Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Do You Remember - Your Classroom Christmas?

We had a tree, a play, wise-men, baby Jesus, carols, cookies, cards, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Our insensitivity knew no bounds: we included everyone in our Christmas wishes.

We were a 1-12 school - talk about seeing the future!


Every year our principal made a feeble attempt at "being" Santa during our Christmas assembly - much to the delight of the upper class men.

Every year the seniors would "intimidate" those 6th graders who would "threaten" to tell the little kids about Santa.

Every year we visited classrooms to sing carols.

Every year we looked forward to the next.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE ! - no matter how you translate the spirit.

-Suzie's going "home for the holidays" -

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

JENNY? TAKE A RIDE!

Board member Jennifer Faliero tries to control blogs by suggesting that blogs "govern" unregistered posters. In other words: "Your papers please."

Check it out here and at the University of Miami Education Students Blog!

So much for P.R.

I wonder why she doesn't start a blog (ala April) and join us. Could it be, as Lee contends, that her writing/tech skills aren't up to the task and would reveal she had used the schools PR department to answer newspaper criticism?

The good thing is that her comments, efforts and behavior will reside on the web for a very long time. (File Under: Swingin' Time)

Stay tuned - ESPECIALLY during the election season.

Don't worry either, you may comment without reservation or registration on TheWALL.



Monday, December 8, 2008

D.R.O.P. - IN THE BUCKET ?

If you were to read the Sunday Trib article you may have concluded that the district was eliminating the Deferred Retirement Option Program.

It's not. It is however halting the practice of extending the program from 5 years to 7 years.

You'll have to "go out" in 5 years.

Considering the current state of the economy this strategy will allow the district to recruit new blood sooner. Is this a good move for our students?

Will administrators and deputy superintendents be included?


Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING:

To all who "visit" TheWALL.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A DISTURBING TREND

The longer you're in HCPS the more obvious it is that any kind of questioning can cost you.

Suddenly you can end up floating, teaching an extra prep class (maybe even out of field), having some obnoxious duty, losing your preferred conference, having your lesson plans evaluated weekly, being evaluated early, observed often, sent to mind-numbing inservices, or termination.

The frequency of these incidents disturb me.

Maybe it's the way the district promotes from within. Golden boys and girls given a fast track into administration before they learn the people skills necessary to manage a faculty. Then when godfather or godmother call in favors their tenuous hold on their position makes them weak and compliant. Not the best qualities in a leader.

Doug Erwin was my clarion call. Bart Birdsall was a reminder. Now "goader" and "Tom".

This is why I will always remain Suzie.

Please follow both cases. It could, after all, be you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CHRISTIAN THROW AWAYS

But Jean Clements, president of the local teachers union, noted that shopping malls, not churches, were filled on Good Friday last spring. "That was a skip day for the entire county," she said.

I'll bet Jean ( C.T.A. Prez) did no research at all - what churches did she even drive by? Not mine. Talk about a snide remark from someone who purportedly encourages diversity. I wonder if she counted how many kids were at the Fair or Strawberry Festival?

Jean? Do I count?


Is it any wonder that the district must call in a crisis team to help our kids deal with tragic deaths? I guess I'm getting to be one of those religious zealots who remembers her religion getting her through the bad times in school. Guidance counselors and psychologists were good for interest surveys and college screenings but everyone at my school knew to go to a higher authority for the really big things.


"Others felt Christian values were getting short shrift.

"If we're going to talk about all the religions, then where are the Christians and the Catholics?" asked Luis Perez, president of the union representing Hillsborough's bus drivers and other blue-collar workers. "Have they been invited into these meetings?"

Bingo! Luis Perez should teach a thing or two to Jean.

I'm ready to start reclaiming my culture's position - while recognizing my neighbor's.
What the hell is so hard about that? Even Carol Kurdell should be able to draw a conclusion from the number of Good Friday '08 absences.

Figure out a 180 calendar, that's all the state will fund anyway
. Parents should prepare for Good Friday.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

EMAIL FROM THE EDGE OF TOWN

I haven't done this for a while but there are points to be made. Even though goader contended that the salary scale for 08-09 is the same as 07-08 (and he's a sharp guy) I need something more concrete. This hit my mailbox about the time I talked with another teacher at level 27 who was equally disappointed (though thankful to be working). Can't help but think the district and association count on this.

Did anyone notice that the district is giving CTA room at the new ISC building? (Check the board's agenda.) You can draw your own conclusions.

From the mailbox:

Dear Suzie,

Thank you for championing the cause for the veteran teachers.

The district and the CTA are screwing us over and over. The association is blind (or complicit) to the fact that the "bone-us" the district offers is crap! Here's why: up until one gets to level 27 any days you do not take off become more valuable as your step increases. Those days you saved early by being a "perfect attendance" employee at step 1 through 26 grew with every step you advanced. Money in the bank - so to speak. Now once you are at Level 27 no more increase. For 5 years those days are level! (years of experience 26 -30) and so is your retirement. Check this.

My advice to those who think saving the sick days is doing you good - they are not. Need a day? Take it! Between inflation and the compressed steps it does you no good.

I'm pissed enough to go looking for a lawyer.

Thanks again Suzie - and Happy Veteran's day to those who served.

Level 27

Thank you for your insight Level 27. I await comments.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WON'T BACK DOWN

April Griffin was threatened with physical removal from the October 21st meeting. It starts about 1 hr. 25 min. into the meeting.

She was requesting a negotiated exception to the recently adopted travel guidelines. Apparently Jennifer Faliero wasn't in the mood to listen, gaveled her down for not making her point, threatened to have the Sergeant at Arms (Chief Freebird) remove her, then let her continue. It really was a well considered point she was making.

I kept thinking this is exactly how we felt when the superintendent took our conference away and in general how dissent is addressed.
We give more grace to the State Fair chair when he wants a school holiday so the kids have the time to throw money at the vendors. Jennifer really likes that gavel, especially when she's intellectually against the wall.

Later on April made a point about her treatment and Jennifer calico got snitty and said something about April not liking to be told no. Later she opened the door to capitulating on the new field-trip policy. Talk about irony.

Well Jenn if you treated a student or parent so shoddily your sweet ass would be in the unemployment line or at AbuCobb. April hit the bulls eye and I quietly smiled when she inferred she now knows how we feel when we speak out. Remember Doug Erwin April! We do.

You owe it to yourself to watch it.
The Trib checks in.

Ms. Faliero: please step down.

(Note who was missing.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SEEDZ of DOUBT

The deadline was October 20 @ 1:00PM

29.5% of teachers even bothered to vote.
27.6% of teachers voted "yes".

3 out of 4 teachers let "the other guy" decide.

Next time you are pissed about the superintendent, your salary, benefits, or working conditions:
YOU BE "THE OTHER GUY"!

