Parents Get Involved: You can too! Support Public Education

dollar-163473_1280A Gainesville parent with four children teamed up with a granddad who is a retired teacher.  They are spreading the word by organizing PTA and School Advisory Council meetings across the city.  Their campaign is to support the Citizen for Strong Schools lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes to trial in Tallahassee in March 2016.  The suit contends that Florida is shortchanging our children.  We are the third largest state with next to the bottom level of support for our schools.

They are passionate about public schools.  Read Rik’s article in the Gainesville Sun this week.  It is called:  Ensure Florida Adequately Funds Education.

There is now a website called Five for Change .  It has lots of information.  http://www.5forchange.org/  .  They are asking for a five dollar donation to support the lawsuit.  Think what could happen if a thousand people sent in a donation.  What a boost in morale it could be.  You can be counted.  Your organizations can be recognized on the webpage.

Florida League President, Pam Goodman endorses the campaign.  You can too where ever you live.  The suit helps all schools in Florida!

They are holding meetings all over the county.  Everyone interested in supporting public education is welcome.  The first one was at Eastside high school.  The next ones are in the media rooms at 6:30 pm on:

January 21st: Santa Fe High School

January 26th:  Gainesville High

February 2nd: Hawthorne High

February 9th: Buchholz High

February 11th: Newberry High

Rally in Tally: Public School Supporters Turn Out

IMG_0470Close to 3,000 public school supporters turned out for the Florida Education Association rally today.  It was their largest crowd ever.  They were determined to let the legislators know that public schools need support.  I was there.  I jotted down some slogans.

Here is one that made the crowd cheer:

EDUCATE, ADVOCATE, MOTIVATE!

Another speaker chanted his opposition to the current policy.  He called the policy the:

STACK THEM DEEP, TEACH THEM CHEAP approach to education funding.

 

There were lots of signs.  Here are two:

 

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The message was clear. Over and over the crowd chanted:  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

 

 

Equity: For each and every child

board-1065698_1280 (1)Equity means providing resources, not just equally, but adequately for all children to succeed.   There is no ‘one size fits all’ curriculum.  Yet, there is a tension between providing opportunity for all students, regardless of their backgrounds, and the efficient allocation of limited resources.  School choice was supposed to give better options, but too often, the choices are no different and ineffective.

The Citizens for Strong Schools lawsuit in Florida is about equity, but this is also a national issue.  I found a blue ribbon panel report that addresses equity and provides direction for educational policy.

In time, Florida may be required to focus on these six directions.  They give us a vision of what could be.

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How to Fix Failing Schools and How Not To

directory-466935_1280The League asked the Florida State Board of Education:  “What Next?”    What should be happening to fix problems, not just point fingers?

The New York Times published some solutions that are working in Union City, New Jersey.  Note that it is not Newark, New Jersey where big money and celebrities tried to impose charter school solutions. Less hoopla and more methodical, careful community planning make a difference in Union City.  See how.

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HB 7029: School Choice Districts Created with Less Local Control

legislation1Legal frameworks for charter districts plus the creation of the Florida Charter School Institute, moves toward a separate educational system from the traditional public school system.

This bill creates the Institute for Charter School Innovation, Charter School Collaborative Networks, High Impact Charter Networks and some greater transparency in the backgrounds of charter school service providers.

The Charter High Impact Charter Network is a structure similar to those in other states that are called takeover districts in low income areas whose public schools are turned into charters.  These take over districts have been thee source of significant community resistance and have a poor academic track record.  The bill is sponsored by Representative Bob Cortes from Seminole and Orange Counties.  HB 7029 School Choice will be heard in the House Education Appropriation Committee on Monday.

Major components of the bill are listed below.  The provisions to revise the calculation of full time equivalence for online learning and credit for End of Course exams are in the bill but not included in this summary.

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LWV Florida asks: We Have The Standards: Now What?

LWV_OpenLogoThe Florida League of Women Voters press release today argues that the State Board of Education is asking the wrong questions.  The SBE argued about how many students and schools to fail.  Shouldn’t they be asking how to make them more successful?

The press release was sent out across the state.  Pass it on to all concerned parents, educators and business leaders.  Forward it to your legislative delegations.

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