Monday, December 24, 2007

'Tis The Season

Merry Christmas!

Happy Chanukah!

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes to all my readers, posters and sources.

Now let's go have some fun!

January 7th will come soon enough.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Check out Ken Otero on The Gradebook blog.


"I have received today deposition proof that Jennifer Faliero did indeed have an affair with former schools' public-affairs head Marc Hart." -Lee DeCesare

Click here for more.

Anyone who did not see the board meeting needs to go to "Stream and Scream" and watch what happened 2 hours into the meeting. Even though we are the 8th largest school district in the nation Tampa is still a small town. People remember things.

Lee was gaveled down as she created a "concept map" that started with that mother reading a "random page" (anyone really believe that?) from a teen book that resides on our library's shelf to the district's reluctance to deal with things sexual (gotta keep a clean image) to the (until now) rumored affair of a school board member.

TheWALL (actually Suzie Creamcheese) was identified as the source. It was not.

The source was contained in a Tampa Tribune comment to the "Band-director-texting-a-student" story. A link to the story and original comment was provided via an anonymous posting. Both are still there.

Incidentally, there was more Board "shuckin' an' jivin' " about that book than at the Michael Vick dog-fight hearing.

I suspect there will be a lot more to come in the new year. Christmas and New Year parties are a wonderful source of information and the way Lee gracefully accepted her "dismissal" will, no doubt, win her a place in many hearts.

Somebody's going to need to "put on their dancin' shoes".

Saturday, November 24, 2007

NOT TO WORRY - 20 % Teacher Tax?

This almost slid by. Teacher's paying a tax on "annualized" income! Do you spread your checks over the full year? You may want to change it. NOW!

Or at least file the correct paperwork.

Click here.

Just in:


*UPDATE: I found out some preliminary information tonight and will post more as I get it. Hillsborough County Teachers do not need to worry about this new code. We hold out taxes unlike some school districts. This code applies to teachers in districts that do not withhold taxes. Again, there is no need to worry based on what I have been told. I will post specific information later, but I thought this was important and wanted to ease concerns as soon as I found something out.

April Griffin


What better time to ask this question than now?

April Griffin is asking, you can ...Be Heard . This is an opportunity to show your creativity and logic.

Personally I'm looking forward to a lively discussion.

Hope everyone had the Thanksgiving they wanted!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


It's Sunday night and I'm seriously considering NOT going in tomorrow.

Again there weren't enough subs to go around this week. Some of us worked 7 for 7 a couple of days. Half hour for lunch and no time for anything else. I came real close to being "unprofessional" with a parent who just made the mistake of making a stray comment.

It's becoming more and more apparent that not enough people ( board members, district staff, administration, fellow teachers, and parents) really give a crap. Funny, because I wasn't allowed enough time to take one. I guess walking into my Principal's office and needing to sign out because "I crapped my pants" is becoming closer and closer to reality. Before that happens and everyone involved is embarrassed I'm looking at my other "options".

Too many teachers don't look up from their work when we talk.

My spouse said I need some "time out".

Perhaps WE ALL need some "time out".

Care to take 2 - 3 days off together sometime?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


You'll have to write to "carla" for the map.

Suzie... can you please post this as a main topic so all can see? I received this email and think all teachers should come out and show their support!

Dear Fred Burns supporters,

I would like to invite you to the Burns for the Board Tailgate Party & Fundraiser at USF's homecoming game against Cincinnati on Sat. Nov. 3rd. Bring family and friends to support Fred Burns and the USF Bulls! Food, Fun, and Fred Burns will be provided! We will be meeting prior to the game in Lot 3 (the North side of the Raymond James stadium; you'll need to enter through Lot 1. Please see attached map for exact locations). You will need to order your USF game tickets asap since they are going fast. Game time is still TBA. An update will be sent to you providing the tailgate time.

Contributions can be made by check or cash at the tailgate party. All contribution amounts are welcomed.

Please RSVP to with the approximate number of people who will be in your party by October 31st. Please feel free to forward this email to all interested parties and post on available blogs.

Looking forward to partying with you!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

ExSqueeze Me? Is That My Arse Draggin'?

The Trib carried a front page story on the effects of the additional period and schedule change. The cyber-side contains comments from readers. Its quite an array of opinions. I still can't believe some folks think we get paid for our summer vacation. It's as though high school never ends: there is always that percentage of people who are always "behind" and sometimes my patience with them wears thin. For the record: Hillsborough teachers get paid for 201 days of work. We are effectively laid off and must plan for it.

I have a friend who regularly uses this inflation calculator to see how he's doing. Try it but be warned that it may be the "straw".

Anyone who has read The Wall and followed the links to other blogs KNOWS that everything mentioned in the story was expected. Anyone who watched or attended the board meetings knows that everything in the story was expected. In fact these results were spelled out in a thorough and professional manner by high caliber teachers.

Anyone who watched or attended the board meetings knew that everything mentioned in the story was also ignored.

I have been so totally exhausted trying to keep up that The Wall has suffered. I'm also running full throttle and urinated. It is April in October and I see no relief.

I'm ready to do something.

I am including a comment from the cyber-article by a first year teacher (cheerfulstorm) that mirrors what was said by a veteran teacher at one of the board meetings.

As a first year teacher, I have to say, I'm dragging. Not only because of the 6 classes (I don't know any different), but because I don't have a classroom, I often don't have the materials I need, the few kids who are more than disrespectful, the parents who think that I should spend an hour more time a day with their one kid out of my 160, and the six classes of papers I have to grade.

So say I have one essay a week for my six minutes a piece, I spend approx 15 hours grading only 1 assignment. Plus it takes about 2 hours a week to plan, and I lose my planning period to running around the school signing papers or answering the 50 emails in my inbox from parents and administrators or even to the kid who needs some extra help or make up an assignment.

Yes, we work 40 hours a week - 7am to 3 pm - with a paid lunch because most of us have to perform a 15 minute duty for the school during that time. So that's 18-20 hours of MY OWN TIME not spent in front of the kids every week. Not to mention, when the kids have the day off, the teachers are generally working. I'll be attending a mandatory professional development day on Friday while the kids are sleeping in.

In addition, I'm working toward my own Masters' degree to be able to teach my students even better. So...60 hours a week, and a salary that tops out at $65K if you've been teaching for 30 years.

Gotta say, I'm moving to a state with a stronger union once I finish my degree, because no one but teachers can really look out for teachers. Everyone else takes a crap on them, looks like. And people wonder why 50% of new teachers don't make it past year 3. Good thing I like the kids and want them to succeed, or I'd be joining them.

-from eloguentmind

MYTH 1: Teachers only work 300 minutes a day.

Most work a 12 month yr. in 10 months.
My average weekday:
5:30- wake
6:45- work
7:15- Pay Day/School Begins
10:23-12:03- planning/conference/meetings/grading/duty/lunch
3:00- School Day Ends tutoring/grading/meetings/phone calls/emails/paperwork/test make up/letters of recommendation/trainings (Pay Day Ends)
4:45- Leave
6:00-9:00- Grade essays, projects, homework, data entry, emails, planning, website
I work a 13-14 hour day. I work ¾ of my Sunday. That’s about 70 hrs. a week. I’m not the only one. 38 wks x 70 hrs = 2660 hrs, whereas in the “real world” 52 wks x 50 hrs is 2600 hrs, and vacation time is often paid. We may work as much as, if not more than, the “real worlders”.

