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.

Damn It! It Wasn't Yet Time For Another Commentary, Then This Comes Along
One More Time
Lee Drury De Cesare's Posts
Three-Card Monte: Who's The Joker?
Who Is Suzie Creamcheese?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


With the Superintendent's effort to divide our ranks we must not get off track of the issue.

Some things to consider WHY her tactic will not work:

The classroom size cap for elementary and middle school classes is less than high school. We did not say one word about it. Why? We know our day-to-day jobs are different. I've taught two of the 3 levels, enough said, it is different. So is ESE.


(email just received from 3 people: authenticated)

I would like to provide you with a quick update regarding the rally on Tues. It will start at 3:30 pm in front of the ROSSAC building. I have contacted the following news stations who will be in attendance: Fox news, Bay News 9, ABC news, Tampa Bays 10. I have also contacted the Tampa PD and spoke with their special events office. Below are additional guidelines and suggestions that the officer in charge of our rally gave me.
1) In addition to not placing objects on the sidewalk we can not have banners or flyers posted on city property including lamp posts and telephone poles
2) In order to allow the flow of pedestrian traffic the officer suggested that we move in a single file line on the sidewalk.
3) The officer (whose many friends are also teachers) suggested that when the media arrives, the teachers continue to move in a single file line. It will look extremely bad if a teacher is being interviewed and in the background is a large group of teachers screaming and yelling!
4) We need to be aware of our noise level -- no bull horns!!
After the rally when the school board meeting begins we can all grab some dinner. Our normal location is Gilligans which has good food and is approx 2 blocks away off of Morgan St.
If you are preparing a sign below are some phases floating around my school.

Email me and let me know of anything you've come up with to help those of us who are creative challenged! Remember, they should be large and to the point. Its also important that we stick to the issue of the 6/7 plan.
"Quality of minutes not Quantity of minutes"

"No teacher left behind"

"Endangered species: Quality Teachers"

"300 mins = Overtired, Underpaid"

"Is this what you voted for?"

"E ducation Board
L acking
I n
A ction"
Please forward this email to all who are interested! :-)

Any creative signs ideas can also be submitted here.

Even if you can't show up at 3:30, lets face it we have family to feed.
Show up when you can. Like most things in the system it's the numbers that matter. That's what got us here.

The schedule is done. The first cuts are made. NOW there are faces and friends that make this a must.

The last time teachers showed up they were noticed, by the board, the superintendent, and the press.

Read Lee's Blog

Sunday, April 15, 2007


"They're directing their anger at the school board, but members said the decision was Superintendent MaryEllen Elia's to make, and they won't try to reverse her decision this year."

"This is an administrative decision, Griffin said, but something this big needs to have consensus from the board."

"On Thursday, Elia admitted communication could have been better but said more than 100 meetings have been held to explain and address the issue."

"One issue that has received little attention is equity, Elia said. Elementary and middle school teachers already teach 300 minutes a day."

"Many of the teachers complaining are high school teachers who now receive extra pay for teaching an extra class, Elia said."

"For this year the issue is over, board members said."

"Yvonne Lyons, Executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, said Thursday that teaching six of seven class periods likely is a reality for next school year because teachers are now being scheduled."

- Hillsborough Teachers Actively Fighting Added Class Time
Tampa Tribune, April 13, 2007

1) Divide the rank and file.
Turn the elementary and middle school teachers against the high school teachers under the guise of "equity".
Make them appear "whinny". Anyone with elementary, middle, and high school experience knows there is NO VALID COMPARISON among them. We choose the level we teach knowing our talents and skills - not because one is easier than the other.

Downplay the fact that the "extra" pay is an incentive to high school teachers. An incentive that saves the district money by not having to hire another employee and pay the benefit package. If the teachers did not accept the extra class the district would incur those additional costs.

2) Give the board political cover.
Easy when the defining document covering board member responsibility was authored by the Compliance Director James Hamilton. (See Lee Drury's Blog for the background on that debacle) Require any new teacher consideration to be "negotiated" rather than just do what is right. Instill a fear of "setting precedent" as a reason for not correcting a wrong. Have the board attorney support your position with his "favorable interpretation". Do not go to an outside authority in order to "save face".

