Friday, December 3, 2010

Say it is not true..please!

In Response to the article:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-scott-education-transition-team-1220101202,0,1575119.story

Rhee - Ousted in DC due to her failing. She was forced out with comments of her methods being draconian. Florida needs an overhaul through teamwork, not through the massive abuse that Rhee has become known for.

Unfortunately, those of us that follow politics and education politics already know that Scott is Jeb Bush part 2. With all due respect to each of them, and the positions they hold...talk with the teachers.
I have offered myself as have other public school teachers to be part of committees to help. None that I know of have been contacted. Again Mr. Scott, and others, public school teachers are wanting to help....at this time you remain the problem, not the teachers. Work as a team, and don't bring in a person that was already fired for not being able to work as a team member, who has only self interest at heart.

This is a State, not a wealthy community with a few poor people who need a handout. We are rich, poor, middle class and poverty ridden, super rich and lower middle class. You need to consider education for all, not just the rich. You are not Jeb Bush's boy, remember your commercial and where you came from, and please respect teachers and education for what it is...Our FUTURE.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

High School Preparedness Starts at the Beginning

If we as a State desire students to be ready for college we need to allow for the system to work. If Johnny fails let him fail and earn his credit the proper way, by attending real class and doing real work. The aspect of Rigor and Relevance has been replaced with lawyers, and parents who have no idea.

With respect to the colleges, many of them have backed down and accept mediocre work now. High School has done the same. Middle School does not do much different. Where is the disconnect. Well somewhere, students are given grades to pass rather than have to explain to a parent that Johnny is not doing his work, and he needs help.

Adding to the parent expectation is a system of testing. People blame teachers..stop it. Teachers are doing what they are asked. 1) Teach a test, Jeb Bush wants you to. 2) Make sure you make the parents happy, 3) Maintain a quiet classroom, 4) Educate based on old Standards, 5) Pass even if they fail, 6) Make it easy..and I can continue yet no reason you get the point.

If we want students ready for college we teach them with rigor and relevance. If we just want graduation rates that are inflated along with grades, we follow the system as it is now. We NEED a makeover, and it will take educating the public to get it.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-florida-grads-scores-20101125,0,3679323.story

Friday, October 29, 2010

There is a Value to Being Educated

When a person is talking to another person and shares with them that they are educated, the person receiving the compliment often says thank you and leaves it at that. Over my tenure of being involved in education, I have come to learn that the term, educated is used far too often without a true measure of its value. In the field of studying conflict, and human culture he meaning of educated extends to the ability to question and research all systemic possibilities. The most important aspect of being educated in the field of culture is to begin your research trying to remove all aspects of your bias. It is after all, bias that is the downfall of the validity within research.

Please find a Concept Paper on this topic here:
https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B6Ly1-ftCdlQMWZkOTE1NDMtZTY3Yi00MmNjLWJjZTMtZTIwYmYyNjE5ZWM1&hl=en

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Plight of Respect in East Harlem

Life on the Streets is always rough, yet in review of the text, "In Search of Respect" I came across a qualitative study which validates the importance of reviewing the current war on drugs.
The government may not be able to fix all of the problems, yet it may want to go back to the drawing board and start over in reviewing policies and living conditions.
The link below is my commentary and analysis of the book and the concept of finding Respect in East Harlem

https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B6Ly1-ftCdlQYzExOTk1ZmItOTAxMC00ZWJiLWEzMTEtM2JjMjA2MjVlOWE2&hl=en&authkey=CKOph-kH

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Education: Leave Florida Amendment Alone

In Florida, in the November Election, the State Legislatures will ask you to vote against the class size Amendment
They want to call it the "Right Size" amendment. As a population please learn what the language actually means

  1. Current Law states that High School has 25 Students per class. Middle School is 22 and Elementary is 18
    - Right size wants an average of teacher certifications in the building, with no maximum in the classroom.
    - Every administrator carries a certificate and no students.

    - Every Dean carries a certificate and no students.

This argument continues with a lot more data, yet the above is an example of why you are being lied to. As a teacher, prior to this year, I have taught classes up to 40 people at a time. This equals an average of 25 when added among other certificate based educators on campus.

For the business people that yell constantly that they want better teachers, then why are they not backing teachers who are saying that class size mandate is important.
Adding to this, why are business people not seeing the value of time spent teaching? Consider a presentation you have to make.
When presenting to 5 people you can get a lot across. Add 5 more people and you get most of your presentation to the audience. Lets double that number to 20..and only half your presentation gets heard. How about we double your presentation to 30 people and still only the first 10 learned enough to remember.

As a teacher you make decisions every minute besides presenting. Most business people do not have this same ability. This is the States opportunity to teach the legislature that we want to make our children and education important. Do what is right, and if anyone wants to talk this over, email me and we can talk. cjresnick@gmail.com

Monday, August 2, 2010

AP Education in a Different Light

This commentary is in response to Dave Weber's Article

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-advanced-placement-schools-08-02-220100801,0,6728137,full.story

Dave: More and more Florida high-school students are taking tough Advanced Placement courses that can earn them college credit, but over half stumble and are unable to pass the rigorous end-of-year exams that measure what they have learned.

Cade Response: More and more Florida students are taking the test as there is an increase in funding for students taking the classes, and also the push to increase students comes from a concept of equity. Prior to this push, the dominant culture of an AP student was the white upper crust student. Today the push is the make sure black and Hispanic students have equal access to these courses. Although this may not seem like a fair statement, it is a big part of the reason courses have been offered through open enrollment.

Dave: At the same time, many who can't master the tests come home with high grades on their report cards throughout the year. It's not uncommon for a student to earn an "A" from the teacher, yet flunk the AP exam.

Cade Response: Many teachers are more concerned at not hurting a student's feelings, and or are more worried that they will have to explain away the attitude of a student within their classroom. Thanks to media, politicians, lawyers and parents, many teachers give higher grades, so they don't have to face the scrutiny. If the truth were to arrive on the doorstep of parents, then the reality would be seen as most students failing for a generation. Why…simple answer, we have become a society of mediocrity, yet the standard of AP has maintained some decorum. Dave, perhaps you can take the time to report this from a true sociological standpoint, which may have been fairer.

Dave: A national debate on the value of widespread AP enrollment continues among education experts, with some saying there is no real evidence that pushing students beyond their capabilities helps them. AP is costly, too, with the state expected to spend an extra $58 million this year so kids can be in AP courses instead of regular classes. But Florida educators are sold on the Advanced Placement program.

Cade Response: This is not accurate again. Educators are not the ones sold on this process. Administrators who need to meet quotas are. Many educators liked the program the way it was before. Students who cared to study and put forth the effort were in the program. Another fallacy in your argument is that this program costs the State. The State actually desires the program as it receives additional funding for the program. The added funding used to be to cover the smaller class size. Now it is just something to be pocketed.

Dave: Their reasoning: It does not matter whether students earn passing marks on the AP tests because they will be rewarded simply for taking more difficult courses. Colleges considering student applications will be impressed, educators say, and students will get accustomed to the study demands they will face in college. "All of them are not going to be successful," said Dianne Lovett, director of academic services for Orange County schools. "But we are seeing more and more kids go into these classes who never thought they would do this." Still, the failure rate in AP courses across Central Florida is substantial.

Cade Response: The Administrators want to see the students enter the classroom. It helps the feel good ideas. There is very little evidence that a student taking an AP class will do better in college. If they do not try hard, they receive nothing from the course demands. Honors classes should have the same demand, yet as mentioned before, the curriculum has been lowered to achieve the calm from those same administrators.

Dave: Newsome's experience is exactly why a wider range of students — especially low-income and minority — should be encouraged to take AP courses, said Bridget Williams, principal at Jones High last year who has taken a position in the Orange County school district office. This past year, students completed 607 AP courses at Jones, passing 14 percent of them. "The goal is to get these kids into college," said Williams. "They may not score the perfect score, but having them in classes with kids who are college-bound is worthwhile."