From The Gradebook

Hillsborough CTA ratifies contract

UPDATE: We've received word from the CTA that the vote tallies reported earlier (now in the jump) are not right. Here's the e-mail we just got:

The Election Committee both regrets and is pleased to inform you there was a reporting error in the teacher ratification results. The correct numbers are:
Total number of teacher ballots returned: 4,546
Total number voting YES: 4,256
Total number voting NO: 290
Approval percentage: 94%

The Committee members apologize for any concern this may have caused members of the bargaining unit and can only attribute the error to the lateness of the hour.

The School Board still meets at 3 p.m. to take up the employee raises.

Here's the original post:

Well, Hillsborough teachers and support personnel. Looks like your raise is on its way to approval.

Rosemary Ax of the HCTA Election Committee e-mailed the Gradebook the final vote tally just before midnight, and asked that we put out the word "since everyone wants to know."

Here's her report:

The CTA Election Committee reports that ballots were mailed to 15,376 teachers and 3,869 ESP. There were a total of 60 invalid ballots returned, most of which were sent in with no preference marked. Teachers returned 1,346 valid ballots with 1,056 voting YES and 290 voting NO, for an approval of 78%. ESP returned 1548 valid ballots with 1502 voting YES and 46 voting NO, for an approval of 97%.

The School Board meets at 3 p.m. today, and is expected to sign off on the deal, too. The raises including back pay then would come to employees as soon as practical.

**********************************************************************************

Now, can we release the official salary schedule? Last year it was up on the web September 27th.

Show us the money, please.


Monday, October 13, 2008

TELL HER NO!

I voted NO.

First, the more experienced teachers that provided me guidance and support are getting shafted. Somebody is going to get pissed enough to file a class action suit. Age discrimination comes to mind.

Second, I won't vote until I have a complete picture. The salary scale is still unavailable. You would think that someone in power would publish our salary scale. That way we can see how we are being given a 2% salary increase yet our "new" health care program will cost us more than that.

Third, it is expected that we are too tepid, timid, and weak to do anything BUT vote for it - "silent zombies" was the expression. Have we ever been given the actual vote COUNT?

Fourth, we are taken for granted by our district administration and association, THAT my friends is the deal breaker!

Mary Ellen? NO!
Yvonne? NO!


Monday, October 6, 2008

ANOTHER PIG IN A POKE?

Why should we approve a contract with no salary scale to refer to? How come neither CTA or the district has released what they expect to pay us?

I'm not sure we should approve ANYTHING at this point. Maybe you can convince me.

Let's talk. Comments welcome.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

DON'T CALL US WE'LL CALL YOU

Communication Deja vu.

Come on, hasn't anyone picked up on the district's strategy?

They have succeeded in redefining "communication".

There is no communication.

Communication requires dialogue. Oh, they claim to.


HiCuPS does not engage in dialogue
with teachers or parents or staff. Not even Board members, from April's comment.

They inform. Period.

Think about: Lawson, 6 out of 7, Buses, Calendars,
Spring Board. Need I go on?

We are informed of decisions. Even our ASSociation has adopted this model. "The teachers union says the additional early-release days are a done deal."

This passes as communication. The results are evident. The excuses predictable: "We will get better at telling you what to do."


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

VOTE "NO" ON BIAS & DISCRIMINATION

It is passed the time for the "elders" to speak up. The younger teachers need to wake 'em and shake 'em.

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 is AGAIN $232 LESS than what 2% represents. Do the math.

It is $232 LESS toward your retirement benefit! Do the math.

IF the district does this it will reduce the total amount of your benefits by $1392 over the 3 years you are stalled at the "longevity step".

That's right:
before you retire it will cost you $1392 in your benefit formula.

This has now become a standard. Over the 5 years before you retire it will cost you $1392 in your benefit formula. I haven't examined D.R.O.P. implications.

If we allow this it will cost you ($232 x 3 years = $696) this time. PLUS $464 ($232 x 2) + $232 ($232 x 1) Total = $1392

$1000 is 1.6% NOT 2%. It does include future salary increases but also affects the future salary increases since the percentage increase is based on a lower figure every year!

Come on elders - wake up and call the lawyers. You are being discriminated against based on your age!!!!

You will be "short" EVERY RETIREMENT CHECK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

This is how you are rewarded for your loyalty and experience.

Are there that many of you old-timers?

There must be. The scale is being compressed in stages through 2011.

Look HERE

Perhaps somebody smarter than me can interpret the "what" and "why".

Perhaps someone can explain why CTA has let this happen. Yvonne? Jean??


VOTE IT DOWN!
IT'S YOUR FUTURE!

Lamb, John R.
Agency Name: Hillsborough Co School Board

* Salary in 06-07: $40,252.32
* Monthly retirement payment: $6,921.15
* "Retired" in: 2/1/1996

Edgecomb, Doretha W.
Agency Name: Hillsborough Co School Board


* Salary in 06-07: $40,252.32
* Monthly retirement payment: $4,279.63
* "Retired" in: 10/1/1996

Ref.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A CENTIPEDE WITH ATHLETE'S FOOT


Photo: www.matthewktabor.com
Stallin For Time?

Board Meeting

Haven't made it through a complete "showing" yet so please check back.

WHY "Jenny" CAN'T READ.
For God's sake Ms. Faliero, gather your wits before you speak. Shouldn't the person running the meeting actually know how? Could it be you are more sympathetic to Lee DeCesare because your deliveries are so alike? If I ran my classroom like you run the meetings my principal would have me removed before the kids ate me alive.

MOST PATHETIC PLAY FOR VOTES
This award goes to Carol Kurdell, for her transparent plea to
the superintendent hoping that “something could be done for our people”. Yeah Carol, who woke you up? Steve Gorman?

TRANSPORTATION
Between the budget reading and the busing CYA preamble, I get groggy. From the trenches, it seems like the class size amendment has really taken its toll. Coupled with our politicians insistence on underfunding education and mandating all kinds of unfunded programs this was bound to happen.
Superintendent takes a bonus, district tries to cover labor costs with million dollar software, teachers forced to replace conference period with extra class, bus drivers are paid 9 bucks an hour, etc, etc. Your kids don't know what the yellow hound will do and neither do you.

The problem is systemic. Responsibilities get heaped on those who used to be effective. Everyone has now reached saturation. There is no time to ponder and examine your decisions. You must manage the crisis du jour and let the rest go until they reach crisis. Does anyone really think that Joe Franklin got up every morning thinking "Let's REALLY screw up today."

Did you hear between the lines? Who do they have answering the phones on the phone bank? Supervisors and management! Who's doing their work while they try and quell the public anger? Clericals? They get what? $8 an hour?


Steve Otto's Springboard column and the district's behind the scenes attempt to gin up support for the program has come to light in Matt Tabor's acclaimed education blog.

This is not a defense. You can't be expected to coordinate the roll out of such an all encompassing program across the 8th largest school district in the nation on a shoestring staff. Who do you think we are? WalMart? The "transportation model" failed. Why duplicate it with curriculum?

