Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Everyone seems to have questions about whether or not the $100,000,000 grant from Billy and Mel is a good thing.

I'd like to know where the district is getting their $100,000,000 match from.

That's $200,000,000 total!

That's $14,285,714.29 per year for the 7 year period.

Hey Jean Clements: Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that the "ballpark" amount it costs to give us all a 1% raise?

Parents with kids in 4th grade will see the money run out as they enter their senior year.

Was any teacher interviewed and not published? If you were interviewed, how were you chosen, how were you notified?

Monday, November 9, 2009


Grapevine says we start FAIR testing the first week of December.

Not sure about everyone else but I lost 8 days in September to FAIR testing. I figure that this will measure my influence of 12 weeks - at best. About the only accurate measurement for that time span would be hair growth and schedule changes!

Its not even enough time to add the necessary computer internet bandwidth.

Am I the only one that thinks this bus is careening down the mountain barely under control?

-Bill Gates should promote
"learning" the way Microsoft
is promoting Windows 7.
Let's see what he can do to
counter what the kids are
being bombarded with.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Goader said...


Please promote the petition to repeal the 6 of 7 instructional schedule.

It is located here.

Let's Do It!!!

Pass this around folks...

Saturday, September 19, 2009


This whole incident screams for understanding.

The district sounds like they are in full damage control.

It will be interesting if more such instances come to light.

So many factors contributed to this but the increased workload and decreased prep time brought about by the superintendent's 6 of 7 dictate were a major factor.

So many tired and stressed employees at all levels are making mistakes. Mostly minor oversights but, like this, major ones occur.

Some of us will respond "that's no excuse" and you are right. All decisions have unforeseen and cumulative consequences, this is one.

Superintendent Elia is too far removed from this to care. So is the HCTA.

The principal is not. The student body is not. The community is not.

The teachers are not - thank God one or more of them spoke out.

Are there others? Are there more?

Friday, September 18, 2009


I am NOT the only one shaking their heads over FAIR testing.

The moment school started we were focused on getting our computers "ready", classes scheduled.
Curriculum be damned! Full speed ahead.

What we got was another broken state program.
Not enough bandwidth. Spinning and crashing. Rebooting, restarting.

What we got was another slapped together district response.
Not enough space and too little cooling.

What we will get is invalid data. Why?
Nobody tests well when they are hot, uncomfortable and frustrated. Teachers can't fight the students' realization that the program sucks, is a waste of their time and yet affects their future in very real terms. We spend countless hours hearing and promoting test prep and then permit such a torturous environment to evolve.

This is where we need Bill Gates NOT in the teacher evaluation arena!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are We Really Data Driven?

DeKalb County School Watch blog has raised the same "show me the data" question about Springboard that Hillsborough raised years ago.

College Board "promotes" Springboard as Rigor and readiness for AP® and college success and provides select research summaries to support the program.

In all honesty, has our District generated any Springboard related data?

Am I the only one who suspects the District of selectively using data?

Do our leaders have the integrity to pull the plug on an ineffective program in time to avoid really damaging our kids?

Will those parents of "average and above average students" continue to acquiesce to the needs of the "below average" demographic?

Remember a level playing field provides no challenging hills or mountains.

Friday, June 26, 2009


The exams have been taken, scored, curved, and students received their grades.

The FCAT has been taken, scored, scaled, and schools have received their grades.

Springboard has been implemented county-wide for the entire year - some schools have used it longer.

Teachers have had training, observations, retraining and review.

As skeptical as I am about Springboard, I was determined to give it my best shot.
*The kids exam grades were mediocre.
*The kids FCAT scores were mediocre.
*My school's grade dropped.

I failed.

No M.A.P.S. No Performance Pay. I failed.

We are owed an examination of all the data.
*How closely (if at all) does Springboard correlate with FCAT and the Sunshine State Standards?
*Are we teaching the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful on the FCAT?
*Since Springboard is the child of the SAT, how did our kids do and how do our kids compare with those who have not been exposed to Springboard?
*Can we make a determination about Springboards efficacy?

