Archive | August, 2012


Interim Ed Commish Brushes Aside Judge’s Invalidation of SB 736 Rules

Pam Stewart - FDOE Interm Comm.

August 26, 2012

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

One had to assume that interim Florida education commissioner, Pam Stewart, had to pass a litmus test before getting the job. She had to be totally on board with the flawed Florida way that Rick Scott, Jeb Bush and republican legislators have been imposing. On Friday, Stewart earned her keep my poo-pooing an administrative judge’s smackdown of the manner the DOE and state board was implementing SB 736. From Gradebook’s Jeff Solochek:

The Florida Department of Education is downplaying an administrative law judge’s recent invalidation of the state’s rules on teacher evaluations, saying the decision spoke to form and not content.

Even so, incoming interim commissioner Pam Stewart acknowledged in a letter to superintendents that the ruling sets back the state’s effort, so that district’s approval of 2011-12 evaluations will carry forward into the current year. Long range, though, Stewart didn’t see any major changes to the state’s direction.

“This rule was being revised to reflect the review process you have already completed to demonstrate that you have met the requirements of the Student Success Act and, for the vast majority of you, Race to the Top. In addition, it addressed a new monitoring system required under the law that would not go into effect until future years,” she wrote. “Therefore, the ruling will not affect your continued implementation of your evaluation systems that you have worked so diligently and collaboratively to develop.”

Districts that want to make improvements to their evaluations still can do so, and get state review under existing rule.

“We will continue to work with you and with all of our Florida educators and education stakeholders to finalize this rule,” Stewart wrote.

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Four Florida Senate Primary Races Today Are Key to March’s Parent Trigger Fight

Primaries 2012

August 14, 2012

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musing

When Florida’s two largest for-profit charter schools each made the unprecedented move of donating $100,000 last month to the PAC of privatization advocate, it signaled some changes among the people seeking to end public education. Lets review.

Charter school giants Academica and Charter Schools USA had always operated separately from one another. The  later let the former dominate the one lobby that had existed in the state until last year when another was funded with Walton family money and staffed with loyalists to Jeb Bush. Academica  (06/28/2012) and Charter Schools USA (07/10/2012) made donations to John Kirtley’s  Florida Federation for Children, the Florida arm of Kirtley’s American Federation for Children.

Kirtley, a wealthy Tampa investor, made his name in the Florida ed privatization community as a voucher and tax credit advocate while sitting on the board of Jeb Bush’s foundations. He signaled his move into pro-charter school lobbying when he agreed to serve on the board of the Walton funded lobby mentioned above. Kirtley is listed as the treasurer of the Florida Charter School Alliance.  Its is Kirtley’s Florida Federation for Children, that received $200,000 from  the two big charter school corporations. Since April 1, Kirtley’s PAC – or more precisely an Election Communications Organization (ECO) has poured $800,000 into mass media buys and mailers to support certain candidates in key primary races across the state. Lets take a look at some of them and some revealing direct donations by the parties involved.

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