Common Core Botched or Needed for Jobs?

electrician-1080554_1280Was the Common Core movement simply botched or just renamed?  We know that most states have adapted their state standards to align with but not mirror Common Core standards.  We also know that there is substantive reasons for concerns over the suitability of the standards especially for primary school age children.

Yes, the tests are also not perfect.  Even worse, the test and punish mentality is worse than the problems that Common Core is supposed to correct.  You cannot use the ‘drill and test’ instructional method to teach critical thinking and problem solving.  The tests themselves, moreover, are a work in progress.  Questions are complex and testing is time consuming.  If the end of year assessment paradigm were scrapped for a periodic diagnostic testing program, everyone would benefit.

The deeper question that has to be addressed is:  Why the Common Core in the first place?  Politicians and educational policy analysts are grappling with a genuine concern for the future opportunities for our children.  They clearly are–too often–using strongman techniques to get their message across.  What message is it?  It is one we need to hear.

The World Economic Forum just published its report on The Future of Jobs.  We know that traditional middle and lower middle class jobs are disappearing.  New jobs are being created that require different skill sets–and those skill sets tend to change rapidly.

How must the educational sector adapt to meet these new conditions?  This is a vitally important issue.  Our local district’s advisory council has been charged with evaluating its career and vocational programs.  What would the World Economic Forum advise us to do?

  • Evaluate job skills programs.  They may be short sighted if those skills will change in a few years time.
  • Research work force talent trends and skills gaps.
  • Evaluate programs for their impact on diverse groups in order to improve workforce parity.
  • Reduce the dichotomy between Humanities and Sciences and applied and pure training.
  • Encourage alignment of programs with life long learning and skills retraining.








workforce parity

dichotomy between Humanities and Sciences and  applied and pure training

life long learning and reskilling

NEA Petition to End High Stakes Testing

dmbtestNEA has created an online petition to end high stakes testing.  The high stakes relate to student promotion, teacher evaluation, and school grades.

The new ESSA bill requires annual testing, but states now have the authority to change how scores are used.

Here is the link to the petition.

Just click the link and complete the information.  You can make a difference.

Charter School System Amendment Advances

The constitutional amendment to create a state charter school system passed the House K-12 subcommittee this morning.  We really do not want this.  Contact your legislators.  It would take a 60% vote in the Florida House and Senate to put it on the November ballot.

State of Florida Independent Charter Authorizing constitutional amendment to be put before the voters November 2016.
Parents, Teachers, Principals, and Non-Profit Governing Board Members,
The House K-12 Subcommittee met this morning to discuss House Joint Resolution (HJR) 0759. The resolution proposes amendment to State Constitution to require SBE to establish statewide system for approval of charter schools.
Our Director of Government Relations, Ralph Arza, was present to support the bill. HJR passed its first hurdle. There is still a battle ahead before this House Joint Resolution passes  and goes before voters. We will keep you abreast with the latest updates. The vote was as follows:
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Florida Charter School Alliance | 301 Southern Boulevard | West Palm Beach | FL | 33405

Parents File Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Success Academy Charters

justiceI just saw a post from Diane Ravitch citing a New York Daily News report.  Parents have organized against Success Academy Charter Schools in New York.  I wondered when this lawsuit would happen.  The charges include:





  • refusing to provide special education students with appropriate services.
  • multiple suspensions of students without keeping records or providing alternative instruction.
  • harassing parents to return their children to public schools and even calling 911 to pick up children whose parents do not immediately arrive–even a five year old.
Several advocacy groups have joined the complaint filed in federal court.  Perhaps Success Academy is one of the more extreme examples of this type of behavior, but similar charges have been published in Florida and elsewhere.  Clearly, these parents have had enough.  Read the full complaint.


League Got the “Quote of the Day”

heart-678954_1280Capital Intrigue: Tallahassee Democrat January 16, 2016.  In response to the rally in Tallahassee for tax credit scholarships for private schools, the League of Women Voters received the……

Quote of the Day:  “Florida lawmakers need to stop trying to find tricks that only shortchange our students, and concentrate on sustainable funding for quality public education.”

–Florida League of Women Voters President Pamela Goodman

See entire LWVF Press Release

Education Lawsuit Nears Trial

news-426892_1280The lead article in today’s Gainesville Sun features the Citizen’s for Strong Schools lawsuit coming to trial in March.  The story reports on the 5forChange meetings that are being organized at schools around the county to help raise funds.  Two local citizens organized this effort.  I hope other counties take up the effort and spread the word.

Read the article.  Spread the word.  The time is now to force a better future for our children.

OPPOSE Constitutional Change for Charter System



HJR 759 would change the constitution to allow the Department of Education to establish a statewide system for approving charter schools.  Currently, school districts authorize charter schools and the State Board of Education can over rule school board decisions.

The constitution requires a unified system of public schools.  This amendment would lead to separate systems which then are subject to different funding streams and laws.  It takes away control from local school boards.




Michigan: When the Bubble Bursts, Our Children Are At Risk

detroit-819696_1280The auto industry in Detroit was once the silicon valley of the U.S., but the influx of black workers lead to white flight.  The decentralization of automotive plants to other cities reduced jobs.  Population dropped by forty percent.

Policies to curb dissent rather than face needed changes brought bankruptcy.  The fall is city wide and may not be fixable.

Flint, Michigan suffered a similar fate.  Now, press reports from Michigan describe poor decisions to cut costs that have resulted in thousands of children suffering from lead poisoning.  Their brain damage is likely permanent.  In order to save money in the troubled city, the governor appointed a financial manager who decided to shift the source of the water supply to a river.  The pipes were lead, and the water did not contain chemicals to prevent their corrosion.

Clearly, city managers in the past had not been able to make decisions to stem the economic decline.  Now, state officials have done no better.  Anyone who could leave, left.  Those who remained suffer.  Schools are underfunded, and there is no local money to fix the problems.  The children will have even greater problems than before.

Michigan is just one of many states with similar problems.  Charter schools will not fix them.  They could make the problems worse by further dividing communities and resources.  What should be done instead?  We could begin by facing these economic problems instead of putting them off.  It will take a national will…local, state and federal energy must converge around viable strategies.  This is the lesson learned from Detroit and Flint.  Our children are at risk.


Charter School Bubble to Burst?

hands-982121_1280Are charter schools an emotional response by inner city low income families to long standing state funding inequities?  A University of Virginia Law Review article  addresses concerns that school funding inequities in Black urban areas lead to a tolerance of unfettered growth in charter schools. 

The federal government support for charters also feeds the expansion without sufficient regulation.  The net result may be a bubble and crash much like the recent financial crisis.  What should be done to avoid a cataclysmic fall that could destroy communities?

Mother Jones summarizes the three practices that lead to serious mismanagement.  I add a summary of the status Florida’s legislation to address these concerns.

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