"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stunning News from the Duval County (Jacksonville) Florida School Board

While visiting my hometown, I was stunned to read in the Jacksonville Times-Union the agenda of the Duval County School Board.  It wasn't so much that the agenda was in the main newspaper of the city, it was the information contained in the agenda and relayed to the public.

Check out the March 6 entry from the Times Union:

Item: Consider creating four new staff positions: information and accountability chief officer, director of high school acceleration programs, supervisor of district athletics and a hearing officer.

What it means: The information and accountability officer would oversee all academic program research, assessment and evaluations, with a salary range of $108,000 to $162,000 a year.
The salary range for each of the two supervisor positions is $49,111 to $89,528. Jon Fox is retiring from the athletic director job, and district is changing to a district-level supervisor/administrative position overseeing all athletic directors in the district. The current hearing officer is a school-based assistant principal, and the district is changing the job to a district-level supervisor position. Both positions would be paid for with money already budgeted.

The salary range for high school acceleration programs director has not been determined.

This is fairly typical of school board agendas.  They inform the public how taxpayer dollars are being spent and for what purpose.

Read what's next on the agenda:

Item: Consider suspending without pay three teachers for misconduct or unprofessionalism in unrelated incidents.
What it means: *Teacher A*, a first-grade teacher at Whitehouse Elementary School, faces a 30-day suspension. She is accused of sending an email containing racial stereotypes to the entire staff of her school.

*Teacher B*, a Wolfson High School social studies teacher, faces a 15-day suspension. He is accused of telling dirty jokes in class and talking about his sex life with students.

*Teacher C*, a second-grade teacher at Highlands Elementary School, faces a 15-day suspension. He is accused of dragging a resistant student to the school’s clinic in January.

(*The teachers' names are listed in the Times-Union article.  We have not compounded the error by reprinting their names.  You may access their names via the link. )  

When did personnel matters become public record?  When did accusations become actual findings of FACT?  I've been told by bloggers and others watching education in Florida that there is a war on teachers, and after reading this public flogging of teachers in the Times-Union, before they were actually "convicted" of an alleged crime against children or bad judgment, I believe there is an effort to point out how "bad" teachers are in the public schools.  

I'd love to hear the teachers' side of the story. I have been on the receiving end of bad teachers; so have my children.  But to publish these accusations before they have been investigated shows an incredible bias against the teachers and should cease.  Any disgruntled parent, student, or an adult with an agenda can make an accusation.  It doesn't mean that the accusation is true.  If these accusations are true, then the teachers should face some disciplinary action.  As it is now, they are publicly named and presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Did you read about the TFA teacher who was wrongly accused of abusing a child (he sent him to the office) and was sued for $2 Million?  It was a set up by the mother.  By printing these allegations against these teachers without finding of fact, this looks like a set up by the Duval County School Board against teachers.

This is an atrocious practice by the Duval County School Board and the Times-Union.  It clearly shows the education reform agenda of Jeb Bush and the school choicers.  Point the finger at accused teachers, publicly broadcast the accusation and lead the public to assume  public education teachers are unprofessional.  The only good teachers, apparently, are those in charters or those teachers children can access through the voucher system.  This is shameful.


  1. I find this very interesting. My research into the Florida School system is extensive and I find the starry eyed relationship with Jeb Bush the former governor of Florida to not only be out of line, but dangerous.

    The agenda of the Jeb Bush Foundation for Excellence in Education is socialistic and their goal is to further "dumb down our kids." Their scheme to accomplish this feat through pushing for Charter schools in the name of the public schools failing is nothing but a means to try and control the curriculum's used and build their Charter school consortium's.

    Jeb Bush's "stuck to his hip" Patricia Levesque is one piece of work - nasty and rude! Why anyone gives these people any attention is beyond me but to "uneduated" legislators who think they know everything about everything.

    Complain to the legislature : George Levesque, spouse of Patricia is the FL House legal mouth piece.

    Patricia, while working for Bush has her own very prosperous lobbying company in Tally so she is working on all angles also.

    Never forget each member of the Bush family has been involved in fraud at some point in time in their lives. No I am NOT a Democrat - but I have eyes and ears and the ruination of our children for their financial and socialistic agenda makes me very angry!!!


  2. Your interpretation of the Foundation for Florida's Future organization differs greatly from mine. After researching the Foundation, it appears that the focus is pulling the "power" of decisions regarding a child's education from the bureaucrats/government and placing it squarely on the shoulders of the parents. In my humble opinion, the crux of the problem in education is that parents have been dis emboweled; made to believe that they are incapable of making good educational choices for their children and that somehow the "state" is more equipped to do so. With that comes disengagement from the whole process, including supporting teachers & staff with discipline problems, etc. Until parents are expected to share in the process of education with their children, our schools will continue to decline and the Foundation appears committed to helping draw parents back in.
    The other thing the Foundation appears to be very focused on is making the standard for teachers excellent. They recommend creative ways to ensure students have "high quality teachers."

    NOW...about the article...pretty shocking and scary that "accused" people have been tarred and feathered through the publishing of their name and "crime." This is a drastic departure from "innocent until proven guilty" and a trend, which if not reversed, could shape a very different America in the near future.

  3. Anonymous,

    I have a question about the Foundation for Florida's Future. Dianemarie raised the issue about this organization. Does this organization give REAL power back to parents about educational content, or just educational delivery? Those are two very different scenarios. If parents are stuck with educational content that is not in the best interest of their children, then the triggers and the charters don't really make a difference in WHAT their children are learning, does it?


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