at NKC could be applied to Superintendent Carvalho, Dr. Larry Feldman, Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman, Dr. Martha Perez, Dr. Tracy Roos, and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez, who have knowingly permitted a potentially life threatening condition to exist at NKC for 18 months. Given the fact that neither Mr. Carvalho or the school board has taken appropriate action, this blogger is hoping state and/or Federal authorities  will step in and safeguard the lives of NKC children.

This blogger would like to repeat comments made at the end of the June 8,2015 letter this blogger sent to 5 MDCPS officials: “Based on Mr. Carvalho’s statement [made during his sole very brief visit to NKC] (“If any MDCPS wants to convert to a charter school, they are going to have to come through me.”) and Dr. Roos actions over the last three years, many NKC staff members believe the district is viciously and deliberately retaliating against this school. If the goal of the punishment our staff has received for the last three years is intimidation, that goal has been achieved. Our staff feels deeply intimidated by the district. The NKC staff COMLETELY abandoned the idea of converting to a charter school about two and a half years ago. Any staff member foolish enough to bring up the subject of converting to a charter school would immediately be vigorously opposed by the entire staff. The NKC staff understands that the district response would be swift and brutal. Therefore, if the district is punishing our staff to prevent a charter conversion, that punishment can stop. Perhaps the district should declare an amnesty for the NKC staff. A hundred years from now, NKC will still be a public school. If the district is punishing NKC as an example of what happens to schools that attempt to convert to a charter school, then I suppose the punishment will continue.”

In addition to this quote from the June 8, 2015 letter, that same letter contained an in-depth description of the numerous potentially career ending charges the previously described NKC teacher faced, so the district was well aware of what was going on at NKC. This blogger wishes to strongly emphasize that the following action occurred in the fall of 2015, a few months AFTER the district received the June 8, 2015 letter.

In a move that could have come out of the play book of the former Soviet Union, the above mentioned teacher, on very brief notice, was summoned by MDCPS district officials to a meeting downtown. This teacher was not allowed to have his lawyer present at that meeting. At the time of that meeting, this teacher had been cleared of most of the charges against him (due to insufficient evidence). The only remaining charge was a very minor charge. Nevertheless, the district told this teacher he had two options. His two options were to either retire immediately or be fired. What the district did NOT mention was that given the fact that the only remaining charge was very minor, this teacher had a third option, namely to continue his teaching career. This teacher knew he had this third option ONLY because he was told of it by his attorney. This teacher is still teaching in MDCPS. This blogger suspects that every day he reports for work, he may be wondering if he will again be summoned for another Soviet Union style meeting by MDCPS officials. Based on these events, it is not difficult to see how a reasonable person might draw the conclusion that Mr. Carvalho seems to be a very vindictive man, and MDCPS seems to be a lawless entity. On bended knee, this blogger is BEGGING any labor law attorneys, State of Florida or Federal education authorities who read this blog to assume control of the nation’s fourth largest school district and reestablish law  and order.  (Hopefully, MDCPS has kept a record of this meeting). It is distressing that Mr. Carvalho did not see fit to replace the principal of NKC [Dr.Roos] after receiving numerous written notifications of questionable decisions she had made, when he could have done so in June, after the conclusion of the school year. However, the district DID see fit to attempt to remove a teacher who had been cleared of all but a very minor offense part way through the following school year.

This is the sixth installment of this series. The series can be accessed in its entirety at mdcpsallegations.com

Multi-Year Disaster At Neva King Cooper Educational Center, Part Four

Perhaps Mr. Carvalho chose not to wait until the end of the school year to remove our administrators because he wanted to send a strong warning to any other administrators contemplating exercising their legal right to convert to a charter school. Shortly after removing Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol, Mr. Carvalho paid a very brief visit to the NKC campus. It was the only time he has ever visited our campus. He stood in the school office, and in the presence of our school secretaries, who are still at NKC and can verify his words, he said, “If any school wants to convert to a charter school, they are going to have to come through me.”If Mr. Carvalho’s purpose in making this statement was to terrify and intimidate the NKC staff, his statement (which swept through our school like a wildfire) had the desired effect.

The staff of NKC, rightly or wrongly, has the opinion that Mr. Carvalho views NKC as a rebellious and conquered entity that needs to be punished.

Dr. Fernandez was the principal of our school for 15 years, so a baseline exists as to staff turnover during that period. My hope is that Federal and state education bureaucrats, as well as UTD and labor law lawyers will compare staff turnover at NKC when Dr. Alberto Fernandez was the NKC principal and Mr. Cristobol was the assistant principal and compare it with staff turnover after Dr. Tracy Roos (principal) and Alicia Fernandez (assistant principal) came to NKC.

The opinion of a great many NKC staff is that both Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez are deliberately cultivating a hostile work environment and a climate of fear at NKC. These investigators might wish to invite staff who have recently retired from NKC or transferred to other schools to provide statements as to why they are no longer at NKC. Investigators probably will hear many horror stories of threats, intimidation, and outright false allegations made by BOTH of these new NKC administrators against NKC staff. As a result of the actions by BOTH Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez, morale at NKC was the lowest it has been during my 25 year tenure at that school. For this reason, it might be helpful for investigators to closely examine the yearly mandatory staff satisfaction surveys that all NKC staff fill out. It would be informative to examine how the NKC staff have rated their interactions with Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez This could then be compared to how staff have rated their interactions with Dr. Alberto Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol in previous years. A sizable discrepancy between these two scores would indicate a serious problem, especially if the NKC staff seemed happy with Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol and unhappy with Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez. Investigators might also want to examine parents levels of satisfaction with these two groups of NKC administrators. If both parents and staff exhibited significantly higher levels of satisfaction with Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol, state or Federal investigators might want to consider recommending removing Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez from their posts as NKC administrators, and replacing them with Dr. Alberto Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol.

It might be prudent for Federal and state investigative bodies to exclude MDCPS from participating in an examination of wrongdoing within the school system, as a conflict of interest appears to exist. Rightly or wrongly, many MDCPS employees believe that the investigative bodies of the nation’s fourth largest school district owe their jobs to Mr. Carvalho, and their function seems to be to protect Mr. Carvalho and to sweep any and all wrongdoing by the district under the rug, and then retaliate and punish whistleblowers. Consequently, MDCPS employees who are reluctant to bring their concerns to the district may be more willing to talk to state and Federal authorities, provided those authorities do not allow retaliation to occur once the investigation is completed. Perhaps the Federal and state educational authorities might want to widen their search to involve the entire MDCPS system. Additional county-wide problems they may wish to investigate should include such topics as: Are whistleblowers within the system being silenced/intimidated  by accusing them of physically abusing students, sexually molesting students, or cheating on the high stakes achievement tests that are given every year? These investigators might also check to see if Mr. Carvalho is in compliance with Federal and state statutes. They might also ask if any other MDCPS  schools that have attempted to convert to a charter school have been unlawfully punished.

Another area of concern investigators might want to examine is the dramatic increase in test scores on the Florida Alternate Assessment (FAA) that have occurred since Dr. Roos came to NKC.  Dr. Alberto Fernandez was the principal of NKC for 15 years, so a baseline of student achievement on the FAA exists. That baseline can be compared to the startling jump in achievement under Dr. Roos. When Dr. Alberto Fernandez was the NKC principal, he took the precaution of removing himself entirely from the FAA, and placing Ondina Rodriguez, the Program Specialist at NKC in charge of the FAA. Dr. Roos chose to remove that safeguard and place the assistant principal, Mrs. Alicia Fernandez in charge of the FAA.

Another matter needing investigators’ attention  is an allegation of unreported child abuse by Dr. Roos in the 2015-2016 school year. Allegedly, Mrs. Ramos, a paraprofessional currently employed at NKC, observed a teacher at NKC physically abuse a child. Ms. Ramos allegedly reported this abuse to Dr. Roos, who is obligated by law to report this abuse or permanently lose her educational credentials. Dr. Roos allegedly failed to report this possible child abuse, and merely transferred the child to another class. It should be relatively easy for investigators to question Mrs. Ramos to see if she reported a case of possible child abuse to Dr. Roos. If Dr. Roos then failed to take appropriate action, the proper penalty should be applied.

Another matter to investigate involves an allegation that Dr. Roos allegedly physically assaulted one of the employees at NKC. Allegedly, this employee was in Dr. Roos’ office and Dr. Roos was allegedly screaming and verbally abusing this person. This person was looking down at the floor. Dr. Roos allegedly seized this person’s jaw and screamed, “Look at me when I am talking to you.” If am employee did that to an administrator, termination and legal action would probably occur. The district says it has a zero tolerance for bullying. Does this zero tolerance also apply to an administrator  who allegedly physically assaulted an employee? This person is no longer at NKC (imagine that). However, this person is still a MDCPS employee. If he or she is assured that MDCPS will not retaliate against him or her, perhaps he or she will be willing to come forth and testify.

Yet another matter that UTD might want to address is who is responsible for loading and unloading unruly students on and off of school buses in the morning and in the afternoon. There was an incident where a staff member who extracted an unruly student out of a vehicle (the student did not want to exit the vehicle) was accused by the administrator of using excessive force. Although the entire staff witnessed this extraction, and nobody else saw any evidence of excessive force being used, the employee was in danger of having possibly career ending charges leveled against him. Therefore, if the contract calls for unruly students to be escorted on and off busses SOLELY by administrators, can UTD please inform NKC administrators of this, and then enforce this provision of the contract?     nother question investigators might ask is how many state or Federal lawsuits have been lodged against the school system? Still another question is how many employees have been unlawfully terminated? If the investigative bodies find a culture of pervasive corruption at MDCPS, perhaps they might consider making the recommendations that Superintendent Carvalho be relieved of his position, and that MDCPS investigative bodies be made more transparent, receptive to, and accepting of feedback from employees, and responsible for enforcing Federal and state laws, as opposed to the will of the superintendent.