Cade Response: The AP classes are not the same as college classes. They are a complete survey of the Introduction materials and quite frankly most students don't deserve to pass the test. This commentary shows exactly the target market, low-income and minority students. Regardless of their abilities, Florida education is placing these students into AP courses and heralding themselves as saviors. In the same vein as these administrators destroyed honors programs, they are trying to do the same to the AP environment. Another aspect – Getting them into college. Florida Education should do a study which shows which AP students attended University (since community college does not produce bachelor's degrees) and how many completed the University program.

Dave: Many parents also are on board with the new drive to push more and more kids into tougher courses. "In some of these AP courses, kids will get a grade sufficient to get college credit, and in some they won't," Fernandez said. "But in all of these courses they will get more motivated students and a higher level of instruction." Pass or fail, more kids are taking the test and Florida is spending millions of dollars to accommodate them. That includes course costs for instructional materials and teacher training.

Cade Response: Many parents have no idea what AP is, and when a student is enrolled are confused. Other Parents have heard without AP their kid does not get into University, since the level of competition for University is vast. Most parents want the best for their children, yet the level of parental guidance needed in AP is extreme. Therefore parents may want to be on board, yet they don't want to help. Good teachers will also design their course well enough that a student achieving a 5 on the test will have an A…a Student receiving a 1 on the test will be closer to an F or maybe a D. There are many AP teachers who don't finish the text or teach AP in an older manner, and need training yet districts don't have money to send teachers, and therefore your final comment is not completely valid. There is a lot more to AP than materials and training. AP Courses are a different breed of teaching and requires teachers with a completely different mindset to those teaching standard/honors education.. Is it fair to say they are better teachers; no…AP teachers are different teachers.

I urge every parent to learn about the rigors of AP prior to a student entering 8th grade. And if they miss that message, get on board with AP somehow. Yet if your child is not willing to put the effort into the course..don't do it. AP Is HARD work and receiving a 5 on the end of year test is harder than any test a teacher gives.
Dave, it Is the media that perpetuates the mediocrity allowed within education. Perhaps a deeper analysis of the AP environment and the validity of the student to test ratio will teach society a valid lesson. Although opening the doors to all students is fair…it is unfair in my opinion to place unwilling, non-motivated students into a classroom just to fill socio economic numbers. This is what Florida is doing so it looks good. This is part of the schools grade and the more the State Politicians create a broken system, the more Florida education remains part of the bottom 50. AP enrollment is up..pass rate is down. This will not change until accountability is created. I will be happy to sit down with you and talk about AP education in Florida from my experience if you desire it. I will do the same with elected officials…and people seeking election.


 


 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There is a difference in Greatness and just Good.

The following is a partial repost from nbaoffseason.com with my thoughts at the end.

Michael Jordan was always very image conscious, of course, but his image was always that of the consummate competitor. He was driven. He wanted all of us to know that what he was driven. That what he cared about the absolute most was competition, because through competition comes the valor of winning.

Michael Jordan wanted to win, but he wanted to beat the best to be the best.
The best: Magic, Drexler, Isiah, Ewing, Riley, Barkley, Reggie, Shaq, Payton, Stockton and Malone. He beat them.

Competing to win means fearing not to lose, and that is the major criticism of LeBron right now, in the wake of his Miami move. It's that, while certainly he has put himself in a position to win, he did it at great sacrifice to the spirit of competition. Competitiveness means that you want to beat your friends, not take less money to join them. It means that when you run into Paul Pierce in L.A. you wish him well, because you want another shot at beating him in the Finals, as Phil Jackson famously did.
It means that you make a good friend at the Olympics, but then you try to rip his heart out in the Western Conference Finals, as Kobe and Carmelo did. You don't plot to team up with him so that you can hang out on the beach together and make it look easy.

The summer of LeBron is notable for so many reasons, but the one that sticks out for me most is fear. Fear of taking the challenge. Fear of leading your hometown to its first ever title; fear of leading a mecca like New York from the doldrums back to glory; fear of taking up a mantle in Chicago bequeathed by the best player ever to play the sport.
Fear of saying no to easy vices; fear of saying no to good friends. Fear of failure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUW9TaZTUaI&feature=player_embedded

It made me think of this particular Jordan commercial- sober and surmising. What made Jordan commercials so good was that they were all angles on what was most important about the product, and what was most important about the product was what was most important to the man. Most people consider that to have been winning, but I assure you it was not. Winning was the desired conclusion. What was most important was the competition.

In life, we can learn from this commentary. True competitors rise to the challenge and continue to stare adversity in the face. Many of us want to win so badly we go and join a new team just to get ahead. Be the brilliance and fight for what is right, and your legacy will be greatness. Make things easier, and you will just be good.

Teachers want change, not greed

To all comments that are negative toward teachers:
Teachers are not the ones asking for merit pay, they are the ones that are being told that in order to get any type of value, they need to achieve certain goals. This value will be in the aspect of financial compensation. Sounds like a great idea, and every salesman in the country would love this type of goal.
Problem: Teachers are not allowed to do many things in order to achieve their necessary goal thanks to parents who feel they know better, and often run to lawyers to save their rear. If given the chance, most of your teachers prefer to do their job for the monies they are offered..leave it at that.
For all of you that state...well in my profession. Stop doing that. In your profession you know what goes on. Out of your profession you know very little. As a teacher in Florida, there is more negative political goings on than there is positive.
If the public does not wise up soon, the Jeb Bush system of Education will be here, and then you will worry about your wonderful child's education, as it will be run like a business.
And just as those salesmen learn on the sales floor, if things are not working, then you find a new way to do it. The teachers are loud as they are trying to let the legislature know that change is needed, just not in the ignorant manner they are going about it.
Merit pay does not work...find a new system.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-school-merit-pay-xxxxxx-20100712,0,2912465.story

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Effects of Not Reading on Society

From a discussion I was recently having concerning literacy…..here is some of the data I choose to share.
As you can see Literacy in America is a problem…and there is a lot out there which validates this.
Funny, the CIA lists American Literacy at 99%...perhaps they only asked people working inside a small office..
Here you go..enjoy all of this data….and if not..try help someone learn to read.

http://education-portal.com/articles/Grim_Illiteracy_Statistics_Indicate_Americans_Have_a_Reading_Problem.html
This is a link which describes the following

Illiteracy Statistics

  • 42 million American adults can't read at all; 50 million are unable to read at a higher level that is expected of a fourth or fifth grader.
  • The number of adults that are classified as functionally illiterate increases by about 2.25 million each year.
  • 20 percent of high school seniors can be classified as being functionally illiterate at the time they graduate.
    Source: National Right to Read Foundation

Where Illiteracy Leads

  • 70 percent of prisoners in state and federal systems can be classified as illiterate.
  • 85 percent of all juvenile offenders rate as functionally or marginally illiterate.
  • 43 percent of those whose literacy skills are lowest live in poverty.
    Source: National Institute for Literacy

http://trivani.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/illiteracy-in-america/#comments
More Referenced information:

Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society - It is a chronic crisis of huge proportions, one that keeps millions of Americans living in the shadows. Illiteracy is causing irreparable damage to our society. Just look at these disturbing illiteracy statistics.

Illiteracy Statistics -In a study of 20 'high income' countries, the US ranked 12th on literacy tests. Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their child. A few other shocking facts:

  • 7 million Americans are illiterate.
  • 50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level.
  • 20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level.
  • 30 million Americans cannot read a simple sentence.

How Illiteracy Affects Job Prospects

  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare cannot read.
  • 75 percent of today's jobs require at least a ninth-grade reading level.
  • 27 million are unable to read well enough to complete a job application.
  • 20 percent of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage.
  • 50 percent of the unemployed people who fall between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate.
  • Between 46 and 51 percent of American adults have an income well below the individual threshold poverty level because of their inability to read.
  • Of the Gross National Product, only 5.3 percent is spent on public education. 

How Illiteracy Affects Society

  • 3 out of 5 people in an American prison cannot read.
  • Low literacy is strongly related to crime. 70 percent of prisoners fall into the lowest two levels of reading proficiency.
  • 85 percent of juvenile offenders have problems reading.
  • Approximately 50 percent of Americans read so poorly that they are unable to perform simple tasks such as balancing a checkbook and reading prescription drug labels.
  • To determine how many prison beds will be needed in future years, some states actually base part of their projection on how well current elementary students are performing on reading tests.

