Broward School Bonds Back in the News

ft lauderdaleBroward Schools are struggling to make things right.  Sometimes you may try too hard.  This time the district is determined to avoid corruption or even the appearance of it.  The voters have told the district to spend money and improve the schools, and getting that to happen is harder than it seems.   I am interested in how public school districts are trying to meet the challenges they confront.  I hope you are too. Read Margery’s account of a good problem that still makes the news.

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Pinellas Failure Factories: Resegregation is the heart of the problem

toddlers-303904_1280Who is at fault when schools fail?  School reformers say “Teachers” or “Rule Bound School Districts”.  The Tampa Bay Times is running a series on something much more basic.  Using examples of five of the worst failing schools in Florida, the authors cite the decline of these schools since the 2007 decision to abolish the school integration plan in Pinellas County.  At the time, promises were made but not kept.Continue reading

Teacher Shortage: A Blip or a Trend

teachers wanted board-106588_1280Are teachers leaving in droves?  Some press releases predict the Armageddon in 2020 when the teacher shortage really hits.  The baby boomer teachers will have retired, and student enrollments will peak.  Curiously, we also read that there are twice as many elementary teachers now than we need.  Yet, there are never enough ESE and ELL teachers.  Florida is short on reading and math teachers too.

I went to the Bureau of Labor and the National Center for Education Statistics to see what I could see.  I saw something.  The problem is real just not everywhere.  I tell you where.

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Is the Jeb Bush Florida Education Miracle Hogwash?

pig washFollow the trail of AlterNet’s story of Jeb Bush’s charter school hoax in Florida.  In the middle of Jeff Bryant’s piece you will find his interview with me about charter management issues.  The story begins with Jeb Bush’s conversations back in the 90’s that started the charter school movement.   If you do not know this story, you will find it illuminating.

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Who are Florida Teacher Bonuses Really For?

money packs-163497_1280Why would the Florida legislature appropriate over $44 million to give $10,000 bonuses to teachers who had  high ACT/SAT test scores when they were in high school?  Some teachers took the tests years ago, and verifying their scores is next to impossible.

Encouraging young, bright people to seek careers in education is a good thing.  Awarding a bonus might tempt some to teach for a year or two, but teacher turnover is high.  A one time bonus would not help much.  There may be another reason.

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Florida LWV Legislative Priorities Due

legislation1The Florida LWV legislative priorities are coming due.  Please make your voices heard within your local leagues.  In order to be able to advocate for our Education Team issues, we have to make it into the top priorities statewide.

Make education tops for your local league.  Here is a list of topics we expect to come up in the legislative session.  Remember that committee meetings start in September.

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Charters Appeal to State Board of Education for Facilities Money

school-295210_1280On the radio this morning, I heard a story about the latest pitch for facilities funding from the charter school advocates.  This one was to the State Board of Education.

It signals the latest attempt by the charter industry to tap into facilities funding for traditional public schools.  Public schools need to renovate old buildings and upgrade technology infrastructure.  Charters do not have to meet traditional public school state facility standards.  Charters are supposed to be cheaper.  Their real estate companies are making millions of dollars.  Why give them more?

I have compiled a list of posts on this issue.  Take a look and build arguments to make charter school policies more rational.  Charters should make our educational system better, not destroy it.  You can write letters, make presentations and make a difference.

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Twin Story: What Really Happened to Pinewood

ft lauderdaleHow can a school go from an ‘A’ to a ‘D’ in three years?  Pinewood was an ‘A’ school serving over 1000 students for many years.  About sixty percent of its students were economically disadvantaged.  A higher than average number of students were English language learners or had learning disabilities. By any measure, Pinewood was a public school success story.   The charter located across the street was half the size.  It had 20 percent fewer economically disadvantaged students, and it earned only a ‘B’ grade from the State.   Then, Pinewood’s world began to change.

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