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DEMOCRACY? Think About What Has Just Happened In Miami-Dade County Court_Ruling_Parent_Trigger_At_Risk Fund_Education_Now Skepticism_Over_SB736
 
DEMOCRACY? Think About What Has Just Happened In Miami-Dade County

DEMOCRACY? Think About What Has Just Happened In Miami-Dade County

July 25, 2013 Florida Public Employees Message from our friends at the Kendall Federation of Homeowners Association To the 10,001 Miamians and Pets’ Trust Supporters: - The regularly scheduled July 30th meeting for the Board of County Commissioners has been canceled!  Mayor Gimenez sent out a memo seeking seven votes to cancel that meeting, which would have been the [...]

Court_Ruling_Parent_Trigger_At_Risk

Court Ruling Puts Part of Parent Trigger at Risk

March 16, 2013 Provided to Florida Public Employees By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings Within current parent trigger legislation is a provision which requires parents be notified if their child’s teacher has been rated as “ineffective” for two straight years. But a Tallahassee circuit court judge’s ruling yesterday raised doubts about using the value-added [...]

Fund_Education_Now

Will FL politicians invest in our kids?

February 18, 2013 Received via Florida Public Employees e-mail February 13, 2013 from Fund Education Now   Para Español oprima el “click” Governor Scott’s proposed budget signals his funding priorities to the Florida Legislature.  We are pleased that he included $1.2 billion for public education to begin restoring the nearly $5 billion that has been [...]

Skepticism_Over_SB736

Skepticism for SB736 in the Florida Senate

January 24, 2013 By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings Rick Scott told FOX News host Neil Cavuto after SB736 was past, “It’s going to be great.” Not so much. Changes are already being considered. Bush Foundation CEO Patricia Levesque wants to add student surveys into the calculus and is floating the idea around. Senate Education chairman John Legg [...]



Revisiting Florida’s 2012 Charter School School Scandals

Charter School Scandals Hurts Kids

January 5, 2013

Originally published: December 30, 2012

“Charter school advocates – even those who work for the state – bemoan such focus on bad news when so much good news is out there. But with a biased state board, two FDOE oversight agencies staffed with charter school loyalists, a handful of charter school operators in the legislature and final oversight for charter schools no longer in the hands of local school boards the only real taxpayer watchdog is the media. For a bunch of folks who have been beating the accountability drum for so long, you’d think they wouldn’t mind a glance at their stewardship”

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

Tampa Bay Times reporter Diane Steinle sees the unseemly details of a taxpayer-funded charter school as one of North Pinellas biggest stories of the year:

Life Force Arts and Technology Academy, a publicly funded charter school in Dunedin, was open for only two years, but in that time it accumulated a lengthy list of shortcomings: mismanagement, misappropriation of funds, deviations from the authorized curriculum, bankruptcy and some of the lowest student test scores in the Tampa Bay area.

Students lacked for school supplies, and teachers were paid only $85 a day, with no benefits or contracts.

Life Force was already in bankruptcy when Hanan Islam and her Clearwater company, the Art of Management, took control of the school in the summer of 2011. Islam gave teachers lesson plans based on the work of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, saying Hubbard’s “study tech” would help save the school.

However, in a series of reports, the Tampa Bay Times detailed how Islam’s management disrupted the academic environment, brought in Scientology influence and drained funds that could have been spent for education.

Life Force paid Islam’s companies, Art of Management and a study-tech promotional group she directed, the World Literacy Crusade, more than $100,000 in public funds over a span of just five months, according to bankruptcy records. Islam also moved some school events into Church of Scientology facilities.

In June, Life Force became the first Pinellas school to be forcefully closed by a revoked charter, following action by the Pinellas County School Board.

Only 50 students remained enrolled in the final weeks of the school’s operation. They had the option of enrolling in other charter schools or regular elementary schools for this school year.

Hanan Islam left the school prior to its closing. She is still listed as a leader with the World Literacy Crusade in California.

Life Force wasn’t the state’s charter school scandal this year:

* A May Miami Herald report found that schools in the Academica charter school network were “double-dipping” federal grant money. The state’s agency chief, once a  close associate of Academica, found no wrong doing as the federal government  “let states exercise discretion in determining when schools are distinct.”

Orlando Sentinel reporter Lauren Roth had a December story detailing the outrageous payouts of close to $1 million that were made to the principal and her husband after the Orange county charter school closed.

* The sordid affair that was Miami’s Belare Language Academy came to an end in foreclosure earlier this month. Parents had reported that adult-themed parties were being held after hours at the facility. They became suspicious when they would arrive with their children in the morning and see empty beer cans everywhere and the  building would smell of stale cigarette smoke.

* Of 36 school failures in Florida this year 15 were from charter schools. None of the failing charter schools were Title One schools or those which have high percentage of impoverished kids.

* A February Tampa Bay Times story about the extremely high rent Imagine Schools  paid it’s own leasing company proved to be another embarrassment for governor Rick Scott. Imagine’s president, Dennis Bakke was on Scott’s education transition team. Earlier this month, the Pinellas school board announced it’s intentions to shut down one of Imagine’s charter schools in downtown St. Petersburg.