How Illiteracy Costs Taxpayers

  • Illiteracy costs American taxpayers an estimated $20 billion each year.
  • Illiteracy has been proven to cause children to drop out of school. Dropouts cost our nation $240 billion in social service expenditures and lost tax revenues.
Statistics for this article were obtained from the following sources: National Institute for Literacy, National Center for Adult Literacy, The Literacy Company, U.S. Census Bureau.

http://www.humorwriters.org/startlingstats.html
A link with references showing some interesting statistics concerning what people do with their time

Have a good summer teaching someone to read….and or learning to read better.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Even in Salt Lake they Question Merit Pay

This is copied from the Salt Lake Tribune

Call to account
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_14679355

Merit pay, basing a percentage of a teacher's salary on student performance on standardized test scores, is a concept being explored by our Legislature. If this is the strategy we are going to employ to "improve" student achievement, then we need to apply it not only to teachers, but also to the other major stakeholders in public education, including parents, students and the Legislature. After all, student achievement is a team effort.
A child's educational success is directly tied to parental involvement. Therefore, we propose that in order to "merit" the tax exemption for your child, your child must have achieved grade level on standardized tests. As with teachers, physical, mental, language or socio-economic factors will not be considered. If your student is below standard, then you suffer the financial consequences of the lost exemption and the state benefits from your higher taxes. Some form of financial "punishment" must also be found for students and legislators who don't measure up to the "merit" standard.
If we are to hold teachers accountable with "merit" pay, then we need to hold all stakeholders accountable with "merit" pay.

A Historical view of Change

The idea of human rights as a topic has a different mindset for all people who hear it. The people within the United States often believe that every idea they hold true is held within the constitution. Although this idea does not hold true, it is an important aspect, since the general population also believes that the idea of being democratic is outlined within this same constitution. The ending result is that the founders of America, after the Revolutionary war, wrote a document that can change over time, and allows for a lifestyle that was defined by leadership. Learned people within the United States have been talking about the lack of progress made, or how the founding fathers would be rolling over in their grave if they were to awaken to the world we live in today. Perhaps the learned people that are working so hard to invalidate the founding fathers could begin to view the American system through a systemic lens.

Over the past two hundred and fifty years, the United States has been growing through its own metamorphosis. The law of the land began in this country through the lens of the English Capitalists. Other countries arrived before and after the English, yet at the time, the English were the world and so the Colonies struggled as English. As time moves forward, we, as people, are shown that the human population enhances itself. As this enhancement occurs, so does decision making and the consideration of people around us. When stagnation occurs, people tend to desire change. When aspects of inhumane activity occur, the people who are shown that this activity is occurring may desire to create change. These people are the modern day humanitarians.

For the rest of this paper, please email me for a request: cjresnick@gmail.com

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Eternal Struggle for Survival: An analysis of Freudian Concepts toward life

    Within the field of psychology, Sigmund Freud is known as the father of modern psychology. Sigmund Freud spent his life working toward the betterment of society. He worked to understand that value of human life and how it centers on the ID, Ego and Super-ego. These three entities, Freud referred to as the pleasure principle of life. In Freud's analysis, the ID was a brain developed aspect of a person's desire for pleasure. The ID alone has no conscious; it has only the desire to achieve its goals. It is the Super-ego which is designed with our moral and ethical concepts. Freud conceived that the Ego is the balance between pleasure and control, which in today's term discusses the ideas of the human pleasure principle.

    Within the text, civilization and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud shares with us that humanity has worked toward the desires of pleasure throughout its existence, yet falls short due to higher expectations that we are ever able to achieve. That as people, we continue to keep putting forth the effort necessary to find happiness, yet this happiness is fleeting. Once we achieve a desire, we are left empty, and need to once again find a way to fulfill desires. (43-53)

    Sigmund Freud continues to posit the idea's that humans have a balance within society, even if they are not aware of it. (95) The philosopher Schiller shared with the world that "hunger and love make the world go round". Understanding the effects of love and hunger, Freud began to explain the libido. This entity which is part of each person aligns with the ego to bring about humanities desires. The libido is a human entity which resolves to achieve its maximum pleasure, and in doing so, can create negative cruelty for the individual and or others surrounding that individual. (95)

    An idea which manifested with the works of Freud and has continued forward into today's society is that of directing aggression toward others as an "instinct of aggression". This aggression principle allows for the flow of energy outwards, yet even with this aggression, there is a flow of energy which is destructive internally as well. This instinct creates a conflict of destruction within ourselves, and offers an inward and outward eroticism (96-99). The pleasure principle forces an individual to operate within their own spectrum (43). "Those who love fairytales do not like it when people speak of the innate tendencies in mankind toward aggressions, destruction and in addition, cruelty". (99)

    Understanding the concept of this struggle allows for a person to realize that they are continually in an internal struggle for balance. The pleasure principle finds itself seeking the ability of the ego to enhance an individual's desires. An internal conflict occurs when the super-ego seeks to understand the purpose of the behavior and in turn arrives at a null response, causing guilt or pain, or what we as learned people may call internal conflict. (104-105)

    In response to this internal conflict that is created, Freud shares with humanity that human beings have an ability to internalize their internal conflict, and to garrison it within their own minds and to choose over the chaos. Without this safety net, humans may be able to apply evil in any manner that they desire and feel no conscience in doing so. (105 – 106)

    A lasting impression of conflict results in the idea's that guilt is a predominant cursor toward our existence (120). There is an eternal struggle between Eros and the death instinct. We as people are focused as design for survival, yet our behaviors are for dominance toward our desires (120-124). This in a nutshell is the concept in which Freud explained in order to maintain balance between the Id and the Super-ego. Freud maintained that there is a price for the advancement of civilization, and that this price is to forego the pleasure of happiness and to arrive at the heightened sense of guilt (123). Studying the pleasure principle may allow for society to understand the effects that progress creates, and allow for a calmer more friendly environment so that world destruction can subside (144).

References:

Freud, S. (2010). Civilization and its Discontents. Connecticut: Martino Publishing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Value of Human Rights is Cultural

The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote, in reference to the ESPN E60 Documentary
E60 – Female athletes in South Africa - http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/e60/news/story?id=5177704

The American population has a complex understanding of human rights. Through time, the western culture has defined the necessary standard for its belief in the morals of humanity. There is a very different perspective of human rights within countries that are not held to the western cultural beliefs. Human rights are often present within their social condition, rather than by a law for which the population does not value. The importance of understanding human rights within a culture is shown by the concept of rape. Within the United States, rape is seen as a monstrous act which devalues a human being and is punishable by time in jail. Rape in countries that are not governed by the same moral concepts may be seen as part of the culture, and used for control and or the self pleasure of the rapist. Human rights have a place within all cultures, yet the actual value of what is a human right is strongly determined by beliefs.

Human rights is a concept for which people want to demand immediate change, yet history takes time to unravel and regroup within the concept which s best for all. The tribal peoples were involved in a concept of change, in which the religious reformation became quite apparent. Over time, the conversion of the tribal peoples from their native religion to forms of Christianity became permanent. The more the local white population and the tribal populations intermixed, the closer the two groups came to believing in the same moral ideals. It is these moral ideals that have been entrenched into a culture which does not align with the human rights values that the American culture believes in.

E-mail me for the rest of the article: cjresnick@gmail.com

Friday, May 14, 2010

Charter Schools get free pass based on beliefs

People are allowed to have beliefs. There is nothing wrong with believing in a concept. The problem between people and politicians is that the politicians and meant to carry out what is best for the people.

The power to create an education system which is said to be better than any other can only be validated by research and testing. At this point, charter schools have had an opportunity to shine, and they do not make the cut.

Jeb Bush has alot of beliefs and has allowed for other politicians to buy into his concepts. Perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board and realize that charter schools are public schools with a concept.

The Florida Legislature and the Federal Government need to restructure education that it is designed for all. The class size amendment is more than needed.

The State of Florida needs to allow this for all courses, and quite frankly if I were the parent of a child in a charter school, I would mandate that they follow this law or I will take my child to my local public school. Fewer Students means more opportunities for students.

