Monday, September 2, 2013

Charter Schools suspend special needs kids to improve test scores.

Arne Duncan blackmails schools to move forward on Common Core

Common Core is the controversial and unproven reform that has created an alliance between liberal progressives and tea party conservatives to fight against it. Arne Duncan, who never taught a class but somehow rose to the position of Secretary of Education, however is full steam ahead and he is going to use the unrealistic no child left behind as a club to make sure it happens.

In case you missed it, all children are supposed to be proficient in reading and math by 2014 a goal that no municipality or state is anywhere close to achieving. Because of NCLB even schools that do great on standardized tests will be in danger of being labeled failures.

Schools however can get a waiver around NCLB if they continue to enact odious teacher evaluation measures and of course you guessed it common core. According to Ed Week, the Department of Education wants to ensure states are on track with implementing college- and career-ready standards and assessments, including backup plans for states that may have dropped out of the Common Core State Standards or common-testing consortia.

Do what I want or I will hurt you seems to be the bottom line.

To read more click the link:

The Florida Times Union's silence supports anti-gay remarks

When the Times Union does not report the controversial remarks of local politicians, they give those remarks tacit approval. State board of education chair and local resident Gary Chartrand made some controversial  remarks at a recent education summit. Controversial remarks about Florida’s values and homosexuality upsetting people. If you read the Times Union and missed  them don’t worry you weren’t the only one. You see, despite the fact every other paper of note in Florida reported them the Times Union did not. I found the remarks very offensive but even if you don't why didn’t the Times Union at least report them and let you make the call? Why hide them, the Tampa Times, Orlando Sentinel and Miami Herald among others thought their readers should at least know about them.

From the Tampa Times, Florida Board Chairman Gary Chartrand suggested that the state look for a curriculum or instructional materials for Common Core that "align with Florida's values and culture." He said reading lists could upset people; particularly in they mentioned topics such as socialism or homosexuality.

Then when I questioned the remarks Chartrand made on my blog the Times Union dropped my blog from their blog feed. This despite the fact I had been connected to them for nearly 3 years and 4,000 posts.

The Times union’s editorial staff has a long history of being on the wrong side of education issues and their news reporting is shoddy at best. Where was the story about the class size fines, the in depth coverage about Bennett resigning, Jeb Bush saying the schools of education should be blown up, the inconsistencies in Burney’s ethic violations case and Chartrand’s despicable remarks?

They were nowhere to be found, that’s where and to ignore them is to approve them. 

Chris Guerieri
School Teacher 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

TU reporter Topher Sanders complains about blogs he never even read

TU reporter Topher Sanders complains about blogs he didn’t even read

I asked Topher Sanders if he had my blog kicked off the Times Unions blog feed. He said he did report the titles of two blogs he felt were controversial to the higher ups at the Times Union, the titles are:

Is Gary Chartrand Homophobic and White men praise Rick Scott for inviting so many white men to summit.

The first is a piece about some controversial remarks that state board of ed chair Gary Chartrand said and the second was about how one state senator thought there were too many white men invited to a recent education summit, while two others thought the mix of invitees was just right.

I then asked Topher Sanders if he read the blogs and he said, no. I just saw the titles. He didn’t even take the time to read them to see if what I wrote was controversial, libelous or just plain wrong. Nope didn’t bother. The blogs were short too. It would have taken him less than two minutes each to read them but he could not be bothered.

I have to say, I didn’t think my opinion f the TU’s writing staff could get much lower but I really stand corrected now.

Times Union Censors Education Matters

Times Union Censors Education Matters

I would like to point something out first. The Times Union is under no obligation to link my blog to their site, something they have done for the better part of three years and over 4,000 posts. That being said I hoped for better from them.

I thought it was odd that I got a screen shot of the TUs blog posts that included my blog with the title, Is Gary Chartrand homophobic, from former education reporter Topher Sanders, especially since there were no comments. However five days later quite by accident I put it together as I discovered my blog had been removed from the Times Union’s blog feed. I didn’t receive an e-mail, a note, a heads up, nothing.

The aforementioned Chartrand is the chair of the state board of education and he had just said some rather controversial remarks that many news out lets, not including the Times Union had reported. He talked about instilling Florida’s values into the curriculum and staying away from controversial subjects like homosexuality. I found this offensive so I put what he said with some commentary on my blog and asked if he is homophobic.

This is the blog:

Is Gary Chartrand homophobic too? Union members, black kids, poor kids, what is next?

