Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rep. Erik Fresen's Disingenuous commitment to Public School Capital Construction

Unfortunately the long view is never achieved when it comes to public school expansion. Mind you MDPS, just received $1.4 billion in school bond sales from the ballot initiative in 2014. The idea is to consider is to reduced the amount of County School District administrate via a This new school model is vital so parent can save budget surpluses through parent guardians of individual schools. This is especially urgent in the larger school district like Miami-Dade County where a half a million new Cuban exiles are about to arrive for the next Ten Years without available classrooms. Perfect example of misspending construction money is the $4 million renovation of the overcrowded dilapidated 53 year old KB K8 Center instead of razing it to replace with a larger school above sea level as per Post Katrina FEMA regulations for public buildings. The KB K8 school first erected in 1953. Built for 981 student were 1400 students presently attend. Not a single station was increased for those millions. Neither was any money spent on a new drainage system to mitigate flooding. DoGooogleit see KBK8 flooding on YouTube for yourself. These negotiations were stipulated in a ILA between the two governments in the Expansion of the MAST Academy for Key Biscayne. Rep. Erik Fresen who is well adverse in Charter Development , was well aware of this situation as the conversion -to charter (1002.33 (3b) initiative in Florida history was commence over it. This election initiative occurred a year before the renovation was to commence. I find his effort at accountability a bit disingenuous he does not support the amendment of the Florida Empowerment Law. - See more at:

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Key To Fixing School Buildings is a Padlock in the Office not the Classroom.

Some futurists fear we may be creating a caste system in the United States based on unequal access to quality education.
Education in Virginia, and everywhere in the United States, remains the domain of local governments. This is particularly true for raising the funds to modernize deteriorating K-12 facilities.
A school building is considered obsolete at age 40. The average K-12 facility in Virginia, and America, is 46 years old. Around half will soon be old enough to be considered for historic building status.
In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon agreed that the United States’ global competitiveness demanded modernization of the nation’s education infrastructure. They promised action.
Back then, lawmakers believed making school construction bonds — the main source of building funds — tax-free would solve the financing problem. Tax-free status allowed the bonds to carry a lower but still competitive interest rate for investors while modestly reducing overall project costs.
By the 1990s, then-President Bill Clinton acknowledged the nation’s K-12 facilities were crumbling. The old approach hadn’t worked.
In a new class of school construction bonds, localities would still pay back the bonds’ principal, while Uncle Sam paid the interest. This would further lower overall costs, theoretically making once unaffordable projects doable.
But whatever the policy-paper potential, it hasn’t worked.
By 2008, candidate Barack Obama declared the K-12 facilities deterioration a national crisis. In 2009, President Obama proposed the federal government borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to give directly to localities for school construction.
The proposal failed to garner support even from a Democratic-controlled Congress, as did a smaller proposal once Republicans took control.
Now comes 2016 and Richmond.
The city’s leaders have long known Clinton and Obama were right: The River City’s school buildings are obsolete.
Rather than address this reality, or the documented health and safety problems these decrepit buildings pose to students and teachers, the city’s leadership focused instead on building a new minor league baseball stadium.
That is when they weren’t using city money to lure the Washington Redskins summer camp, bike races, and breweries.
The current stadium was built in 1985.
The average school was built in 1955.
Since 2009, Richmond leaders have known the state’s top lawmakers – a bipartisan array of governors and senators – have championed a proven approach called federal historic tax credit financing. It would lower local school modernization costs in many cases by 30 percent to 40 percent.
How good is their proposal? Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is using it to finance his new hotel on the site of the Old Post Office in the District.
But thanks to an arcane glitch in the federal tax code, cities like Richmond can’t use it to upgrade aging school stock.
When Sen. Tim Kaine was governor of Virginia, he and then-Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner implored Congress to fix the law, knowing it would save localities such as Richmond hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs. Virginia Republicans, led by former governor George Allen, provided bipartisan backing.
But they lacked what is demanded in today’s 24/7 media: a local champion for what is seen as primarily a local issue.
It isn’t enough studies from Virginia Tech show how condemning kids to attend class in unhealthy and unsafe school buildings create lasting educational problems.
It isn’t enough to show how detrimental such environments are to teachers and their health.
It isn’t enough to show how a new financing plan could save cities millions in construction costs – money that could be used for instruction and teachers.
It isn’t enough to be right; you have to be relentlessly repetitive to be heard over all the shouting.
This can only happen if the new mayor actually gives a damn about the city’s public school kids.
MY BLOG COMMENT:I believe it high time to stop using the ballot box to approve construction bond financing to modernize schools at the county level. Florida Parent Empowerment Law 1002.33 (3b) is the only ballot based Parent trigger law in the US. It needs to be amended to eliminate Teacher's veto power in separate ballot elections and revert to passing it, re-branded as in your state. It is more empowering idea to reduce the size and scope of facility inventory that School Districts manage than continue being coalesced and coerced by them and US Federal Department of Education. Unified neighborhoods should feel compelled to call the vote of the student body parents to vote YES to act guardian of school's budget in order to save budget surpluses annually for redevelopment of facilities. The Governing Boards will be elected in reinvented PTA Culture . The key to solving the malaise in public school was thought to be in the classroom. It is not. It is a combination padlock in the Principal office. Call the intra-school vote save surpluses annually , seek matching grant sponsorship from the largest employer, foreign embassies and Chamber of Commerce in a locality in exchange for tracking students academically throughout the K-12 career. Create priority list for entry level jobs upon high graduation or empower them further with scholarships to advance them academically at College or trade School. DOE is eliminated and Federal Dollars go directly SDOE to Governing Schools that achieved have surpluses with matching grants. I was the first in Florida history to use Florida's law to set the legal precedent and discover their was $1,083,000.00 surplus annually based on increase in property values in our municipality that was being diverted county wide for 20 years. Even after a $5 Million dollar renovation the school was not raised nor expanded to mitigate severe overcrowding. The K8 Center still sits below sea level on barrier island. Grow Up America take back your school.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lee County Florida School Board votes to rid themselves of Common Core Testing.