MYTH 2: Teachers don’t want to work, but they want to get raises.

I work harder than many people. I am also the yearbook advisor and tutor two week nights, on the weekends, and all summer in order to make up for the salary. Our “8% raise” was not a raise. Some teachers only received a 6% increase or less. Our day was increased by 20 min., 2 holidays were removed from the schedule, and one must factor in about 2 % for inflation. Doing the math, one learns that the “raise” is actually JUST compensation for the extended days.

MYTH 3: Teachers only work when they are with students.

In the “real world” most people sit behind a desk the majority of their day. They call this work. Do they not? If so, then please tell me what it is called when a teacher does the same thing? I’m a high school English Honors teacher. I have 150 students. When I assign a small paper, of 500 words on Civil Rights and Martin Luther King’s influences on our social consciousness, it takes me about 10 min. to grade, assess, and comment on each paper. 10 min. x 150 papers is 1500 min. My paid planning time is only 50 min. It takes me 30 planning periods, or 6 weeks of school, to properly grade one high school English assignment. I have at least 150 papers of various length and content to grade a day.

I would have NO PROBLEM working the way I do if the community, school officials, parents, and students treated my craft/profession with dignity and respect. An earlier writer said that teachers are raising the students because many parents are not, and they are exactly right. I have been pushed, hit, cursed at, threatened, etc. But, I stay because I LOVE the craft of what I do. I hold onto the hope that America will open its eyes and see that we need to make a change in our cultural values. We are the wealthiest nation, yet our public school system ranks 20th in the world. I can’t give up on what I was called to do just yet. Give us less students with more support and respect, and I promise you, you will have a happy teacher, which results in happy students! Our children deserve it.

"What we're seeing is what we expected," said David Steele, the district's general director for secondary education.

Let's see how that comment plays when the FCAT scores come in. Copy and paste it somewhere. I'm thinking a T shirt design.

Later. My arse is draggin'.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I started this a while back and just recently rediscovered it.

VOTE "NO" ON THE CONTRACT. (yeah, I know: too late)
VOTE OUT THE INCUMBENT - except April - jury is still out on "Salsa". Go to "Burns For The Board" link.
WEAR DIAPERS - (actually thought about this one since going to the bathroom has become a scheduled activity)

Dedicate the first 10 - 15 minutes of every class to subject-specific current event silent reading. Randomly give +/- marking to those who brought something that they read-see your Reading Coach, Specialist for newspapers or other materials. Pick one student (or allow volunteers) each day to give an oral summary of what they read and how it relates to the subject they are in. That student receives an "EXTRA credit grade" based on a simple rubric you designed.

Find a subject relevant video to show while you correct papers or do grades.
(see other teachers who teach the same level and coordinate show times and subject matter- bribe your media specialist - chocolate is universal)

The WALL is now open for creative suggestions. Please consider humor, educational acceptance, and curriculum relevance in your postings. You get bonus points for FCAT related skills and reading related activities.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

RANDOM THOUGHTS 9-6 Board Meeting

Candy Olson is preparing to seek a way to prevent current employees from running for the School Board?

I hope I misunderstood. If she wants to wall off Candyland to employees who are teachers AND a sitting Board member, I can sort of see what she's trying to do. If she is seeking to wall off Candyland to any current employee from RUNNING for School Board while being employed, then you can see her intent quite clearly. THIS SHOULD NOT BE. No one should have to quit their job to run for the Board. It clearly limits competition. Speaking of competition:

Susan Valdes wants every employee to get MAP.

My God Mrs. Valdes did you NOT understand when one of the Assistant Superintendents said: By statute the legislature created a competition? By definition, competition results in a limited reward. In other words ma'am, your request that every teacher receive MAP is a contradiction in terms. How'd you miss THAT?
If you want every teacher to get more money, may I suggest you just PAY US MORE?!

Everyone needs to watch the meeting via Stream n Scream.

Start about 1 hour into the video and pay close attention to that MAP discussion. Do this before you "pre-test" your kids.

Thanks to all for the comments on the previous post. I heard it got passed around a lot. While blogs are mentioned again at the meeting I have to wonder if the board members can read the comments when they are logged on to the network at ROSSAC. I can't from my work site!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

IT'S ONLY ROCK and ROLL - But I Like It

Let's Get Together Yeah, Yeah, Yeah We Can Have A Real Good Time

I grew up surrounded by and immersed in rock and roll, rhythm and blues, Motown, and Woodstock.

I had a booth at the Psychedelicatessan, dining on Blue Oyster Cult soup, a salad bar with Motley Croutons, Blood Sweat & Tear sandwiches with a slice of Todd Runion, while wearing my John Mellencap.

I slept with my first love at age 8: a 3-transistor radio with an 8 section antenna that I held against the pole lamp as I lay in bed, earplug snugly in my ear, trolling the AM band for new songs.

I still remember hearing "Its Only Love" from Rubber Soul when distant airwaves, aided by the atmosphere, bounced off something and got caught by the pole lamp. Nobody I knew had even heard about Rubber Soul. I was a grade school phenom!

Why this excursion in Dr. Peabody's Wayback Machine? The recent hullabaloo during our school board's team-building workshop has me thinking about rock and roll bands. It always seemed as though some band was embroiled in tension during transition.

Group creativity is not about consensus. Creative consensus brought us The Bay City Rollers!

Any group worth their salt had fights. Some fights involved fists, broken whiskey bottles and blood. The Davies brothers (Kinks) were known to fight onstage between beers. The Beatles fights were more "snippy" - Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth had some beauties that are still difficult to scab over - ask Sammy Hagar. Remember when Ozzie left Sabbath ?

Some fights were so brutal that the damage was believed permanent. There are still people who go to an Eagles concert in anticipation.

Remember the Chuck Berry / Keith Richards stare down in "Hail, Hail Rock and Roll"?

All this has been swirling around in my head since our School Board went into the studio for a preproduction session. This is where the band and the producer get together, decide on what songs to put on this year's release, in what order, who sings lead, who sings what harmonies - if any. Later, with the record company, decisions like: who gets the royalties, who does the promo interviews, what is the album's title, etc., will be addressed.

While "fans" everywhere were aware of some growing tension among the band mates nobody was expecting just how quickly the boiling point would be reached.

Apparently "Meatloaf", "Grace Slick", "Diana Ross", "Melanie", and "Sheryl Crow" wanted to continue mining the same vein the group has been for the last 10 years. They contended that their fan base wasn't ready for anything new or innovative and sited the dismal failure of their nationwide search for a new manager and fashion consultant.

New members "Salsa Spice" and "Chrissie Hynde" had joined the group with the intent of updating the sound and image.
("Chrissie" was a former rock critic before deciding she had enough 3rd person and figured she could do it nicely herself thank-you-very-much.)

Both felt they were not only losing their fan base but also were becoming complacent, dated, and approaching caricature. A fan blog set up by "Chrissie" provided a free flowing forum that allowed her to monitor the response to the group's changes. It even allowed the "roadies" and "support technicians" an avenue for expression. The crew could originally access her blog, read and send comments while on the job until management blocked the comments section. It wasn't like they had a lot of time since their job description was changed, their duties increased and their "break-time" cut in half. Most of the smart ones quit their union and are spending what they used to pay in dues at "happy hours" of their own making.