Still another question that might be asked is why is it illegal for taxpayers or school board employees to criticize school board members by name at school board meetings? A citizen can go to a meeting of any other civic body and criticize by name the President of the United States, U.S. Senators, or state governors, but a citizen cannot criticize a MDCPS school board member by name! Why is this? Is MDCPS a part of the United States? If so, does the U.S. Constitution  also apply to MDCPS? If so, does one of the amendments of the Bill of Rights guarantee the right of free speech?  If the findings of an investigation warrants it, perhaps Federal and state funds can be cut off from MDCPS until it agrees to abide by Federal and state laws. Many school board employees refer to MDCPS as “The People’s Republic,” because although Mr. Carvalho accepts both Federal and state funds, he gives the appearance of thumbing his nose at both Federal and state laws, and seems to suffer no adverse consequences, even when he is caught in a flagrant violation of the law. An example of this would be Mr. Carvalho’s decision to remove the two NKC administrators  after they began to explore their legal option to convert to a charter school. Mr. Carvalho’s actions constituted unlawful reprisal and abuse of authority. This is not the opinion of the writer of this blog, it is the verdict rendered by the judge who heard the case that Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol brought against MDCPS. In his verdict, the judge noted that MDCPS had been flagrant and blatant in its breaking of the law. Incredibly, Mr. Carvalho suffered no adverse consequences whatsoever as a result of his nakedly illegal actions. Although Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol expressed their desire to return to their duties as NKC administrators, and although staff and parents were also strongly supportive of these two administrators returning to NKC, Mr. Carvalho had no legal obligation to return them to NKC, and refused to do so. They were reassigned to other posts within the school system. The closest thing to an adverse consequence that Mr. Carvalho suffered as a result of his willful, blatant, and flagrant breaking of the law was that the taxpayers of MDCPS had to pay $250,000 for the legal expenses of Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol.

Does this mean that if another MDCPS school is foolish enough to attempt to exercise its legal right to attempt to convert to a charter school that Mr. Carvalho could again use blatantly illegal practices to smash that attempt, with no adverse consequences to himself? The answer to that question appears to be a resounding “YES.”A law that has no adverse consequences for breaking it is not really a law. It is a plea or a suggestion. Anyone who drives an automobile knows what is required of them when they come to a red, eight sided sign with the letters S-T-O-P on it. Failure to obey this law will result in a steep fine, and points charged against the offender’s drivers license. If the steepest penalty for failure to stop at a stop sign was a stern, disapproving frown from a policeman, how many people would continue to obey this law?

In June, 2015, I retired from MDCPS after a 30 year career with the school system. One of my biggest reasons for retiring at this time was because both Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez had cultivated an extremely toxic and stressful work environment at NKC. I very much wanted to participate in the financially lucrative DROP program. Had I transferred to another school, I could have participated in DROP. However, a school board employee gives up a great deal of his/her Constitutional right to free speech as  an employed school board employee. (A retired school board employee regains his/her Constitutional right to free speech.) I saw many illegal things being done by both Dr. Roos and Mrs. Alicia Fernandez. One of those actions was so grave that I felt the lives of profoundly mentally retarded children, most of whom literally cannot speak for themselves were being needlessly put at risk. (This will be discussed later in the blog). I had the option of bringing the matter up before a MDCPS investigative body, but I feared this would result in no action at all, with the exception of retaliation against the whistleblower. By retiring, I could not be retaliated against or silenced, and I (wrongly) assumed the chances of my being heard would be increased. On June 8, 2015, I wrote a 16 page letter to 5 senior MDCPS officials. A copy of that letter will be included as a part of this blog. The letter was sent to Dr. Larry Feldman (school board member), Dr. Martha Perez (school board member), Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman (school board member),Barbara Mendizabal (Region Superintendent), and Dr. David More (Assistant Superintendent). I mailed those 5 letters via the U.S. Postal Service, and I have retained the receipt. All 5 letters were delivered to the addressee. Most (but not all) of the remainder of this blog will address issues that these 5 people have been aware of for 18 months now, and no action appears to have been taken. As one of my concerns dealt with an immediate threat to the lives of one or more profoundly mentally retarded children, a reasonable person might expect a response from at least one of these prominent officials. Sadly, not a single person chose to respond to the serious issues raised in that letter, or even to acknowledge that they had received that letter. That is the reason for this blog. Since MDCPS either cannot or will not take appropriate action unprodded, there is the possibility that appropriate action will take place if enough pressure is exerted from powerful outside forces. For this reason, I give permission for anyone reading this blog to copy part or all of it and distribute it to any other party that might be interested.

There were serious problems with Dr. Roos almost from the start. Every student in MDCPS (even the profoundly mentally handicapped) is given an achievement test in the spring. Special needs children are given a test called the Florida Alternate Assessment (FAA). When Dr. Alberto Fernandez was the principal, he instructed staff that no cheating on the test would be tolerated, even if it caused our school to receive a failing grade for the year. Students were given credit for correct answers only when they provided correct responses. Dr. Roos seemed to have a different idea. She summoned two very meek and timid teachers to her office who had already administered the test and allegedly told those two teachers that their students’ performance levels were unacceptably low, and she then allegedly ordered those two teachers to administer the test to their students a second time. Dr. Roos then allegedly cautioned those two teachers that if their students performed poorly on the FAA a second time, those teachers would receive a failing yearly evaluation, and dismissed as employees. If Dr. Roos made this statement, it put these teachers in a Catch-22 situation. Cheating on the FAA is grounds for dismissal, yet failure to cheat on the test would also result in dismissal. If Dr. Roos made this statement, she broke two laws: 1) The FAA is given a second time only under very clearly described conditions, and poor performance on the test is not one of those conditions. 2) At the time Dr. Roos allegedly made that statement, an administrator was not allowed to fail a teacher on the yearly evaluation because of poor student performance on the FAA, nor was an administrator allowed to threaten to fail a teacher based on poor student performance on this test. Word of this alleged threat spread through the school very quickly. The two teachers Dr. Roos allegedly threatened were Luz Morales (no longer at NKC) and Julie Besherat. Ms. Besherat is still at NKC. She is an outstanding teacher, with an unblemished record. Two years ago, she was the NKC teacher of the year. Ms. Besherat has had no contact whatsoever with the writer of this blog since the writer’s retirement. She also has played no part whatsoever in the creation of this blog. Should “The People’s Republic” contemplate retaliation against Ms. Besherat because her name appears in this blog, the negative public relations created by that action will hopefully make the cost of retaliation against her too high. Ms. Luz Morales confided to some colleagues that Dr. Roos had asked her to cheat on the FAA. One of the people that Ms. Morales made this statement to was the writer of this blog. Later, Dr. Roos wrote Ms. Morales up on very serious charges and recommended that Ms. Morales be dismissed as a MDCPS employee. Ms. Morales was then fired. She appealed her dismissal, and a judge ruled that her dismissal was invalid  and ordered her to be reinstated at a different school. Ms. Luz Morales case number is Florida DOAH 145-2439, should readers have a further interest. The district called not a single witness to defend their improper dismissal of Ms. Morales. By the time Ms. Morales was ordered to be reinstated, she had been unemployed for nearly a year and was in desperate economic straits. The judge recommended that Ms. Morales be paid the full amount of money she had lost due to her inappropriate dismissal. The school district, perhaps being aware of Ms. Morales desperate need for immediate funds, told her they (the district) would pay her half of her salary immediately with the understanding that she would then forfeit the other half of her salary. The alternative was to fight a second court battle (which she would have almost certainly won) for the entire amount. This would mean Ms. Morales would receive none of the money she was entitled to for a very long period of time.

This district delaying tactic had the appearance to many NKC staff of being very mean spirited, and it furthered the belief that Mr. Carvalho was/is singling out NKC for punishment because of our lawful decision to explore converting to a charter school.

This is the fourth installment of my blog. The blog can be accessed in its entirety at mdcpsallegations.com.

Fake Methodology: Health Department Claims 11% of Hawaii HS Students are LGBTQ

by Andrew Walden.

11.2% of Hawaii High School students are LGBTQ.  That’s the headline number from the April, 2017 Hawaii Department of Health report on “Sexual and Gender Minority Health.”

This number stands in sharp contrast to other studies of gay demographics.  For instance Gallup in 2013 reported that 5% of Hawaii residents are gay and in a 2012 Gallup report found 3.4% of US adults are LBGTQ.

The DoH report is far from dispassionate science.  It comes across more like a pamphlet by gay activists.  The dedication page reads:

This report is dedicated to all people identifying as a sexual or gender minority in the State of Hawai’i. It acknowledges the resiliency and strength of sexual minority, and transgender and gender non-conforming people in Hawai’i, who despite having borne a disproportionate burden of adverse events in their lives, continue to strive for a better tomorrow. It remembers and acknowledges those from our community who passed too soon

So how did DoH fake the data?