Lee-county-Florida opts-out-common-core-testing

Something in America is turning the corner on socialized schooling. Americans are finally getting it. I guess unemployment and living paycheck to paycheck lifestyle is really is living someone's else's life. The public school system needs a reinvention not reform. Stopping Bill Gates' Parent Revolution pushing Common Core standards at the local level is first base exposing it at the Federal Level is second base. Closes the Department of Education is third base and www. is home plate..

ORT MYERS, Fla. — The School District of Lee County, Fla., voted Wednesday to opt out of statewide, standardized testing.
In a 3-2 vote Wednesday, the district became the first in Florida to say no to Common Core testing that 45 states and the District of Columbia voluntarily adopted in 2010.
Common Core — a set of math and English language arts standards — define what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade.
Wednesday night's action in Lee County was received with overwhelming cheers and applause in the packed auditorium of opt-out supporters clad in red. But it answered few questions on what is next for students and the district in regards to state and federal funding.
"Sometimes it takes an act of civil disobedience to move forward," said Don Armstrong, a school board member who voted in favor of opting out. "We cannot allow the fear to hold us back."
Over the last year, there has been growing criticism of Common Core from tea party activists and conservative groups, assailing it for taking away states' rights to set education standards.
In March, Indiana became the first state to repeal Common Core.
"Oklahoma and Indiana are the only two states that have originally adopted standards and have chosen to move away from the standards," said Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C.
She said Oklahoma reverted to its 2010 standards and is going through a review process to write new standards.
North Carolina, Missouri and South Carolina passed legislation to review standards, McGrath said. "They still are teaching Common Core standards while undergoing the review process."
In New York, the Common Core standards were characterized by critics as being educationally inappropriate. Anger over the number of tests and their content resulted in between 55,000 and 65,000 students refusing to take the grades 3-8 tests this past spring.
According to the district's websiteLee County Public Schools is the ninth-largest district in Florida and the nation's 33rd-largest district with 85,000 students.
While the news was met with jubilation, Superintendent Nancy Graham said she was deeply concerned about the board's decision.
"This will hurt children. There is no way around it," Graham said while the audience booed. "I am gravely concerned about the decision that was made tonight, and I'll try to make sense of this. It's an interesting time to serve as the leader of this district."
The meeting adjourned without discussion regarding what test — if any — will now be used in place of the state tests. The board members did not address whether the decision will include charter schools.
Keith Martin, the board's attorney, was not sure that there were any "immediate, clear" consequences to the action. He said it was possible Florida Gov. Rick Scott could remove the school board members from power.
On Thursday, the Florida Department of Educationreleased the consequences of schools not participating in testing.
"Non-participation in testing will negatively impact the student's grade point average," which also impacts high school graduation and receipt of diploma, university admissions eligibility as well as moving to the next grade level that requires a minimum GPA.
Last year Scott announced he was splitting from the federal government on Common Core. While wanting to establish high standards for Florida students, he rejected the federal government's "overreach into our state education system."
On Thursday, Scott said, "One thing (Lee County will) have to think about is, did they impact their ability to get federal funding and what impact, if they do lose that, what impact will that have on their students."
The audience booed the dissenting board members who begged Armstrong, Tom Scott and Mary Fischer to table the decision until concrete plans could be made.
Based on Florida Statute, students will not be able to receive a standard high-school diploma without taking the ACT or SAT.
More than 33 people testified during the tense three-hour meeting.
Emotions came to a head when Lori Jenkins said her son was on leave from school because of a terminal heart condition, yet the district still sent someone to proctor the Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test at his home. The audience gasped with disgust.
"He's terminal, he's going to die, but he goes to school! He does the stupid remedial classes! That's how I know this is all about money," Jenkins yelled into the microphone before she hit her one-minute time limit and the audio was cut.
Going forward, school board member-elect Pam LaRiviere said the district must now see how the state Department of Education reacts. She predicted Wednesday's decision would serve as an impetus for many other districts around the state.
"There's something about Lee County," she said. "It has not lost its frontier attitude. I give us a lot of credit, but I'm scared."
Contributing: Nicole L. Gill, USA TODAY; Barb Berggoetz, The Indianapolis Star; Randi Weiner, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News; Adrienne Lu, Pew/Stateline.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Plato (427 BC) : The Problem in School


