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Florida BATs at the Governor’s Florida Education Summit…

August 26th, 2013

Special report from Florida BAT Admin. Michael Weston…

August 26, 2013

rottentothecore

What was conspicuously absent from today’s kick-off of the Governor’s Florida Education Summit, a governor, may prove a telling roadmap to the summit’s conclusions.  Had in fact a governor been present for the Governor’s Summit, he would have learned that all is well in Florida Education.  Not just well, but a model for the rest of the nation, if not world, to follow.  You see, in Florida, we are visionaries; common core development was based on our Sunshine State Standards process, PARCC uses the same development model as the FCAT, and schools across the land have pirated Florida’s school grading innovations.

Oh, boy.

The panel is a virtual who’s-who of Florida education deform.  Well represented are the State Legislators that brought us SB736, the Teacher Blame Act,  and its punishing teacher evaluation methodology.  No problems there.  Jeb Bush, the founder of the A-F school grading system is well represented by his Foundation; don’t look here for trouble.   Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart will be blindly steadfast in her support of common-core; she finds it the “best decision for the future of our students”.  She can’t possibly know why it is the best decision, it just is.  No issues in that office (where is Tony Bennett now?).

Chilling was the statement by Florida Board of Education Chairman,  Gary Chartrand, that “the number-one factor in student success is the teacher”.  Not the number-one in-school factor, the number-one overall.  Nothing to do with ZIP code, IQ, language, parents, socioeconomics, drug use, attendance. or curriculum; it’s all you,  teachers.  This seems to foreshadow strengthening of the policy that only teachers can make mistakes in this business.  That is a lot of responsibility for near poverty wages!

One spot of light on the panel is Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade Superintendent.  In recent months Mr. Carvalho has been eloquent, steadfast and outspoken in his defense of Miami-Dade’s schools, teachers, students and parents.  This is in response to the DOE’s decision to administratively make Florida’s students dumb and dumber in this year’s annual school grading kerfuffle.  Of the very few panel contestants not in total lockstep with Jeb, it is likely that only Mr. Carvalho has the gravitas to be heard.

I was pleased to again meet Laura Zorc of Florida Parents against Common-Core.  She was selected for the panel.  This may seem odd on the surface, but her inclusion shows how willing they are to consider opposing views.  NOT.  Laura will speak her mind but be completely dissipated by the final report.  Keep up the good fight Laura, and hold your head high this week.

After and hour or so of introductions, today went into “informative” sessions on the agenda’s primary topics.  I could have been listening to an infomercial by Ron Popeil.  “But wait, there’s MORE.   Not only are Florida’s school grades the gold standard of success, but they slice, dice and chop!  Image home-made julienne fries with your school’s report-card.

Nearing 4:00PM, I decided that the next time I heard the presenter on teacher evaluation refer to the dreaded SB736 as the Student Success Act, I would leave.  It took only five more seconds

I don’t mean to sound overly pessimistic, but I believe FEA Vice President Joanne McCall’s statement that she would be “cautiously optimistic”, to be overly optimistic.

So why was there no governor at the Governor’s Summit?  Didn’t the Guv want to hear that everything was already perfect?  I hypothesize the contrast would have been too great.  The Guv charges his panel with developing a vision for Florida’s future – then everyone subsequently speaking tells us that Jeb’s vision is doing just fine.

Not a good day Florida.

Michael Weston is a candidate for Hillsborough County School Board, the nation’s 8th largest…

This page proudly supports his candidacy.

He can be reached at mike@michaelweston.org or via contact at www.michaelweston.org.

Please share your thoughts by commenting here…

12 Responses to “Florida BATs at the Governor’s Florida Education Summit…”

  1. Lisa says:

    We heard nothing from Laura at this meeting outside of her agreement with standards which took us all by surprise. Having never met her as an activist in the state nor ever heard of her we are anxious to hear her interject with something – anything. Encourage her to do that since none of the existing parent leaders know her or worked side by side with her the past 5 yrs. Thanks for your report.

  2. Linda K. says:

    Pam Stewart, the interim Superintendent is a very intelligent woman wanting to do the right thing. She has the FL Board of Education to get by and the Governor. Don’t be so quick to judge people if you’ve never met or worked with them. She is as close to being on the side of parents and teachers as one can possibly be amid that cesspool.

  3. Lisa says:

    The Governor shouldn’t be there. He has nothing to add and could easily throw the discussion off. He’ll show up at some point.

    What is most important is that this meeting is entirely pre-determined as to the outcome. The heavyweight legislators are leading these 35+ attendees down a yellow brick road to their choice. They will endorse Common Core (for Jeb again) but they’ll opt to go their own (controllable) route for more costly assessments. Thus the test-centric, broken accountability system will stay the same.

    The Gov wants this group to suspend the School Grades – just (conveniently) until his election is over since the results (under Common Core) will be atrocious.

  4. Michael Weston says:

    Linda, Pam Stewart may be a wonderful person. I have certainly never worked with her. I am however judging her on her comments made today. She could not say enough good things about common-core. I do not believe in wasting billions of dollars on the latest education fad. It will not work. From inside the classroom, I know that standards of no sort will fix what ails the system. We have to address the elephant in the room – the great disparity in preparation and support that kids from different backgrounds bring with them to the classroom.

  5. Anonymous says:

    FL parents and teachers must speak out! Please share the following info with others. Thanks for being there Michael!

    Florida’s Governor Scott has gathered education policymakers in St. Pete to decide the future of our children’s curricula, school grading, and teacher evaluations. As education blogger Chris Guerrieri puts it, the meetings are filled with the “usual suspects,” you know, the ones who’ve been selling our children’s education to the highest bidder for more than a decade. Email and/or tweet the Governor now (you know, the current one) and tell him that we know a ‘dog and pony show’ when we see one. Tell him to stop indulging Jeb’s cronies at this sham he calls an “education summit.” Tell him to stop promoting Jeb’s mystery test, and to start listening to Florida’s parents and educators. Standards are one thing. Promoting a testing culture that harms our students and the teaching process to make money is quite another.

    Gov. Rick Scott Twitter: @FLGovScott
    Email Form: http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/email-the-governor/
    Phone: (850) 488-7146
    Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart
    Email: Commissioner@fldoe.org
    FL Dept of Education @EducationFL

  6. Donna Mace says:

    FL parents and teachers MUST speak up now! Please share the following post with friends and neighbors. Thanks for being there Michael!

    Florida’s Governor Scott has gathered education policymakers in Clearwater to decide the future of our children’s curricula, school grading, and teacher evaluations. As education blogger Chris Guerrieri puts it, the meetings are filled with the “usual suspects,” you know, the ones who’ve been selling our children’s education to the highest bidder for more than a decade. Email and/or tweet the Governor now (you know, the current one) and tell him that we know a ‘dog and pony show’ when we see one. Tell him to stop indulging Jeb’s cronies at this sham he calls an “education summit.” Tell him to stop promoting Jeb’s mystery test, and to start listening to Florida’s parents and educators. Standards are one thing. Promoting a testing culture that harms our students and the teaching process to make money is quite another.

    Gov. Rick Scott Twitter: @FLGovScott
    Email Form: http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/email-the-governor/
    Phone: (850) 488-7146
    Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart
    Email: Commissioner@fldoe.org
    FL Dept of Education @EducationFL

  7. Michael Weston says:

    Afraid I must slightly revise my opinion on Mr. Carvalho. While I still appreciate his actions I wrote of; his support of common-core is a little nauseating…