"Chrissie's" blog and use of technology as a two-way communication tool apparently began to piss off ( hey, this is a rock column!) some of the others who were having trouble adapting to the new technologies that were being introduced. "Meatloaf" was rumored to have completely destroyed a couple of laptops - out of anger over an Active Directory / S.I.L.K. conflict with his MySpace page. He is also believed to be the culprit who destroyed a few new flex-neck condenser mics with saliva salvos.

"Sheryl", who was in the middle of a divorce from "Lance", moved out of her region (in direct violation of her contract) into a trendy condo owned by a "friend" so she could cut down on living expenses, got caught lying about it, and was just aching to tee off on somebody before being fired or resigning.
She didn't have to wait long.

There continues to be a lot of background speculation about the others being in on the secret of "Sheryl's" move. Their silence came with the expectation that when the manager's contract came up for renewal "Sheryl" would join them in supporting renewal, which she did.

"Chrissie" was "Sheryl's" target-de-jour. "Salsa Spice" would be collateral damage.

Anyone who knows "Chrissie" knows she won't back down. "Salsa" likes to play nice. "Chrissie" will take her Telecaster and bat your ass flat.

"Sheryl" was lucky, only words were exchanged.
"Chrissie" decided she had enough. The studio door may have been damaged as she left.

Elvis would have "put a cap" in the TV.

How much damage was done to the members remains to be seen. Hopefully the others will finally recognize the "Winds of Change" blowing through the industry before it's too late. "Chrissie" will need to be sure-footed and determined. "Salsa" will have to get focused, succinct, and strong.

For "Meatloaf" it may be too late.
There is growing support to replace him with, who we believe is a New Kid On The Block: "Jordan Knight" -sporting a cleaned up collegiate look. Research into this is continuing.

"Chrissie" has increasing support from all segments of the fan base. Even those in demographics previously unknown to the group have begun to make themselves known.

Public appearances are still scheduled for Tuesday's at The ROSSAC which is more intimate than The FORUM but may still host a hockey fight, so get there early - it's festival seating.

The start time
used to be 5PM. It has been changed to 3PM. Fan pressure could force a compromise. This time and format change was apparently made with the hope that critics will be caught in Crosstown Traffic - particularly "Lester Bang's" mom.

Lester (may he R.I.P.) was one of those critics who demanded every song, every album be the absolute best the artist could release - anything less and he would be mercilessly and justifiably scathing. He got the best of his mom's DNA. True fans loved and trusted him until he discovered cough syrup.

The performances are still broadcast on Channel 18. Sound checks are still done privately. Any critic must still sign up ahead of time and adhere to strict time limits. "Meatloaf" is still apt to trot out that tired demo "Your Time's Up" at a moment's notice. Ironically, the fans just might beat him to it.

Stay "tuned" fans!

IT'S ONLY ROCK and ROLL - But I Like It


Does everybody remember those tedious teacher in-services we were forced to endure?

How about the one titled "Ethics Training"? How many times were we admonished with: "You are held to a higher standard." ? How often were we told that even if we were in a restaurant drinking, we never knew who was at the next table watching, listening.

How often were we told that we could be called to Professional Standards at the slightest, vaguest phone call, letter or infraction for reprimand or termination?
"You are held to a higher standard."

Our board member Jennifer Faliero got caught trying to pull a quick one.

"You, Ms. Faliero, are held to an even higher standard."

You must be able to make informed unemotional decisions. The decision to move away from the community that elected you and then try to keep it "under the radar" belies that fatal flaw spouses succumb to during divorce. As an elected official that option was not available to you - period.
You betrayed your district with personal intent.

You can't raise a family of 3 on $40,887 a year? You moved to South Tampa's Davis Island for more affordable housing?

You have teachers with Bachelor Degrees who must be on Level 9 (not 9 years experience but LEVEL 9) who make almost that and never thought about South Tampa's greatest housing bargain! Really, did you think anybody in Tampa bought that one?

Why South Tampa? Did you use your position to intimidate the Plant administration into looking the other way when they enrolled your daughter? Oh, wait a minute, wasn't Ms. Elia's launching pad Plant High School? Was her evaluation influenced by this move? Were your required to purchase a pass to Candyland? I wonder how you kept this enrollment away from the queen of CandyLand? Did the South Tampa "powers that be" tacitly "allow" this quid-pro-quo? At what price? See how easy it is for the neighbors to talk?

Too bad you didn't take that "Ethics Training", or did you? In any case your integrity has been forever damaged. Every decision, every comment, every public appearance will bring this baggage with it. Every little thing will be measured by this decision to move out of your district. If you can't live on
$40,887 a year how can you look at yourself knowing a third of your teachers make less!

Like they told us: "Ignorance is no excuse because
you, Ms. Faliero, are held to an even higher standard."

Do the right thing Ms. Faliero:

- the sooner, the better.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Last year we taught 5 of 7 periods = 71.4%
This year we teach 6 of 7 periods = 85.7%

This year we are being offered 8.3% for working 14.3% more with 50% less prep time!
It is time for the "elders" to speak up. Maybe I can point out to them why they need to step up.

Unless you have switched your retirement plan from the defined option, your retirement benefits are based on your last 5 years salary. WAKE UP elders! The $1000.00 bonus in the proposed settlement DOES NOT COUNT toward your retirement benefit!

IF the district does this it will reduce the total amount of your benefits by $5,000 over the 5 years since it does NOT show up in the formula.

IF this becomes a standard ploy and they throw you this "bone" for the 5 years before you retire it will cost you $15,000 in your benefit formula.

If we allow this sleight of hand it will cost you ($1000.00 x 5 years = $5K) this time. PLUS $4000.00 ($1000 x 4) + ($1000 x 3) + ($1000 x 2) + ($1000 x 1) Total = $15,000



Monday, July 23, 2007


I've tried to put some distance between our plight in the district. Why not? It's summer vacation and I can keep my finger on the pulse without coming out of the cabana. The cadre of supporting bloggers are keeping a wary eye on the shenanigans.

We have a "settlement" that includes an 8.3% raise. NO mention of the extra period we are being forced to teach. Huh?

Last year we taught 5 of 7 periods = 71.4%
This year we teach 6 of 7 periods = 85.7%

This year we are working 14.3% more!

We have a "settlement" that includes an 8.3% raise. Huh?

Last year we could plan 2 of 7 periods = 28.5%
This year we plan 1 of 7 periods = 14.25%

This year we have our planning cut 50%

We have a "settlement" that includes an 8.3% raise. Huh?

"Teachers currently at the top of the schedule (Level 27) who do not receive a Level increase will receive a bonus of $1,000 to be paid before winter break."

That's right, Level 27 DOES NOT receive a level increase like the other levels.
They get a "bone-us". Why am I pissed for those folks? They got boned!
The "bone-us" does not get included in their retirement formula.

By not including it on the salary schedule it is a phantom number.

Call CTA and ask.

It is NOT the best we can get and we only need 50.0001% 'NO'.
There are 30,000 employees covered by this "settlement".

