Monday, April 9, 2007


ROSSAC Tuesday 5:45 - 6:00 PM

I'm beginning to believe THIS IS ALL ABOUT A 10% BUDGET SCREW-UP! Thinking it is about the "Amendment" transfers responsibility and blame to Tallahassee and provides cover for the "Upside down Pyramid" we know as ROSSAC.

* Surrounding counties don't seem to have this "problem".

* Surrounding counties are going to have first choice on new hires and Hillsborough transfers.
It IS happening NOW. There are teachers who have already interviewed, accepted positions and are waiting to inform their administration - or they have informed them and the admin is waiting to open up the job (a prevalent strategy).

* In the spirit of full disclosure local college placement offices will have to reveal this schedule change to their graduates or be accused (and rightfully so) of incompetence.

* The teacher shortage will NOT be addressed by hiring the best but by settling for those that weren't successful in other counties. No "attractive package" designed by Mrs. Elia will cover the fact that accepting a job in Hillsborough County WILL PAY LESS!
Result: Less Qualified Teachers in the classroom or those just biding their time and paying off their college loans while they look around.

* The elementary and middle school teachers have been fooled into thinking they will not be affected - hence their silence or capitulation. Money affects everyone. Divide and prevail.

* Moving everyone to a traditional schedule allows the schools to tinker with scheduling and class sizes. It also provides a template for the district to monitor "compliance".

* Mrs. Elia is banking on teacher apathy and why not, it provides the path of least resistence. CTA's silence is evidence that THEY know what's going on. CTA leadership should have put out a bulletin that this is ALL ABOUT A MONEY SHORTAGE. They can't anger the District before negotiations. They must maintain a facade at their members expense.

* NO OTHER ALTERNATIVES HAVE BEEN PROPOSED OR EXPLORED. Note how many ideas have been posted on this blog alone!

Am I off base here?

ROSSAC Tuesday 5:45 - 6:00 PM



Anonymous said...


You may very well have a point. My concern is what evidence is there for scenario you present?

For example, I have listed comments, association platforms, and media releases supporting my allegations. Each source is provided for all the evidence I have accumulated to support the misguided interpretation of the classroom-size reduction amendment. I provided evidence that the Florida School Board Association propagated the twisted meaning that the amendment intended teacher-student ratio instead of its textual-based call for more classrooms.

Further, I provided evidence with sources that co-teaching is a strategy for addressing student learning difficulties not a way to satisfy classroom-size reduction. In my opinion, the school board and the superintendent are deliberately distorting what the amendment clearly states.

It is accepted common knowledge that one teacher is in one classroom with students? The only time more than one teacher is in a classroom for instructional purposes is when co-teaching or team-teaching. The only accepted reasons for co-teaching and team-teaching have to do with providing instruction for improved student learning. No one intended that these two types of teaching were to provide a means to double the number of students in one classroom and call it classroom-size reduction. The notion defies logic. In high school unless co-teaching in a FUSE model, co-teaching is to combine subject areas or to accommodate an intern or for mentoring purposes. One does not increase the total number of students because a partner teacher is present—that is ridicules.

To top things off, administrators and top-level leaders are intimidating teachers who speak out. What a dipicable example that sets for students that a public school system would stifle a public forum.

Anonymous said...

New article out by the St. Pete Times.

Here is my all time favorite quote..."Across the board, there are going to be more teachers in the pool than there have been in the past," said secondary education general director David Steele, referring to the auction where instructors whose positions are cut find jobs at other schools.

But wait... how can that be? Aren't we in a teacher shortage which is why we must teach an extra class?? Oh no... thats right its because of our budget crisis...we don't have enough money to hire teachers so we'll just give the money to our superindendent!

Oh man... tuesday evening can't come soon enough :-)

Carla Crabapple

Anonymous said...

There has been one thing bugging me all weekend long...for teacher performance pay we are required to provide documentation showing how our work directly correlates to student achievement. I would like to see Ms. Elias documentation! I mean come on... don't you think she should be required to show how she has increased student achievement for her fat $48,000 raise? I also love how we have to fight for raise scraps (5%) however Ms. Elia gets a 20% just for sitting on her duff!

Cable Guy said...

I have this feeling too. It seems to be what is NOT being said. I can't remember any mention of this change addressing the amendment at this time. Compliance to the ammendment does not have to be in place for years. Why start now? Convenience?

A letter received from a teacher at my school from the D.O.E. in response to her letter.

"This is in response to your recent e-mail to the governor’s office, regarding class size. Your original correspondence is included below this reply.