Meanwhile teachers wait for resources. Of course, Bill Gates can fund the thing but not get his hands dirty in the delivery or management process. College Board? Aren't they the ones who sold us this?

Its only a matter of time. Wait for the rest of the shoes to drop.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

PARANOID?

Why is the latest board meeting NOT available to stream? It's last Thursday's meeting. The one immediately after Jack Davis resigned. Reality TV at its best is suspiciously missing?

IT WAS CANCELED WHEN WE GOT FAY-KED OUT. IT IS THIS THURSDAY.

While we wait for its availability perhaps you'd like to amuse yourself with the latest budget amendments.
Click here
for budget amendments that are on the table for the September 4th meeting.

The rest of the agenda is here.

Remember, the board is going to "change" our health care contributions. In other words, we will pay more. In other words: our salary will be cut!

NO COLA FOR YOU!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM


I do believe that it was Jack's call to walk away.

School board member April Griffin said Elia called her Tuesday afternoon to tell her about Davis. "I was told it was because of his back and his health problems," Griffin said. "I think that's their story and they're sticking to it."

This is why I like April.

Back problems?

As chief information and technology officer, Davis also supervises the district's communications, assessment and accountability, information services, staff development, supplier diversity, and customer service and support.

This kind of "responsibility creep" is daunting. Please read it carefully. His plate was HUGE!

The district continues to pile it on everybody to the point of absurdity. Why hire another employee when we can force a current one at the same rate of pay?
Jack saw an escape and took it. I'll bet he also saw the futility of having to work with people he would have preferred to fire but couldn't. Hear the creaking? Its HCPS on the verge of collapse.

...Valdes said. "Blaming it on transportation department head John Franklin would be so unfair. He was given the tools he was given and the staff he had."

April PLEEEEASE tell Susan to think this stuff out.
EVERYONE is EXPECTED to educate the raw material that comes into our class with the tools the district provides! So many of us BUY additional tools and see how bogus her response sounds.!

It was John Franklin's JOB to get the kids to and from school!!
If he and his staff were incapable of working with the multimillion dollar bus scheduling software then why is everyone tripping over themselves to overlook it? How many of these folks are remnants of the purchasing department "transfer" when that department hit the skids?

OK I'll say it: "buddy system?", "political correctness?","quota hires?", "gonad challenged?", "estrogen deficit?"

I have had occasion to deal with Jack Davis. He was always a gentleman and professional no matter how pissed we were. I can't help but think "there's something rotten in Denmark".

"Neither Davis nor Elia could be reached for comment Wednesday."

I wonder if they were negotiating with Mike Greco?

Friday, August 22, 2008

SO, HOW WAS YOUR FIRST WEEK?

From a recent post:

Sheesh!!! What a week!! My classes are all huge with more coming--and not enough desks!!! The first day was awful--5-8 kids in my last period class couldn't find an intersection close to their house for the bus. Many parents brought their kids TO school 'cause the bus never came!!!

So,
how was YOUR first week? (4 days really)

REMEMBER TO VOTE
(pass it on)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

'FAY'KED OUT

Our experience with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay is such a metaphor on so many levels.

Its making me reconsider allowing the government to interpret anything for me: from weather to medicine to education to economics. I'm not saying ignore the info. I'm saying don't be so arrogant as to say things like it's a sure thing.

Enjoy the day off and don't hold the Board or the superintendent responsible for what they have no control over.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

RE-ELECT NOBODY!

What more can I say?
Teachers need to flex their political muscle. When you walk into the polling place remember everything promised.
Get angry.
Get revenge.
Re-elect NOBODY.

Monday, June 23, 2008

DANCE, DANCE, DANCE

One of the most common PR tricks is to provide a non answer to questions you can't answer.

Superintendent Elia's response to the Tribune's editorial on grade inflation should have been left where it was written - on the beach.

Elia
"...it's odd that you would see a need to rail against a practice that encourages students to challenge themselves in the classroom."
Trib
"Some honors courses once considered a mark of academic success now enroll students who don't read or write at grade level."

***********************************************************************************

Elia
"There's a simple reason the GPAs are higher: Students take more classes and more challenging classes."
Trib
"Even the scoring of the district's semester exams has been reconfigured to a new scale that boosts grades. On some particularly tough tests, like physics exams, a student need only score 62 percent of the questions correct to earn an "A."

School officials defend their system saying they want to encourage students to challenge themselves to higher-level work. And in the case of semester exams, they wanted to ensure uniform grading - albeit with a more generous scale for at least some exams."
***********************************************************************************

A couple of random quotes pulled from student comments can not provide the cover nor the rationale necessary for such patently false assertions that the policy works. Simply saying that its best for the kids doesn't make it so!

By the way, how would you grade this response to the questions raised in the editorial?

BTW:
rgoudreau@tampatribune.com is a good place to start.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!

Health insurance changes will cost us more money starting December 5, 2008. The Board is also thinning the herd of "choices" that the district contractor provides the employees.

First Impressions: (after reading the document)

Page 1) School Board is cutting their funding.
There are almost 25,000 employees! How many are actual members of any labor association? We are an UNREPRESENTED voting block in this county. In other words, we could conceivably rule elections if so inclined.

Page 2) The usual suspects. Has anyone heard from Yvonne or Jean about this? Are they keeping their membership informed?

Page 3) Eliminate EPO and PPO plans. (the way I understand them is that you can go directly to a specialist without a referral from your Primary Care doctor)
Staff HMO, HMO and POS plans requires an employee paid premium.

Page 4) Nice chart. District Plan cost breakdown.

Page 5) DEDUCTIONS begin on December 5th, 2008. If you choose "Coverage 1st" you "pay" nothing. Otherwise the only other (THREE) plans will cost you $6.00 to $82.29 per paycheck.

Please look over this document and comment.

Maybe someone with Yvonne's or Jean's ear will post an explanation about why this is good for employees.

Of course if we only have to work a 4 day week, that opens up time to look for a PT job. Count me in on that one. Gas savings alone will pay for my health plan choice.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

NO "SMOKE ON THE WATER"

I can't help but think that the Trib's meeting with that group of teachers opened their eyes to more than just the extra period forced on us. Thanks to all who went!

Keep your eyes on "TheWALL" for info about the political group that is forming to take a stand on/with the candidates running for a School Board position. This cadre sounds very independent and will step in where CTA fears to tread.

Join them - Support them. And for your own sake: VOTE!

Click on:
Trib Scores!

"The district is pushing more and more students into honors courses and Advanced Placement courses whether they are academically suited for the work or not, all in the name of - " *MONEY.

* my word. I have not forgotten the AP bonus our superintendent qualifies for based on the number of students enrolled in AP classes.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Some teachers say they've had to adjust their curriculum to adapt to these lower-performing students - rather than let them flounder - so an honors course in some instances isn't as rigorous as it used to be."

