Special report from Florida BAT Admin. Michael Weston…
August 26, 2013
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.
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.