A big thank you to those teachers and ESP who gave up many days of their summer break to serve on the bargaining team. They are:

Carol Austin - Tomlin Middle School
Crystal Blanco, ESP - Roosevelt Elementary School
Tom Boyle - Adult and Community Ed Center
Marilyn Dupree, ESP - Lavoy Exceptional Center
Mary Grace Farina, Riverview High School
Elaine Fess - Tampa Bay Blvd. Elementary School
Kim Henriquez - Lowry Elementary
John Streater - Robinson High School
Also serving on the team were Jean Clements, CTA President and
Yvonne Lyons, Chief Negotiator "

Sorry, I can't "thank" these folks for this.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


With contract negotiations in full swing, why do we have to rely on a third party for information? The Gradebook has our collective thanks for correcting our misconceptions with the facts.

It is demoralizing to know things are happening and CTA has left its membership in the dark!

Why is CTA's web site NOT reflecting an up-to-the-minute report on how negotiations are going?

It should have the sessions listed with the agenda of each.
It should let the membership know that they are welcomed.
It should let us know that 2 early release days were "approved".
It should let us know that we will be working an 8 hour day (remember last year's agreement?).
It should let us know each side's opening position and whether we have any NEA professional negotiator present.
It should let us know, period.

Why have a website that is, for the most part, static.

P.S. This blog took about an hour to set up (start - finish) and I knew nothing!

Those of you who were here from the start know the generous help I got from others. THAT'S partially the root of this posting: for an organization that purportedly represents the education profession, they appear reluctant to "extend their skills" for effective communication.

And that doesn't mean we need to buy them all iPhones!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

POT(ted plant) SHOTS

Here is how Lambo and the Queen of Candyland treat citizens who question their spending and hiring practices.

These dismissive and vindictive comments appear to be an indication of the general heat they are feeling. Please print this out and file it. Take it to the polling place. Let's enforce the district's bullying policy!


I think you need to check your facts as to who was on the board at that time and the gentleman’s name also I think was incorrect.

Thank You.


I’m going to say first of all that I think it’s interesting that you either agree with someone or you’re a rubber stamp or a potted plant.

Number two, those statements are inaccurate. Anyone who paid attention to that hiring process knows full well that Mrs. Elia didn’t have the inside track going in and I think anyone who bet on her would have been prepared to lose a bunch of money.

Paper is one part of the hiring process and to the best of my knowledge there is no business in the country that doesn’t do interviews and background checks before it makes the hiring because there is more to life than good grammar and commas. There are things like clarity and commitment and energy and I will just say also I think it’s very interesting that a woman that claims to be a feminist generally takes as her target other women.

Thank you.

(meeting gaveled to a close)


The revealing video is available via the Stream 'n' Scream link. It also shows the Queen reading from her royal notes.

Lamb refers to Otero as Brinson.
Dr. Dagget (Forum fiasco) to sell us (my words) on "Cultural Competence" teacher training. Lamb (obviously reading The Wall) asks Luney to make sure we copyright our materials.

This is so comment rich that I'd have to neglect important bodily needs and functions to get them all out. Have at it readers!

Thursday, June 7, 2007


I was preparing a response to the proposed changes of Board Meetings when this comment got posted. Thank you "anonymous".

I think this change is one of those mean-spirited CandyLand "gotcha"s, if you know what I mean.

I realize this doesn't really belong on this comment chain, but I am wondering if anyone else is concerned about the change of School Board meeting times to THREE pm starting in September. (April Griffin has the link to yesterday's Trib article on her blog.) I see several reasons why this might be a problem, and I have pasted in my letter to the Board expressing these concerns.

I'm interested in what you think.

Dear Board Members,
I am writing in response to your recent decision to change your meeting times from 5 pm to 3 pm. While I sincerely appreciate your efforts to be more accommodating to teachers and members of the general public who might wish to make comments at Board meetings, I nonetheless feel that your present plan contains many problems.

*As you know, many private citizens work until 5 pm. Shifting the time of the meeting to 3 pm would require many of these citizens desiring to address the Board to take several hours off work, as opposed to possibly just leaving a little early as they presently do.

*Middle and high school students and staff being recognized at a Board meeting will now need to miss time at school, which will additionally require said students to fill out School Business forms and miss classes. Thus, the new meeting time ends up requiring more paperwork and potentially inconveniencing schools whose administrators now have to miss possibly the entire afternoon of school in order to arrive at ROSSAC by 3 pm (depending of course on their respective travel times, etc).

*I know you are also aware that secondary schools release at 2:45 or later, and middle schools typically release later still. Many teachers--at all grade levels--work at locations far from ROSSAC and thus will need travel time to get there if they desire to attend a meeting. Thus many teachers would not possibly be able to arrive at a meeting before 4 pm, depending on how far they have to travel.

* While an online speaker's list will certainly facilitate the process, any principal who wants to discourage his/her teachers from attending or even speaking at a Board meeting need only hold a faculty meeting on that day. Indeed, TUESDAY is the typical faculty meeting day for high schools. The current contract says meetings may hold teachers as much as 50 minutes after their workday ends. With the 20 minutes of additional paid time in our work day thus potentially delaying even the beginning of such a meeting, a principal could easily prevent teachers from even leaving their schools until as late as 4 pm. A teacher at a school distant from ROSSAC who then needs an hour of travel time would thus effectively be stopped from speaking at Board meetings. I can tell you that many of my colleagues have already faced harassment and retribution for their work against the 300 min policy. Therefore, moving your meeting time 2 hours earlier makes it EASIER for principals to prevent teachers from attending these meetings.

*Any teacher who earns extra money by working in the Extended Learning Program or teaching night school classes (as I do) will have to miss the entire afternoon's work in order to attend the meeting at all. Thus even attending the meeting at all will cost hardworking teachers extra money. I myself have given up night school time (having made sure in advance that there was a teacher to cover me) in order to attend meetings. Since our night school classes met on Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6 pm, I lost easily $75.00 simply to attend these meetings. I did this on two separate occasions for meetings I felt it was important to attend from the beginning, but on subsequent occasions I simply came to the meeting after night school ended. Under the new schedule, I will not have this option. Under the new schedule, I will literally have to lose income in order to attend a meeting at all, as meetings will now likely be OVER by the time I could get there after my class was over.

For all these reasons and possibly even more that I haven't considered yet, I believe that the new meeting time of 3 pm will actually HINDER the participation and attendance of community members and teachers at School Board meetings. I appreciate your desire to make these meetings more accessible to more people, but the change in schedule does not, for the reasons I have cited, do that at all. In fact, the new time only makes it HARDER for teachers even to attend, never mind speak at, Board meetings. For all these reasons, I seems practical to me to keep the 5 pm meeting time but change the position of speakers within the meeting. If you were to place speakers after recognitions, say, ahead of the discussion of agenda items, you would still be giving ANY speaker wishing to address the Board attention early in the meeting and showing them respect by not making them wait until the very end of a possible long meeting. You would also be maintaining the current opportunity for teachers and private citizens to ATTEND meetings within our very busy schedules, allowing for travel time and the school bell schedules. Maintaining the current meeting time of 5 pm will also make it harder for principals or anyone else to interfere with teachers who might wish to at least attend if not address School Board meetings.

For all these reasons, I ask you to reconsider this decisions and maintain the current meeting start time, increasing community opportunities to address the Board simply by changing the point at which audience participation occurs.