The trick is in the methodology:

Questions on sexual orientation have been included in the high school YRBS since 2005. In 2011, the survey’s sample size was increased to enable county-level reporting, consequently increasing the number of SM respondents and enabling analysis of YRBS data by sexual orientation. In 2017, a question on sexual orientation was included for the first time in the middle school module of the YRBS, and a question on gender identity was added to the high school module. For this report, aggregated high school data for the years 2011, 2013, and 2015 were analyzed. Respondents were asked to self-identify as heterosexual/straight, gay or lesbian, bisexual, or not sure; youth who reported being “not sure” were coded as “questioning” in this report. (pg 11)

What does this really obvious scam produce?  See the chart from page 44.  Notice that 40.1% of the “questioning” are 9th graders who have no idea what long words like “heterosexual/straight, gay or lesbian, bisexual” mean so they checked “not sure”.  Also notice that 61.5% of the LGB are female whereas other studies show that male homosexuals outnumber lesbians 2-1.

The report presents no statistics on the number of transsexuals in Hawaii high schools – probably because there are too few to perform statistical analysis.

Of course the numerical discrepancies could be taken at face value—the change from baseline studies would provide evidence that Charles Darwin was right and homosexuality is not an in-born characteristic.  The lack of transsexuals might be cause to question the need for government-mandated bathroom policies.  But those would be thought crimes and you would have to report for diversity training again so better just forget it.

And what will happen to HS students who really do go gay?  Other gays will rape them:

“LGB adults in Hawai’i are significantly more likely than heterosexual adults to experience both physical and sexual abuse by an intimate partner.  LGB adults are more than twice as likely to experience sexual abuse and nearly three times as likely to experience physical abuse in intimate relationships compared to heterosexual adults. When examined by sex, lesbian or bisexual women are significantly more likely to report physical abuse by a current or former intimate partner compared to heterosexual women. Gay or bisexual men are significantly more likely to report being sexually abused by their partners compared to heterosexual men. Additionally, LGB adults are significantly more likely to have been victims of rape or attempted rape compared to heterosexual adults.” (pg35)

Are you committing a thought crime right now?

read … Full DOH Report

SA: The hidden horror of sex assaults by K-12 students

Multi-Year Disaster At Neva King Cooper Educational Center, Part Three

The first time the district is authorized to play a role in the [charter school conversion] process occurs when the application is submitted for decision. (FRS1002.33(3)(b). Despite these restrictions, the district chose to maintain a very pronounced presence at NKC. For the next three months, two very senior district administrators (Ava Goldman, administrative director and Mr. Will Gordillo, Dr. Fernandez’ immediate supervisor) were on our school campus all day long, every day the school was in session. The reason given by the district for this was that these two extremely prominent administrators were there to answer any questions our staff had about converting to a charter school. Quite frankly, all of the questions our staff had were answered within the first 2-3 days of their stay on our campus. Given the high salaries those two officials were paid, it would be interesting to know how much taxpayers had to pay for their three month stay at one of the smallest schools in Miami-Dade County. Rightly or wrongly, the NKC staff viewed the daily attendance of two very senior district officials as an attempt to intimidate the staff.

One day, while the students were still on campus, Ms. Ava Goldman knocked on my classroom door and said she needed to speak to me immediately. Ms. Goldman and I then spent the next 20 minutes standing right next to my closed classroom door while she asked me a series of questions. That year I had the most difficult and behaviorally challenged class of my 30 year career. The only staff person left in my classroom  (while Ms. Goldman interviewed me) was my paraprofessional. As Ms. Goldman continued to question me, the volume of noise inside my classroom steadily increased. I heard a great deal of shouting, both from my paraprofessional and my students. I also heard several crashes  and other loud noises.  Perhaps I am wrong, but I find it hard to imagine that Ms. Goldman could not also hear the chaos inside my classroom, as she was standing right next to me.

At no time did she offer to continue her questioning after the students went home for the day. This is odd, because after spending her entire day at our campus for 3 months, she surely must have been aware of the fact that the entire staff had an hour long planning period every day after the students went home for the day. When I returned to my classroom after Ms. Goldman finished questioning me, my classroom was in a shambles, and my paraprofessional was extremely upset. Several tables and chairs were overturned and some expensive educational materials had been destroyed. Thankfully, none of my students were injured during my 20 minute instructional time conference with Ms. Goldman. If one or more of my students had been injured, I am wondering if Ms. Goldman would have assumed responsibility on my mandatory student injury report. Several other teachers also reported lengthy questioning by Ms. Goldman during instructional time. These teachers also felt that Ms. Goldman’s actions needlessly placed our students at risk for injury.

Prior to NKC notifying the district of our intention to explore the option of converting to a charter school, Mr. Will Gordillo had visited our campus on perhaps a half dozen occasions, never staying for more than half a day. Ms. Goldman had never before visited our campus. Mr. Gordillo and Ms. Goldman were not the only high ranking district officials to visit our school during the next 3 months. On February 3, the day after the district was notified of the NKC decision to explore a charter school conversion, our campus was visited by several senior district officials, including a region director who said she was representing the assistant superintendent for school operations, the region superintendent, and Milagros Fornell, who is the associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction, and a member of the superintendent’s cabinet. The visits and the conversation included implied threats to Dr. Fernandez’ employment. For example, the region director on numerous occasions reminded Dr. Fernandez that he was “still an employee of the school district” repeatedly making this comment in the presence of the school’s assistant principal. In addition, Ms. Fornell  also commented as to how “disappointed” she was regarding Dr. Fernandez’ recommendation for charter school status. The district instructed Dr. Fernandez to call a meeting of the NKC staff to discuss the charter school conversion. The meeting occurred on February 7, 2012. Approximately 15 high level  administrators, including members of the superintendent’s cabinet, were present at the meeting.

Most of these officials had never been to NKC before. Staff members were given information by district officials that was contrary to FS1002.33 regarding conversion to charter schools. In order to make an informed and intelligent decision regarding conversion to a charter school, staff needed to receive accurate and correct information from district officials. Although district officials had both a legal and moral duty to present NKC staff with accurate and factual information, that simply did not happen. The information we received at that meeting contained numerous egregious errors. For example, district officials told NKC staff that conversion to a charter school would result in a total loss of Federal funds. At the end of our first year of operations, as a charter school, the district told us we could expect to face a deficit of $1.25 million dollars. The figures drawn up by the NKC administrators showed the school enjoying a surplus of $400 thousand dollars at the conclusion of our first year as a charter school. At my request (the writer of this column) I received an extensive briefing by the NKC administrators on our revenues and expenditures as a charter school.

I can therefore state that this $400 thousand dollar surplus was a very conservative estimate. Our actual surplus would probably have been significantly higher. The district officials also incorrectly stated that as a charter school, we would not be allowed to participate in the Florida Retirement System (FRS). School district officials also incorrectly stated that as a charter school, we would lose all of our health benefits. Finally, we were incorrectly told that as a charter school, we could not expect the district to cover the cost of transporting our students to and from school via bus. The district’s information was so grossly inaccurate that a reasonable person would conclude that they were either totally incompetent or deliberately lying to us. To make matters worse, neither Dr. Fernandez or Mr. Cristobol was given an opportunity to speak at this meeting, so they were unable to correct these numerous serious mistakes. a result, NKC staff left that meeting with grossly inaccurate information. As a member of the NKC staff at that time, I can state that the information dispensed at that meeting was HUGELY instrumental in convincing staff that conversion to a charter school was not economically viable.

On February 9,2012, Dr. Fernandez sent an email to his immediate supervisor, Mr. Will Gordillo requesting that Mr. Gordillo forward a memorandum to Ms. Judith Marte, chief budget officer titled “funding sources for charter schools, legal requirements.” Ms. Marte sent Dr. Fernandez a response memorandum dated February 14, 2012, in which Ms. Marte provided inaccurate and incomplete information regarding the budget. The district instructed Dr. Fernandez to call a meeting of the parents of NKC students to discuss the conversion process. The meeting was held on February 16, 2012, and was controlled by administrators from the district. Much of the same incorrect information that was presented to NKC staff was repeated to NKC parents. Dr. Fernandez was in constant communication with district officials, and made numerous requests that correct information be provided to staff PRIOR to the conversion voting. The district provided some but not nearly all of the information requested. As a result, Dr. Fernandez notified his superiors that he was postponing the vote.

On February 18, Dr. Fernandez received an email from Ms. Goldman ordering him not to conduct the voting. This instruction from Ms. Goldman was in direct violation of Florida law and the Florida Administrative Code that a) provides the applicant with the absolute right for one teacher and parent vote per year. b) requires that the school administrator conduct such votes c) assigns full responsibility and control of the overall application and ballot process to the applicant and the school administrator(FS1002.33 (6)7(b);F.A.C.6A-6.0787(1). On April 26,2012, an investigator from the district’s Civilian Investigative Unit (CIU) sent a letter to certain NKC employees indicating that she had been assigned the task of investigating the allegation that Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol may have violated school board policies. The letter stated that this was “an open investigation, no other information can be provided at this time.” The recipients of the letter were “advised not to contact any subject(s) or witnesses, with the intent to interfere with the investigation…”. On April 23, 2012, Ms. Milagros Fornell appeared in Dr. Fernandez’ office at NKC around 2:20 P.M.. She served written notice to both Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol naming them the subject of an investigation for their efforts in attempting to influence the outcome of the vote for a proposed charter school conversion. The notification does not contend that Dr. Fernandez engaged in any unlawful activities in conjunction with an application to establish a charter school. Such contention and subsequent proof would be the only way that the district could cause Dr. Fernandez to lose his protected status under Florida law (FS1002.33(4)(a)).