In November 2002, Florida’s voters passed a state constitutional amendment setting limits for the maximum allowable number of students in a class by the start of the 2010-11 school year. The limits (class-size maximums) will apply to individual classes. That is, by fall 2010, no classroom in which a core course is taught may contain more students than allowed by the constitutional limits. The class-size limits apply to classes in three grade ranges with the maximum number of student allowed in a core class of PK-3 of 18 students, 22 students in a core class in grades 4-8, and 25 students in a core class in grades 9-12.

The amendment requires the Florida Legislature to provide the funding needed by school districts to comply with the requirements for reducing class size. While school districts have until fall 2010 to reach full compliance, the amendment requires districts with class sizes that currently exceed the limits to demonstrate measurable progress toward reducing class size beginning with the 2003-04 school year.

In 2003, the Florida Legislature enacted Senate Bill 30A, which implemented the provisions of the class-size amendment and defined the progress that districts must make in reducing class size. Districts with class sizes that exceed the constitutional class-size maximums must reduce class size by two students per year until 2010-2011 (or until reaching compliance with the constitutional maximums). These compliance requirements are measured at the district level for 2003-04 and 2004-05, at the school level 2006-07 and 2007-08, and at the classroom level after that.

During last year’s Legislative session, a bill was passed which allowed full use of team teaching to achieve class size compliance. Prior to that, districts were allowed to use any number of ways to bring itself into compliance. Extensive use of co-teaching and inclusion assisted districts. Other districts used the methodology of asking teachers to teach an extra period each day for an appropriate additional share of their daily salary schedule on an hourly basis. I was aware that Hillsborough had used that method as had several other districts. Districts are given other ways to accomplish the requirements established in SB 30A and the Florida Constitution. The overall effect of that methodology is to decrease class size while keeping qualified teachers in the classroom.

From what you have described in your letter to Superintendent Maryellen Elia, the School District is using the various flexibilities allowed to achieve those requirements. I urge you to continue to work with your district regarding this matter. Through the focus of those dedicated as you, the best will exist for Florida’s educational system.


Lavan Dukes 850/245-0400, SC 205-0400"

What's the rush?

Anonymous said...

CTA needs to challenge in court last year’s legislation that allows “team teaching” as a means to comply with the amendment. Perhaps the Florida Education Association is in a better position for such a legal challenge. Using “team teaching” is in direct opposition to the text and spirit of the law. Putting two teachers in a classroom with up to fifty students cannot be what people voted for in 2002.

Anonymous said...

Check this out.

Scroll to the bottom of the page.

A teacher at Freedom is running for the School Board.

Anonymous said...

Hi all:

Here's a letter about Mrs. Elia's pay. It's in the middle of the page.

Here's an article on the teaching change written by Letitia Stein.

See you tomorrow. And, good to see one of our own running for Lamb's seat.

Anonymous said...

We really need to see the superintendant's contract. I can't find a copy online.

I suspect that she gets another bonus for having X% of students in front of "highly qualified teachers" and that the unit losses will ALL be teachers who are not thus classified.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Here is the map and driving directions for the school board meetings.

Here is the posted schedule for the meetings.

Suzie Creamcheese said...

"My concern is what evidence is there for scenario you present?"

Pure and simple intuition.

"In November 2002, Florida’s voters passed a state constitutional amendment setting limits for the maximum allowable number of students in a class by the start of the 2010-11 school year."

By the START of the 2010-11 school year! We are talking about the 2007-2008 school year. Why the rush?

"The limits (class-size maximums) will apply to individual classes. That is, by fall 2010, no classroom in which a core course is taught may contain more students than allowed by the constitutional limits. The class-size limits apply to classes in three grade ranges with the maximum number of student allowed in a core class of PK-3 of 18 students, 22 students in a core class in grades 4-8, and 25 students in a core class in grades 9-12."

Once again it is 2010. The county knows this. Why else are they maxing out the software scheduler at 27?!

If the amendment doesn't kick in until 2010 why bring out the steamroller?

"Once one understands what CANNOT be true, by gradually ruling out alternative possibilities, then what remains must be true no matter how improbable it may seem at the time." -I believe this is a twist on a Sherlock Holmes quote.

Follow the money.

Kudos to the Freedom teacher running. Who is it?

I am compelled to change the title of the post.


Anonymous said...

Fred Burns!! Burns for the Board! Excellent teacher and soon to be excellent board member! You'll meet him tonight :-)

Anonymous said...