Finally, I would have assumed that Charter Schools would have been forced to have smaller class sizes to validate their success. This may be a reason they are in the same boat as public education.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2010/05/florida-charter-schools-get-pass-on-class-size.html/comment-page-1#comment-32489

Additional Reading:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/education/02charters.html

When will the Politicians learn?

The concept of old fashioned thinking does not create a positive world for the people. Many of the people running for office, or who remain in office uphold very tight old beliefs and are not willing to bend at all.

It may be best for our society if we were able to find people that have the proper skills necessary to run our State and not just the super rich that the parties are willing to put in front of a camera.

The Right Wing Republicans remain the only group of people who cannot fathom how a person would choose to be gay. Eh, I will let biology have a hand in that fight. What about the concept that a loving household is the best place for a child to grow. So option 1 is that a child has no parents and lives in an orphanage. Option 2 is that the child grows up in a divorced home or anger and violence. Option XXXXXX.

Research shows that a child growing up in a nurturing home is the best location, regardless of if it is m/f, m/m or f/f
Grow up Florida, Grow up America - we are meant to be a group of people who respect each other. It starts with the Politicians...and until they start to do right...the rest will not.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-scott-maxwell-friday-files-051410-20100513,0,3135137.column

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In Response to the Concept of Political Obstructionism

The fact that a professor has created a video series for us to watching allows me to believe that he does not follow the status quo of educators. In fact, he is melding away from it and is creating a virtual classroom lecture, within an online world.

We all focus on the larger picture of a problem saturated world, and come to terms believing that the problems are attached to us. The status quo is a hindering of sorts, and does not allow the narrative of a future to move forward. I think that the concept of political obstructionism is a great metaphor for us to consider.

Along the same parallel, in considering health care, perhaps reviewing it from another perspective can help to systemically view why political obstructionism is important. In order to move toward a fair and balanced concept, the status quo needs to change slightly, with a considerable consideration made toward just a slight change. This was not a slight change.

Within the analysis of this topic, I recently wrote a paper offering a third alternative which moves toward a more socialized model.

Consider: America has approximately 300 Million people. Approximately 10% of the population is elderly and does not work. 10% of the population is under the working age, and another 10% is unemployed. This leaves 70% of the American population producing. Add to this thought, if each paying American was to offer $25 per paycheck per month, then we would have +/-220million (said to be working # within the country)x $25 per month being paid into a fund. Total end of month value of this fund is 5.5billion. Over the course of a year that is a lot of monies.
Why then are we not offering a solution similar to this one, for the American people? With minimal contribution, we would all be able to afford health coverage.

The argument that we heard publicly was between people who wanted to change a system, versus others who wanted the status quo. The problem was that the other side of the argument is always scary. Political obstructionism allows for the status quo to change, yet the change needs to be very slight, unless the people are in a traumatic situation and are not thinking clearly. 911 bombings was an example of how to change the status quo through terror. Health Care has not terror attached, and therefore we can't force through a change. The health care change is slight..and will move very slowly to see more change until the status quo arrives again.

The debate raged on in congress for valid cause. There is a difference between Republicans and Democrats, yet this issue held more than party affiliation. It was also old v young, rich v poor and more important, powerful v weak. Dr. Campbell offers us a great view of political obstructionism, and we, as the up and coming professors have a chance to be part of the change, or to continue the status quo

Thanks for listening…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Class Size is more than Just a Number

In the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper today, I was reading the response to the class size amendment.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-class-size-final-rules-04-26-10-20100426,0,4415874.story

There are at least 2 problems within this system that need to be addressed

Issue 1 = As stated by Rick Collins, ""Is it the best situation for students? Is it the best situation for parents? Is it the best situation for teachers? The answer to all of those, in my opinion, is no," said Collins."

Mr. Collins may or may not have been in the classroom, yet either way, I offer the business community a classroom example, for their understanding. You call a meeting and 5 people show up, easy to control and get your message across. Perhaps when 10 people show you get a similar response. Where is the tipping point within a meeting? I might suggest you try this experiment and realize it is easier to work with fewer people and build a product than it is to work with more. 30 people in a meeting = disaster. You have no idea how each person feels and to receive feedback will be from only half of the recipients at best. Lowering class size is a similar example, which Mr. Collins and others do not understand. It is best for teachers, students and learning as a whole. The only aspect in this system that is best for all is that there is no money being passed down from the legislature, and they are forcing the counties to scramble. This is the fault of the legislature and not of the education system who is being blamed.

Issue 2 = Education and Government are not a good mix at this time. Education receives government monies, and is handled as a non-profit organization. Each County follows the rules and does what it can with the resources it receives. The Legislature reviews a budget as if it were numbers and not in the mindset to help the people of the State. If I were a member of the Legislature, I too would worry about re-election, and my position within the political realm. Yet, I do believe it would be my obligation to do what is best for the people. Right now, the Legislature is doing what is best for re-election and not for the people; especially the people who cannot vote. We are talking about creating smarter, well educated people coming out of Florida schools. It is time for the Legislature to grow up, and be part of the cure, not the cause of the disease.

The class size amendment needs leaders to handle it and push it forward, not arrogant financial mouth flappers who have no true idea of what public education involves.

Being an advocate for change in a positive manner leads to many hard roads, yet walking those roads matters. The voters need to be informed of all the consequences of this class size option, and not just hear the rhetoric of how bad things are.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A teacher knows how to teach.

The following link demonstrates the importance of valuing teachers

http://neatoday.org/2010/04/21/florida-teacher-issues-rallying-cry-for-respect-for-educators/

Jamee Miller's "I Am a Teacher" essay shows the true life of a teacher. I can honestly state to everyone who reads this, that what she writes is very real. She spends her own money, as do most teachers, in order to validate and grow their classroom material. The Counties and Governments have cut the spending to a minimal, and therefore many of us beg for discounts wherever we go in order to fund modern classrooms.

As for vacations, for those that believe summer is just a time to sit around and relax, find a good teacher and you will also find them working toward a better new year. Education is at the heart of every business. Consider that education is the R&D for every company. Improving the previous model over and over just to tweak it enough that success can be found.

Good teachers reinvent themselves all the time to perfect their craft. I do not believe that arguing with my doctor in how to best be a doctor would be within my best interest. The same would be said for a lawyer, accountant or any other profession for that matter. It is time that State legislatures learned to build teams to find best results for all, and not just follow an agenda paid to them by the highest bidder.

Teachers are creating a world which is adaptable for your children. We are not all the same, stop trying to make all people the same.
Thank you Jamee for spreading the word of truth within teaching.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Changing Education Standards

People are interesting. Each person chiming into this article has differing opinions. For those that cannot handle math or science this is unfair. For those that can handle it, they are saying it could be done. In the grand scheme of education, it would seem to me that the only true means of testing a society is by the abilities that the educated have.

Are all people created equal, as the constitution states? The answer is simply no. The current dropout rate is high, yet not much higher today than it was 20 years ago. Are the classes harder today than they were 20 years ago? Depends on your version of hard. As an educator I would say that classes today are lowered so that more students can achieve the bare minimum.

As an educator, my view on a plan like this is mixed. We need higher standards for all, yet we don't need just one model. Students should be offered differing tracks of education, and still be able to pass high school. For those that are involved in science/math. Push them, allow them to learn. Yet Physics over Anatomy may not be correct. Health Science can benefit some, while Physical Science will benefit others.

Math is necessary and I understand that. What about more statistics or business math for students who want a different track. When making a plan consider your audience. That is my thought on this topic.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-high-school-grad-changes-04-22-10-20100421,0,5537984.story

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Newt Gingrich Lies for his Party:

Former Speaker Gingrich

When the people of your State spoke, did you listen to them? In this commentary it would seem to me that private corporations are running scared and you are trying to volley against the Unions and the teachers in order to justify garbage legislature.
Quite frankly this is not your fight. You are doing what you can, yet you are misguided in the field of education.
Currently teachers received evaluations by administrators. If the State is not happy, crack down and hire more administrators, pay them properly and have them evaluate as they can.