The district also failed to comply with its own Personnel Investigative Model (PIM) which is subject to the district’s written policy. The notification provided to Dr. Fernandez led to an investigation that was to be conducted by the district’s Civilian Investigative Unit (CIU) According to the policy, the PIM was developed to “address concerns and incorporate recommendations made by educational stakeholders to insure that district-initiated  investigations are completed with objectivity, fairness, and with a FULL APPRECIATION OF OUR EMPLOYEES RIGHTS; (emphasis added) while maintaining the legal integrity of the investigative process.” The district violated Dr. Fernandez right to directly or indirectly participate in the application for charter status as guaranteed by Florida charter school law. (FS1002.33(4)(a)(2011). According to the policy, the PIM is “designed to provide a more transparent process for conducting investigations. It is intended to respect and enhance the Due Process rights of district employees. and provide uniformity to the recommendations for DISCIPLINARY ACTION. (emphasis added) A “disciplinary action” for participating in a charter application process is a direct violation of FS1002.33(4)(a). On April 24, 2012, Julio Miranda, an auditor from the district’s audit department, accompanied by a district investigator, arrived unannounced at the school.

Alberto+Carvalho+September+9+2013

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho

These district officials reiterated the districts claims against Dr. Fernandez and served him with a letter dated April 20, 2012, signed by Mr. Miranda containing allegations concerning the investigation. The letter “prohibited”  Dr. Fernandez from contacting any complaintant(s) or witnesses. The identity of the adverse witnesses and the accusers that Dr. Fernandez was not to contact was withheld from Dr. Fernandez. On May 18, 2012, Dr. Fernandez was summoned to Ms. Fornell’s office. Ms. Fornell gave Dr. Fernandez a “Reappointment Recommendation” form for him to sign. In the form, Ms. Goldman and Ms. Fornell recommended “Reappointment SUBJECT TO RESOLUTION OF PENDING ISSUES…” On June 8, 2012, Ms. Ana Rasco from the Office of Professional Standards caused the issuance of a letter to Dr. Fernandez confirming the substance of the meeting in Ms. Fornell’s office concerning Dr. Fernandez’ reappointment. “subject to the resolution of pending issues.”

On June 26, 2012, Ms. Rasco caused the issuance of a letter informing Dr. Fernandez that the outcome of the investigation conducted by the CIU had resulted in a finding of probable cause against Dr. Fernandez for the violation of enumerated district policies. The violations of protected status, adverse actions and the unlawful reprisal detailed above have all occurred since the district was notified of the efforts of NKC to explore charter status and consider conversion to charter school in accordance with Florida law. The district’s unlawful actions and the unlawful reprisal  were a direct and proximate result of the lawful actions of Dr. Fernandez, NKC employees, and parents on behalf of NKC students and their families as they sought to explore conversion charter status for the school. On May 2, 2012, Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol were summoned to the district office where each was assigned a directive entitled “terms and conditions of an alternate assignment.” The directive issued instructed the two NKC administrators to remove themselves from Neva King Cooper School and stripped them of their responsibilities as administrators of NKC.

Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol were reassigned to menial tasks elsewhere  in the school district that amounted to “changes and duties or responsibilities that [were] inconsistent with the employees salary or employment clarification.” FS1002.33 (40(a). In addition, they were ordered not to contact, visit, or engage in any type of communication with staff, parents, community members, or witnesses to the pending investigation. The adverse transfer and reassignment took effect immediately. Readers wishing to delve further into this case can do so by going to www.floridadoah.org and clicking on case Florida DOAH 13-1492, as mentioned earlier. The penalties both Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Cristobol paid for their heroic attempt to defend profoundly mentally handicapped children who literally cannot speak for themselves may move you to tears. On May2, 2012, with a little over a month remaining in the school year, BOTH our administrators were removed from our school, even though both administrators were ENORMOUSLY popular with parents, staff, PTA, and all other relevant NKC stakeholders, causing needless hardship at the school. It is highly unusual to remove even one, let alone both administrators prior to the end of a school year. The obvious question is why Mr. Carvalho simply did not wait until the end of the school year, and very quietly exile them at that time?

The reason given by Mr. Carvalho was that he (Mr. Carvalho) had been told by anonymous sources that the NKC administrators were “attempting to intimidate NKC staff into voting for the charter school.” The two NKC administrators had been removed from our campus, and warned to have no further contact with NKC staff. Furthermore, there was very little chance of them ever returning to NKC, so “intimidated” NKC staff would not have to worry about any retaliation from the two exiled administrators, should they choose to step forward and provide testimony about how they had been “intimidated.” When district representatives visited our campus to take statements from any NKC staff who had been intimidated by Dr. Fernandez and/or Mr. Cristobol, not a single NKC staff person reported any retaliation, or threats of retaliation from either NKC administrator. Had the district posed the question of whether NKC staff felt intimidated by the actions of the district over the preceding three months, nearly the entire staff would have stepped forward to lodge complaints against the district.

Myself and many other NKC staff felt it was highly hypocritical of the district to accuse our school administrators of intimidation when the CONSIDERABLE amount of intimidation came from the district against the NKC staff.

Multi-Year Disaster at Neva King Cooper Educational Center, Part Two

Approximately 50% of our students are in wheelchairs. If a child remains in his or her wheelchair all day long, over a period of several years his or her body “freezes” into a position that can cause muscles to atrophy and excruciating pain in adulthood. For this reason, up until 5 years ago, our staff used the M.O.V.E. curriculum which involved getting students out of their wheelchairs and into equipment designed to prevent muscles from atrophying and permanent deformations in bodily posture.

A staff of in-house physical and occupational therapists trained teachers to correctly position our students in this expensive equipment. Occasionally, we achieved minor miracles. We had one man that a doctor insisted would be confined for life to a wheelchair. Through the hard work of both staff and therapists, this young man learned to walk, and then run independently. Tragically, the incredibly successful M.O.V.E. curriculum was abolished from our school 5 years ago.

Even more astonishingly, at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, the new principal of our school, Dr. Tracy Roos, saw fit to transfer en masse our entire physical and occupational therapy staff out of our school, even though our school staff felt these people were highly effective and hard working professionals. Hopefully, a powerful person, possibly a state of Florida or Federal Department of Education person who is reading this blog will have the authority to find out who authorized this transfer, and why such a highly unusual mass transfer didn’t raise a number of red flags. The transferred therapists were replaced by an equally competent staff of physical/occupational therapists who would very much like to do the job they have been trained to do. For some reason, the new staff of physical/occupational therapists are no longer allowed to visit classrooms and train teachers to correctly position wheelchair bound students in the very expensive equipment  (bought with taxpayer money) that is now sitting unused in our school gym, gathering dust and rust.

Hopefully, one or more powerful people will step forward to ask why therapists are no longer allowed to train teachers to use this equipment and to pressure MDCPS to allow the NKC therapy staff to use this equipment. I was the union steward at my school for 10 years. One night, at a meeting of all the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) stewards in the school district, the UTD president made a statement I have never forgotten. The union president said,

“In a nutshell, here is how the MDCPS district operates. The vendors who sell products and services to the school district want to sell as many products/services as possible. School board members want to get reelected. So school board members agree to purchase expensive products of questionable educational value from vendors. In return, vendors make large donations to school board members reelection campaigns. It’s a wonderful system, unless you are a student, a parent, a taxpayer, or an educator.”

For many years, the staff of NKC experienced great success using our Small Step and M.O.V.E. curriculum. Parents were pleased and in some cases astonished with the progress their sons and daughters were making at our school. During his career of over 30 years, the exiled principal of our school, Dr. Alberto Fernandez received the highest possible evaluation for the 15 years he was the principal of NKC, and for most of the nearly 10 years he served as a central office administrator. Prior to his attempt to investigate converting NKC to a charter school, (I’ll discuss that later on in this blog) Dr. Fernandez had never received a negative memorandum from any of his supervisors  in all of his years as a district employee.

Several years ago,  MDCPS began to attempt to persuade Dr. Fernandez to drop our highly successful  Small Step/M.O.V.E. curriculum  and replace it with a very expensive and ineffective new curriculum  called the Unique Learning System (ULS). Florida law allows a public school to convert to a charter school  (see FS1002.33 (3) (b). These laws explicitly state that administrators and staff who choose to exercise this right cannot be retaliated against  by the school board or school board employees in charge of personnel matters.  (see FS1002.33 (4)(a)).

Regrettably, this law does not seem to invoke a penalty of any sort for a superintendent who chooses (however blatantly) to violate this right. (I will discuss this in greater detail later on in the blog). Dr. Fernandez and our assistant principal, Mr. Henny Cristobol felt that we could better serve the needs of our students by converting to a charter school. This decision was made not to defy Alberto Carvalho (the MDCPS superintendent) but to serve the needs of profoundly mentally handicapped students, who literaaly cannot speak for themselves. They (our school site administrators) enlisted the services of Mr. Robin Gibson, an attorney who had helped several other Florida public schools to convert to charter schools. The proposal to explore converting to a charter school was referred to our faculty council, the governing body of our school. In a unanimous vote, the faculty council approved this proposal. When MDCPS top officials were notified, on February 2, 2012, of KNC’s plans to explore conversion to a charter school, all hell broke loose.