Don't forget that students enrolled in these classes also have an "entitlement" attitude when it comes to grades. This attitude is fueled by their parents who just don't accept the fact that they may not be AP-capable. Considering the bill of goods they have been sold by guidance counselors and administrators trying to fill up these classes, what do we expect?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"...regular courses these days - well, those used to be called "remedial."

Except now "remedial" has become a stigma since mommy and daddy know the definition.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I feel sorry for yesterday's new hires who don't know that they signed up to teach "regular" and have absolutely no clue what "remedial" takes.

No wonder our labor pool is hurting.


Monday, June 9, 2008

OH LORD! STUCK IN LODI AGAIN

Things got bad, and things got worse, I guess you will know the tune.

Friday, May 30, 2008

HEART OF GOLD

Read this and tell me it's not from a first person experience. Bet those Ed-Profs don't mention these kind of incidents in class.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

RUNNING ON EMPTY

That about says it all - since February.

The comment about "hitting the wall" is revealing. So is the drop off in the number of posts. I suspect everyone who has struggled to do the job right is feeling the same: Amy Winehouse meets Jose Canseco at a Homeland Security checkpoint..

I know 4 teachers who have accepted or are considering offers from the corporate/private sector. Good teachers. Better money. I wish them the best.

Gathering, verifying, and documenting information can be seriously demoralizing. Compartmentalizing is an effective defense - when it works. If Suzie continues teaching, pacing myself will be paramount. Mediocrity will most likely be the result. Something we must learn to accept.

Speaking of accepting mediocrity, as we come up on graduation season I will ask you to report on the performance of the board members. I attended a Jack Lamb appearance where he had no idea what school was graduating.

In the meantime, don't forget about commenting about those hard-to-work-with principals.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

BAD COMPANY

Transfer period is almost upon us. You have asked for a place to post warnings about schools that are not teacher-friendly, supportive or just a downright miserable place to be. Please see the "Good Vibrations" posting to let us know about good places to work.

The goal here is to provide everyone with a place to start their "job search". To that end we need a few basic, simple ground rules.

* No personal attacks. Don't use this opportunity to "get even" if you were wrong and got called on it.
* Stay anonymous but please name schools and administrators.
* Support your comments with specifics. Please don't make us guess your reasons. If the principal is overly demanding or demeaning (for example) give us the facts. However do not let those facts compromise your anonymity.

** I reserve the right to remove a post considered libelous or slanderous. Our track record really is exemplary (thanks to YOU). We are a respected blog.

Oh, by the way:

We are teachers by profession and are expected to display the skills we evaluate in others.
Use spell check and please watch your grammar - Lee checks in regularly.

On behalf of those who will use your input in their decision-making:
Thank you for your time, effort and contribution.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

GOOD VIBRATIONS

People Get Ready:

Transfer period is near. This is a warm up for the next post.


I could work for this principal.

Do you know/work for someone like this in Hillsborough?

Who are the good ones?

Monday, March 24, 2008

BANG THE DRUM

Having had some time to reflect on the recent Good Friday "debacle" I'd like to make a few points. You may recognize some bits and pieces of postings and responses from our local blog community.

Good Friday is for ADULTS.

It is our day and time to "observe". If the kids join us: all the better but the true meaning of Good Friday only sinks in as we age. What we were taught we begin to understand. I'm pretty sure this is not unique to Christians.

As adults we saved our personal days, we had sub plans ready, and we let our principals know in advance, like we always do. It didn't matter if we drove buses, served food, cleaned up, or did clerical or custodial tasks. We may even have stated that our purpose was religious in nature, not political or vengeful. Most principals were adult and "understood", even though it may have put them in an awkward position. Our Board should follow their example:

"
Candy Olson said maybe the district should negotiate with employees' unions to require a doctor's note on certain days or double the time taken off on those days."Tampa Trib

Sounds discriminatory to me but, all things considered, this is how the district reacts. Google "Doug Erwin". Candy's got a mean streak and if she's hoping to parlay her school board position into something more she'd be well to remember that these statements don't go away. You can bet any opponent hopes she doesn't realize this. (Keep the change, sister)

Don't praise "family", "diversity" and "multiculturalism" and then devalue the majority beliefs.

Considering how many students stayed home it appeared that the public at large recognized our religious conviction or at the least figured it was safer not to insist the kids go to school. One can't discount the influence of the district letter sent home. This letter alerted parents to the impending transportation problem.

I don't doubt that some used the day to begin a journey to be with family and may not return to school until Tuesday.

Religion is a very personal matter and to expect someone to practice it according to your expectations is unconstitutional.

Maybe the community at large decided that they were going to make a statement about how the district has marginalized the community's Christian beliefs.

Maybe the employees (also part of the community) individually decided that they too feel their beliefs have been marginalized and their convictions under valued. They were / are / will continue exercising their freedoms.

The district can not have it both ways: they count on their employee's beliefs to go the "extra mile" when its convenient for their purpose but bring out the hammer when it isn't.


We have a leadership crisis.

Anyone who has lived in Florida for more than a year realizes how dysfunctional Tallahassee is. From unfunded mandates, the latest PC trend, the insurance "fix", the property tax amendment, etc. to the cursive nod to education at election time followed by the piecemeal funding of schools.

Did you know that recent reports indicate that FCAT results won't be in this year until after school is out? This throws the schools into scheduling chaos. Thank you Tallahassee.

The school board is not much better. Ever since former board members got elected to the Tallahassee trough and a former CTA president made it to Governor, no board member wants to rock the boat. They should be up there screaming like banshees for funding. Of course, when you make basic math mistakes in projecting student enrollment your credibility is shot in the political arena.

Your credibility with the community also gets tarnished when your calendar committee drops Fair Day and the Board puts it back after a "plea" from the State Fair representative. You refused to acknowledge religious day off requests. Then in an obvious vindictive response, removed all religious holidays from the calendar and stuck a day off on May 2nd.

You say the kids won't be unduly penalized for missing school on a religious holiday but threaten your employees if they use a personal day. Then blame those same employees when a letter sent home by the administration outlining the transportation problem results in parents keeping their kids home.

Will somebody please step up to the plate and at least take a few practice swings?

Where are our religious leaders? They are uncharacteristically quiet. We need them to come forward.

Let's stick one of each major religion in a room in ROSSAC and let them negotiate the religious days off? Give their document to the calendar committee.

Is there anyone out there that believes we can't get the educating job done in 180 student days instead of 184? Is there hard data that supports this? If not then there are four student days to play with.

The district has a couple of years to find a Good Friday solution. Lets see if they care enough to fix it early.

Since 5 board members, the Superintendent, her assistant superintendents have never responded to an honest sit down discussion with their employees at the school sites, the bus depots, or support offices they have no idea what is going through their employees minds. The Good Friday scramble underscores this conclusion. "deepcover" has pointed out a very real hole in the dike.