The Republican congressmen that created this bill have stated publicly that they realize that it is flawed yet it needs to be passed then it will be corrected. Since you know politics well, perhaps you can remember that commentary like that does not truly exist. That is called Rhetoric and pandering.

Do us all a favor, and stay out of this mess, let the Florida congress people make their own bed, and carry on in Washington trying to balance a fair Nationalized education bill.

You have no business involving yourself in this matter, and sometimes, listen to the people. In this case, the people are yelling, even the general public sees this as garbage, you should too

http://discussions.orlandosentinel.com/20/orlnews/os-ed-newt-gingrich-merit-pay-041410-20100413/10

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Myth vs. Resnick Fact

Mailed to the Governor and member of the press 04/13/2010

Governor Crist, et al

In reading the rhetoric that was written within the Orlando Sentinel article on April 13th titled "Merit pay frenzy: 'I've never seen it this intense,' Crist says"
I choose to write and question some of the comments which are being made by members of the Jeb Bush foundation.

1)"Patricia Levesque, executive director of Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future, agreed. "We're thankful that Gov. Crist has supported these issues in the past, and we're looking forward to his support this week," she said.
The angry outpouring from teachers, Levesque added, has been the result of a union-driven campaign using misleading information. "They've been very active in making sure that their membership gets information that is slanted in the direction that they believe."

- Mrs. Levesque is using words which are clearly not true. Perhaps it would be in her best interest to read the bill in its entirety through the lens of someone that is not involved in politics. Unions are not the ones pushing around the rhetoric. The Jeb Bush plan for merit pay failed once already, and this plan is more hazardous than the last one. Jeb Bush is pushing his agenda, through his organization, which itself is not sharing the truth.

http://www.foundationforfloridasfuture.org/SB6_Docs/MythVsFact.pdf

At this site, the Foundation states:

Myth: This reform is a purely partisan effort.

Fact: Both Democrats and Republicans are advocating for the use of student test scores to measure teacher effectiveness. Reforms advocates include President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the Gates Foundation. Florida's business community has called on the Legislature to act on these issues. In their report Closing the Talent Gap, the Florida Council of 100 and the Florida Chamber of Commerce called for these reforms. The Florida Senate issued Interim Study 2010-213 studying teacher quality in 2009.

My Fact: Advocating Test scores has been shown to be the worst measurement for teacher effectiveness, as students have differing levels of abilities. In order for this process to work, there needs to be a pre-post test which is only measurable from creating a standardized test which is valid and reliable. There also needs to be measures in which students are monitored for a slew of environmental factors which are not part of just one teacher's control. Therefore the government, including Arne Duncan are learning from previous administrations that solely testing students is not the best method of measuring either teacher or student.

Fact: Including Business' which are for profit agencies in the field of education will not help, and there is no proof that it will help. You want more money, let them become sponsors of schools, and that is all they need to be part of

Myth: The bill eliminates tenure in Florida.

Fact: The bill doesn't eliminate tenure for teachers in the classroom today. The courts have determined that tenure is a property right and can't be taken away by the Legislature. The bill does end the practice of granting lifetime guarantee of employment after just three years in the classroom. Instead, new teachers will have annual performance contracts.
My Fact: There is no current tenure in the State of Florida. There is a professional contract. I would have assumed Jeb Bush to remember this. Your sites states attracting teachers, yet without job security of any kind, teachers won't come, and current teachers may leave to other States. This is your rhetoric which to teachers equates to a lie

Myth: Annual tests are not a good measure of teacher effectiveness.

Fact: Annual tests are an objective measure of the knowledge and skills students gain from one year to the next. If you believe teachers impact how much a student learns, then annual tests that measure progress are an objective measure of their effectiveness in the classroom.

My Fact: Using this concept, that means that classes that have no prior knowledge base are not going to be part of this program, which covers most courses throughout education, as classes have become progression and not repetition. Therefore this is another concept of rhetoric. Objective tests are neither valid or reliable, and therefore not a manner to show the effectiveness of a teacher.

On other aspects of the Jeb Bush Republican belief concept, your idea's are not sound. You have beliefs and have been pushing them for years. You state that the people who work hard deserve money, and that people who work in low income schools work harder than teachers from high income schools. Where is your research in this? That is more rhetoric that I will state is a bold face lie.
There is a lot more that you as a group are lying to the public about. You share with the governor of Florida that because he once agreed with Merit he must do the same now, well Ex Governor Bush, you once believed in telling the truth, is this something you still care to do now.

I offer you a pledge, you come work in my classroom as a teacher for a year. Do what I do and I will do what you do. Perhaps I can offer the people of Florida the truth about education after I travel around the State on funded monies that private corporations pay you. I can then offer a true testament of education, and ignore that these people who gave me money desire the result they are paying me for. When the year is over we can compare notes, and levels if stress etc. I will put my money on the table that in the end you learn far more and change your mind far more than I do.

Governor Crist, the teachers are not simply listening to the Unions. They are reading the bill, and listening to each other. They are listening to the news. They are listening to people with far more experience who desire an outcome that is fair. As a Republican I believe in the concept of small government, and appropriate financial balancing. Merit pay is a desire of a few people with corporate ties. Your constituents are not stupid, and they deserve to be listened to. Please do the proper thing and Veto this bill.


Then when that is done, create a Task Force which will be filled with teachers, professors and other educational specialists who can create a true equitable program for all.

Thanks for listening and understanding that teachers are educated and can read between the lines

Cade

Attention Mike Thomas – You are Wrong

Comments toward Mike Thomas
04/13/2010

Mike - Jeb Bush had and has an agenda. So instead of removing affirmative action he instead places a hold for the top 20%.
Jeb Bush may not be the worst governor that we have had in this State, yet he does come close when education is involved. You did not mention that it was Jeb Bush that worked to try and stop the class size amendment. Jeb Bush is now working with State Senators to try and force through a merit pay system which will work to end education as you know it.
If the goal is to just get black and Hispanics into college, then Jeb did that. If the goal were to truly reform education properly and allow for equitable education for all, and to offer a balance where students in k-12 get fair opportunities to succeed, then he did not do that.

For black and Hispanics to succeed in High School and into college, education needs to become a priority within their culture. Jeb knows this and so do you. Perhaps he could spend his time working to build educational community centers in low socioeconomic environments. He can place learning centers in malls where people go to get help. He can enhance task forces around the State to mentor parents in the benefits of education.

He does none of these things; instead he blames teachers for his failures and desires only a private education for all. Public Education deserves the applause for its hard work and success.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-mike-thomas-affirmative-action-041310-20100412,0,4996562.column

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Letter to Governor Crist of Florida

Good morning to you Governor Crist

You may remember me from the short discussions we have had in Tallahassee and in Orlando. Although I assess this not to be the case, I feel it pertinent to share with you that we have spoken on the topic of education a few times prior. Today I share with you a few thoughts that I have, with a lasting idea.

A population in the modern world can only be as strong as its leaders. Many years ago, the leaders would say that they are the voice of the people, and that it was the people who were strong. In reviewing the history of man, it does seem that modern governments have become stronger than the people, and that with this switch in social structure, we, the people need very strong government leading us.

Politicians play a very tedious game of back scratching and power pleasing that sometimes the goal of our passions is lost to the power of our greed to belong. This is not necessarily a bad thing if we are able to keep in mind who we are serving; the people

In this current legislative session, I do not feel the people have had a fair voice. The members of the Senate and the House have become so entrenched within their positions, that I feel they are not considering what is best for the people. As a teacher in Florida, I know you have been privy to all the aspects of the bills that are now found on your desk. The bills involving education that are on your desk, in my mind do not bring a team atmosphere to education. Instead it brings anguish, and competition.

The members of the Florida congress that feel competition is important in schools are people who come from a corporate environment, and truly do not understand the power of collaboration. I worked in the corporate world for the first years of my career and now am in the field of education. Without collaboration and team work in all facets of this job, there may be a huge drop in the success Florida has been building over the past twenty years.

Some aspects that you are aware of, yet I feel repeating this will help in your decision.