No authority is provided by Florida statute 1002.33 or the Department of Education regulation 6A-6.0787 that would authorize the district or any of its administrators to participate or inject themselves into the application or ballet process.

This is the second installment Neva King Cooper Educational Center, which may be accessed at mdcpsallegations.com

Lesbian school teacher bans Christian cross because its a ‘gang symbol’

riedas

Lora Jane Riedas (circled in red) is a Chapter leader of the Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

Jews and Christians are being persecuted across the globe. That persecution has come to a public school in Tampa, Florida. The persecutor is a teacher who is a lesbian. Her name is Lora Jane Riedas. Her lesbian partner is also a teacher at the same Riverview High School.

Riedas is a Chapter leader of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN). MassResistance reported:

Why are so many kids – many of them troubled – now “coming out” as homosexuals, announcing to everyone that this is their true “identity”, that it’s “who they are”? It doesn’t happen by accident. It’s carefully calculated by national homosexual activist groups pushing their programs in the nation’s schools.

This is the fourth part in our series on this year’s annual GLSEN Conference in Boston in April [2014] which brought together LGBT teachers, activists, and supportive administrators where they outlined their latest tactics for the schools. Part III exposed the transgender agenda in schools. Part II revealed their plans to push “gay clubs” in middle schools.

Read more…

 from The Blaze in an article titled Florida teacher reportedly banned students from wearing crosses, now threatened with legal action reports:

A Tampa, Florida, high school teacher has prohibited several students from wearing cross necklaces in her classroom, and the school district is now opening an investigation into the matter.

According to a letter sent on Thursday to Hillsborough County Public Schools from Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization specializing in legal cases involving constitutional law, math teacher Lora Jane Riedas allegedly told at least three of her students that they were not allowed to wear the Christian emblem because it represented a gang symbol. One of the crosses, according to Liberty Counsel, is less than an inch tall.

“We write on behalf of parents of children in the classroom of teacher Lora Jane Riedas, a math teacher at Riverview High School, who report that Ms. Riedas has prohibited at least three children from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming on occasion that they are ‘gang symbols,’” the letter said. “They are not gang symbols, but are symbols of personal faith.”

“[Riedas said] ‘I need you to take your necklace off.’ Our client asked ‘Why?’ and Ms. Riedas refused to explain, stating ‘That’s disrespectful; you have to take it off.’ Our client did not want to be disrespectful, so she took it off, but she felt bad because she felt she was being forced to deny her faith. All of our clients are afraid to openly wear their cross necklaces in class any more,” the letter stated, detailing a Christian student’s interaction with the teacher.

Read more…

Lora Jane Riedas school at spirit week dressed as a Nun wearing a cross made of human skulls.

According to a Liberty Counsel statement:

Riedas’ classroom décor blatantly promotes a pro-LGBT agenda. Riedas retweeted, apparently during the school day, “favorite queer web series for kids” from “huffpostqueer” stating: “Here’s how to talk to kids about what it means to be an LGBTQ ally.” She is part of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) Leadership Institute.

Riedas has prohibited at least three students from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming they are “gang symbols.” One of the crosses, a tiny crucifix worn by Liberty Counsel’s ninth grade client, is less than one inch long. Riedas demanded the student stop wearing her cross necklace and singled her out for several false “misbehavior” allegations after the student removed the LGBT rainbow sticker from her class notebook. Riedas’ lesbian partner, who is also a teacher at Riverview, dressed as a nun for school spirit week, complete with a “cross necklace” made of skulls. She tweeted she has “a bad habit” and the point is to be “creepy.” 

This persecution of young Christians is child abuse at best and a possible hate crime at worst.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Read more about the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network by clicking here.

University of Arizona Professor Suggested Queer Theory be Taught in Elementary Schools

RELATED INFOGRAPHICS: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

infochristian-persecution2

Top 50 countries – Christian persecution.

Top 50 countries - Christian persecution

Multi-Year Disaster at Neva King Cooper Educational Center, Part One

As this is my first post, an introduction is in order.

500px-Homestead_FL_Cooper_Hotel01

Homestead Public School-Neva King Cooper School. U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Photo: Wikipedia.

My name is Bill Detzner. In June 2015, I retired from a 30 year career as a special education teacher with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS). I spent the last 25 years of my career teaching at Neva King Cooper (NKC) a public school exclusively for profoundly mentally retarded students with IQ’s of 25 and below.

During my career, I was selected as my school’s teacher of the year. I served as my school’s union steward (United Teachers of Dade (UTD))  for 10 years and I was a department head.

During the 2011-2012, school year, NKC attempted to exercise its legal option to convert from a public school to a charter school.

MDCPS smashed this attempt using tactics that a court of law ( the case number is Florida DOAH 13-1492) ruled to be illegal reprisal and abuse of authority.

I have written a very lengthy blog about how MDCPS smashed this charter school conversion attempt and the series of actions taken by MDCPS over the past 5 years against the staff of NKC that appear to be retaliatory in nature. That information can be accessed at mdcpsallegations.com. My postings on this site will present the contents of my blog in shorter segments.

NKC serves students between the ages of 3-22. The goal of NKC special education teachers  is for some of those students to attend a sheltered workshop  after graduation from school. Students who cannot be placed into sheltered workshops are sometimes placed in group homes. Sadly, the curriculum my school has been using for the last 5 years, the Unique Learning System (ULS) will greatly reduce the number of students we place into sheltered workshops after graduation. (I will discuss this further later on in the blog.) Special needs adults take enormous pride in earning a paycheck and doing meaningful work. A special needs student cannot be placed into a sheltered workshop unless he or she is toilet trained, relatively free of maladaptive behaviors, and able to remain on-task to perform repetitive tasks.

Up until 5 years ago, the Neva King Cooper school’s curriculum was tailored to help students achieve these goals. Most of our students are not toilet trained when they come to our school. They also exhibit many maladaptive behaviors, and an inability to remain on-task for long periods of time. Up until the last 5 years, our curriculum placed a very heavy emphasis on toilet training, extinguishing maladaptive behaviors, and replacing them with more socially acceptable behaviors, and a vocational program  involving horticultural and other activities designed to increase on-task behavior in repetitive tasks.  With the permission of MDCPS, our staff developed its own curriculum, which we call the Small Step Curriculum (SSC), based on the concept of task analysis. Task analysis breaks complex tasks into a series of simple sequential steps. If a person performs all of the simple steps in the correct order, the complex task is achieved.

Up until 5 years ago, our staff achieved great success using task analysis to teach our students complex self-help tasks such as washing their hands and faces, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, dressing themselves (or assisting in dressing themselves) (this task was done while changing students to participate in our on-site swimming pool program), toileting, and feeding themselves. People who have suffered a stroke who can no longer independently perform these basic self-help skills suffer an enormous loss in self-esteem. Special needs children who master these skills experience a great deal of joy and pride in themselves when they succeed in learning these basic self-help skills.

I believe that the need for accomplishment is a universal human need. (I will discuss this further later on).

RELATED ARTICLE: Lawsuit – Miami-Dade School Board Violated Free Speech by Shutting Down Charter School Bid

EDITORS NOTE: The Neva King Cooper Educational Center is a historic school in Homestead, Florida. It is part of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools district. The school serves students with mental disabilities. The school was built in 1914 as the Homestead Public School and designed by August Geiger. In 1934 it was renamed the Neva King Cooper School. On December 4, 1985, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The property is part of the Homestead Multiple Property Submission, a Multiple Property Submission to the National Register.

The Bad Manners of the Campus Left by Lawrence W. Reed

It snowed last Thursday (April 20) in Colorado.

It’s not unusual for folks in the Centennial State to witness snow in April if the snowflakes are outside. But on this occasion, they appeared inside a university classroom, which, it turns out, is not unusual either.

Having been invited by the local chapter of the student organization, Turning Point USA, I arrived on the campus of the University of Colorado-Denver to deliver a lecture on “Lessons from Ancient Rome.” The subject was 2,500-year-old history with a sprinkling of observations about what we today might learn from it all. Not exactly a hot-button topic such as abortion, immigration, Trump, or the most recent season of “The Walking Dead.”

What I saw from a minority of radicalized students in the audience, however, was an appalling microcosm of the smug, arrogant, self-righteous, politically-correct, campus insanity that you see on TV with increasing frequency these days.

About a dozen of the students at last Thursday’s event interrupted my lecture repeatedly with lengthy diatribes. One held up a sign that read, “Bullshit!” They heckled me. When that failed, they accused me of racism. I was able to deal with the interruptions and conclude my speech, but that was due to a failure in the protesters’ organizing capabilities rather than any generosity in their intent. They exhibited far more “selfishness” than the conservatives and libertarians they think of as “selfish” and seek to silence. It certainly helped that the rest of the audience wanted me to speak, and enthusiastically applauded each time I put a protester in his place.

For me, next year will mark 50 years in the “liberty movement.” It was in 1968, a month shy of my 15th birthday and prompted by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, that I participated in a public demonstration in Pittsburgh. So I know and appreciate the importance of protest. In the right places and at the proper times and for noble causes, it’s a healthy and necessary thing. In Mellon Square in downtown Pittsburgh that day forty-nine years ago, we protested the vicious deployment of tanks, guns and troops by a communist regime to crush the rights and freedoms of a neighboring country.