"We now know that they CAN make a statement and that shutting down the system is a very real thing. If the teachers, bus drivers, food service workers, and custodians ever decide they have had enough they only need to take 3 continuous days off together. A sudden Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday "flu" would catch everyone so far off-guard."

A prescient analysis that deserves the "good thinking" award.

Rule by fear has never engendered a spirit of cooperation only seething resentment.

History has shown time and time again that allowed to seethe, resentment becomes revolution.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

CLASS ACT

Dear Ms. Olson,

We don't ask for much. Just something like:


"This was a decision I made as a member of the school board and I take responsibility for the outcome. I realize that it caused an absence rate of 60% and I will work with the Superintendent and other board members to analyze what happened."

Rather than:

"...maybe the district should negotiate with employees' unions to require a doctor's note on certain days or double the time taken off on those days."

The professional, corporate response was suggested by Fred Burns, candidate for the School Board.

Please read Burns' blog (it's linked on the right) then send this guy some money! Any amount. Let him know THIS is the type of leadership you want to start with.

Friday, March 21, 2008

"BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN BELIEFS"

I put the title in quotes because it is not original. It came from someone else but it fits the current events surrounding HiCcuPS.

Those that stayed home from work, using a personal day, displayed their responsibility for their beliefs.
The stock market was closed. Even some attorney's offices were closed!

Here is my problem: where the hell was the bishop, the monsignor, the pastor, the priest , the reverend? Their silence is deafening and disturbing. Has the church given up?

How come the media didn't see fit to show ONE religious spokesperson interview?

Is Jack Lamb such a stirring lecturer that Saint Lawrence chose to stay on the sidelines rather than be subject to his wrath? Will Christ the King, Bayshore Baptist, ANYBODY step up?

Maybe they should take a lesson from the flock: be responsible for your own beliefs.
THESE convictions we can be proud of.

Happy Easter.

Monday, March 17, 2008

GOOD FRIDAY - BAD KARMA

I'm not taking a chance with my religious "inner voice".

Suzie is taking a personal / religious day on Friday. It just seems like the right thing to do.

I petition the district to poll S.E.M.S., and the employees. Do the right thing and OBSERVE A CULTURAL MOMENT.

Shut the schools down.

Amen.

****************************************************************
I have been reading the papers, blogs, and comments.

1) Some people get off bullying Christians. Those of you who take Good Friday off should be able to do so and not need to justify it. Do we quiz our Jewish, Protestant, or Muslim friends when they are "out" for a religiously important day? Atheists: get over it. We share the same rights.

2) Administrators who show up are being punished for doing so. Their day has increased to 12 hours. 6AM-6PM.

3) School Board members who make veiled threats ( Candy's modus operandi) trying to insure compliance are again showing their true colors. Don't forget this.

4) The secular vs religious calendar argument is BULLSHIT! Make the calendar 180 student days and 186 teacher days. Nobody is going to prove that 4 days will make a difference. Then give everyone some religious recognition. We probably need a ratio of sorts.

5) Our school board's arrogance is just more evidence that they do NOT VALUE ANY EMPLOYEE. Edgecomb, Olson, Faliero, Lamb, and Kurdell display this regularly. I'm not talking just teachers here. Our bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, administrators, and support staff know this.

6) Many of those who are taking Good Friday off SAVED the personal day and should not be punished just because they exercise this prerogative and the district cannot cope with the effects. Those that choose to go to school deserve our thanks not our anger. They also deserve the same respect we give those who choose to stay home.

7) It all comes down to leadership:

Could Yvonne have been any more "vanilla" and spineless? I'd have looked in the camera and said "The Board recognized the teachers religious conviction in every contract to date. I'm sure they would never consider something so un-American as to even consider denying them their right to participate in Good Friday".

Our Board couldn't figure out a solution and hid behind a committee. Remember this come election day.

8) Who cares what the kids do. This is an adult day.

9) The post title while not the cleverest has become prophetic.

Happy Easter all.
This goes beyond the bunny.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

FREE FALLIN'

Everything you wanted to know about the 2008 Extended School Year Program. "Thar's money in them thar hills"(borough)!

For those of you talented enough to wade through what we spent in February. Bless you for being able to stay awake.

Hey, you folks with Reading Masters check this.
No bid.
Out-sourcing.
Wasn't the Superintendent a former Reading Supervisor? She could probably do this herself, in her sleep.


We need a $10 million grant to tell us smaller schools are better?!
Where do I sign up.
Look, see.


************************************************************************
I may not be the hottest french fry in the happy meal but give me 5.5 mil and 2 years and I'll be glad to document the negative effects of the additional teaching period!

I'll promise to sub contract Goader, Sisyphus, Lee, Bart, Eloquentmind, Bruce and a few others, keeping them too busy to blog. It's a no-bid-win-win.
Ms. Falerio can supervise in order to assure the public there won't be any hanky panky.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

RASPUTIN Pt. 2

While this is just the tip of the iceberg, allow me to make some observations.

•Put more students in non-core classes not covered by the state class-size amendment.

Load up electives even more. Make those teachers and their programs shoulder a disproportionate workload. Will there be more money for supplies, etc?

•Review nursing services, although the district has about 80 fewer nursing and health assistant positions now than it did several years ago.

More students with allergies and medical conditions but less services. More kids coming to school sick in order to exempt exams.

•Review guidance services, including student intervention and career specialist positions, previously paid for with grants.

Once again, the kids are on their own to solve conflicts and plot their future.

•Replace in-school suspension teachers with assistant teachers or use teachers who need more classes to fill in.

Do assistant teachers have the "training" to deal with a room full of disruptive students. Coaching ranks will be decimated. Consistency of teacher, discipline, and expectations will render the program useless and result in a flood of suspensions. The schools will be subject to ROSSAC directives to cut the number of suspensions. Schools will be chaotic.

•Hire assistant teachers, people with two-year degrees or college students to fill technology specialist jobs now held by teachers.

Admittedly I am ignorant of all my Tech does at school but I can't imagine anyone doing the job for minimum wage. Add the fact that it introduces a 19 to 21 year old into a target rich environment (young girls and boys) and I think we are asking for trouble. Do we need to rehash old headlines? Sure its a broad brush UNTIL its your kid!

The district remains low on (bus) drivers, has no substitutes and about 100 drivers are absent every day, Franklin said.

We can't get the kids to school or back home. Isn't the economy supposed to be bad? Can it be the job is hideous and pays poorly. Can we get similar teacher stats?

In another matter, the board was told that it needs to develop a plan to fill top school jobs. Within 10 years, 65 percent of the district's administrators - including principals and assistant principals - will be eligible for retirement.

Within 10 years only 3 of the schools current administrators will be on the job.
This includes ONLY those destined for retirement. Like teachers and other staff, there are some that will just call it quits. Fast-tracking inexperienced administrators is NOT the answer.