"Strange Times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school and the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool." 

PLATO (427 BC)

Dear Parents, 

Since our effort to call the vote at the Key Biscayne K8 Center in February 2013, I have advocated the state legislature in Tallahassee in last (4) four of the Legislative sessions for amendment to Florida Parent Empowerment Law [ State statute 1002.33 (3b) ] to no avail. This request amend a three letter word 'and' to a two letter word 'or' in the present law text is fittingly, so elementary. This change will eliminate Teachers overbearing veto power in a collective labor union vote over the parent vote in separate inter-school ballots to win a YES vote to be guardians of the school's budget. 

Thus far, the Florida Republican Leadership with control of both houses of Congress  and three consecutive Republican Governors, have failed to keep their promises to school choice parents who seek to manage the finances of their individual public school. A Yes vote movement would spread across the state and then state to state nationally.  The Governing School  (GS) would be the norm eventually. This school choice model eliminates the need for school bonds to renovate or expand facilities. It also allow (GS) to receive funding directly from the state Department of Education while seeking to save budget surplus annually. The most egregious neglect to support the Governing School Amendment  are the following:   

 Rep. (R) Carlos Trujillo         105th District

 Rep. (R) Mike Bileca              115th District

 Senator (R) Anitere Flores     District 37

 Senator (R) Kelli Stargel         District 15

All four have acquiesced with Superintendents to maintain the status quo of bankrupt dilapidated school facilities, while Charter Developers only role is to mitigate overcrowding not effectuate better education.  

Without transparent voting guidelines that would empower parents proponents to fire Trigger letters without fear of reprisals from the School District witnessed at Neva King Cooper in Homestead, Florida . The law is more representative of closed society's one party rule than a democracy. DoGoogleit:

  Judge sides with Neva King Cooper Principals over retaliation 

An administrative law judge ruled that the Miami-Dade County School Board should pay $233,000 in attorneys' fees in a case filed by employees who said they faced retaliation for trying to open a charter school. The legal-fees recommendation, which now goes to the state Department of Education, stems from an underlying case in which three school employees alleged they suffered retaliation after seeking to convert Neva King Cooper Educational Center to a charter school. The judge’s recommended order said the Miami-Dade County school system "quickly squelched the conversion efforts and, beginning in late April of 2012, reassigned all three petitioners to undesirable work locations." Last year the judge ruled that the Miami-Dade school system had violated part of state law, a finding that was upheld by the Department of Education. That led to further legal arguments about the amount of attorneys' fees. In addition to $233,000 in fees, the judge recommended the district pay about $17,900 in costs.

These four legislators mentioned above, have intimate knowledge of my efforts after the Neva King Cooper principals reprisals were public knowledge. They were aware of what I was subjecting my daughter to in order to accomplish what Principals Cristobal and Fernandez could not; the legal precedent to convert-to-charter. They as well as Governor Rick Scott, also were also aware my child's hand written testimony of abuse in class by her 5th grade math teacher. My daughter was singled her out for her father's effort as KBCS PTA President to call the vote to convert the school-to-charter. After all, it was first of its kind and scope in Florida history.    

When We The People of Florida succeed at amending Florida Parent Empowerment Law so that it is no longer a Teachers Empowerment law, the key to fixing the public school system is within reach. This can occur one school at a time. The remedy is not in the classroom, it is via the funding lock box in the District's office. Call your state representative and state senator tell them to sponsor the new school model  

Expect Success. รณ