Funny how the Board will tackle those thorny tardy and dress code issues but bail out of real management decisions.

3) Give CTA a shallow reason to cover their incompetence.
The district uses computer software to schedule the students. It's hard to believe that a couple of clicks and a couple of hours couldn't reschedule everyone. The teachers know that. The program is called SILK. Ask your Data Processor. CTAs glaring ignorance of technology will alienate every teacher under 30.

The scenario:

Those teachers who are nearing retirement and volunteered to teach an extra class in order to boost their Retirement Benefits will realize that they not only got a pay cut BUT are now teaching the same number of classes with no positive effect on their retirement benefits. In order to recoup some money they will resign from CTA.

Those already in DROP will give serious thought to retiring knowing the workload on the horizon may not be worth it.

High school teachers will quit CTA. Take the money formerly used for dues and put it into a SSFCU 403b. Elementary and Middle school teachers are not blind or stupid. Realizing the futility of belonging and the fact that they can be next they will quietly start to resign from CTA. At some point someone will start a petition to seek other representation. Teachers will say "Why not? What have I got to lose?" It will be close.

This will require the Board and the Superintendent to come to the aid of CTA further infuriating the rank and file. Rumors of collusion will spread. Someone will petition the Feds.

Frankly, I hope I'm wrong.

"Union representatives can direct teachers to an online survey about the issue, she (Lyons) said."
Like CTA, it is nowhere to be found. They need a SURVEY??!! PULLLEASE!!

CTA should be fighting for its life.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A DAY IN THE LIFE '07- '08

Thanks to Tom ( for his cogent suggestions!

A lot of our parents and the public in general glaze over when they try to get a handle on what's going on. To understand the rising tide of teacher anger one only has to realize that the Superintendent's Proposal will strip some very basic services that students and parents have come to rely on. This was done with NO TEACHER input or awareness despite her claim that she held over 100 meetings. It's really hard to hide 100 meetings from your teachers but that's another posting.

The following schedule is a very basic high school schedule. I have tried to reflect what we can expect to find IF THIS PROPOSAL IS APPROVED.

5:15 AM Wake Up
7:15 AM *Sign In At School
7:25 AM 1st Period

*Take Attendance (Send Attendance Cards to Office)
*Listen To Announcements

8:30 AM 2nd Period
9:26 AM 3rd Period
10:22 AM 4th Period

11:53 AM 5th Period (extended & split to provide multiple 30 min. *Lunches)

12:59 PM 6th Period
1:55 PM 7th Period

3:05 PM *Teacher's Dismissed

4:05 PM *Arrive Home

10:00 PM * Go To Bed (ideally! - yeah I hear the laughing)

Bold entries are a variable by school & individual.
Choose ONE 50 minute period as a conference for grading papers, averaging grades, making and returning phone calls, fulfilling administratively assigned duty time, and other curricular necessities. Don't forget to think about "personal needs" like going to the bathroom.
Teachers are expected to be in their doorways between classes monitoring student behavior in the hall and in their classrooms.

Service there will be NO time for:
(please list in "comments" what services you provide now BUT will be unable to find time for next year)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Silver Lining: My Power Company and Internet Service Provider conspired with my computer manufacturer to keep me off line. It gave me pause to think and listen about what happened at Tuesday's Board meeting.

"I hope your classes behave better than this."

- Candy Olsen April 10, 2007

"As a 43-year veteran educator, I know that none of you would have accepted some of the behavior from your students that you hurled at us." "You have a right to disagree, but there's something called mutual respect."

-Doretha Edgecomb April 10, 2007

"In this case disrespect seems to be a matter of perspective. Make your promotions, give your awards and THEN TALK to YOUR EMPLOYEES. Don't let them fume in the back listening to the self-aggrandizing comments of the board."

-comment from Times web page.


Feeling the heat? Feeling the anger? Feeling the frustration? Join the club.

