It is becoming increasingly clear that the only preservation for the children of Florida and their futures is to change how things are done in Florida. We must return the position of Commissioner of Education to an elected position; change the positions on the State School Board to an elected position or both.
The cronyism in Tallahassee has reached the highest levels it has ever been. The ethics bill last year was a smoke screen to fool us as an effort on their part to be good boys and girls. However the legislation passed in no way touched the real problems in that city and our government.
Appointing people to positions that hold the power such as the Commissioner and State School Board leaves parents out of the equation in regard to education and makes them answerable to whom? Each other and a governor who has in recent months shown us he cares less about listening to parents concerns in regard to their children’s education and it is more important to him to have dinner with Jeb Bush.
Our past 2 governors, Bush and Crist along with Rick Scott since the changes in the Florida Constitution in 2003 have given us 5 Commissioners of Education who are currently sitting on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education; John L. Winn, Eric J. Smith, Gerard Robinson, Tony Bennett and now Pam Stewart. Has Jeb Bush been Florida’s perpetual governor?
Given the timing of the change to the Constitution (2003), the following commissioners (John Winn & Eric Smith) were given a seat on Jeb Bush’s foundation which of course is what Bush did after leaving the governor’s office – form his foundation. Do you see a little long range plan laid out here?
All of these people support the trash education of the Common Core Standards and the taxation without representation of the Charter/Choice/Voucher scheme along with the unelected school boards of the Charter schools removing the parental input into the equation. They don’t want you to know about the failures of the charter schools – much larger by percentage than traditional public schools.
The focus here is to make the Charter School Management (CSM) companies rich and the heck with what our kids learn! CSM’s fill coffers!
I want to give you the background on those dictating the futures of our children. You got a good look into the disrespect and arrogance of the SBOE Chairman this past Tuesday. We saw the board members talking to each other, messing with their iPads or phones, conversing with the administrative assistant through the whole time while over 95 taxpayers explained their point of views in regard to Common Core and education in general.
They didn’t even have the decency to have a conversation amongst themselves in regard to any of the issues brought up by the speakers before taking their vote. The 2 new board members (and there is history there also) spoke basically in favor of the vote that was about to take place with Tuck (new kid on the block) even stating we have to move into the 21st Century.
Florida State School Board:
Gary Chartrand came to the board in 2011 and of course is now serving as its chairman. His business background is pretty impressive as being one of those individuals who sits on every board you can think of. It is always supposed to make your resume look better. Other than the KIPP Charter school thing I can’t find any reason for Scott to appoint him to the board.
Know that no matter how impressive Chartrand’s bio is, it is what it doesn’t say that is important. He has absolutely no background in education except for being involved in bringing Kipp Charter schools and Teach for America (TFA) teachers to Jacksonville. He is a lot like Al Gore – “he knows not of what he speaks”. And his actions are getting rather loud.
Not a classroom, not a school office, not even a school janitor – he has no qualifications to sit on the Florida State Board of Education. It is a little bit like asking a Construction Engineer to teach a Home Economy class (do they still have those?). Or maybe a professional chef to build a bridge!
Under Chartrand’ s direction the board’s 3 decisions in regard to a choice for the states “Unelected” Commissioner of Education have been less than stellar and it would lead those who follow these things to ask who was really behind these choices. Remembering our last five (5) including our present commissioner are also “reformer’s – (formerly chief’s for change) on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. Maybe they just wanted to make sure they had someone who would tow the line.
The main problem here is these choices rather than being individuals interested in actually improving our children’s education, the choice of commissioners were those whose main goal was to privatize our education instead. (Charter Schools)
Chartrand has been applauded for the KIPP Charter schools in Jacksonville – but of course he has given his allegiance to Charter schools. The state’s agenda is charter schools; however his results shown here so far are not any better than his performance as the SSBOE chairman. Chartrand, who helped raise $9 million to bring a KIPP elementary school to Jacksonville, also donated $1 million toward the network’s elementary school in the same city.
KIPP Impact Middle School is of course planted in a “low-income” area which to this writer gives them an out excuse for failure which is where a good amount of charter schools put themselves, low-income areas. 98% of the students are minority and 89% are Title I students both of which bring in extra funds for the school. Started in 2010, their first year grade was an F with less than 30% achieving the FCAT of 25% or less in reading and for math 67% reached the level of 25% or less. Not good.
When Commissioner Robinson made his famous trip to Jacksonville to look into the implementation of another KIPP school (I wonder what his interest was?), he was asked by a reported if he was going to take into consideration the existing Kipp school had received and F, he responded, “we don’t use that as the criteria for allowing new schools to open”.
Wow! Given the Florida State School Board allows D and F Charter schools (of which there are many more than traditional public schools) stay open for far longer than they should, one does have to ask “What are they doing”?
The mission statement for KIPP Jacksonville Schools is to prepare our students with the academic and character skills necessary to succeed in high school, college and the competitive world beyond. Not at this rate!
Something else I discovered while doing this posting. KIPP and Charter Schools USA send their teachers to what is called the Clarion Council For Educational Greatness in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Though not clear, it looks like it is owned by Charter Schools USA and when you go to the web site and try to see what the training is – you have to have a “Clarion Training” password. Secrets, always secrets.
KIPP’s Accountability report for the 2010-2011 school years – AFRICAN-AMERICAN, ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED KIPP IMPACT MIDDLE SCHOOL has not met federal adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind because it needs improvement in one or more areas. Because this is a Title I school, your student may be eligible for school choice options under No Child Left Behind.
Charter schools are School Choice so where do these students go if the school were to remain a failure. In fairness I admit they garnered a C the following year after the change to the grading process – no figures for the 2012-2013 year. But then the full accountability figures have not been posted on the Florida DOE web site since 2011. HUM!
More on Kipp Jacksonville Schools according to the 2012-13 FL Charter School Accountability Report:
Kipp Imagine: 4 of the 8 teachers are Teach For America teachers; 6 of the 8 teachers are not certified but are being paid at the same rate as the certified with benefits; average salary with benefits $48,125; 86.66% rated NOT Highly Qualified; 82.35% Teaching out of their field; in the hole financially at the end of the year $14, 000+ and have a large note due to KIPP,Inc.
Kipp Voice: 8 of the 12 teachers Are Teach For America teachers; only 1 is NOT certified; 100% of the teachers are teaching out of their field; their salaries are equivalent to those of Imagine.
Both schools are NOT certified and rent their building from McDuff Qalicb, Inc. of Jax and they are in a relationship with Kipp, Inc. but how is not clear. Both schools hold board meetings once a quarter and at one of the recent meetings Gary Chartrand asked Ashley Ferguson who is listed as the principal of both schools about her views on the Common Core vs. Florida State standards. There was general discussion about this. She is also a TFA girl!
It’s too bad that Chartrand couldn’t find it in his heart to leave his ego at the door of the board room but then we tin-hatter’s all know that most of the people we are dealing with today have enormous ego’s.