Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Letter to Education Secretary DaVos and Convention of States Florida

As the first Florida PTA President to apply the only direct ballot Parent Trigger Law in the United States in 2013, I would like to invite all Convention of States advocates, to support amending the Florida Parent Empowerment Law 1002.33 (3b). It’s voting guidelines are un-American separating the ballot between parents and Teachers and requiring proponent for conversion to win both elections by 50+1 margin, providing the majority of the parents at the school actually vote. These closed society voting guidelines Teacher’s Union veto power over Parent’s desire to convert a school is a un-American closed society election. A "yes vote"  empowers a Guardianship Board to be established to manage the school budget post intra-school election. This is what I propose in the synopsis on my experience at the KB K8 Center. I invite all COSFL participants to fire trigger letters at your county school in every county to bring light to this egregious law that allows teachers to abuse your children because you vote 'Yes"! 

    • In order to reinvent America’s public school system parent must be at the helm of the particular school’s budget. The key to fixing the Public School is not in the classroom. It is not an increase in test scores as previously thought. For it is not a key. It is the combination padlock on a safe in Principal's office. The nation’s only direct ballot parent trigger law is law in Florida. It needs its language in the voting guidelines amended as follows: Deleting a three letter word ‘and’  deleted while inserting a two letter word "or” within the body paragraph of the 2010 Florida Parent Empowerment Law state statute 1002.33 (3b). Then the removal of the word ‘Charter” wherever it appears and rebranded as additional school choice model as the Parent Guardianship School. 

                                                                                                                                        THE BENEFITS:

  1. Parent Guardian Schools are Not Charter Schools
  2.  Parents acting as Guardians of an individual school budget thus saving surpluses annually for school expansion and modernization instead of depending on school bond proceeds.
  3. Parent Guardians do not pay rent for county-owned school district property
  4. No construction finance nor debt obligation upon start up
  5. Converted School receives their administrative funding directly from the Florida Department of Education not the County School Board nor School Superintendent
  6. There is no marketing budget to attract students
  7. Teachers stay in the State of Florida  Retirement System but lose tenure
  8. Tax relief for the property owner at large as the reduction of continuous issuance of school bonds debt at the ballot box every twenty years dissipates over time as the success converting schools to Guardianship School. 

*amended words inserted in Green )

(a) An application for a new Parent Guardianship School may be made by an individual, teachers, parents, a group of individuals, a municipality, or a legal entity organized under the laws of this state.
(b) An application for a conversion to Parent Guardianship School* shall be made by the district school board, the principal, teachers, parents, or the school advisory council at an existing public school that has been in operation for at least 2 years prior to the application to convert. A public school-within-a-school that is designated as a school by the district school board may also submit an application to convert to charter governing school status. An application submitted proposing to convert an existing public school to a Parent Governing school shall demonstrate the support of at least 50 +1 percent of the teachers employed at the school OR* 50 + 1 percent of the parents voting whose children are enrolled at the school, provided that a majority of the parents eligible to vote participate in the ballot process, according to rules adopted by the State Board of Education. The vote for conversion shall be required to be completed within ninety (90) days from the date the school administrator receives the written request for a vote.  The local school district shall be required to make certain mandatory disclosures once a school administrator receives the written request to conduct a vote.  Within seven (7) days of receipt of the written request, the local school district shall provide to the person requesting the vote the following items (1) a list containing the names of each parent with children enrolled at the school at that time, (2) a list containing the names of each teacher who is eligible to vote, (3) a detailed budget showing all expenses and all state and federal revenues generated over the previous three years for the particular district-operated school for which a vote for conversion has been requested.  At least fourteen (14) days prior to the commencement of any vote, the local school district shall permit the person requesting the vote to utilize the school cafeteria or its equivalent, at the school that is the subject of the vote, to hold a meeting at a reasonable time to provide information to the parents and teachers in support of the vote.  The person who requested the vote shall be entitled to organize and Chair the meeting and to provide written educational material to the parents and teachers who attend the meeting.  The persons who requested the vote shall be entitled to have a designee assigned to work with the school administrator to confirm that the initial notification has been mailed to all eligible voters and that all ballots have been mailed to the eligible voters and to be present at the time of balloting in order to confirm the voter's eligibility and witnessing the voters casting the ballot.  The person who requested the vote shall be entitled to draft the content of the initial notification to the parents and teachers, describing the purpose of the vote and the conditions for the balloting process as well as the content of the ballot itself.  A district school board denying an application for a conversion to Parent Guardianship school shall provide notice of denial to the applicants in writing within 10 days after the meeting at which the district school board denied the application. The notice must articulate in writing the specific reasons for denial and must provide documentation supporting those reasons. 