What the hooligans last Thursday at my lecture in Colorado were objecting to was a very different kind of invasion—a peaceful, voluntary offering of ideas they were unaware of, didn’t want to hear, and thought it was their right to prevent others from hearing. Their intent was to intimidate, to harass, to silence, to dominate. This is not conduct that a citadel of education should tolerate for an instant.

Interesting, isn’t it, that what some go to college for, others find “offensive.” As I watched the incident occur, I thought to myself, “I’m standing in a taxpayer-funded institution of supposedly ‘higher’ education, not a Khmer Rouge re-education camp, for crying out loud!”

The disruptions commenced a mere five minutes into my lecture on Roman history, before I had progressed much beyond about 300 B.C. So it was hardly anything I could have said that the disrupters truly found indecent. They had come voluntarily but were annoyed—deeply and personally aggrieved, it seemed—for no more reason than the speaker and the sponsoring organization possessed viewpoints they knew little about, didn’t understand, couldn’t articulate, and don’t like.

Far-left students derailing speakers with whom they disagree have been in the news a lot. Sometimes they’ve resorted to violence. Many times, the speech being protested was cancelled before it happened or protesters forcibly prevented the speaker from finishing his job. My encounter was small potatoes by comparison and fortunately, never descended into fisticuffs. And I did push back, and I did finish speaking.

When I taught college classes 40 years ago, I didn’t tolerate a sleeper or a ball cap, let alone a bad-mannered brat with no respect for the rights of his fellow students. So I wasn’t about to let these “progressive” brownshirts shut me up.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald explained where this tawdry deportment is coming from:

Campus intolerance is at root not a psychological phenomenon but an ideological one. At its center is a worldview that sees Western culture as endemically racist and sexist. The overriding goal of the educational establishment is to teach young people within the ever-growing list of official victim classifications to view themselves as existentially oppressed. One outcome of that teaching is the forceful silencing of contrarian speech…The silencing of speech is a massive problem, but it is a symptom of an even more profound distortion of reality.

Like Mac Donald, I doubt that many of the anti-free speech bullies in today’s colleges and universities enter those institutions with the intent to shut people up. It’s not typically their parents who teach them intolerance, it’s a handful of their professors—the very professors their parents are bankrolling with their hard-earned tax and tuition dollars. They are besmirching the entire profession, which neither the serious students who want to learn or the good professors who want to teach deserve.

I’m guessing that UC-Denver’s course on “Problematizing Whiteness: Educating for Racial Justice” is not helping matters.

My FEE colleague Jeffrey Tucker recently shed light on the influence of Herbert Marcuse, a key Marxist intellectual from whom the troublemakers draw inspiration. In a similar vein, I wrote four years ago about how ugly ideas permeating British academia contributed to ugly behavior in the streets in the wake of Margaret Thatcher’s death in 2013.

Here are some highlights of the exchange at the University of Colorado-Denver last week:

A few minutes into my lecture, a student raised his hand and started speaking. I politely said, “Please let me get through my lecture and then we’ll have a Q & A period.” He muttered something that only those around him could hear, but I doubt it was “Thank you.”

A minute or two later, I mentioned that ancient Roman road-building was so massive that nothing would compare in magnitude until the 20th Century. One of the snowflakes found that offensive.

“Not true! The Mayans built roads too!” that same student rudely interjected from the back of the room.

“Yes, the Mayans built roads too, but nothing on the scale of the Romans,” I responded.

“Not true!” he insisted. “We have professors who have researched this!”

Well, here are the cold, hard facts: Roman road mileage totaled 250,000. By contrast, the most extensive road system in pre-Columbian South America was constructed by the Incas, not the Mayans, and it amounted to a mere 25,000 miles. Mayan civilization (everything, not just the roads) covered about 125,000 square miles at its height, compared to Rome’s 2.5 million square miles. You could fit all of the Mayan Empire into just half of the Roman province of Egypt. So the student who felt so put upon and so sure of himself that he had to interrupt the speaker didn’t actually have a clue of what he was babbling about.

There’s another point worth making here. Why do you suppose the student was so indignant that I didn’t give inflated road-building credit to the Mayans in a lecture on Rome? Answer: Because Romans were white Europeans and in the official Newspeak of far-Left academia, white Europeans are barely a notch above persona non grata. Mayans, on the other hand, were “indigenous, native peoples” who must be elevated and celebrated.

Never mind that the state religion of the Mayan Empire incorporated idol worship, human sacrifice, hallucinogenic rituals and decapitations. Let’s not talk about the pandemic internecine warfare of the Mayan Empire, or its severe environmental degradation and enslavement of subjugated peoples, either. That would not be politically correct.

Again, I asked that I be allowed to make my presentation and take questions afterwards. Mumblings and a few brief outbursts persisted but I mostly ignored them.

Fifteen or so minutes later, another student raised his voice from the back row, “You haven’t allowed any questions yet!”

I replied, “I already said I would take questions when the lecture is over, and I promise I’ll call on you first.” He insisted on speaking then and there, whereupon one of the Turning Point students asked him to leave the room. He did, but returned moments later.

In the video clip above, you can observe a part of this student’s Second Coming. As promised, I called on him during the Q & A. Do you suppose his question was about Roman history? Of course not. Here, slightly abbreviated, is how it unfolded:

Student: “You wouldn’t take my question when I wanted to ask it. Why should I listen to anything you say if you won’t listen to what I say? Why should I bother?”

Me: “What am I doing right now but listening to you?” A few incoherent mumblings in response, which prompted me to then assert, “This has happened before on some campuses and I’m guessing that you just can’t stand the fact that somebody might have a viewpoint different from yours.” Vigorous applause followed from the great majority of the audience, boos and catcalls from the minority.

The video clip, unfortunately, doesn’t quite capture a subsequent moment that I regard as the high point of the whole affair. I raised my voice to convey an important observation to the disrupter: “You have a character problem!” I doubt he understood that I was informing him that his rude intolerance was not only indefensible, it was a manifestation of something wrong inside, something flawed about his personal choices and conduct.

“Now you’re calling me an idiot!” he exclaimed, to which I instantly shot back, “I did NOT say you were an idiot. I said you have a character problem!”

That’s when some shouting and epithets began to pour forth from the know-it-all snowflakes: “You’re a racist! “Bullshit!” Nazi!” And a few F-bombs as well, the first of several aimed at me both during the event and while I was walking to my car. It was amazing how swiftly and seamlessly these wise guys toggled between “offended“ and “offensive”!

And oh, the sanctimony was so thick you could cut it with a knife! The slogans that rolled off those immature tongues were what Anthony Esolen refers to in his superb book, “Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture” as “cant”—the insincere or hypocritical use of pious language to cover up for one’s ignorance while making a pretense to moral superiority. In Esolen’s words,

You have to be educated into cant; it is a kind of stupidity that surpasses the capacity of unaided Nature to confer….

People are especially prone to cant when they describe their feelings in public. When someone says, “I am offended by that remark,” the first thing you must think, in our time, is that the remark has broken upon the person’s day like the bright sun through a week of rain and gloom. An owl is not offended by the little field mouse; it is just what the owl is on the lookout for. If the offended person loses any sleep that night, it will not be for sorrow, but for delightful dreams of vengeance and public displays of virtue. The cannibal rolls up his sleeves and whets the knife. For truly tolerant people are hard to offend. They do not seek occasion to bring others into ill repute. They do not put the worst construction on someone else’s words or deeds.

Disturbingly, this lowering of the most basic standards of interpersonal communication makes a mockery of “higher” education in this troubled age of ours.

Blake Scott from Littleton, Colorado was there last Thursday evening (and provided the video clip). In his words, “I was shocked at how the students attacked Mr. Reed with unwarranted claims. Rather than derailing from his speech that he was invited to give, he respectfully took the moral high ground. Hecklers accused him of racism during the question and answer session, claiming he selectively picked students for questions by racial profile, without any evidence whatever. The students constantly attempted to disrupt the speech but he calmly rebutted their outbursts.”

Bradley Beck of Erie, Colorado, another eyewitness, says, “The whole time, Mr. Reed smiled and stayed professional, calm and in charge.”

So the good news is that this time, the bad guys didn’t get away with it.

The increasing frenzy of the campus Left may be an indication that, in the words of Robert Tracinski in “The Federalist,” we are approaching “peak leftism.” We should certainly hope Tracinski is right.

Writing in The Washington Post on April 20 (the same day as my Colorado speech, coincidentally), Catherine Rampell advised, “Don’t blame college students for their hostility to free expression. The fault ultimately lies with cowardly school administrations, who so often cave to student demands for censorship.” (In that same article, she recounted a crazy episode at American University in Washington. It’s worth your attention. Also, check out the headlines to commentary at The College Fix and you’ll get the drift.)

Rampell makes a good point. Cowardly school administrators are indeed partly at fault, and not just because they coddle reprehensible student conduct. When they hire barbarians to teach in their classrooms and collaborate with them to blackball serious scholars of a different viewpoint, they are accomplices in the degradation of education and the decay of civilization.

But I don’t let the students off the hook. They are young adults. Even if they act like toddlers in a temper tantrum, nothing will nip this stuff in the bud quicker than treating them as adults. That means one fair warning before a second offense. Then you get expelled and perhaps fined and maybe even a night or two in the slammer, if I had my druthers. Unlike the barbarian Left, I take freedom of speech seriously, and assaults on it even more seriously. Let’s stand up to these bullies. Civilization depends on it.