Isn't it ironic that the board can change their times to "stay fresh" but will approve the 6/7 schedule which does the polar opposite to employees?
Bargaining Dates (Thanks Sys!)

"There are 3 bargaining sessions in the last of of June. We need teachers to attend these.

Monday - 6/25, 1-4:45

Thursday - 6/28, 1:30-5

Friday - 6/29, 2-5

All at CTA Headquarters. They expect to be done that week."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Just got done watching the board meeting via the "Stream 'n' Scream". Try it. It provides the opportunity to replay some of the "jargon" and convoluted responses from the Board, Superintendent, and Staff. Excuse the phrase, but more often than not I had to replay comments with "what the hell was THAT!?" going through the back of my mind. Can't these people speak plainly so that we can understand them? Yeah, I know: that's the point.


Someone with Yvonne Lyons email address please ask the following?

1) What was the ACTUAL numerical for/against vote count of the M.A.P. approval?
2) What is the ACTUAL number of dues paying instructional employees that CTA represents?
3) What is the ACTUAL number of instructional employees that work for the district?

I'm tired of the ratio reports. It hides the true involvement of the membership.
ALL votes should have a minimum participation clause that assumes if someone does NOT vote it is a NO VOTE!
Make an effort to get the ballot to me and on time.
Make me understand the importance of an issue because if you don't: it stops there!


Who is this guy James Aleesio? AULISIO ! *
Why is he asking questions that CTA should be asking? Why isn't he in Yvonne Lyons position? Why isn't he a teamster? He's cleaning CTA's leadership's clock!

The CandyLand response to his "administrator raise" comment was LAME! How about some facts Ms. Olsen? Even the cub reporter that bears your surname could come up with a better response. Merely saying "that's incorrect" is a side step to the truth. Step up and CORRECT him on record.

Unless you're just "blowin' smoke".

By the way: You may have overlooked my doorstep on your last campaign. I'll look forward to your next visit. It will be a long one. What do you drink?

I wish April a speedy recovery.

*Thanks possum.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Hope everyone had a smooth close out at school.

It was personally bittersweet to see "quality" teachers I have grown to like on a personal level and respect on a professional level pack up to leave. Knowing why they must and how it happened has given me a quiet resolve to continue. All the press release spin coming out of the Superintendent's office, the continued CTA capitulation, and just knowing what next year will be like fuels me. Hopefully we will find out just how many were forced to teach out-of-field.

Thank God for our blog archives. When I begin to feel weary I WILL LOOK BACK. I will NOT forget.

May 29 - 5PM School Board Meeting

May 30 - 9AM - 3PM CTA Contract Negotiations (Open To Public) 4505 N. Rome Ave.

May 31/June1 Teacher Interview Days @ Jefferson High School

June 8 - 9AM - 3PM CTA Contract Negotiations (Open To Public) 4505 N. Rome Ave.

June 12 - 5PM School Board Meeting

June 26 - CANCELLED! 5PM School Board Meeting

July 17 - 5PM School Board Meeting


By the way: if Elia's bonus was based on "faulty" 3rd grade FCAT data will it be taken back?

What about the kids who got promoted on the faulty data? Their current teachers have got to make MORE than adequate yearly progress to make up for it. Think they'll get Performance, ah, STAR, ah, MAP pay?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Considering everything that we are all involved in these last two weeks, I think its time for a little light -hearted posting and comments.

ScanTrons and S.I.L.K aside, if you attended your school's graduation how about posting your thoughts? It will probably be the last one many of us attend voluntarily - AS IT SHOULD BE.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I copied this from the "comment" section of a previous post. Based on the first 3 comments I elevated it to its own area because I believe it deserves a higher profile. Fellow teachers also need to know what administrators just don't play fair. Its the least we can do.

Fellow professionals: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


"It is frustrating to hear about these principals who are intimidating teachers not to attend the Board meetings. They are limiting your free movement around your country.

Why are you afraid to name these principals here on my blog? Your identity is protected - just don't don't post things from school.

It is critical to have first person accounts.

Don't worry about any principal figuring out who "outed" them. They only pretend to be able to do that. Use "Anonymous" or "Other" - in fact type that principal's name in "other"! Face it, they have a lot more to contend with than YOUR POST!

Are you afraid that CTA won't be able to help you? THAT's revealing!

Suzie Creamcheese allows me extraordinary freedom and I pass it on to you. Everyone knows how this district seeks revenge which is why we have "The WALL".

I am still disappointed in the silence of Plant, Robinson, Blake, Durant, Jefferson, Middleton, Riverview, Newsome, and Wharton. Now, granted, I may have missed something so please call me on it and straighten me out.

Let us know you care enough about what's going on. I can accept anything but apathy from my fellow teachers.

I will be able to rationalize to myself if someone is truly fearful of their principal, but consider this:

Can you really be happy at a place that has so little regard for, yet such fear of your thoughts and beliefs?

Can you face your fellow teachers knowing you caved without a fight?

Can you really look at your children as they sit across from you at the dinner table and tell them to "stand up to that bully, you'll feel better."

Can you really look in the mirror next year as you fight the fatigue of the 6 of 7 schedule for a smaller paycheck?

Can you?

Please write."

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Just in case:

I am preparing a "Letter to Parents" that teachers can copy or modify for use during "Open House" and "Conference Days".

It would be nice to quote our Superintendent, Board members, and C.T.A. as supporting documentation.

If you know the exact quote, please post it here with the date. Mrs. Faliero's "prioritize" comment comes to mind.

The Board meetings are a "comment rich" resource. With everybody contributing and refining I hope to have an impressive product for us.

I will collect and incorporate the quotes and then post my final letter for you to use freely.

Fell free to make suggestions. We have 3 MONTHS to refine it.

Come back often.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


May 8th Board Meeting

In no particular order:

Live with the superintendent's plan for this year and we will find some way to fix it next year.
Oh, really?

We were given NO other option to address this problem. This was the only plan presented.
Oh, really?

The teachers will bear the full financial sacrifice of funding this program. There is no option for EVERYONE ( like in every employee) to take a cut in order to make this work.
Oh, really?

Some student clubs, programs, and activities will not be available next year.
Oh, really?

It's all the voters fault for making the state do this. We have no other option.
Oh, really?

The superintendent LEFT while her employees spoke - probably to check in with absentee Candy.
Oh, really?

April Griffin was the only board member with enough courage to state her opinion AND position.
Oh, really?

We don't have to try and get things (like stadium lighting) cheaper because we have bid process in place. See these spartan charts?

I haven't heard a peep from board member Kurdell about the superintendent's plan.
Oh, really.

No board member would actually accept (touch?) a notebook of data presented by a teacher (leper). Oh, really?

Students addressed the board in a heartfelt manner as mature young adults and effectively left the superintendent with egg on her face.
Oh, really?

October 2007: ground zero for teacher burnout.
Oh, really?

We need a lawyer with chutzpah and the desire to be elected a judge to file a class action suit followed by a court injunction stopping this train in its tracks.

We need teachers to quit CTA and embrace the Teamsters.

We need to vote "NO" on the contract, send this to arbitration, show up for school and teach 5 classes - creatively mind you.

We need to be ready when the FCAT scores tank because we will be blamed.

