Do Black Lives Matter in Miami-Dade County Public Schools?

Given how the cheating scandal, Adobegate, was mishandled at Miami Norland Senior High School; the contract negotiated between M-DCPS and UTD passing; and the recently released results of the SAT scores showing declining scores of Florida youths (especially among African American students), a reasonable person may conclude that black lives matter only in relation to advancement of select Miami-Dade school administrators and district personnel.

superintendent Miami-Dade schools

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

Though the teachers at Norland got paid over $1,700 apiece, the big winners from Norland’s academic successes, tainted by cheating, were school and district administrators:

  • Reginald Lee went from being an assistant principal over the vocational department in which the cheating took place to the principal of Charles Drew Middle School and then Norland in November 2012;
  • Luis Solano went from being the principal at Norland to the Associate Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction at Collier County Public Schools in Naples;
  • Nikolai Vitti went from being the Assistant Superintendent of the Education Transformation Office (ETO) at M-DCPS to the Chief Academic Officer of M-DCPS and then became the Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville;
  • and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho became the Florida and National Superintendent of the Year shortly thereafter.

The Florida Department of Education recently released FCAT/EOC information revealed that Miami Norland SHS had 96 test invalidations over the past three school years.

Interestingly, 25 other public schools, all high schools, had more test invalidations that Norland, with 20 of the schools being in Miami-Dade, most of them in the Education Transformation Office and most of which serve African American students.

The breakdown for the 26 schools, all high schools, in the graphic: 21 from Miami-Dade (96 at Norland – 275 invalidations at North Miami Senior); 2 from Broward (97, 134 invalidations); 2 from Palm Beach (99, 100 invalidations); and 1 from Duval (110 invalidations).

For more information on how this information was obtained, please read pages 38-40 of the Test Score Validation Process manual proffered by Pearson.

This begs the question: Are African American students just stepping stones for which they are to be given the answers for standardized tests for purposes of teacher incentives and school and district administrator advancement like what happened at Miami Norland Senior High School?

Miami-Dade County Public Schools touts high graduation rates, but they appear to be smoke and mirrors. Yes, students are graduating from high school; however, they are unprepared for the real world and are not “college and career ready,” as pointed out in a Miami Herald article published on December 4, 2012, which stated:

“In 2010-11, 54 percent of students coming out of high school failed at least one subject on the Florida College System’s placement test, Florida’s remedial education needs are much greater than in many other states, and The numbers are worse at Miami Dade College, where 63 percent of high school graduates take at least one remedial course upon enrollment.”

NBC Channel 6 did an article in Fall of 2013, which noted “72 percent of them need developmental, or remedial classes to get up to speed for college work.”

David Smiley wrote an article in June 2014 “South Florida’s former ‘dropout factories’ churn out diplomas as graduation rates soar,” in which Miami Dade College says Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ graduates have dropped in their college readiness by 18%.  Fully 72% of MDC incoming students are unprepared for basic college courses this year.

According to the recently released SAT and AP scores, 35.6% of Florida students met the “college and career readiness” benchmarks for the SAT, but only 13.4% of African American students met those same benchmarks. For the Advanced Placement scores, in which a score of “3” is considered passing,

  • 54.4% of AP Exam takers scored 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam in May 2015;
  • 32.1% of African American AP Exam takers scored 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam.

There is no breakdown for Miami-Dade but their performance on other tests historically mirror state performance.

Also, the unemployment rate for teens and African Americans in general is not very good per the recent released Labor Market Report, 2015:Q2, which was released by Miami-Dade County’s Department of Regulatory & Economic Resources.

Is this Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s idea of “college and career readiness?”

The contract that recently passed hurts all teachers as well as clerical workers and security monitors most of which are have large number of African American occupants and haven’t received decent pay raises in years.

Interestingly how UTD President Fed Ingram decries their plight in a New York Times article, yet he gives them this very bad deal which eliminates steps and security for teachers, despite the Florida law declaring the maintenance of the grandfather schedule for continuing contract and professional service contract teachers, and a menial raise for the rest of the bargaining unit while he attempts to seek higher office and thus more money with the FEA in Tallahassee.

Moreover, Mr. Ingram visited Norland to garner support for a ratification vote in September 2013, but he failed to voice support for the steward Trevor Colestock who spoke out against the test cheating and by keeping quiet supported the errant steward who filed a bogus civil rights complaint against him.

As a result, Mr. Colestock was wrongfully transferred while one of the teachers, Brenda Muchnick, who gave the students the answers to an Industry Certification exam, was sent back to Norland in January 2014 to resume her duties, whereas the Library Media Center has been closed and shuttered and the reading scores have declined to the detriment of Norland students (overwhelmingly African American) since Mr. Colestock’s departure.

Given his own desires for personal advancement to higher office in the FEA and collaborating and colluding with Alberto Carvalho to the detriment of the membership to that end, do black lives, outside of his own, matter to Mr. Ingram?

How is Mr. Ingram different from the West African chieftains that sold their fellow Africans into slavery to European slave traders 300-400 years ago?

A reasonable person may conclude there’s not much of a difference given  the arguably bad bargaining for his members, failing to speak out on test cheating and on behalf of his stewards like Mr. Colestock, and standing idly by while students, in particular African American students, graduate in record numbers yet without the skills necessary to be “college and career ready” as measured by the SAT and Miami Dade College’s concerns that over 70% of students coming to them from M-DCPS need a remedial course,  it appears African American students are limited in their potential and destined to menial jobs and/or prison- a cruel economic servitude just as horrific as slavery was over 150 years ago.


Miami-Dade Superintendant Alberto Carvalho ignores black schools

Miami-Dade Teacher contract ratified

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