This anger and frustration is now palatable. If this schedule change goes through what the Board experienced on Tuesday will be a walk in the park. If this schedule change goes through the Board will be dealing with teacher stress and burnout in October - NOT April. What the public saw on Tuesday was a glimpse into the hearts of caring people who KNOW they are being saddled with an impossible task.

I loved it when my students were animated and engaged. Any response that indicated involvement and participation was something to be appreciated. Even if the response was contrary to what I was trying to draw out.

Those teachers were cheering for what they believed in. They were not being disrespectful. It was a very civil display of camaraderie. Guess you didn't want to hear it.

What's the difference between the cheering support of the teachers and the board members who swoon over each others weekly activities and praise each other for cutting a ribbon when they open a new water fountain?!

Disrespectful? It just goes to show how disconnected the Board is from the classroom. Walk your campuses without the entourage (if you dare). Go into the bathrooms, the teacher planning areas, the dining areas, the BASIC classes, student affairs, the PE locker rooms, roam the hallways alone during the change of class and continue right through to the next change. You were not disrespected by your employees but you will see how they are treated! I dare you to visit your middle and high schools, alone. Regularly. Out of your district. And then extrapolate that to 6 out of 7 periods.

Too those fine, brave, articulate teachers who showed up and spoke: THANK YOU. To the asshole in the back who chose to give the board fodder for their comments: "Consider yourself lucky that I wasn't there. Stay home and watch it on TV and pray I'm not there if you choose to repeat that idiocy. You are not at a Comedy Club amateur night. Have some class."

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


Thursday, April 5, 2007


If you have 35 students in 5 classes you see 175 students a day and 100 minutes of conference time.

If you have 27 students in 6 classes you see 162 students a day and 50 minutes of conference time.

You have 9.25% less students and 50% less conference time.


There seems to be persistent comments about veiled threats and intimidation designed to thwart your CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to express yourself. It is time to NAME those administrators! This blog is your safe haven to do this. Your only responsibility is to be accurate. Good advice from anonymous:

You need to document the "veiled" threat regarding evaluations and "working to the contract" for any future need. If you are a CTA member it should be reported. Why not at least name the school here so that those of us who MAY be "shopping around" know when to keep walking. You can see the true colors start to show. Any principal that feels a negotiated contract is bendable needs to be exposed. To get an unsatifactory evaluation for performing to the contract is indeed a lawsuit waiting to be filed. Your experience should prepare you. Do not allow the opportunity to slide. Names, dates, times, witnesses and as many quotes as possible. You may have it and not need it but there will be a quiet satisfaction to building the case and feeling that you have some control over the issue. Do NOT trust your memory. Stay cool.


The rumbling is getting louder folks. More and more teachers are talking about showing up at the Board Meeting on Tuesday. It starts at 6PM. We CAN make an impact. JUST SHOW UP AT 5:45 - 6:00 PM. Wanna have a TEA PARTY? Can we bring a tea bag for every teacher at our school that feels the same and LEAVE IT SOMEWHERE?

Maybe get some support from C Tea A?

Remember: Name names! Name schools!


Tuesday, April 3, 2007



Article IX, Section 1, Florida Constitution, is amended to read:
Section 1. Public Education. –
The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require. To assure that children attending public schools obtain a high quality education, the legislature shall make adequate provision to ensure that, by the beginning of the 2010 school year, there are a sufficient number of classrooms so that:
1. The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for prekindergarten through grade 3 does not exceed 18 students;
2. The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for grades 4 through 8 does not exceed 22 students; and
3. The maximum number of students who are assigned to each teacher who is teaching in public school classrooms for grades 9 through 12 does not exceed 25 students.
4. The class size requirements of this subsection do not apply to extracurricular classes. Payment of the costs associated with reducing class size to meet these requirements is the responsibility of the state and not of local school districts. Beginning with the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the legislature shall provide sufficient funds to reduce the average number of students in each classroom by at least two students per year until the maximum number of students per classroom does not exceed the requirements of this subsection.

The emphasis is mine. Ya'll read it and comment.

Maybe I'm missing something.
Am I in the twilight zone? Or has the bullet hit the bone?


Some tedious reading: