Southern Legal Counsel’s Education Protection Fund

justiceMost of you know that the Citizens for Strong Schools and the Southern Legal Counsel have a lawsuit coming to trial in March 2016.  The State of Florida fought all the way to the Florida Supreme Court to keep it from coming to trial.  They lost.  Now, Southern Legal Counsel is preparing its case.  This is costly, and the firm is a non-profit.  Their attorneys are working pro bono for our schools.  They are in the throes of fund raising.  You can see a short video on their case here.

Newark’s Lessons Learned on Charter School Reform

team-808761_640The State of New Jersey took over Newark’s public schools in 1995.  Fifteen years later, Newark schools were still struggling.  Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, donated $100 million to the district in 2010.  The Education Commissioner, Chris Cerf, had formerly served as deputy chancellor of New York’s schools.  Prior to that he was president of Edison Schools Inc., a private for-profit  management company that failed.  He hired Cami Anderson, former head of Teach for America and New York’s District 79 at risk schools.  What happened next is alarming.  It could lead to something constructive.

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Past State Board of Education Chair Says It is all about Money!

race-653241_1280Tax credit vouchers are supposed to give poor children an option out of a failing school.  Gary Chartrand, former Chair, Florida State Board of Education, tells it like it really is.

Chartrand makes a case that getting children from poor families out of public schools saves the rest of us money.  There may be another not so hidden agenda that Chartrand forgets to mention.

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Rawlings is Dancing…and Singing…and Acting…and Creating Art!

rawlings1Can you imagine a school like this?  It is real.  Rawlings School has been transformed.  It was one of our lowest achieving public schools last year.  Three months later there is an excitement and energy.  Rawlings is now a magnet school for the arts.

Inside the building, the space is beautiful and well lit.  It is designed for music, art, dance, and theater.  As you enter the school, music will greet you.  I plan to follow the school to see their new staff in action.  Follow it with me.

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Schools Within School: Approaches to Discipline

whistle-149678_1280No excuses discipline policies create as many problems as they solve.  Students are suspended, hit the streets and create more trouble.  When they return to school, it is a downward cycle.

School districts are adopting new strategies for managing bad behavior management strategies.  Just as in law enforcement, schools are reevaluating who is being targeted and why.

The Miami Herald reports that a new approach to discipline in Miami-Dade schools will require extensive retraining and a massive culture change.  The district has 36,000 suspensions.  They have taken a multi-pronged strategy.

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New Mexico Struggles Against Inequity


el-morro-national-monument-140118_1280‘New Mexico’s education department is in court.  So are those in 12 other states, including Florida.  This lawsuit is about money, but not just the amount of money.  In New Mexico, the population is different from many states, and the needs are greater.

Meredith Machen sent information about their state that helps to better understand the challenges they face.   Take heart, some public education advocates are winning in court.

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Failure Factories: Your Worst Nightmare

child-513468_1280We have all heard about violence in some schools.  This second piece in the Tampa Bay Times on the Pinellas County failing schools should have a disturbing warning.  It is not disturbing, it is frightening.  Ignoring problems makes them worse, much worse.

I hesitated to post this story, but we need to know what happens when those who can, flee and refuse to deal with who is left.  This is the picture that some paint about the impact of socio-economic resegregation of our schools.  We can avoid this scenario if we have the will and the common sense not to divide our communities.  Behaviors can be managed if the children receive the help they need.

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