We need to include the time of our conference period on all parental correspondence so they know that's the time we are able to return phone calls. Oh, don't forget Mrs. Falerio's suggestion and prioritize all your tasks during that time.

We need to pay close attention to the shenanigan's during the meeting/workshop at the end of June. My intuition is not good on that one.

We will stay focused - oh, really, really focused.

Monday, May 7, 2007


It is time.

I'm still thinking that we need another organization to really represent us.

An organization not afraid to look at the Board and say "NO way".

An organization that will go to the edge for us.

An organization that is not afraid to go to jail for what is right.

An organization that is willing to say "This is NOT the best the county can offer and we recommend that you vote NO and send us to arbitration. We have a good case."

Some healthy competition is good. I 'm weary of "accepting" the status quo.

I'm looking for leadership. Are you?

I'm looking for guts. Are you?

I'm looking around. Are you?

Remember when unions would take out full page ads in order to win over public sentiment?

I never liked the idea of unions per se. I always seemed to do more than the teacher in the next room and yet still got paid the same. I always figured that my money could buy a lawyer if I needed one.

I still do.

BUT this is affecting my friends and colleagues like nothing else. I would join an organization that WANTED to represent me.

We are ripe for the picking.

If you are tired of the same old song, the same old tired responses from the same old tired representatives then click on the "blue" word and make your statement!

Maybe, just maybe, you too wanna be a teamster.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Twilight Zone?

Consider our Superintendent's incubation at Plant High School under the tutelage of Beth Shields.

Starting as a Reading Resource Specialist, she has never actually taught in a Hillsborough County classroom. (No grading, no parent phone calls, no scheduled daily classes, no attendence, no homeroom.)

During the next 20 years she was elevated to Reading Supervisor, Magnet School Supervisor, Director of Non-Traditional Programs, General Director of Secondary Education, Chief Facilities Officer, and Superintendent.

Out of breath yet?

Elia Bio

Like a rock skipping over the water, there were surface ripples but nothing that could be considered leadership currents.

It makes me think she's really not the innovator some would have us believe.

Consider the bureaucratic structure of ROSSAC.

Has anyone ever been fired?
(Not even Doug Erwin earned that distinction. His bravery and endurance was recognized by the County Commissioners. It cost the district money. You get the point.)

Thoughts, focus and direction appear to be seeded in positions below the Superintendent.

It is hard to imagine that in less than 2 years in the Superintendent's position anyone could possibly have a grasp on all the ramifications of the 6 out of 7 plan she has brought forth and championed.

They can't get the buses to run on time due to attrition, burnout, and staffing. A consultant was paid handsomely to identify problems and suggest resolutions. How many kids are still waiting for the bus before and after school? Next year's classrooms will be similar.

Its a house of cards and the Superintendent has an itch in her nose.

Somebody has her ear.
Somebody has sold her on this plan.

Whistle Blower Resigns After Reporting $100 Million in losses to the F.B.I.

TAMPA - The Hillsborough County School Board will end its fight with former employee Doug Erwin, who sued the district under the Florida Whistle-Blowers Act and won a jury award of $175,000.
"We based it on our attorney's recommendation," school board Chairwoman Candy Olson said
after a closed board meeting Tuesday to discuss litigation. "I still think we did nothing wrong, but we've got other things we need to pay attention to. We need to move on." Erwin, reached at his home near Atlanta, said, "That's great. ... I really didn't know what to expect at this point in time. I'm happy to see the end of it."
Erwin said he is spending his time working in his garden and "enjoying life as much as possible"
with his wife, Pat.
The district's battle with Erwin will cost taxpayers $215,184 in the school board attorney's fees, school board attorney Tom Gonzalez said, plus Erwin's attorney's fees and costs. Erwin's attorney, Priscilla Ryan, has asked for more than $1.6 million, Gonzalez said, which will be determined in a court hearing.
Erwin's saga started in November 2001, when he went public with allegations of shoddy work,
mismanagement and coverup in school construction and maintenance. A 33-year school district employee, Erwin had been a popular principal before being promoted to general director of operations in 1998. There, he sparked internal investigations into wrongdoing in the maintenance and grounds departments he supervised. Those led to criminal charges against former school district employees
and showed $560,000 apparently misappropriated in the grounds department. Florida's auditor general verified accusations of waste and mismanagement.
Erwin's original request to air his concerns before the school board was denied, followed by
heated debates with the board.
In late January 2002, then-Superintendent Earl Lennard reassigned Erwin, ordering him to find an estimated $100 million in district losses. Erwin announced his retirement the next day and sued the district, saying he was forced to resign after his allegations. A trial in December before U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore resulted in the $175,000 award, not yet paid because the district appealed.
In late September, Whittemore refused to overturn the award.
"I think the judge is dead wrong, but the truth about an appeal is that the odds are against you,"
Gonzalez said. Ryan, Erwin's attorney, has filed for $43,246 in costs plus $799,180 in fees and has asked that the fees be at least doubled, Gonzalez said.
The money to pay Erwin and all attorneys comes out of the district's general fund used to pay employees and operating expenses, he said. Only four of seven school board members were at Tuesday's meeting. Two of them, Doretha Edgecomb and Susan Valdes, were not on the board when the Erwin case made headlines. "I just think it's a new administration, and we have to move forward," Valdes said.
Edgecomb agreed: "We have done all that we could. I think we have bigger issues to focus on.
We should just accept the judgment and move on from there."
( SOURCE: MARILYN BROWN , The Tampa Tribune
Tampa Bay Online)

I hope the "Ag guy" reads this.

Sound Off And Be Heard
Keeping Up With Goader
Lambo's Lee
Sisyphus - Pound THAT Rock!
The Gradebook

Monday, April 30, 2007


It was a great Sunday afternoon for beer, burgers, and the beach. Something very refreshing when you're not counting carbs, calories, or content.

Ahhhh, comfort food for some of us.

I'm not sure when I noticed that a TV was tuned to NASCAR. They were racing at a track in Alabama called Talladega. As I understand it the cars have devices - restrictor plates - that limit the speed of the car (hey NASCAR fans no flames please, I'm trying here) which seems to contradict the reason for a race.

I can't help but think of Lake Wobegone where all the kids are above average. That comment always irritated the syllogism in me. It simply underscored the boredom that happens when nobody pops up with an observation or the absence of comedic relief when somebody doesn't quite get it. Dull.

A driver named Tony had to talk to the officials about some criticism he leveled at somebody important and I think he was called into an office and "spanked".

There is something called "The Car of Tomorrow" which a guy named "Jesse" tried to explain to me. Suddenly all I could think of was "No Car Left Behind".

Each "Car of Tomorrow" had to have the same size fuel tank and it struck me as "The Gas Size Amendment". I kept all of this to myself.

Everything was aggressive. Strategy. Shortcuts. Adjustments. Something called drafting, a technique where you use someone else's air to gain an advantage at almost 200 MPH! Short-term stuff but all part of the job.

They waved a yellow caution flag and most everybody scrambled to the pits for gas and water and repairs and adjustments. It was chaos. Rather than enjoy the break they left as soon as possible. This happened many times. Next year maybe we should build and assign restroom stalls in our Teacher Pit Area so nobody tries racing to use the only one.

As the race went on little mistakes seemed to create major problems for both the driver that made the mistake as well as the drivers around him. The continued intensity of trying to survive and thrive, and the resulting mistakes born from that stress, cost some participants dearly. More strategic planning for every pit stop.