  1. As a teacher, you do not get to choose the students who enter your classroom. You receive 25+ students (assuming you veto class amendment and force the State to find the monies necessary) who come from all walks of life. They also enter with all of their prior baggage that we, as teachers are not allowed to have an HR department take care of
  2. In the classroom you have 5 hours per week to influence students. That amounts to 12 minutes per child if you truly were able to offer individualized teaching.
  3. Each child sees at least 5 teachers through the day, and then goes home with homework, and has a responsibility to complete this work in order to achieve the educational desired outcome
  4. Most students go home and refuse to complete homework, which means they fall behind or force the teacher to help them, and or worse of all for the teacher not to give any homework, and therefore slowing down a course
  5. Teachers are not allowed to offer true value grades, as they are seen as failures if too many students fail. Therefore they are to create a systemic bell curve to show they are valuable.
  6. Teachers are allowed to educate students within their classrooms, yet they are not allowed to be part of the technological world with the students. Students today are technologically advanced, it is time to allow teachers to reach students in the 21st century
  7. Teachers can only influence and educate students who in attendance. In a normal educational environment, a teacher can expect 2-3 students per class to be out. Some of these students are habitual with being absent. Without any form of punishment over these students, educating them becomes a null situation, and it is unfair to blame a teacher
  8. Education has differing levels. Many counties now offer open enrollment to AP courses, and Honors classes. This open enrollment policy has created a situation where AP classes are now the honors classes of 10 years ago. Honors classes of today are the Regular Education classes of twenty years ago, and Regular education is so watered down it is closer to basic education, rather than regular education.
  9. Special needs students are also setup to fail in this current environment, as they have specific needs and educational growth standards. Creating a measure for all students to meet is fool hearty at best, and for these Special Needs students it is simply abusive.
  10. Degrees matter. As a Bachelor level student I received a good education in my field. It was broad and I was a good teacher. Entering into my master's degree, I learned so much more, in a far more narrow setting, which allows me to be a better teacher, and offer the students a more realistic perspective of my area of expertise. Now I am a PHD candidate, and I am learning even more, for which my students benefit, as I bring this back to the classroom. Taking away the desire for a teacher to earn further degrees will affect the standard of education being offered to students. People who cannot earn more for their degrees will take their skills elsewhere. This is the same concept in the corporate world, and is not a valid aspect of any career. Furthering education is atop the president's agenda, and it should also be for the State of Florida.

I state all the above issues, and offer a solution. Create a task force, which is not directed through lobbying monies. It is an opportunity for you to reach out and hire teachers from all levels of education, and some business people. Perhaps 15-20 people and hire them t0o create a fair systemic education model. These people work around the State collecting data and researching the best possible solution for the new Florida education model that will work. One that is fair to most of the teachers and students. My suggestion is that the State creates a model in which the State of Florida and the Florida Education Association can truly agree on; and one that recognizes the benefit of all aspects of education for students, parents, administrators and teachers alike. Being able to create a truly rigorous environment which offers the students a chance to excel is what is important. We are here to teach students, and guide them to a greater life. That should be everyone's goal in the field of education. It is time for our political leaders to lead, and be the powerful guides we, the people, are asking for.

Governor, I have been considering the aspect of a new education model for Florida for a while now, and in review of where the State Congress feels we should go, I feel that a complete overhaul may be a better direction. This could be a great legacy you leave behind, rather than leaving the State with a failing system of education

Friday, April 9, 2010

When did Tallahassee become so close Minded?

There must be something the people in Tallahassee knows that the rest of the State is not truly aware

"Florida would become the first state in the nation to enact such a broadside on teacher tenure, which Republicans said would reward excellent teachers with higher salaries and get rid of a system that promotes mediocrity"
- There has never been talk that these bills would tied to teacher pay raises, just to merit pay which is a onetime bonus for doing a good job. This bonus is based on 1 Test which the student takes at the end of the year, and teachers are compared by a mathematical system among all State students in that class.
- Teachers in Florida have not had Tenure since 1982, the ignorance of Tallahassee and the Press continues to astound me.

"This is what I like about the bill…If you do a good job, you make more money," said Rep. Mike Horner, R -Kissimmee, arguing it would motivate teachers and have a "profound effect on the students in this state."
-What if I do a great job and the kid fails the end of year test, what if the child misses the test, what if? What if? Mr Horner, I feel you just passed awful legislation and this year you get no raise.

The legislative Republicans wanted to make a point. In November make the point back, Fire them ALL

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-merit-pay-house-vote-04-09-2010-20100408,0,2736075,full.story

Use your Veto Pen

Governor Charlie Crist

You and I have met before, yet I am aware you have no idea who I am. My name is Cade Resnick, and I am a registered voting RepublicanI am also a teacher, and consider myself to be an educated individual

I am sure you have been paying close attention to the news concerning the bills within education coming out of the Senate and the House.
Please read my comments and consider what each teacher is telling you. They are your front line personnel. I am not going to tell you how to do your job without learning from you, and then offering guidance, and I feel that the Senate and House are ignoring teachers and passing an old Jeb Bush agenda which has been known to fail (Merit Pay)

Last night, the House passed the education bill and stated, " Under the bill, pay raises for Florida's 167,000 teachers would be based primarily on student test scores. No longer would years of experience and degrees dictate teacher salary. Instead, pay would hinge on student "learning gains," as charted by standardized tests, and principal reviews."

This is a travesty. You may want to share with the members of the house that are voting, that merit pay is based on a bonus and not salary. The way this is being touted, my salary each year would change based on the success of my students. If you want to create a merit pay system, do so, which is fair. Secondly, there is no rhetoric toward the students. Are they going to be held back as a failure for failing this test? There is a reality here that needs to be addressed, and the members of the Florida congress are refusing to see this.

Mike Horner stated, " "This is what I like about the bill…If you do a good job, you make more money," said Rep. Mike Horner, R -Kissimmee, arguing it would motivate teachers and have a "profound effect on the students in this state."
Who is he to decide what a good job is? This is your opportunity to share with the members of the congress that this bill is not properly aligned with the best format for education

Adding to this one bill, three more made it to your desk this week. As a teacher I will loudly tell you that less students in a class offers the best chance for success. If you want the public to change their vote, explain it honestly. Yes it will cost us money to enact a plan which we have had 8 years to prepare for. Just because the State Congress and yourself have over spent, should not be the fault of education. It would seem this is another State Poltician failure, rather than education, yet, you receive a raise in the face of failure?

" Some also question how the state and the school districts, as the bill requires, can develop so many new tests to cover teachers whose work is not tested on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or national exams such as Advanced Placement."
Why spend the extra money to develop all these tests immediately. Allow the State to develop tests that are valid and reliable, and the mimic the New York System of education. The students pass an end of year test to leave the course. This gives teachers the chance to make class harder.

Currently, Teachers have so much more to worry about other than their classroom material. I urge any and or many congress people to spend a week with me in my classroom. (you are invited as well) I want them to talk with students, and verify that this job is as easy as they think it is.
At this point Governor, I feel it is your responsibility as a Republican to honor the concept of being a Republican. Less Government and more financial control. This bill, which is being dismissed by the Democrats, has a democratic structure all over it, which shows me that the underlying political scheme is to move toward privatizing education. Vouchers are continued for the poor. NO. With extra money, go into the schools and fix them. That is your responsibility as politicians.

I will offer you 5% bad teachers, and perhaps some of these 5% are old yet teach since they cannot afford to retire. This failure is the Florida System again.
Governor, it is time to step and be the difference. People of the State need to see it, and the teachers need to see it.
Veto these bills and allow the education system the chance to create true reform which can lead us forward into the 21st century properly.
I suggest you help in creating a task force which spends time learning how to create a proper education system which is balanced and fair for all involved.

Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you Veto this bill

Sent to Governor Crist, 04/09/2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Questioning Lies, one attempt at a time.

The following is my commentary to Representative Horner following his Orlando Sentinel Article from Today

Mr. Horner and others.