So who's coming up with this?

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia $253,000 plus bonuses $37,000 + ?
Deputy Superintendent Ken Otero $140,141.76 ?
Deputy Superintendent / Chief Human Resources Officer Dan Valdez $140,829.92 ?
Assistant Superintendent for Administration Lewis Brinson $129,272.88 ?
Chief Government Relations Officer Connie Milito $127,370.32 ?

Lamb, John R. Salary in 06-07: $40,252.32 + Monthly retirement payment: $6,921.15 ?
Edgecomb, Doretha W. Salary in 06-07: $40,252.32 + Monthly retirement payment: $4,279.63 ?

Are we getting our money's worth?

Monday, March 3, 2008

TIME CHANGE - WELCOME ANY TIME

Please note that the time of Thursday's meeting is 3:30PM.

MOST IMPORTANT:
The time you arrive
JUST DOESN'T MATTER!

You presence does.

INTEGRITY TEST!

Will we play "truth or dare", "follow the leader" or "mad libs"?

In what ways are stakeholders, including system and school staff, given opportunities to provide leadership and to contribute to the decision-making process?*

* From the Sacrosanct S.A.C.S. Standard Assessment Report to be approved this Board Meeting.

Here is the Agenda Summary.

Let's keep an eye out for the results.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

PLEASE POST THIS MEETING ON YOUR SCHOOL INTERNAL

Lee DeCesare has used her influence to help us by arranging this meeting.

I have changed the wording of her announcement to make it "easier" to post to your internal email bulletin board. You might also just copy and paste this to send to select individuals at your site IF you feel the administration may be "less than understanding". Click on the link to her website found on the right ("Lambo's Lee") for the full posting. Goader also blogs about it.

This is the lady who garnered the School Board's ire when she went to bat for Bruce and Bart by name. She is the embodiment of Petty's "I Won't Back Down" and the least we can do is show up.

Yes, it is between 3:30 and 5:00 PM and chances are, posting this on your Internal email may result in a hastily called faculty meeting (please don't Mr. Hutec). If such an occurrence happens, please let us know so that we can include these little "tricks" in the documentation.

The 3:30 PM start time is just that: COME when YOU CAN - a good cross section of teachers will help open up the conversation.

**********************************************************************************************************

A meeting has been set up with the Tribune publisher, Ms. Palmer, for this Thursday at 3:30 pm at the conference room in the TV building of the Tribune, on Kennedy near the bridge.


The purpose is to allow teachers to let the Tribune publisher know the teachers’ view of their struggle with the board and administration. It will be the teachers’ voices telling the most powerful media presence in our area their views of what is wrong with the school system, the superintendent, and the board.

***********************************************************************************

Monday, February 25, 2008

LEE DeCESARE INITIATES FL. BAR ETHICS INVESTIGATION

According to a press release posted on Lee's blog, the Florida Bar has agreed to investigate an ethics complaint she filed against School Board Attorney Tom (The Gonz) Gonzalez.

There is a link to the right, under "Link Awray" that will take you to the "Casting Room Couch."

Click here for details and more information.

"Your inquiry concerning the conduct of the above member of the Bar has been analyzed and has been determined to be a matter which warrants further investigation." - from the letter to Lee.


Frankly, some members of the Board and staff have really ignored social graces, protocol, and courtesy in dealing with Lee. I believe the phrase "hoisted on their own petard" is appropriate.

This is major folks.



Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

WANTED: FCAT GRADERS @ $10.00/hr.

Actually this opens the door for us to hire people to grade our students' work! Since the state approves of it's contractors using GraigsList to hire FCAT graders of questionable background, I must assume that now we can "subcontract" for our own student's evaluation.

Imagine "hiring" USF and HCC students to do this tedious work while we concentrate on our parent phone calls and lesson plans! Maybe we can convince the courts to allow this activity as an approved "community service" requirement for low level offenders. Of course I would expect the fine folks at ROSSAC to keep a list of "approved graders."

On a more serious note, is anyone surprised by this revelation? A state that refuses to fund their mandates, a state the just can't get it's funding done, a state whose politicians (all affiliations) refuse to address the core reasons for the state's problems can't be expected to seriously attend to the grading of a high-stakes test. Our kids rate a $10.00/hr. future! Those of us in the profession realize what a tenuous position this puts everyone in.

The Superintendent is merely following the Governor's lead (Springboard, ScamTron, Grade "Curve", etc.) in so many ways.

Should we follow?

Note: For our new readers, an underlined blue word is known as a link. Clicking on it will take you to another web page.
Thanks to The Gradebook blog for digging this out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

7 NAMES YOU CAN'T SAY AT THE SCHOOL BOARD PODIUM - BIG ED CONNECTION

School Board Chairwoman Makes Name-Dropping Rule

TAMPA - Hillsborough County School Board chairwoman Jennifer Faliero announced at Tuesday's meeting that speakers coming before the board "will be called out of order if you use anyone's name."

One regular speaker, Lee DeCesare, suggested the board should check with its attorney, saying the decree violates the right to free speech.

When DeCesare later named a teacher she said had been wronged by a principal for speaking out, Faliero banged her gavel and told her, "You are out of order."

Faliero then directed district security Chief Dave Friedberg to escort DeCesare out of the room.

School district spokesman Steve Hegarty later said, "That is not a part of the official statement that she reads," adding, "I don't know if that is what she will read the next time."

The board approved the promotion of Pansy Houghton, supervisor of choice technology, to director of student planning and placement.

Marilyn Brown

1) Doug Erwin

2) Marc Hart

3) Davis Island

4) Marc Hart

5) Bart Birdsall

6) Marc Hart

7) Bruce (inaudible)

So Hagerty knew about it, Freidberg knew about it, Gonzalez (Gonzie) heard it and yet none of these officials had the balls to tell the Chairwoman there was a First Amendment "problem"?

Is there any testosterone left in the room?

*************************************************************************************

Pansy Houghton was formerly employed by E.T.S. (Electronic Testing Services) but has worked with HCPS since 2000-2001 at least! So let's not rejoice in the hiring of an OUTSIDER!!!!

Is Pansy Dubose Houghton related to Renalia (Renee) Dubose, former head of Staff Development?

Consider the implications of someone whose background is BigED multiple choice, bubble-in, computerized grading.

"Software Review" by Lee Schroeder and Pansy Houghton

Schroeder and Houghton discuss a product that allows for in-house design and printing of double-sided, scannable forms.

"Software Review" by Lee Schroeder and Pansy Houghton

Schroeder and Houghton discuss software that can be used to manage bands of examination questions. Their focus is on software that can be used to ensure that duplicate or very similar items are not unknowingly included in the item bank.