* Accusations emerged in a lawsuit in April that Maverick’s Charter Schools “falsifies records and fabricates students’ grades in classes the students did not attend.”

* A principal, teacher and employee at a Miami charter school were suspended in April for suspected “opening sealed test booklets, taking handwritten notes on the questions and distributing “study guides” to teachers.” Two Palm Beach county charter schoolswere also investigated for FCAT cheating.

Charter school advocates – even those who work for the state – bemoan such focus on bad news when so much good news is out there. But with a biased state board, two FDOE oversight agencies staffed with charter school loyalists, a handful of charter school operators in the legislature and final oversight for charter schools no longer in the hands of local school boards the only real taxpayer watchdog is the media. For a bunch of folks who have been beating the accountability drum for so long, you’d think they wouldn’t mind a glance at their stewardship.

Original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/revisiting-floridas-2012-charter-school-scandals/

Posted in Contributors, Education, Scathing Purple Musing0 Comments

Court Ruling Puts Part of Parent Trigger at Risk

March 16, 2013

Provided to Florida Public Employees

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

Within current parent trigger legislation is a provision which requires parents be notified if their child’s teacher has been rated as “ineffective” for two straight years. But a Tallahassee circuit court judge’s ruling yesterday raised doubts about using the value-added data which would make such determinations. Florida Times-Union reporter Topher Sanders has this:

A circuit judge in Tallahassee has ruled that Florida’s value-added teacher data is not a public record, but the Times-Union plans to appeal his decision in its lawsuit against the state.

Judge John Cooper on Monday signed the order presented by the Department of Education and the Florida Education Association, which had successfully argued that all materials that make up an evaluation are exempt for a year.

“We’re disappointed in the judge’s ruling, but not surprised,” Times-Union Editor Frank Denton said Tuesday. “We certainly will appeal and believe we will prevail at the higher level.”

Denton said the public has a right to the material and the paper has a responsibility to pursue the information.

The newspaper’s appeal will go to the 1st District Court of Appeal.

Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the state’s teachers union, referred the Times-Union to the union’s attorney, Ron Meyer, but his office was closed Tuesday evening

Because the value-added data is developed from an average of three years, Cooper’s order would mean the public would have access only to value-added data that’s at least four years old.

The Times-Union had argued that because the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test data used to calculate value-added figures is public, and the value-added formula is public, the result created when the state crunches the data for teachers should not be exempt.

Value-added is the difference between the learning growth a student makes in a teacher’s class and the statistical predicted learning growth the student should have earned based on previous performance. The state uses the most recent three years of data to develop a teacher’s average value-added score.

The value-added calculation is half of a teacher’s total evaluation. The other half comes from observations made by principals and other personnel.

Even Bill Gates, the most influential value-added proponent recommends it not be made public and it’s inclusion  in Parent Trigger is both odd and hasty. Even Florida proponents of using value-added data to rate teacher realize the current system is flawed and needs work. They know it’s not ready.

The legality of making teacher evaluation rankings public puts a key portion of Parent Trigger legislation at risk. The wisdom of including such stipulations in legislation intended to address the future of a school appeared disconnected in the first place. As their legislative colleagues understand that  value-added data from SB 736 isn’t ready for prime time, Parent Triggers sponsors, Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, would demonstrate significant acuity and goodwill in withdrawing this portion of the bill.

Read original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/court-ruling-puts-part-of-parent-trigger-at-risk/

Posted in Contributors, Education, Scathing Purple Musing0 Comments

DEMOCRACY? Think About What Has Just Happened In Miami-Dade County

July 25, 2013

Florida Public Employees

Pets'_Trust

Message from our friends at the Kendall Federation of Homeowners Association

To the 10,001 Miamians and Pets’ Trust Supporters:
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The regularly scheduled July 30th meeting for the Board of County Commissioners has been canceled!  Mayor Gimenez sent out a memo seeking seven votes to cancel that meeting, which would have been the last chance to discuss the millage issue.  He did get seven commissioners to agree with him.

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Our votes have been dismissed and our voices have been silenced.

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I would like you to share this far and wide, and say it over and over…

“Our votes have been dismissed and our voices have been silenced
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The “elected” officials that have made this decision … work for us.  They have forgotten.  Please continue to call and REMIND THEM that they work for you.  They work for me.  They work for US.

Commissioner Barreiro, Sosa, Suarez, Bell, Bovo, Zapata and Souto took our voices away and signed the Mayor’s memo.

We won the vote overwhelmingly and they said…  “not enough”.

Then, we spoke about it.  They didn’t listen.

We wanted one more chance.

The door was closed.

That is all I am going to say at the moment.  I want you to think about what has happened.

Think about what America is supposed to be.

Michael Rosenberg

President Pets’ Trust Miami
Pets'_Trust_Pup

Make it viral! 

 Click here for Pet’s Trust Facebook.

Forward to EVERYONE.  Share ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.

Post.  Tweet. 

PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Carlos A. Gimenez, Office of the Mayor
305-375-5071mayor@miamidade.gov
Mayor’s Personal secretary: 305-375-1880
Alina T. Hudak, Deputy Mayor305 375 2531mayor@miamidade.gov
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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, The Board of County Commissioners (BCC), are the people elected in 13 districts to represent you. Because our government is strengthened by civic participation and increased involvement from our citizens. http://www.miamidade.gov/commission

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District 5 – Bruno A. Barreiro305-375-5924305-375-5904 Faxdistrict5@miamidade.gov

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District 8 – Lynda Bell305-375-5218
305-372-6073 FaxDistrict8@miamidade.gov

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District 6 – Rebeca Sosa305-375-5696
305-372-6090 Faxdistrict6@miamidade.gov

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District 10 – Javier D. Souto305-375-4835
305-375-3456 Faxdistrict10@miamidade.gov

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District 7 – Xavier L. Suarez305-669-4003
305-669-4044 Faxdistrict7@miamidade.gov

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District 11 – Juan C. Zapata305-375-5511
305-375-5883 FaxZapata@miamidade.gov

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District 13 – Esteban Bovo, Jr.305-375-4831
305-375-2011 Faxdistrict13@miamidade.gov

Posted in Contributors, Miami-Dade Politics0 Comments

Jeb Bush Sides With Charter Schools Over Choice In California

December 26, 2012

Originally published: December 24, 2012

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

From Penny Arevalo in Mission Viejo Patch:

“During my tenure as Governor of Florida, I saw firsthand the important role charter schools play in comprehensive education reform by helping to raise the bar for all public schools. Charter schools have a long history of providing parents with a choice and offering unique learning experiences for students of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.”

The petition in Carlsbad was rejected, according to the North County Times, because “trustees said they had concerns after hearing that projections for enrollment and for teacher interest in the school had been exaggerated.” The paper added, “Staff members also said they could confirm only 53 parents who said they would enroll in the school, while Oxford claimed 681 local parents had signed the petition.”

Sounding ominously like beginning of last year’s Adelanto fight, Bush’s decision to sign a petition as an outsider trumps the decision of a parent who doesn’t want their tax dollars going to a charter school. Oxford’s obscene number smells like Parent Revolution’s playbook where they keep taking signatures until they get the number they want. Bush’s  foundation flew in some Parent Revolution hacks to testify on behalf of Florida’s parent trigger bill earlier this year. One wonders when they will arrive  in Carlsbad with professional agitator Gloria Romero in tow.

Bush’s signature and public support for the Oxford bid signals he’s on board with the chaos and permanent schisms that such a battle brings a community. Worse, it demonstrates once and for all that Bush doesn’t care about parents who don’t choose what he does.

Original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/jeb-bush-sides-with-charter-schools-over-choice-in-california/

Posted in Education, Scathing Purple Musing0 Comments

The Nation’s Most Powerful Pro-Voucher, Pro-Charter Group Applauds Tony Bennett’s Florida Appointment

December 18, 2012

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

From MELODIKA.net:

The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for educational choice—today praised the appointment of outgoing Indiana state superintendent Tony Bennett as Florida’s next education commissioner.

Bennett, who is serving in his last month as state superintendent of public instruction in Indiana, spent much of the past four years ushering in expansive education reforms across the Hoosier State, including expanding access to charter schools and virtual schools, as well as perhaps his most signature achievement—helping create the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, a statewide voucher program for children from low- and middle-income families.

The voucher program, for which Bennett advocated heavily during his term as superintendent, was the most expansive first-year voucher program ever, enrolling nearly 4,000 students last year. This year, more than 9,300 students are enrolled across the state.

“Tony Bennett will serve Florida’s children and families well by continuing his work to implement high-quality and accountable school choice programs,” said Kevin P. Chavous, senior advisor for the American Federation for Children. “His record of putting Indiana’s children first will certainly continue in Florida, which is great news for families across the state.”

The Florida State Board of Education voted today unanimously to appoint Bennett, just over a month after he lost a close re-election bid for a second term as Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction. He will replace former education commissioner Gerard Robinson, who resigned in August. Bennett is expected to begin in his new role in January.

The American Federation for Children has worked for years in both Indiana and Florida to expand educational options for all children, especially disadvantaged children.

“I can’t think of a better leader than Tony to ensure that policies that work for Florida’s children are enacted and strengthened,” Chavous said.

Florida has two private school choice programs, the Florida Scholarship Tax Credit, which serves nearly 49,000 children this school year, as well as the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities.

Across the country, there are 32 publicly-funded private school choice programs in 16 states and the District of Columbia. This year, it is anticipated that approximately 250,000 children will be beneficiaries of these programs.

The American Federation for Children is not only a fan of Bennett’s. It’s a campaign contributor as well, $11,500 in 2011. Small potatoes, really, but reflective of AFC’s lofty place in the education privatization. AFC joined with Charter Schools USA and Academica in making contributions through the same PAC to influence a handful of Florida legislative races this year. American Federation for children effectively laundered money on behalf of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst to dump a stunning $6.4 million into Pennsylvania races between 2010 and 2012.

Read entire article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/the-nations-most-powerful-pro-voucher-pro-charter-school-group-applauds-tony-bennetts-florida-appointment/

Posted in Education, Scathing Purple Musing0 Comments

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