Monday, March 24, 2008


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.


Anonymous said...

"Blame the teachers!" I am sick of this mantra. At my school, there was only a 10 percent teacher absence rate, and a 88 percent student absence!!!!!!!!!! Looks like the teachers showed up to do their job, but the kids didn't. Not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

"Blame the teachers!" I am sick of this mantra.

I am sick enough to start looking for something else. Even flipping hamburgers. Hell, you can only physically flip so many for so long. When you drop one. Throw it out. Start over.

At 5:45AM this actually seems doable. I can cut back and live lean for a while.

Anonymous said...

Candy Olson has a fairly average intelligence level. She thinks she is very intelligent and I gather from her words and actions that she wishes more than anything that people viewed her as intelligent. She is not. She is average in intelligence. This is a woman who has probably colored within the lines all her life and hasn't had an original or radical thought ever. This type of person reacts instead of taking charge. Her words about charging teachers more for sick days were the most idiotic thing I have heard come out of a school board member's mouth, although she has said some intelligent things as well. Everyone is entitled to say dumb things occasionally, but I think what makes them seem worse is that she is always trying to act like a know-it-all. She tends to rattle on and on about things, until suddenly she wants to leave the board meeting earlier. Then, she suddenly wants other board members to keep their comments to a minimum, but when the mood strikes her she is incredibly long winded.

Anonymous said...

Look at my website:
I want to talk to you. Off the record, of course.

Drop me a line on the "contact me" link. We can go from there.

Seriously, we need to talk.


Anonymous said...

Who is this Steve guy telling to contact him? All of us or just one of the postings?

Anonymous said...

Not sure.

I passed.

Anonymous said...

Got here via April's Blog.

Suzie you are on the mark on both this issue and with the response you left on April's blog about the sex-with-student issue.

I worked at both middle and high schools, have children at those ages and YOU ARE SO RIGHT.

Thanks for saying what I'm thinking - so clearly.

Anonymous said...


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Stephen Gorham

P.S. Please keep doing what you are doing. Feel free to contact me if you would like to talk about some of the issues.