How is this guy allowed near education again? From the I can’t make this up category, today at Florida’s education summit he said: Florida Board Chairman Gary Chartrand suggested that the state look for a curriculum or instructional materials for Common Core that "align with Florida's values and culture." He said reading lists could upset people; particularly in they mentioned topics such as socialism or homosexuality.

Where do I start? Oh I know, throwing up in my mouth a little bit.

Replacing professional teachers with scabs is not a value I share but it is a value he has. I am not a big fan of raced based goals or handicapping those schools, neighborhoods and students that can least afford it either. Charters, A-F grading scale and ignoring poverty anyone?

Next reading lists should be about expanding horizons and boundaries, opening up student’s minds and allowing them to explore. They shouldn’t be narrowed to reflect Gary Chartrand’s supposed values.

Chartrand talks about values and then proposes we ignore homosexuals as if they didn't exist. I guess for him it would be better if they were all back in the closet.

Money obviously does not equal tact or intelligence.

Very critical and a little snarky too but as you can see nowhere did I say he was homophobic, I merely let his words do the talking for him.

I got a comment from anonymous, who said they were going to report me and now I have no idea is some powerful figure pulled some strings or it was the title of my blog was to controversial as Topher Sanders indicated when I spoke to him but the result is the same as the Times Union has seen fit to drop me from their blog feed in effect censoring me from their readers.

Maybe what I wrote was controversial, maybe people disagreed with my characterization and maybe some people think I am an ass for writing it but at the end of the day since I wasn’t libelous and I didn’t use adult content, shouldn’t the Times Union, the bastion of the first amendment stand up for me, the Washington Post ddidn't think my position was offensive as they printed an excerpt from my blog about Chartrand. The Times Union could say hey we disagree and didn’t like it, it doesn’t reflect our views but at the end of the day he had a right to ask the questions and say it. Heck they could have asked me to change the title and I would have done that too. Instead after years and thousands of posts they chose to censor me.

I just want to add, my mother worked at the Times Union for 28 years. She taught me to read with the Jacksonville Journal at the kitchen table. The Times Union has been a big part of my life and I think I deserve a little more than just to be cut off because someone didn't like a title something I had to discover by accident and I think the people of Jacksonville deserves a paper that stands up for the freedom of speech, even if they don’t necessarily agree with it.

Chris Guerrieri

Long time Ed White teacher lets it all out!

From a Reader

I was a teacher at ED WHITE for 17 years and watched the downhill trend occur..Yes it was a great school--full of constant activities--then--no more! the electives were not important only the core classes.. also, no more assemblies/field trips-performances-CLUB DAYS etc. when a school has a lot of enjoyable activities-students are happy to attend and do better in that school! they are proud of their school-thus proud of themselves. TOO MUCH OF THE "NEW WAY OF TEACHING" GOING ON! go back to the basics and let teachers really teach!!! I sometimes wonder how we got to the moon? invented the microwave? internet? without the NEW WAY OF TEACHING!!! Also--when does every lesson HAVE TO BE FUN!!! EVERYDAY AT WORK IN THE REAL WORLD IS NOT FUN!!!SO-WHAT ARE WE DOING TO THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT! PREPARING THEM TO WHAT????

Time we got back to teaching the real world and the real subject matter of a class..not just the FCAT FCAT FCAT!!! TEACHERS have no help with discipline...class becomes a baby sitting of bad behavior instead of a class of students who behave and learn. teachers have no support when discipline is a problem and this comes from DOWNTOWN!!!! SCHOOL BOARD BUILDING!!!


change the discipline ways--let teachers teach their subject matter--add more activities during the day and after school for entertainment and encourage participation in all activities... the learning will happen when this is done. AND TEACHERS WILL TAKE PRIDE IN THE SCHOOL WHERE THEY TEACH AND STAY THERE!!

Local teacher bemoans the loss of librarians

From a Reader

I'm a Duval County high school teacher. We have no librarian. The librarian is teaching classes.

Our students cannot check out books, and cannot use the Internet to research at school.

Many students do not have the Internet at home, and do not live near a library. The school library is the only resource they have, and Nikolai Vitti has taken it away from them.

Dr. Vitti may have some good ideas, but he is extremely pigheaded and has everyone scared to death for their jobs if they're not a yes-man to anything he says.

So he plods forward with everything, whether or not it makes any sense.

No matter who you are, if you're closing all the high school libraries, there is something wrong with the budget.