The students from the UC-Denver Turning Point chapter suffer through intimidation tactics from the campus Left all the time, as do courageous students from TPUSA chapters elsewhere, along with students in similar organizations like Young Americans for Liberty, Students for Liberty, Young Americans for Freedom, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. At FEE, we are proud to work with them, provide literature and speakers and moral support, and we applaud their efforts to resist the barbarians in their midst. If anything, the incident last week only emboldens us to assist them all the more.

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is President of the Foundation for Economic Education and the author of the book Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character and Conviction. Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Shadowy Extremist Group Behind the Anti-Trump Riots | LifeZette

West Virginia middle school teacher wears ‘Tuck Frump’ shirt in class

Treason in the classroom.

These are the real-life villains teaching our children, brainwashing and inculcating them into the army of gossestepping leftist zombies. I have one word for Americans — Homeschool.

If that’s not an option, get active. Get on school boards, fight!

Call:

Sherman Junior High School
Principal: Matt Riggs
9846 Coal River Rd, Seth, WV 25181
Phone: (304) 837-3694

How sure are these totalitarian soldiers? The teacher Ms. Judy said she doesn’t try to push her liberalism on others, but asserted that the children who saw her patch on Thursday were “like-minded.”

Frightening.

WEST VIRGINIA MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER PHOTOGRAPHED WEARING ‘TUCK FRUMP’ SHIRT IN CLASS

By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times – Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A West Virginia middle school teacher is under fire after she was photographed by a student in class wearing a jacket with the words, “Tuck Frump,” emblazoned on the back.

Cheryl Judy, an art teacher for Sherman Junior and Senior high schools in Boone County, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the profane anti-President Trump message was written on a patch that she later attached to her jacket while in class Thursday afternoon.

Ms. Judy said she was planning on wearing the patch to a school board meeting later that evening, so she briefly tried it on in class to make sure it was on straight. She said that “without thinking,” she then allowed a student to take a picture of the patch, which the student shared on Snapchat.

The picture quickly exploded on social media, and now some parents are calling for Ms. Judy’s resignation.

Superintendent Jeff Huffman said he can’t comment specifically on Ms. Judy’s case but vowed to investigate once spring break concludes this week.

“We expect professionalism with both conduct and appearance,” Mr. Huffman told WSAZ. “It seems to have caused a great amount of concern from around the area and around the nation, as we’ve received multiple phone calls today.”

Ms. Judy said she’s been teaching in Boone County for more than 13 years and is the secretary for the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers labor union. She said she doesn’t try to push her liberalism on others but asserted that the children who saw her patch on Thursday were “like-minded.”

“We had discussed this kind of stuff before,” Ms. Judy told WSAZ. “They were not offended by it. It doesn’t really have anything inappropriate on it unless you read it the wrong way.”

“I don’t want to lose my job. I want to teach my students, but if I have to, I have to. It’s just a shame that students are going to be losing someone they care about and really cares about them, each and every one of them,” she told the Gazette-Mail.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Geller Report.

The Least Diverse Places in America

College campuses are the least diverse places in America. Colleges and universities claim to want diversity, but what they really want is for everyone to look different, but think the same.

A few weeks ago I filmed a video for Prager University on this topic.

Check it out:

Turning Point USA is leading the charge to restore freedom of thought in higher education.

Our activists and student leaders are out on their campuses every single day organizing groups, challenging the status quo, and promoting our message to an audience that desperately needs to hear it.

It takes so much bravery and boldness to do this.





Our chapter at East Carolina University brought Tomi Lahren to campus on Monday. Over 700 students came out to see her speak.

Today our Southern Regional Director, Joanna Rodriguez, was on FOX Business talking about the impact of socialism in Venezuela.

In just a few weeks, TPUSA will host the nation’s largest gathering of young, conservative women in Dallas, TX.

Confirmed Speakers

If you know someone who would like to attend, please encourage them to apply TODAY at www.tpusa.com/YWLS. Spots are filling fast!

Our college campuses need more strong, courageous student leaders. Can you help us equip our students with the tools, training, and support they need to bring our principles and values to their campuses?

EDITORS NOTE: All donations to Turning Point USA are tax-deductible. Gifts of all size are appreciated. Secure online donations can be made below. Checks made payable to Turning Point USA can be mailed to 217 1/2 Illinois St., Lemont, IL 60439.

Dear Mr. Carvalho: The Miami-Dade Schools Grandfathered Salary Suit is Very Much Real

Recently, the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Alberto Carvalho, called a related story “fake news” in response to an inquiry from Mr. Andrew Ladanowski

carvalho tweet

Anyone can say anything; it doesn’t make it so. After all, I can pin some fake antlers on Baxter the Cat and call him a 10 point buck; however, the fact remains he is still, and always will be, a cat.

What proof is there that the School District of Miami-Dade County violated the law with respect to the grandfather provisions of Florida Statute 1012.22?  The short answer is that the District ignored the plain language of the statute.  That said, you are entitled to a better explanation.  So first I am going to present the text of the law to you as it actually exists in print.  Next I am going to give you an example of grandfathering so that there is no doubt as to what it means.  Then I am going to give you some representative examples of deviations the District implemented – I can’t give you all of them over the last three years because it would take too many pages.  And finally, I am going to tell you how the District verbally tried to justify what they did.

  1. The statutes (both of them) are easy to read:

Grandfathered Salary Schedule The District school board shall adopt a salary schedule or salary schedules to be used as the basis for paying all school employees hired before July 1, 2014.

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 4. a. (emphasis added).

Grandfathered salary schedule means the salary schedule or schedules adopted by a district school board before July 1, 2014, pursuant to subparagraph 4. (Cited immediately above).

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 1. b. (emphasis added).

  1. How about an example of grandfathering?

Many cellular phone carriers including AT&T and Verizon had an unlimited data plan in the past, but these plans were discontinued. However, customers who already had subscribed to unlimited data plans could continue them for as long as they kept the same service. They were grandfathered.  But not new subscribers.  For them, the unlimited plan was no longer available, and they had to select from a limited plan.

  1. Some examples of 2015-16 salary schedule deviations from the grandfathered salary schedule:

Step

17             48,425             Down $1,875.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
19             51,900             Down $1,200.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
21             57,350             Down $1,000.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
22             60,775             Down $3,539.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
23             66,575             Down $3,750.00 from the grandfathered schedule.

  1. The District tried to justify it by saying that the grandfathered salary schedule would be any schedule they “designated as such.”

A little lame, don’t you think?

For a complete perspective of the pending complaint (still being drafted) that will be filed shortly in court, please review the amicus curiae brief authored by the lead attorney in the case per a related complaint that was addressed recently before Florida’s Public Employees Relations Commission.

As it will be a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs are virtually suing on behalf of all the teachers of Miami-Dade County; thus, it is fair to say that 19,000 some odd M-DCPS school teachers will be suing the School Board in the foreseeable future.

Sadly, the United Teachers of Dade sided with M-DCPS in PERC and is opposed to the impending lawsuit.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Growing chorus of Miami-Dade teachers denounce pay deal by Carvalho, union

Miami Teachers Look to Sue District Over Merit Pay Raises

Why is the U.S. DOE Promoting Islam to School Kids? by Dan Miller

The U.S. Department of Education has proselytized in our public schools on behalf Islam for many years through its “Access Islam” program. Federally funded, it is directed at children in grades 5 through 12. The Christian Action Network recently demanded that President Trump’s recently confirmed Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, terminate the program.

According to an article at Breitbart, a predecessor program began during the Bush administration in 2005. It “simply taught students about the traditions, culture, and holidays of Islam. Then, it became greatly expanded under the Obama administration. It has continued to develop, and now has had a greater, broader outreach.”

According to the linked Breitbart article, “Access Islam” is not only funded by DOE. It is also “being promoted on various websites,” Martin Mawyer, president and founder of CAN, told Breitbart News. “PBS Learning Media is one of the websites that is promoting it. The Smithsonian also promotes it, the Indiana Department of Education promotes it, and even the United Nations promotes it.”

The video features prominently a Christian convert to Islam, who declares emotionally how he has found the true religion without any “intermediaries.”

Here is the blurb following the video:

The United States Department of Education has developed an Islamic indoctrination program for public schools called, “Access Islam.”

The lesson plans are written for grades 5 through 12. They include worksheets and videos to help students perform the 5 Pillars of Islam – prayer, fasting, alms giving, pilgrimage to Mecca and the proclamation of Muslim faith. [emphasis added].”

This short video contains excerpted clips taken from the “Access Islam” program which not only teaches children how to perform a Muslim prayer, but asks students such questions as: “What does a Muslim prayer sound like?” “What do the movements look like?” and “What are some of the things Muslims say during prayer?”

Children are also expected to memorize verses from the Quran and give the meaning of those verses.

Taken as a whole, the U.S. Department of Education’s “Access Islam” program is nothing short of a Sunday school class on Islam.

DOE provides no even remotely comparable promotion of any other religion. Nor should it, because for any federal (or for that matter state) agency to do so is inconsistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Watch a video of an interview by Tucker Carlson of Fox News with the founder of the Christian Action Network on the DOE program:

Will any of the many major “civil rights” organizations with which America is “blessed” take legal action against state entities which use Access Islam? They have been quite active in opposing even the display of Nativity scenes and the Ten Commandments on public property.

When will Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s recently confirmed Secretary of Education, repudiate the “Access Islam” promotion and insist that all video and other presentations of related materials it provided be returned? The DOE apparently remains a big swamp, very much in need of draining.