The announcer was commenting on how the drivers question everything they do. Every move they make. Every decision. Every alliance. Looking for improvement, and an edge.

One little mistake and it could really cost you. No margin for error.

The winner was actually booed by some fans. Others threw beer cans at him, some got arrested.

I don't get it but I know how he must have felt. He sure seemed like a class act.

NASCAR Napkin Notes:
Some former winners didn't qualify to race this year?
They pray publicly before the start of the race.
Everybody stands for the prayer and the National Anthem.
One driver wore a helmet marking Autism Month.
There was a driver from Mexico and a car made in Japan.
A car advertised the National Day of Prayer among cars with military, beer, candy and I think an E.D. sponsor.

I really enjoyed watching the race but the similarities with teaching made me uncomfortable.

So much for comfort food.

Some Comic Relief

Click below and read a GREAT response from the "Out In Left Field" blogger. Then tell me you're not fired up for Tuesday! NICE WORK Catherine! A Slam Dunk all the way from Wesley Chapel!

Teachers Fight For What's Right

Sunday, April 29, 2007


I hold no malice to our friends in elementary and middle school who wrote to the Board pointing out that they have been teaching for 300 minutes. I know of no high school teacher that does (hold malice). Elia's attempt to "divide and conquer" failed.

The reality is that you were presented with some pretty attractive bait. The "fair and equitable" phrase is truly an ideal to be pursued. You HAVE been putting in that kind of time and more. We all have but it doesn't always show up on the "books".

Ever notice how adept the Board is at "Candy coating" additional demands with feel-good connotation
? Ask a veteran teacher. Watch the board meetings. Have your insulin ready.

Ms. Olsen and other Board members along with CTA have joined Ms. Elia to define "fair and equitable" as "spreading the misery to all". The last thing they want is to provide YOU with the same amount of time as the high school teachers have. They know you need it. They tell you in confidence. They just won't do anything to remediate it.

Mrs. Elia and the Board's awareness of your heartfelt desire to do what's right for the kids has resulted in you accepting a larger and larger burden without any additional incentive.
Why does the Superintendent and the Board continue to ask us to do more while NOT providing us with the necessary tools to accomplish the tasks?

"Lambo's" concluding outburst at the last meeting was revealing on many levels. As teachers we have experienced the frustration of being placed in an indefensible position while complying with the many federal, state, and local mandates. "Lambo's" letter lulu sounds like a "mistake" made while trying to do too much in too little time. We can only hope he remembers the feeling if any of us trip on that stress induced sidewalk crack.

If Superintendent Elia was a true believer in "fair and equitable" she would have included all "stakeholders" (don't you just love that label) in the solution process. Admittedly she bumbled the communication process. Again. The looks on some of the board members faces indicate that she even kept them in the dark until recently.

It is much easier to bait those already beaten into submission into supporting a move to bring others into the boiler-room. The coal barons were masters at this tactic. Imagine what you could accomplish with an extra 50 minutes of preparation. The last thing the Superintendent or the Board wants is to confront this "little anomaly".

Considering that a majority of CTA membership (by the leadership's own admission) is made up of elementary and middle school teachers, your interests are being ignored! You have the fire power to demand that CTA bring you into parity with the high school schedule. You have the financial whip necessary to demand that CTA addresses this. If they lose your membership they are finished.

Don't ask. DEMAND. Demand the time that you truly need to attend to the professional obligations you have to your clients. (Yeah, Candy I didn't forget that "other professionals" snipe. Later ma'am) Demand the attention from CTA. INSIST that they get you more time to prepare and renew. INSIST that they work harder than you do to make up for you being treated like second class members.

The more you allow ROSSAC to burden you the more they will.

Realize that you may take some heat from your administration. They will have to change schedules, rooms, assignments, etc. and it will not make them happy with you. It happens at all levels. They are human and get resentful of the ROSSAC dictates as much as we do. Compliance has become such a hammer since we have a Asst. Superintendent of Compliance. Intimidation is the nail.

The high school teachers will join with you. Just act.

The thing is: you will experience the true definition of "fair and equitable".

Sound Off And Be Heard
Keeping Up With Goader
Lambo's Lee
Sisyphus - Pound THAT Rock!
The Gradebook

Thursday, April 26, 2007


So far my school has a total loss of 12 teachers.

12 adults who will not be available to monitor pep rallies, class changes, fire drills, bomb scares and assorted duties around the school. 24 eyes that are no longer available to try and keep things safe.

There are 6 periods every day to teacher the 150 to 180+ students on our rolls.

There are 6 minutes to move everybody to another room or portable.

There are 30 minutes to eat lunch.

There is 1 period to do everything else.

There are still over 1,500 kids expecting to hit the school grounds in August.

Who's watching the kids?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Arrogant condescension.

Does anyone remember the last time they were lectured at? How effective was it, really?

You'd have thought that Ms. Olson would have learned her lesson with the calendar flap of 2005. You'd have thought that she'd remember how ineffective it was with her own children. Teachers know that lecturing anyone over the age of 6 is a lesson in futility. Holier-than-thou doesn't even work in church anymore.

"Divide and Conquer" was the phrase. No matter how much "she doth protest" that it wasn't a strategy, any FCAT trained question-writer would see through the thin South Tampa veneer that that was exactly what she promoted. Masterfully.

See the previous posts about this strategy. Those teachers that spoke didn't take the bait. A full range of passion, emotion and rationale was articulated by those choosing to speak.

Why dig up 'emails' and read selected sentences from elementary and middle school teachers that addressed certain "points" emphasizing the "unfairness and inequity" between the different school levels? Oh, and don't forget to twist the money blade into the backs of the high school teachers. The same teachers who saved you the extra money that you didn't have to pay benefits for.

By the way, how do we know that the context of the phrase
"I can't believe we got away with it for so long" wasn't preceded by "Can you imagine NOBODY questioned our response about having 100 meetings!" Seeeee? Sorry this girl ain't buying what you're selling.

Arrogant condescension.

What, are the only inhabitants of "Candyland" morons?

You like to say you hire the best, trot out this transparent display of 1950's "tunnel vision management technique" and expect those people of quality to just roll over? When you put "thinkers" in front of a class THIS IS WHAT YOU GET! Don't tell us to prepare our students for the future. Don't tell us to encourage our students to question, research, reason, and "think out of the box" and not expect us to model that behavior. Don't even think about telling us we crossed the line because we dare question "THE Board" or "The Superintendent".

How to YOU define "global"? South of Kennedy?

Arrogant condescension.

Candy Olson is digging in her Pradas on this 6 period teaching schedule. She has cemented her support behind Superintendent Elia's schedule change telling teachers that they can keep coming to board meetings and it won't change a thing.

It already has. In ways she is unable to fathom.

You have shown your true colors ma'am. Especially when you ducked out while speakers were addressing some of your comments. Very convenient to be able to go to the bathroom when nature calls. Your teachers will have to secure class coverage before then can enjoy that basic function.

Ms. Olson's response to the teachers contained a hardly-veiled threat to stop offering paid health benefits.
( "delighted to revisit" some budget items, things that "might be possible" ) The superintendent jumped on board that train. So much for recognition of our right to be heard, free of retribution. Pasco should be sound-biting it for their teacher recruiting campaign.