Please see the link below:

I have never been more proud to be a hillsborough county teacher. I would like to send a personal thank you to every teacher who showed up last night in support. The presenters were amazing. Please pass along my graditude to the two Alonso students who spoke. They were well prepared, well spoken, and well mannered. Kudos to them. Teachers at my school are preparing a large email campaign regarding the comments by Ms. Edgecomb last night. I will post my email here after I send it at the end of the school day.

Let keep up the good work :-)

Carla Crabapple

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Mother Edgecomb, you are welcome to copy this commentary and send it along with the email campaign.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the opinion of those who think the raucousness went too far last night. Remember though, we did not disrupt the majority of the meeting when the board was dealing with agenda items. It was only at the end during the audience portion of the meeting that teachers became more riled up. That meeting is a public forum and part of it is open for political commenting. I think we were well within appropriate professional boundaries for political discourse.

There are times when civil rowdiness is warranted and this is one of those times. Teachers need to get more spirited about the 6/7 period change next year.

I believe it was because the audience became rambunctious at the end of the meeting that forced the board to pay attention. The board members are politicians; the power they wield along with their hefty salaries serves to isolate them from the common people.

That huge desk they sat behind during the board meeting symbolized how distant and out of touch they have become mingling in their ivory towers. Sometimes to get their attention we the people must shout loud enough to be heard over the hubris ringing in their ears.

Then you have arrogance epitomized by the likes of Doretha W. Edgecomb when she had the nerve to address the audience members like they were third-graders, staying up too late bothering the adults. Do we the people dare bother those perched on their self-imposed pedestals? Sometimes we do dare, and last night I was proud to be n U.S. citizen engaged in a spirited political demonstration.

Anonymous said...

Below is my letter to the board. Enjoy! I encourage other teachers to express their feeling regarding last nights meeting.

Dear Board,

After attending last nights meeting I am highly insulted by Edgecomb's accusations that Hillsborough County School teachers were disrespectful toward the board members. What you view as disrespectful, we view as supportive for our fellow teachers who are taking a stand for what they believe. High school teachers would be thrilled to receive the level of enthusiasm you saw last night from our students in class. Engaged students do not sit quietly by and stare blankly at the teacher. Engaged students directly challenge their teachers and sometimes teach us a few new things! Engaged students show support for one another. This is what you viewed last night. Teachers supporting teachers. We are tired, frustrated and desperate for someone to actually listen, not just hear us. Ms Valdes, Ms Faliero, and Ms. Griffin thank you for actually listening to us and recognizing that there is a happy medium that must be reached if you want to retain your qualified teachers.

As you've seen tonight, we are not a small disgruntled few. The following schools were represented last night: Freedom, Armwood, Spoto, Sickles, Gaither, Leto, Plant City, Brandon, Bloomingdale, Alonso, Robinson, East Bay, King, and Riverview to name a few. Unit loss IS teacher loss. When your elective program is cut teachers who specialize in their field will be forced to teacher out of field. Are they still employed.... sure. Are they going to be effective out of field...absolutely not! Are they considered "highly qualified" by No Child Left Behind!

Based on the treatment teachers have received from the school board our frustration will only to continue to grow. Allowing your employees only two minutes to air their concerns is disrepectful. Not allowing a teacher to finish their sentence is disrespectful. Not including teachers in decisions that negitively affect them is disrespectful. Answering teacher questions with non-answer answers is disrespectful. Sooner or later you will have to listen to us. Remember, you are voted into office. Listen to us! include us in the process of finding a solution instead of just throwing a quick fix solution at us. We want to work with you! Can we not organize a scheduled meeting between the school board and 2 teacher representatives from each high school in our district to actually discuss the situation at hand and find real ways to find a compromise. I refuse to believe that there are no other options available to us. As Ms. Valdes suggested last night, we can find new and innovative ways to fix this. We don't have to stand in the shadows of the other districts and follow what they do.

Eyes wide open said...

Is it my TV or did the Superintendent avoid all eye contact with the audience when she spoke?

Did she join the Board members in the audience after the meeting was gaveled?

How the hell do you hold 100 meetings and keep it such a secret? Is there documentation at where they were held and with whom?

She behaves like someone with a very "sweet" contract.

Dixi said...

She never makes contact with the audience even when she is allegedly addressing them. And she never mingles with the people after the meetings -- it's obvious she is not elected to her position. It is also obvious Susan Valdez is up for reelection this year and that Edgecombe is not.

Anonymous said...

ESE is being decimated.