ABOUT DAN MILLER

Dan Miller, a retired lawyer, blogs at DanMillerInPanama.

RELATED ARTICLE: Arizona State U Prof Lets Students Organize Anti-Trump Protest Instead of Taking Final Exam

PBS Lesson Plan Teaches Kids to Sympathize with Muslim Suicide Bombers

We, the American taxpayer, subsidize this poison. It is an outrage. We need a revolution of the mind. Why should we underwrite anti-freedom, anti-American, anti-Semitic propaganda? There are a thousand channels; let these elite destroyers compete in the marketplace like the rest of us.

PBS Lesson Plan Teaches Kids to Sympathize with Muslim Suicide Bombers

Source: News – PBS Lesson Plan Teaches Kids to Sympathize with Radical Islamic Terrorism | Heartland Institute

By Justin Haskins (thanks to) Creeping Sharia, April 13, 2017:

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is home to Big Bird, Frontline, and other “programing made possible by viewers like you,” including lesson plans instructing teachers how to show kids to be more sympathetic to radical Islamic suicide bombers in Palestine.

“Dying to be a Martyr.” That’s the name of a lesson plan offered to students and teachers at no cost by the Public Broadcasting Service, a taxpayer-funded nonprofit, and some of the material seems to encourage students to learn to sympathize with radical Islamic terrorists.

The “Dying to be a Martyr” lesson plan is offered through PBS’ LearningMedia website, “a media-on-demand service offering educators access to the best of public media and delivers research-based, classroom-ready digital learning experiences,” according to the PBS website.

The stated “objectives” for the lesson plan, which is designed for use by students in grades nine through 12, include analyzing “why the Middle East conflict began and continues today,” discussing “how religions can unite or divide people” and explaining “why individuals and groups sometimes turn to tactics of terrorism, and evaluate how terrorism affects the world we live in.”

[ … ]

It’s in “Part 3” the lesson plan takes a disturbing turn. First, students watch a video of 18-year-old Mohanned Abu Tayyoun, a Palestinian terrorist “who entered Israel carrying a bag of explosives with the intention of carrying out a suicide bombing.” Mohanned “wavered, however, and returned home without carrying out the mission.”

In the video, which is called by the lesson plan the “Martyrdom” video, Mohanned is interviewed from a jail cell in Israel, where he is asked why he wanted to be a suicide bomber.

Mohanned responds, “It was my decision. Martyrdom leads us to God. I don’t want this life. When you become a martyr, your prize for carrying out the operation is going to heaven. … We Palestinians prefer to die, just kill ourselves, rather than live this worthless life. Our lives are worthless. We are hollow bodies living a pointless life.”

“Israelis enjoy their life,” Mohanned continued. “They go out at night. They have cafes and nightclubs. They travel all over the world. They go to America and Britain. We can’t even leave Palestine.”

Teachers are then instructed, “Check for understanding by asking students to respond to the focus question. (Mohanned feels he would rather die and by a martyr than live his life, sees his life as hollow—in contrast he sees Israelis as happy, going out, having fun, traveling.) Ask your students why Mohanned may feel that way (Answers may include: Palestinians have less land, fewer privileges, cannot come and go as they please.)”

Nothing in the instructions tells teachers to denounce Mohanned’s claims or radical Islamic views in general.

The final section of “Part 3” has students watch another video interview of Mohanned, this time where explains why he didn’t go through with the act. Teachers are instructed after the video ends, “Ask your students to share their thoughts on why Mohanned didn’t carry out the plan. (Mohanned felt that not all Jews were guilty of being against him, and that God wanted him to continue to live.)”

In Part 4, students are asked to watch a third video interview of an Islamic terrorist. This time, the video includes a terrorist who actually was involved in a suicide bombing. According to the lesson plan, “this is taken from an interview with 25-year-old Majdi Amer, who in March 2003 built a bomb and prepared a suicide bomber for a bus bombing in Haifa that killed 17 people and wounded 50.”

In the interview, Majdi is asked why he believes it’s acceptable to kill women and children, to which he explains, “If the Israelis kill a child in Gaza, I’m ready to kill one in Tel Aviv. If they destroy houses in Gaza, I’ll do it in Tel Aviv. If they give me security in my land, then there’s no problem.”

After students watch the interview, teachers are expected to ask students to explain “how Majdi and Mohanned’s opinions differ from one another, even though they are both Palestinians involved in suicide bombing plots. (Majdi feels that Islam calls for him to defend his land any way he can, he does not recognize the Jewish state, he will kill an Israeli for every Palestinian killed. Mohanned did not see every Jew as an enemy, did not want to kill innocent people, felt that God wanted him to live.)”

No instructions are provided telling teachers to denounce the radical claims made by Majdi, and there are no other lesson plans describing the conflict from the point of view of the Israelis.

On the lesson plan’s website, under the “Credits” section, JP Morgan Chase and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are listed as the sources of funding. CPB is funded by the U.S. federal government, and it was first created by an act of Congress in 1967, under the leadership of Democratic Party President Lyndon Johnson.

[ … ]

A review of the LearningMedia website by The Blaze found at least six lengthy lesson plans focused on teaching students about various aspects of Islam, including “The Five Pillars of Islam,” “The Haj: Journey to Mecca” and “Salat: Prayer in Muslim Life.” However, no similar lesson plans covering other religious groups—including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism or Hinduism—were discovered on the website.


Read it all and contact your elected officials to stop taxpayer money from funding Islamic propaganda being pushed on young Americans.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report.

19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami-Dade for $60 million

Why would 19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami Dade Public Schools for $60 million in lost salaries?

Because a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2011 required that as of July 1, 2014, whatever salary schedule was in place would thence forth be frozen in time, or, as the statute phrased it, grandfathered.  But the school district just didn’t do it.

The term grandfathered goes back a long way.  During the Jim Crow era, grandfather clauses were used by seven southern states to exempt those who already possessed the right to vote prior to 1866 (end of the Civil War) from new laws imposing educational, property or tax requirements for voting.  The grandfathered laws had the effect of disenfranchising freed African Americans who did not gain the right to vote until passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.  But grandfathering allowed impoverished and illiterate whites to continue to vote as before.  They had been grandfathered.

The current law (Fla. Stat. §1012.22) was intended to prevent further annual increases to district salary schedules for teachers hired before July 1, 2014.  Teachers hired after that date would receive performance pay, which would be calculated or derived from the greatest increment between levels of the grandfathered schedule, depending upon a teacher’s effectiveness.  In theory, performance pay would quickly out-pace the frozen schedule forcing veteran teachers to relinquish their tenure to join the new comers.

However, M-DCPS just kept on bargaining new schedules to attack the higher end salary steps for teachers approaching retirement.  It was something like knocking off West Virginia mountain tops for the benefit of coal companies.  And not incidentally, for two years, the District did not award any performance pay whatsoever.   The damage to teacher salaries is estimated at $20 million per year.

“Wait a minute,” you say.  “How did the District get around grandfathering?”  The District’s position was that the grandfathered salary schedule was any schedule they “designated as such.”  Wonder how they interpret a 70-mph speed limit?

Why Black Families Are Rejecting Public Schools by Annie Holmquist

Because of their long-fought battle for equal access to education, it is generally assumed that black families are big fans of public schooling.

That assumption, however, is beginning to show its datedness, as evidenced by the research of University of Georgia College of Education professor Cheryl Fields-Smith. In a recent interview with The 74, Dr. Fields-Smith suggested that black families are abandoning public schools because said schools exhibit:

1. A hyper-focus on race

According to Dr. Fields-Smith, pioneering black homeschoolers were not always interested in having their children integrate the public schools. Today’s black homeschoolers see a different problem. They are choosing to bring their children home because schools have resegregated, and they don’t want them to have such a black-centric view of the world.

2. Safety issues

As with many other homeschoolers, one of the big motivations for black families to homeschool revolves around instances of violence in school. But black parents are also concerned that classroom stereotyping will negatively affect their children:

“One of the predominant themes was a sense of wanting to protect their children from being labeled a troublemaker, or suggestions that they should be in special ed, or even [schools not] acknowledging the intellect of their child because they are so focused on the behavior.”

3. A narrow vision of diversity

Although public schools pride themselves on embracing diversity and emphasizing the history of minorities, black families feel their children need a broader vision than the one currently fed to them:

“I know I had to supplement that with my kids, had to make sure that they knew their black history, because it’s not really being taught in public school. We get one month, and usually it harps on the same people. We have a very rich legacy of contributing to this country, and more than just in entertainment and sports.

4. Poor education

As Dr. Fields-Smith explains, public schools offer a “basic education” to every child. Homeschoolers, however, are able to help their children rise above the label of average. Evidence of this was revealed in a 2015 report by Dr. Brian Ray, who found that homeschooled black children register in a percentile above the national average and far above their black public school peers:

Dr. Fields-Smith goes on to say:

“My families expressed empathy for the public schools; they want the public schools to succeed. It’s just that their particular children weren’t thriving in that environment.”

Is it possible that such a sentiment could be expressed by more than just black families? Have the public schools lost their savor to the American public because they can no longer offer an environment in which children of all ages, races, and abilities can thrive?

Republished from Intellectual Takeout.

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist

Annie is a research associate with Intellectual Takeout. In her role, she writes for the blog, conducts a variety of research for the organization’s websites and social media pages, and assists with development projects. She particularly loves digging into the historical aspects of America’s educational structure.

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