By the way, it didn't take long for someone to email me that Pasco teachers do not pay anything toward their benefits.

Your teachers refuse to to be swayed by such a display of intimidation. They recognize the hypocrisy rampant in "Candyland". Pay lip service to "inclusion". The teachers could not possibly understand the intricacies involved in being a constitutionally-bound steward. Convenient. Let's elect someone who'd be willing go to jail to prove that the state is screwing us!

There must be a pretty substantial sphere of influence coming out of "Candyland".

Goudreau-Elia-Olson: we're talking politics here.
Despite what I said in my last post the South Tampa faculties appear to have been gagged and emasculated. They need to step up and soon. I can't imagine what my friends have been subjected to for them to feel so intimidated.

The principals are feeling the heat to have their faculty "comply" with the full letter of the Superintendent's schedule change. They know that if they want to move up the ladder they have to follow Elia's directives. They are human and you can tell that they are doing things they don't agree with. I would not want to be a principal.

Candy spilled the beans. She would like us to believe that this is a done deal. Once again it shows that ole 1950's tunnel vision management. Couple that with the blinders that every board member save Griffin and Valdez are wearing and the picture starts coming into focus.

There was NEVER any other option that was considered.

How about having WEEKLY board meetings so more teachers have an opportunity to speak? No extra money, just your time. Sound familiar?

Somebody please make a motion and put your convictions on the table.

Arrogant condescension.

I'm so used to it I know where I'm going to start shopping.

Aye Candy: Queen of the Boor'd

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


My neck hurts.

The Board meeting was community television at its best. As soon as I would turn away or get distracted (!!!!!!!!) : a TIVO moment and I'd be drawn back in. There is so much to process.

You almost expected Joe Redner to hand Jack Lamb a chair from backstage using a Brian Blair move on Lee DeCesare.
Please watch the reruns. If anyone TiVo'ed it: YouTube!

"Those bloggers" were also mentioned. Keep posting your comments, ideas, and insights!

Stay tuned for "CANDYLAND".

My neck hurts.

Monday, April 23, 2007

"I am carrying a sign on Tuesday."

Such a heartfelt comment needs it own space. Thank You "Anonymous".

High School Teachers,

I am carrying a sign on Tuesday.

I do it because downsizing us to save 28 million is wrong.
I do it because our district has pushed the educational "nuclear option button" without even looking at alternatives to save or raise money.
I do it because the superintendent continues to mislead the public over the 300 minute clause.
I do it because teacher retention will suffer.
I do it because educators should not be treated like 1890s assembly-line workers.
I do it for those who can't do any more than they already do.
I do it for those sponsors and coaches who may have to give up those responsibilities.
I do it for those teachers who were victims of unit losses.
I do it because up to this year our leadership knew 6 classes was too much.
I do it because teachers opposing the district plan are likely to be the teachers who make things go at their respective schools.
I do it because we deserve a School Board that leads, not one that allows itself to be misled.
I do it because we can't speak to our School Board until the meeting is over.
I do it because we are ignored.
I do it because they make it near impossible for us to be heard and then chastise us for how a few of us do it.
I do it because the Board Chairman just did something seriously wrong and will probably go unpunished.
I do it because a teacher can get into trouble anytime a parent complains, even if the parent is proven wrong.
I do it because the superintendent just got a $50,000 raise due to our work while most of us don't make $50,000.
I do it because some of our principals treat us with contempt.
I do it because the Tampa Tribune has run two anti-teacher editorials that purposely mislead the public and smack of yellow journalism.
I do it for those non-tenured teachers who can't due to fear of repercussions.
I do it because this year we finally realize that we have more integrity and ethics than our leadership has shown, and that we care more about our profession and the kids.

I am carrying a sign on Tuesday.

A High School Teacher

Saturday, April 21, 2007



-Saturday's editorial 4/21/2007

Its hard to get angry at a piece grounded in such a total lack of understanding in what we do everyday of the school year. The Superintendent's influence with gal-pal Rosemary Goudreau is obvious. For those of you wanting to rail, save your energy and a copy of the editorial. Read it when you need to boost your spirits. Make a copy of it and post it in your T.P.A. Post it on both sides of the single restroom door so that as the line forms to relieve yourself you can remember how clueless a paper can be.

Note how an effort to focus the argument on block vs. traditional scheduling is made instead of the cut in programs, jobs, and services. How does one ignore the fact that a teacher from an unrelated discipline will be thrust into an English, Math, or Reading class. No offense but I would be hard pressed to go from teaching a Social Studies class into an Algebra class AND feel like I was being effective. The word "alignment" is so non-descript and non-threatening it just reminds you that you need to call your car dealership and have your front-end checked.

Note how an effort to focus the argument on putting us "on par with elementary school teachers" is made. No mention of the smaller classes that elementary teach or the stress involved when a 200 pound athlete tells you to "F*** OFF! B****" or a fight breaks out and you're expected to "manage the situation" until help arrives.

Note how an effort to focus the argument and demean the incentive you receive for teaching the other class is worded. The district initially recognized that teaching 6 out of 7 periods a day was asking a lot of an individual and initiated the "extra pay for extra work" program. Did the paper even interview a teacher on t-payroll?

Note how an effort to focus the argument on "bare minimum". Cheap shot. Rather than exploring how this will ACTUALLY affect the instructor's day to day life. Never considering that the daily 50 minutes allotted to teachers will, BY DESIGN, be all that can be reasonably expected. Will the district add more phones and phone lines to every school to handle the load? Will the district offer teachers cell phones for the purpose of parental communication. Will the public accept "busy signals" when calling the high school or understand when the teacher says "I'm sorry, I just didn't have time to _________________."

Note how THEY GOT IT WRONG about Plant and Hillsborough teachers ALREADY teaching 6 out of 7 "and still manage to do their jobs well". It makes it seem like all teachers are teaching 6 out of 7 doesn't it? An old "tip of the hat" to the South Tampa power base. We can't anger our neighbors. Besides who's going to question? Doesn't it sound like Plant is going to "roll over" and say nothing about losing the added pay they earn and still teach the same number of periods? Hey if the Board thinks the football team was tough....

Note how they gloss over the $28 million dollar savings and apply it to teacher raises. Come on Mrs. Elia how much am I really going to get? (silence) That will really endear the public to us (sarcasm alert!). They never looked around and thought of asking whether or not MORE time for teacher tasks would be better? Classes capped at 25? My schedule says 27! Class size amendment was 25 wasn't it? Guess they didn't have time for research.

Note how an effort to minimize the C.T.A.'s collective bargaining role is applied through innuendo: "Makes you wonder who's minding the store?"

Note how they never examined how this would effect the students. Club and class sponsorship, chaperoning, field trips, banquets and things that students and parents have come to take for granted are in jeopardy. Teacher duties that affect every student's security are in jeopardy.

Note how an effort to belittle the predictions of what we know, in some instances, will occur is labelled as "childish foot-stomping". I can't help but think the paper would label Paul Revere's ride as "an attention-getting disruption to our neighborhood".

So once again think of the Trib as one of those students we keep trying to reach. One of those kids who have fallen under the influence of their peers. One of those kids who just may not have the fire power to get it. One of those kids we hold out hope for.

One of those kids we pity.

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