I did my part to the best of my ability with one LESS planning period Ms. Elia. I am not alone.

We are owed an explanation of the data.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Walking up the steps to the state level we find this and this.

I feel for the staff trying to make progress in the face of student apathy and outright resistance to learning.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Traveling around the county provides an uncommon glimpse into the cultural of the "schoolyard".

Too many managers - not enough leaders.
Too many rules - not enough staff to follow through.

Crisis management - spin dizzy response.

This is an uncommon and courageous letter and post about what we all know is true.

While most traveling employees have witnessed what the author has, this letter could not have been written by just anyone.

He is on the line. We must thank him.

Now let's watch and hope somebody cares.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


About two weeks ago an administrator in Hillsborough County got picked up on a DUI charge. Sad.

His age was listed at 31 years old.

It got me to thinking: graduate high school at 18, graduate college at 22, 9 years to go from teaching to Student Affairs A.P. to Assistant Principal (Administration or Curriculum).

My point: Do you think this person spent 5 years in the classroom? Consider your first 5 years in the classroom. What kind of experience and skills did you acquire? Yet this person will have 30+ years of school/classroom influence.

Why does the district do this?
Is 5 years enough to understand the true classroom consequences of your decisions?

I've worked with some talented young administrators who displayed extraordinary common sense, energy, and insight. They were few and far between. Most were just looking for a way out of the classroom and without the mentoring of a strong leader it was a frustrating and often demoralizing experience.

Too many managers - not enough leaders.

Monday, May 25, 2009


"Too many managers - not enough leaders."

Heard that last week from a passerby teacher and it really hit home on so many levels.

The classroom teachers have lost their leadership and become managers to a program known as "Springboard".

There is so much emphasis on following that curriculum that I considered renaming this blog "The WORDwall".

Remember the phrase de jour "thinking outside the box" and "a new paradigm"? I'm sure our more experienced teachers can remember others. Springboard has effectively smothered them along with teacher creativity.

If we really needed this type of "managed" curriculum to address teacher deficiencies wouldn't it have been a better solution to have hired better teachers*, maybe pay them more, NOT take away the extra planning period and do away with wholesale grade curves and social promotion?

* If eHarmony can can come up with a personality inventory to identify unique personality traits and characteristics, why couldn't HR? It might be a way to avoid some of those nasty problems that have plagued us recently.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I'm pissed, disillusioned, demoralized and angry. I have tried to contain it but NO MORE. Hence, the title of this posting.

The last straw was this past board meeting. I witnessed a wholesale marginalizing - by committee - of a religion (belief) in the name of diversity and multiculturalism all wrapped in PC cowardice.

Yeah, the Good Friday flap.

I defy the bored members to watch "Passion Of The Christ" and then tell the Christians and Catholics that what they want to observe is irrelevant, meaningless, unworthy of recognition.

If someone wants to observe a religious occurrence WHY NOT?! That's what "personal days" are for. By the way, where are the religious leaders and spokesman?

If a bus driver, food service worker, teacher, administrator want to, WHY NOT?!

If 60% of your employees want to, WHY NOT?!

If you want to try and keep the schools open with a skeleton crew, WHY NOT?!

Oh, and don't send a letter home telling me that my kids' absences after April 28th don't count towards anything, then pull this on employees and expect anything other than the one finger salute!

(Its laughable how sacred the Fair and Strawberry Festival days are.)

I'm taking ALL religious holidays off next year - in the name of diversity and multiculturalism.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The first transfer period opens tomorrow (Monday, April 27th) and runs for two weeks.

It is always a smart thing to check out the landscape. This posting is to encourage questions about principals and their administration.

Please keep the posting, questions, answers, and comments civil, informative and specific. However you should feel free to name names, positions and schools.

If you feel too much info will identify you and cause you retribution, then be discreet but let us know so we can afford you flexibility when weighing your information.

Believe me: No one needs to get "goadered".