A private school, parochial school, or home education program shall not be eligible for Parent Guardianship School *status.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NAACP who side are you on ? School Choice helps Balck Communities

It time to create the Perfect Parent Trigger Law by amending Florida Empowerment Law 1002.33 (3b) log on to

I was in high school when Brown v. Board of Education was decided 63 years ago.
That makes me an old man, one who was at the forefront of the civil rights movement during its most tumultuous days.
I took the fight for equality to South Florida, joining the Miami Urban League in 1963 and becoming its CEO at the age of 24. There I met Martin Luther King, Jr., and from that inspiration took on a power structure that through practice, if not written policy, dictated what black people were and were not allowed to do.
We succeeded in overcoming that by developing young black leaders, by refusing to accept subservience, by rejecting incremental gains and, instead, demanding full inclusion. This is the same formula that brought change to communities across this nation.
Those were historic times. Back then, if I were to have looked forward, I would have envisioned a much different 2017 than the one that currently exists — a 2017 in which Dr. King’s hopes for our nation had been achieved.
Yet divides remain wide, and at times, they seem to be growing rather than narrowing. We can codify equality in statutes and regulations. We can have corporations and society in general commit to diversity.
But what we cannot overcome is a lack of opportunity, and therein lies our greatest challenge. If young black children are not equipped with the knowledge to succeed, we cannot make up for that with public and private policies after the fact.
And that takes me back to Brown v. Board of Education. It was a landmark decision for civil rights. But 63 years later, it remains a great disappointment in addressing the specific ill it was intended to correct — education inequality.
We know that far too many black children are sitting in classrooms where they are not learning. We know their schools have fewer resources. We know their teachers, on average, are less qualified. We know expectations for these children are set lower than the expectations for students in more affluent suburban schools.
For decades, these are issues the public education system has failed to fix. Blame has been spread far and wide, but the reasons for the failures are of little consequence to the families impacted by them. And the fact they still exist 63 years after Brown v. Board of Education offers little hope they will be resolved anytime soon.
This reality is what led me, along with other civil rights leaders, to go in a different direction — to advocate for giving parents the power to pursue better options for their children. I saw the devastating impact that powerlessness had on the black community in the 1950s and 60s. And I see that same dynamic at play for black parents today.
Once we were told where we could live and work, play and pray, eat and gather. I find it no more acceptable that today we are told where our children can go to school.
Nobody cared when, for decade after decade, black kids were assigned to failure factories that set them up for a life of poverty and dependency. But give the parents of these children a choice to select alternatives, and suddenly the people who care about where these students go to school come crawling out of the woodwork.
I find it disturbing when a teachers' union leader in Tennessee sits in front of a camera and says that “some parents are not capable of determining” where their children should go to school. That he is an African American makes the statement no more palatable now than when white bigots in Tennessee expressed similar sentiments about the capabilities of blacks in the 1960s.
POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media 
I find it disturbing that the NAACP calls for a moratorium on charter schools when the data is overwhelming that on average these schools produce much stronger academic gains for disadvantaged black children.  I ask my brothers and sisters at the NAACP, who when they met in Orlando called on the audience to stand and applaud a leader from the teachers' union: Exactly whose side are you on?
At my age, I become skeptical of promises that are not kept. I no longer trust unions and politicians and bureaucracies, and their never-ending promises and reforms, to bring opportunity to the communities I serve.
All I have left to trust are the parents who understand all too well the impact more decades of failure will have on their children.
Give them the power, and give them options from every sector of education — be it public or private. Unlike the union boss in Tennessee, I do believe they have the capability to decide. Unlike the NAACP, I believe they have the right to decide.
That is the unfinished business from 63 years ago.
T. Willard Fair is president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc. A powerful voice in the effort to improve his community, he has worked for the Urban League since September, 1963.