"Software Review" by Lee Schroeder and Pansy Houghton

Schroeder and Houghton discuss the strengths and weaknesses of introducing technology to reduce or even substitute for the need to have face-to-face meetings to review test questions. The column describes the use of a modem to conduct a conference over a single telephone line that shares voice and computer data simultaneously.

"Software Review" by Lee Schroeder and Pansy Dubose Houghton

Lee Schroeder's column applies his criteria for evaluating an item-banking system (published in a previous CERcolumn) to two item-banking systems that were sent to him for review. One of Lee's associates, Pansy Houghton, reviews LXR-Test 5.0 and The Question Bank.

The Scantron CONNECTION!

Is this the same Lee Schroeder of Schroeder Measurement Technologies Inc., 2536 Countryside Blvd., Clear water, FL 34623.

http://www.clearhq.org/cer.htm


Will Dr. Steele give up the Curve Czar position? He won't HAVE to.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

BIG ED

Bill and Melinda Gates join with the College Board to seduce HCPS with money to entice "traditionally underrepresented students into honors and AP classes" under the innocuous title of "The Accelerator Program". Are the kids capable of succeeding or is being "underrepresented" enough.

They saw an increase in attendance and Grade Point average (due, no doubt to "the curve").

Decrease in referrals (hmmmm - submitted? acted on?) due to being challenged! No kidding.

I await the response postings from veteran teachers on this one since the "administration" was anecdotally referenced.

The meetings? When the heck did these folks meet? During their ONE conference?

BIG EDucation has been shown into the classroom - goader's been warning us about it for a while.

Let's look at the College Board numbers, and then how many kids complete college. Will Microsoft provide patches and fixes?

We need bona fide front line thoughts from teachers that are currently in the high school Accelerator program. Does anyone actually know any teacher that worked on this program?

Don't expect me to show up for the summer training - I need to commit to my summer job.

Am I the only one who thinks "somebody" should be investigated for "solicitation"?

Keep this in mind when they come to us to take a pay cut for next year.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

SPRINGBOARD M.O.U. !!!!

SPRINGBOARD!

This Memo Of Understanding is 50 pages long.

Page 18 = 7 programs?!
Page 29 = technology requirements!
Page 32 = some participating schools
Page 36 = Coach salary of $129,000 PLUS!!!
Page 39 = ALL participating schools
Page 42 = Price list of Programs and Services
Page 46 = Summer Inservices, etc.
Page 49 = half a mil here, half a mil there...

Agenda Summary

FROM THE FOXHOLE TO THE ARMPIT

The following was taken from Lee's most recent posting. Keep this in mind since transfer season is around the bend.

"It was nice to see your e-mail, and to know that you are still fighting for our students. Teacher morale is lower than I can remember in my 23 years of teaching, and many great educators have quit the system rather than put up with the exploitation. It seems the only hope we have is to change the board, for our superintendent gets little resistance from the present group. Some well placed reporting on the issues raised in your note would help shake things up a bit. I will be more than happy to discuss the issues with any interested reporters. Keep in touch.

By the way, I was punished severely for speaking out. I lost my dual enrollment classes and was given regular level world history to teach. I taught honors level for 16 years, but those classes were given to first and second year teachers who were more cooperative with our administration. Many others were punished as well. It has been a rough year, but we will get through it with our dignity intact. Since the arrival of our present APC dual enrollment has shrunk to one class of Freshman English, whereas we used to have classes in science, social studies, math and English. We do have ten sections of AP Human Geography, though, for ninth graders. Remember, Ms. Elia’s bonus money in part comes from the numbers enrolled in AP, not how many actually pass the test."

From a comment in "The O'REALLY FACTOR":

"Marc Hutek at Armwood has been subtly threatening and bullying teachers. He has specifically warned young teachers to avoid certain older faculty members, i.e. those who have been outspoken about the 6/7 plan. He says the lunch tables are "poison" because of the malicious and false materials he says is spread there. He even gave a negative oral evaluation to the APC at Riverview about a teacher who was interviewing there for a job, calling her "high maintenance" and "uncooperative." By the way, Riverview hired her anyway, so kudos to that APC. He has mentioned teachers who he considers unprofessional BY NAME during the spring evaluations of other teachers. I can't think of anything more UNPROFESSIONAL than that. He wrote a teacher appreciation letter to the staff thanking us for our "loyalty" to HIM and follows it up with a threat that we'd better be standing at our doors during passing because if something happens out there, we could be held legally liable!!! (BTW -- is that true?) He's a pure joke to a majority of the staff, but since he can make life miserable, we play the game enough to get by. We hope to outlast him since he's upwardly mobile, but it isn't easy. We've lost at least 4 excellent teachers to other schools so far."

True Colors: more than a Cindy Lauper song.

**************************************************************************************************
I will soon be publishing a post for everyone to publish a "heads up" about the schools they are currently working in. This future post will provide an opportunity for you to single out schools who have administrations that are "less than desirable" to work for, much like the Marc Hutek comment above.

It is your opportunity to do what no one
anywhere else will allow you : WARN US WHO NOT TO WORK FOR and WHY.

Watch for it. Post to it. Pass it around.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

TEACHER ABSENCES

OK, so exactly WHAT was the purpose behind this teacher absences report?

Here's what I got:

1) You get what you pay for.
2) You get more than you pay for if you tap into and exploit "professional pride".
3) Teachers are allowed sick days.
4) Teachers maximize their allowed sick days by hanging on until Friday.
5) You had to be told that an absent teacher affects student performance.
6) Low scoring (C & D) schools have higher teacher absenteeism - but didn't take into account the stress and burnout factor associated with any student population.
7) No mention of Hillsborough County's sneaky teach-an-extra-period trick.
8) The ONLY interviews that made the tape were veteran teachers. No interviews of the rookie teacher who is probably using up their sick time because they are reeling from the experience and are not returning to teaching next year.
9) No mention of contributing environmental factors like a room full of sick kids who want to exempt exams, marginal air quality, unreasonable time and workload demands, and the general malaise that sets in once you realize nobody in positions to change what is happening really gives a sh!t enough to do it.
10) If this were a student report it would get a county-curved "D" from any of the high school English teachers I know.

Oh, by the way:

Hillsborough's union represents 14,815 teachers* and 853 substitutes were called.

That gives Hillsborough a
94.3% attendance rate or a 5.7% absence rate on the WORST day.

Pure FCAT math - no curve.
I'm sure my trusty readers will correct any math mess ups..


(*last numbers published in the local papers)

Conclusion: A shallow attempt at something. Reflective of a medium in distress. They don't read blogs.

Friday, February 8, 2008

UN-PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

Looks like the Board dragged "The Gonz", kicking and screaming, to admitting he linguistically avoided making a promise to provide a "Know Your Rights" brochure to all employees who face a trip to "Professional Standards".

Boy, did he NOT want to write that letter to Bart Birdsall.