In response to your comments found within the article placed on the Orlando Sentinel Website, I would like to offer the following comments and questions.I am going to break down your comments from each paragraph and ask you to specify exactly what they mean, since you wrote them, and they seem to me, to be a stretch of the truthhttp://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-myword-pro-merit-pay-040710-20100406,0,5500260.story

Mr. Horner Stated: The first and most important element of this reform is increased pay for quality teachers. To achieve this worthy goal, the proposed bill does not reduce pay for any teacher in the state.
-Increased pay means that I would receive more pay and not a bonus check at the end of the year. You also stated quality teachers in this paragraph, yet have not outlined a quality teacher. Prior to passing a bill, would it not be worthy to state exactly what is a quality teacher?

Mr. Horner Stated: Instead, it invests in our most valuable asset — the thousands of great teachers in classrooms all over Florida — by dedicating roughly $900 million for pay raises to teachers who make the most progress with our students.

-Your thought is that only thousands would receive this money and not possible every teacher. In order to dedicate $900 million on the back end, what exactly is the benefit. You also state teachers who make the most progress, what about a teacher who helps make mild progress, is that not good enough? And if not, why? Adding to this, what about the teacher that has students missing, family problems, health problems, life problems etc, are you penalizing that teacher for those students. And yes Mr. Horner, I am stating students in plural as most often life does not affect just one student at a time.

Mr. Horner Stated:
The key word is "progress."
Teachers cannot control what a student knows when they enter a classroom on the first day. What we do expect, however, is that every child will leave a classroom knowing more than they did. Raises primarily will be based on demonstrated progress — not how much a student knows.

- A) Can we, the public and the teachers hold you to this comment. B) Again you don't state progress, can we get a specific tool to gauge what progress actually is? c) You state raises, and by definition this means it is a permanent structure. Raises and merit pay are two very different concepts, so which is it?

Mr. Horner Stated: The proposal does not remove tenure for the 175,000 teachers who already have it. Newly hired teachers will work under a commonsense evaluation system, which is based on classroom success, not on how long they have been in the system. Ending the practice of tenure is not an indictment of teachers; it is a statement that we are ready to start treating teachers like professionals by rewarding them for results — and not requiring retention of low-performing teachers.

-I would have assessed that as the congressman so involved in education you would have already known that there is not such concept as tenure for Florida teachers. In 1982 it was removed and a system of due process is in place. The legislature seems adamant that it is going to try and destroy unions, that people within it are blind to what the laws actually are. Perhaps your aides can do the research and you can read the specifics, yet tenure is and has already been removed. If you take the aspect of due process from a teacher, then you remove any possibility of humanity left within the position. You want classroom success, perhaps offer the classrooms the tools they need to be successful. We have students of 2010, and a budget to make it happen of 1980

Mr. Horner Stated:
A third critical component of these reforms is to financially prioritize high needs areas in order to attract top talent to those positions.
Currently Florida is experiencing a teacher shortage in our most challenging learning environments: math and science courses, lower-performing schools and classes with special-needs students.
Let's attract our best and brightest teachers to these positions by acknowledging the additional workload they take on, and reward them with higher salaries.

Although you arrive at this statement lightly based on statistics, I believe strongly that you are misguided. EVERY area needs financial reform, and within that concept, every area deserves to be considered. The United States rested on its laurels and assumed that people would just flock to the hard subjects. I agree with you that math and science is underrepresented , yet in order to get the brightest and most skilled teachers into this area, you have to create an environment that they feel welcome. Florida is now the laughing stock of the country due to these bills you are creating. You stress lower-performing schools..fair enough. Do yourself a favor and review if is the teachers, or perhaps the environment that needs to change. If it is the environment, start with the area these schools are in and go clean them up. Get more police and law support. Typically underperforming schools are also in poor neighborhoods. Create a family task force and get kids to school.

Mr. Horner. You publicly stated all of this in a newspaper article. I would ask that the House and Senate allow for people within the profession to sit with all of you and to discuss exactly what goes on in the field of education. Unions are not your enemy, statistics are. Education has opened its doors in many ways, that perhaps it should not have, to try and educate the masses. AP Classes of today are the honors classes of twenty years ago. Honors classes are what Standard education was 20 years ago. And Standard education of today is so dumbed down that newspapers write on a 6th grade level just so people can understand them. The job of the legislature is to validate educating the people, not forcing education to be dumbed down to meet goals that are socially ineffective.

I will meet with you and any other congressman and talk over all these topics. I have read both Senate and House bills, and understand how each of them impact me, have you read them in their entirety?


 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Competition = Survival of the Fittest

With all due respect to The Federal and State Government: Since when did education become a competition that was so public. Grant money is designed to fund projects in a specific manner. If this is a grant, then outline the requirements. By making this a public stint, the Obama administration will come out as embarrassed losers and the States that buy into this plan will too. As I repeat over and over, education is designed to aid people in moving forward. The people that teach are the guides, and the Federal government holds the money. The State Governments offer the Standards for which educators and students are measured. Any more than that and you are trying to re-create a system. When re-creating a system it needs time to be measured and tested. Competition allows people to see the end result. Rarely do people see the time and effort of practice. Therefore, in competition, (Darwin) only the best survive. As an educator, if you make this into a competition, I would only want the brightest and the best, so that I am deemed the best teacher. The best coaches have the best athletes, the best teachers deserve the best students.

That is Darwinian Teaching and that is the desire of the Federal and State Government in creating this system.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-mike-thomas-race-to-the-top040610-20100405,0,1462195.column

Monday, April 5, 2010

Conservative national education expert opposes Florida’s teacher merit pay plan

Arguing over spilled milk is a playground stunt most of us never grow out of. We want what we want and there no one we are going to listen to until we get it. This seems to me, the mantra of the Tallahassee Republicans today. Jeb Bush has a business model for schools and wants to make a profit. Senator Thrasher is aligned with Jeb Bush and is working to single handedly destroy Public Florida education. I state Public as it is designed for all the people to receive a fair and equitable education.

Diane Ravitch is part of the brain trust behind NCLB. She recently stated publicly that NCLB is being handles incorrectly. I urge all readers to read her work, and her CV, then use that information in writing to Tallahassee. This woman has more years of experience and more knowledge in her head about education, than most of us posters combined.

cv- http://www.dianeravitch.com/vita.html
Articles - http://www.dianeravitch.com/articles.html

Grow up Tallahassee and listen to the people, this is how Rome fell. And this is how America beat the British...inappropriate politics.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2010/04/conservative-national-education-expert-opposes-floridas-teacher-merit-pay-plan.html/comment-page-1#comment-30299

Is forcing parents to become parents such a bad idea?

Comments in response to Mike Thomas Article Make Parents help Children Learn

Mike: This would be an interesting start in a direction. Perhaps we can maintain a systemic approach and add in the State in a more regulatory manner. The drivers license may work in high school. What about 1-10th grade prior.
Might I suggest we opt into Taxing parents for their failing students. The State believes it is all the teachers fault. In order to do so, a child who fails a grade causes a parent to pay for that repeated year. And while we are at this system of change, parents should assist at home where they can, and maintain a balance between homework, video games and family time.
I understand sports and other events are part of the balance, yet students are able to learn plays, then they are able to learn what teachers need to teach them. Being part of a systemic team helps...and Mike Thomas you are still welcome to teach my class for a week and see how you do. 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-mike-thomas-school-reform-032810-20100328,0,4287288.column

Mount Dora doctor never dreamed the storm he created

I am curious, for those that are mad at him. Are you mad because he is now in the spotlight? Are you mad because he is taking a stand in something he believes in? Are you mad because he is being vocal? Etc etc. This man is making a choice, and his choice is to place a sign at his place of business and share his side of the story. We all get that choice, and in this manner, he is using the constitution to his benefit. I think you are just mad at this guy because he made a stubborn choice based on what he feels is an inappropriate bill.

Here is my thought on that bill. Everyone pays 5% Taxes toward healthcare and everyone is covered. Divvy up the Private insurance Companies and they can manage portions of the country. We all pay one set amount, 5% of our total income. And no loopholes either. 5%...and as for managed care, the system will be created with a concept of equity for all. Yes it is like Europe and Canada, and yes they have problems too. Yet the difference between medicine and politics is still trying to figure out roe v wade...

