Sunday, April 7, 2013

School board limiting choice

Progressives want choice on only one issue – and we know what that is. On other issues, well the Progressives want their choices or else. They want to tell us what we can eat, drink, drive and even smoke. They tell us (or must coerce us) where we can live, where we can develop and what we can do with our own property.  The Progressives tax code is a social engineering nightmare and their regulations strangle private sector innovation and entrepreneurship. So we are not surprised they want to continue dictating what is taught in our public education system -- what, where, and how we educate our children.  Now, however, the policies and curricula are coming more and more from the federal government. If the State of Florida enacts the disastrous federal “core curriculum” in conjunction with the Department of Education, the Feds will be in control of our state and local education since all the standard testing would be created to support this curriculum, affecting charter schools, private schools and home schooling as well.

Today's Tribune highlights current bills in our state legislature that would empower parents to petition to have a charter school take over a failing school if more than 51% of the parents sign the petition aka parent trigger act.
Passed last week by the Florida House, the bill would allow the parents of a failing school, one graded F by the state Department of Education, to petition the school district to allow a charter school to take over.
Such a petition would have to be signed by 51 percent of the parents at any failing school. Backers of the bill say only about 25 schools statewide would be covered by the changes; none of those is in Hillsborough County.
Hillsborough County school board member Candy Olson labels it a “solution in search of a problem that doesn't exist.”
Unfortunately, the Trib did not have a followup question for Olson asking what is her solution to fixing “failing” schools. Perhaps even a follow up question on her solution for fixing “D” graded schools like Robles Elementary. According to the article:
It's backed by groups such as the Foundation for Florida's Future, chaired by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. It's opposed by groups including the PTA, the NAACP, the Florida School Boards Association and educators across the state.
It's a growing trend nationwide. California, Texas, Louisiana, Connecticut and Mississippi all have versions in place.
The only local parent interviewed was the President of the PTA at Robles, but the PTA is an organization that is publicly opposing these bills. The President of the Classroom Teachers Association opposes the bills. Surprised? Where are more parents on this issue? Shouldn't the Tribune have interviewed more parents, how about the parents of children in the failing schools? Is this issue about the children and their parents having education options or about teachers and bureaucrats maintaining their monopolistic status quo with our tax dollars?

Robles 2011 FCAT scores

Candy Olson who is Chair of our Hillsborough County School Board also stated in the article:
No matter the outcome in Florida, Olson and others invested in the public school system say they feel as if they are being attacked.

“Some people think it's popular to beat up on teachers and schools,” Olson said. “There isn't an interest in fixing, there is an interest only in blaming.”
Interesting comment since Olson used a recent school board meeting to publicly attack a teacher who is opposing her in 2014 with an anonymous accusation.

Perhaps our local educators are “fearful” of the future. The tide is turning - innovation in education is coming and the school's of tomorrow may not look anything like they do today!


  1. As a teacher at Robles, I feel that the problem is not the curriculum or teachers. The issue is that we do not have parental support and education stops at school. The parents of our children do not continue to teach at home. We also do not have the support services that we need. Our computers do not work, we lack counseling for our kids, and parents come to school and scream in the office without consequences. Our Principal is an ineffective leader who is scared of our parents and refuses to listen to what the teachers really need to make our kids successful. I am torn between our school becoming a charter and staying public. I feel that if a charter will Support the teachers and allow us to get the support services that we need then it sounds good. It is also not fair to compare our fcat data to the district. My students raise their younger siblings,can not leave their homes, are hungry and constantly in fear. How can they be compared to kids who have none of these problems? The real issues are not being addressed.

  2. You raise several good points. Education BEGINS and ENDS at home, not just at the local school. Teachers are only as good as the students parents. Still, the point of our post today was that members of the School Board feel there are no issues.... Candy Olson labels it a “solution in search of a problem that doesn't exist.” This is out of sync with the reality at Robles. While we have issues and concerns with testing, we do have to have some measurements if we want to improve. Your anecdotes of issues at Robles on goes to confirm the challenges there.

    The other point is that new solutions are needed, and the PTA, School Board, and teacher association offered exactly NO solution. It's clear to us that current system is failing many students. Are they OK with the status quo and the results?

    We are not.

  3. I think that we need to put the control in the hands of the parents and teachers. I have been a teacher at Robles for years and no one has ever come to our school and asked what the problems are. The teachers are told what to do and are not asked what would help. I think that the school board should get off their high horse and come to our schools and talk to the teachers. Our society is in trouble.

  4. If, as a teacher at Robles, you'd like to get your information out, please email us at or use the Contact tab above. We are interested in getting the truth out and exposing the story the media and the powers that be does not want to publish. We will protect your anonymity if you want.

  5. It would seem that the parent trigger act is exactly what both teachers allege they want, parental involvement. Take over by charter school is only one of 4 options and two of the others seem exactly what is needed at Robles, replacing the principal and adding professional training and or staff and administration, both of which should be tried prior to converting or closing the school.