Conclusion: If you are exonerated of any wrong doing, heck, if there is not even enough evidence to support a charge, you will NOT receive any documentation that you are cleared!
Time for a specific policy change.
Come on Gonzie would it be so hard to consider the PR of such a letter? Have you become so insulated and calloused by your profession that you forgot what a little "mercy" will do for the spirit? Where you too busy taking notes to hear the public perception reflected in the PTSA president that spoke?


First time in a while I cheered for Ms. Valdez.

By the way: the blogs wouldn't be necessary or so successful (as evidenced by the District blocking it and blogs being referenced at board meetings and in the media) if employees thought they were getting a fair break and were without fear of retribution (Doug Erwin).

Nice touch, supporting your CTA adversary. Talk about questionable representation!

For my perspective: Any employee needs to have an out-of-county labor attorney in mind just in case they need one.

To that end: Any Out-of-County Law Firm is welcome to post their contact information here.

Ms. Faliero's "make your point" to Ms. Griffin showed just how deeply she feels the heat over recent events. Or the veneer is cracking. Not even Mr. Lamb's whispering could quell her urgency to adjourn. Note that the chair has never said that to ANYONE else. Could Ms Faliero have been "hurrying" to confer with her mentor and come up with a response for defining "personal attacks"? Maybe she just couldn't hold "it" much longer.

Ms. Griffin HAS a point: there are systemic problems that need to be addressed. Next time "Sheryl" crosses THAT line "Chrissie" needs to reach back, open up a guitar case and pull out a Tele.
"Its Only Rock and Roll"

Maybe I'll send her a "prop" for just that occasion.


What's really bad is I just realized I wasn't sure if Ms. Kurdell was there or not.

All this took place in the last hour: public comments. Stream 'n' Scream!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

FINE POINT?

14 counties facing penalties after School Board vote

Some school districts are facing penalties for having schools that don't meet class size requirements after State Board of Education rulings Monday. Money will be transferred out of each school district's operational budget and into capital outlay for such things as building more classrooms. County school districts with at least one noncomplying school and the amounts they face losing from their operating budgets include:

Alachua, $5,090
Duval, $65,263
Escambia, $11,509
Franklin, $4,267
Hardee, $19,967
Lee, $27,716
Leon, $13,249
Manatee, $100,625
Marion, $257
Orange, $26,213
Osceola, $94,095
Polk, $6,462
Putnam, $6,287
Volusia, $28,666

Source: State Department of Education

*******************************************************************

Did we really have to teach the additional period?

Could we afford these "fines" to keep morale at an acceptable level?

How did our teaching the extra period benefit the district?

Could the fine have been paid by the superintendent's "bonus"?

**************************************************************************

Tampa Tribune, September 2nd 2007

"Clements, however said her union, which has about 7,000 members, is loosely affiliated with the labor group and often differs in its endorsements."

Tampa Tribune

"Hillsborough's union represents 14,815 teachers...."

Would you have given the district $100.00 to pay the fine and keep your conference period?

That's a $1,481,500.00 fund. And if Gretchen Saunders puts it an interest bearing account it could grow and continue to cover the fines.

It can't be this simple, or obvious.

Monday, February 4, 2008

WALKING THE PLANK

A string of comments in the previous posting revealed a rather insidious direction taken by the district. Whether on purpose or by accident it reeks of creepy.

Springboard, a College Board product, has been put on fast-track. Please hit the link and check out the curriculum info. Shades of "Voyages".

Teachers drained from teaching extra period.
Some start to show strain. Absenteeism rises.
Substitute teacher pool unable to cover absent teachers.
Teachers must now cover class for absent coworkers, leading to burn out and additional absences.
District takes control of exam grades via district enforced curve.
Springboard, a program of prepackaged lesson plans, resources, and tests makes its appearance for the English, Math curriculum.

Will the teacher component be marginalized?

Now to the abbreviated comments:

***"...Any wonder moral is so low? And with Springboard coming, most of the math and English teachers aren't really pushing their own curriculum much. Might as well just teach the semester exam along with FCAT and make us all "look" good. Of course the students will suffer, but "they" stopped caring about what the students really need long ago."

***"The SpringBoard instructional system combines rigorous course work with assessment and professional development in five synergistic components. Each course centers on classroom-tested Model Instructional Units that prepare students for AP® and college-level work.
Sounds like SRA for high school."

***"With SpringBoard... we won't need college educated individuals anymore... just really great trained monkeys... Is this what we want to do to our teachers and students??????"

***"Hey just think (we won't have to think) no making up lesson plans, or adjusting presentations, or updating supporting info, etc.
No explaining methods to parents, just refer them to the APC or the college board.
There is an UP side to this: we can actually get our conference stuff done during our one measley conference!!!!
New hires won't have to be vetted because anyone can "sleepwalk" thru it.
The teacher crisis will be over because anyone can be hired and "covering" classes will be a thing of the past."...


There ya have it. So far.

By the way, Ms. Faliero, we patiently await your resignation.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

WHEN 6 OUT OF 7 = 5 OUT OF 5

From Bob Weinstein's Column "Why Employees Jump Ship ".

"Gregory P. Smith, author of "Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High-Turnover to High-Retention," says most employees take new jobs because of management problems. He lists five common management mistakes:

1. Demanding that one person do the jobs of two or more people, resulting in longer days and weekend work.

2. Cutting back on administrative help, which forces workers to use their time copying, stapling, collating, filing and performing other clerical duties.

3. Putting a freeze on raises and promotions.

4. Not allowing the rank and file to make decisions or denying them pride of ownership.

5. Constantly reorganizing and changing direction."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

"DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME"

Something is not right about the Plant physics teacher's inappropriate email to a student.

The papers are asking its readers to make too much of a leap in logic on this one:

"
The school district suspended Plant teacher (name deleted), 22, with pay pending an investigation, Cobbe said. He was hired in September. The district is reviewing his computer to see if the case needs to be reported to law enforcement.

Officials first became aware of accusations against him late Wednesday when an assistant principal saw the female student in a hallway and asked how she was doing, Cobbe said. The student then reported the e-mail."

"how ya doing?" "no, how YOU doing?"

Plant AP's must have a lot of face time for students.

Too bad the guy wasn't a Board member.

Anyone got the goods on this one? How's my intuition?


"...and THE SURVEY says:..."?

It's February.

There are only 4 months left. Not a lot of time left to affect change in time to save your employees or membership.

Whatever happened to
"the survey"?


You know, the one that was supposed to be taken to measure the impact of "substituting" a conference period with a teaching period for no additional money.

Is a curve being generated?

Call me crazy but it took less time to make us teach the extra class!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hart To Heart

After reading Lee's riveting post, which included information she gathered from Mark Hart, it is obvious that Ms. Faliero must address the issue.

Do the right thing Ms. Faliero. NOW.


< rewind >

JENNIFER BLEWIT

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:

APOLOGIZE TO US and RESIGN
- the sooner, the better.