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-florida-doctor-anti-obama-profile-20100405,0,750525.story

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Florida Education Comments from recent Online Articles

Florida is not above average for reading or math when 55% of its students are not capable of passing the College placement Test.

The FCAT is our only measure and quite frankly the test is extremely basic in order for the majority of students to pass.

The SAT and ACT are valid and reliable, and Florida is not nationally competitive with this test. I repeat loudly, this is not teachers, this starts with Family, and then the State. You want accountability, stop pushing kids through. Find balance with lawyers. Let kids fail, they need to remain where they can learn the basics. Stop worrying solely about drop out statistics. You want kids to succeed take away drivers licenses, until they are passing at grade level. Make parents pay a tax for their failing students; I bet students will start to learn faster. Then blame Counties who are more worried about statistics than they are about the actual student. Finally, when teachers are not doing their job, administration either needs to be able to intercede. People blame teachers and Unions. This is a Parent/State situation first, then a County/Administration setup which is designed to fail. Finally it's the teachers/unions who are working to keep education moving forward. If a teacher is doing nothing, they can be removed, yet kids who do nothing cannot be. Teachers who work hard through their year and take the time to attend conferences in the summer may not be recognized, yet a student who is failing and does something right on one day, is rewarded. The system is designed for failure and needs to be revamped properly, not in the manner Jeb Bush and Senator Thrasher want to do it. And FYI - the Bush plans sends kids to private schools or charter schools which are not State Reviewed. The public schools have accountability, the others do not. And the research shares that highly ranked public educated students are just as successful as the expensive private school students.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2010/04/teachers-union-fights-back-with-poll.html/comment-page-1#comment-25598

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Insurance and the Republic

"The lawsuit challenges the mandate that everyone buy health insurance or face a fine. Republicans call it an unprecedented federal intrusion into individual and states' rights. Big Government is forcing you to buy a service from a private provider, whether you want to or not. "The U.S. Constitution grants no authority to Congress to compel citizens to purchase health insurance when those citizens choose not to enter the health-care market." McCollum says.

Well if this is the case, then why wait till now to make this a public statement. Another issue I have is that I am mandated to buy the program. That is another way of using socialist medicine as a ruse, yet, why not do what England has done, and offer all medicine as a national plan. I will agree to 5% of my taxes going toward this. All companies other than the private insurance companies will be just fine, and there can still be competition within the private plan insurance which will now be required to have tighter books and maintain a stricter spending policy. If the rest of the industrialized world can work it out, I say to all the Congress people and the President, give up worrying about your election and do what is right. Create a fair system for all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform – Not at all

When congress agreed to create change in the American Health System, the people argued loudly that what they were to receive was not going to be fair. On this day, the American people received a document offering slight change. Even the President acknowledged that this document is not health care, it is just slight reform.
"So this isn't radical reform. But it is major reform. This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system. But it moves us decisively in the right direction. This is what change looks like" (Obama)

Again I state loudly, this is an embarrassment. Today, the real winners were the Private Insurance companies, and the members within government who wanted to find a way to stabilizing a leaking democratic party. If you want change and insurance for all, then do it. It is called socialized medicine.

This president stated he would bring about change, make change happen. This is an embarrassment even the president can adhere to.

http://whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/22/president-obama-acknowledges-health-care-legislation-wont-fix-everything-but-moves-the-country-in-the-right-direction/

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Press Reporter Extends Arrogance/Ignorance

Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-mike-thomas-merit-pay-pro-032110-20100321,0,3930824.column

Perhaps you leave out the most important piece of information from your article on purpose.
You stated; "And quality matters. You can give the same kids — even problem kids — different teachers and you get drastically different results." This is not exactly the truth. This is the same as saying I can write the exact same article as you have penned with the same information. Your ignorance and arrogance in this comment astounds me, an educator. I thought you had a clue as to the true aspect of what it takes to teach, yet it seems you do not.


"The proof is in the tests, which is why some merit pay would be based on them. Tests pinpoint weaknesses and reveal progress." Again, there is no proof in the tests. I work hard every day of the week, and I teach anybody the school sees fit, placing into my classroom. I do not choose who I get to teach, and when students stop trying, I do not get to ask them out, so that my scores seem better. My students come from all walks of life, and regardless of the day they have had prior to seeing me, I have to try and teach them. When the test arrives, and some of the students are 100% ready, they will pass.


 

Although I will agree that perhaps 5% of the teaching force is worthy of finding a new career, I do not believe that the blame is on the teachers. This is the same in any career field.
Unions also do a valid job in helping maintain a fair balance between school based administration, the county contract and the State Legislature.
I know you are aware of all this information, so I urge you to write a fair and productive article, which tells the truth. It is not the Unions who are at fault in the failure of students, and nor is it the teachers.

The problem is systemic and without a fair and just option of change, then nothing will happen.
The Republicans are asking to send students who are in an unfair situation, with vouchers, to a private school. Why? There is no accountability in a private school, and you are aware of that. So why send them to Private school. Teachers there are paid less, and do not need to be highly qualified. Why? My answer is that they graduate.

Florida graduated students last year, and 55% of them needed remediation in college. This is the fault of the system. Teachers are not allowed to let students fail. Parents refuse to believe their child is not good enough. This is not the teachers fault. Do your due diligence and call out the lawyers, and the lobbyists and the congress people who only care for statistics and numbers. As a system of education, we need to consider the importance of our future, and destroying a teachers credibility based on someone else taking a test is not a valid way. Teachers do no pick their students; we get to work with all students.

Teachers do a lot more than teach today, and I urge you to enter a classroom for a whole semester and learn to truly know the system before you write what you did today.

This is no way to treat the people who do work hard to educate the future congress people of tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Teachers Unite for a Fair Education System

Merit Pay systems in education DO NOT work. 1) Rewarding teachers for the results of students who don't care is not a fair method. 2) When parents insist their child is capable and they are not, therefore failing a class is not specifically a teachers fault. 3) Students who choose to be lazy and refuse to do work is not fair to the teacher. What are they allowed to do in this situation? 4) Teachers who work with lower level students to begin with, are rewarded with some success, yet perhaps not the State's requirement. Teachers work with students of all levels, and it is time the State and Federal governments learned to realize this. Education starts at Home. If there is no parental support, or the child refuses to work, then what are teachers to do?

Using this same concept, I am going to suggest we pay our Congressmen based on Merit Pay. If they pass the bills we want them to, and do it in the manner we approve, then they get paid. If they fail to pass the bills exactly as we, the population desires it; they lose their job immediately, and do not get paid for their work. They are obviously failing the State of Florida in the exact same method that the teachers are failing the Students.

It is time everyone woke up from this dream of entitlement and began to accept responsibility. Stop blaming, and start working to the level of expectation.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-ads-blast-merit-pay-20100319,0,5832782.story

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yes, we need Social Studies

My Comments from this article in the Paper today

This is needed in many ways. Although people in the country do not like Standardized tests, there is a value to them. And in the aspect of civics and history, it always irks me when students learn it for a test them forget it. It was asked online.. what about a teacher making the test, simple answer, teachers make it easy enough to pass. This will force the students to learn that the Government is created through an amazing history. People sit on here and whine about how unfair things are, well by knowing civics and learning the history of our land, how it operates etc, we prepare students for a future of success. English allows us to speak. Math offers us logic and concepts, Science teaches us that research and logic and spatial thought all matter. Social Studies is what is needed to truly have a voice and teach us to value humans as people and how we got to here. Without it, there would be no logic, or science etc etc. It is time to put a value on Social Studies and learning as a whole. Come on People, Let's do this.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-civics-fl-schools-030210-20100315,0,2211975.story

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teachers in Florida getting the Shaft

I still yell loudly, that offering merit pay to teachers is only a valid stance when the Parents, the School, the County and the State allow for proper preparation. When students refuse to learn, do work or rebel there needs to be a system in place where they can be taken and taught the value of this State Desired Direction. Talk with students. Some will say they don't care, school is a waste of time, it is too hard, etc etc. You are blaming teachers, I blame the whole system. Top down, then start at the State, and work your way down.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-merit-pay-bill-reaction-030810-20100308,0,5653092.story