Today's news -- August 14, 2017





The collateral damage of an “F” school grade * (by Lisa Fontaine)
When you’re a teacher or work in another capacity as a professional in our public schools, you hear lots of things that don’t quite ring true. “You have the summers off” is one refrain I’ve often heard. Well, this summer was far from some idyllic vacation, at least for me. In fact, there were parts of this summer that were heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. This happened when I received a phone call that announced that the state of Florida had determined I was an “ineffective” teacher and would be removed from my school. This same horror story happened to six other teachers at my school. Since then, I have watched our school being torn apart. First the teachers, then the entire administration. You see, I work at a school that the state has chosen to label with an “F” grade. The students at the school are all eligible for 100 percent free lunch. Of the 39 students who were assigned to my classes on the first day of school, 23 were gone by the time the school year finished. The school was without running water in more than half our classrooms. The school is housed in more portables than real classrooms. The school is not properly funded. The school doesn’t have the technology needed to help our students. The school couldn’t fund basic teaching supplies like a board to write on. The school didn’t have the educational programs other struggling schools were given. My profession, the one I went to college for, the one I am so passionate about, took a huge hit. Those of us who teach in that school are second guessing our career choice. We are second guessing our worth in our chosen profession. All of this, of course, based on some test score that labeled our school with an “F”. Well, here is what that “F” grade didn’t say. We worked hard. We funded our own classrooms out of our own pockets. We wrote grants, we found volunteers. We cared, we loved, we made a difference. We made sure our students knew they mattered and we did what was best for our students. It is a sad day for education when a test score trumps doing what is best for children. I’m not advertising the name of our school, because I don’t want any more of a stigma than that “F” grade that the state hung on us just because of their ever-changing, standardized-test-based formulas. Just know that these are the kinds of challenges that teachers and education professionals face every day in some of the public schools that aren’t in the most affluent neighborhoods. By the way, I do still have MY job. My test scores even went up! The hell I went through ended after I proved there was an error with my scores and I in fact had been deemed “highly effective” and had even received a bonus. But the state didn’t determine all that — I had to point it out to them. I may have had a happy ending to my story, but I have mixed feelings about the world of education and where I fit in. It is not OK to treat people like this. The other six teachers will not be returning. They were good teachers. They were good people. It doesn’t appear to me, my fellow teachers or administrators that we were the “ineffective” ones. Because of the actions of the Legislature, the governor and the education establishment in Tallahassee, the 2017-18 school year is off to a great start.


Keys school board, union reach deal (Holly Hummell-Gorman quoted)


Osceola School Board to study joining lawsuit against Legislature (Apryle Jackson quoted)


Join the 7069 lawsuit, part 1: an elegant fight for good faith in state government (by a Polk School Board member)


Broward charter school leaves trail of debt, allegations of misappropriation


Scott appointees say they will use connections to advance Manatee agenda


Low pay and high stress make bus driver jobs hard to fill (Greg Joiner quoted)


Schools facing a teacher exodus. Look who's staying


Are teachers professionals? *

Are teachers professionals? It seems like a simple question with an obvious answer, but for years teachers have been treated by policymakers as anything but professionals. Their judgments about how to educate and evaluate children are not taken into account, and they are evaluated by measures that statisticians say aren’t valid assessment tools (such as when teachers are evaluated by the standardized test scores of students they don’t have and subjects they don’t teach). Teaching is often deemed “a calling,” which is a way of saying that teachers are born and that teaching doesn’t really require rigorous training beyond knowing the subject being taught. In this post, educators Todd Hawley and Adam Jordan answer the question asked in the headline.


Music is fundamental to children’s education, not a wish


Parents have “back to school” responsibilities


What standardized tests tell us (not much)


DeVos say school vouchers part of tax overhaul discussions


After six months on job, education chief still highly divisive


This ALEC state report card speaks volumes about DeVos’ education agenda


When DeVos says “school choice,” think crony capitalism


Indiana: In voucher program, $16 million went to schools with anti-LGBT policies


Culture of love, fun needed in schools


Little Rock: The Waltons buy another school for conversion to charter


New York charter backer shows his true colors
“Hypocrites who pay fealty to powerful union thugs and bosses do more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood.”

Conservatives say campus speech is under threat. That’s not new.


The “free speech” hypocrisy of right-wing media


Campus assault survivors deserve better than DeVos


Making affirmative action white again


Few students enroll in $10,000 college degree programs


Attorney: Fire UF president for Sunshine violations


UF finds evidence ex-lawyer mishandled public records


Scott’s job promises missed most Floridians


Stop neglecting growth management in Tallahassee


Florida’s Stand Your Ground change unconstitutional, second Miami judge rules


Scott wants tax measure on next year's ballot


Preparation is key as Negron remains a force heading into 2018 session


Union’s loss is the South’s loss, too


Glover and Sanders seek France's help after Nissan union vote


Mueller is said to seek interviews with West Wing in Russia case


Senate inquiry into Russian meddling could wrap up this year, Burr says


Subpoena Deutsche Bank regarding Russia, Democrats tell GOP committee chief


Ross has links to Russia that he won't answer questions about


Senate panel wants White House responses on Kushner's security clearance


Democrats see an opening to put up barriers between Trump and Russia probe


Trump's odd thanks to Putin for expelling diplomats sparks anger among diplomats,amp.html


Combative Trump pulls his punches for one man: Putin


House conservatives hope to revive Obamacare repeal vote


Tampa Obamacare sign-up organizers brace for shortened enrollment, less help


Trump’s baffling attacks on McConnell could be costly to the president


Gingrich: Trump handling the Senate “badly”


Republicans may not have the votes for more spending cuts


Think Obamacare repeal was hard? Wait for tax reform


The Trump administration is deporting a lot of good people


Stay, hide or leave? Hard choices for immigrants in the heartland


Congress has the power -- and the responsibility ‘’ to protect the “dreamers”


For Haitians in U.S., the road to refuge runs straight to Canada -- and arrest


Watch Thomas take over the Supreme Court on behalf of Trumps


Pence calls Trump a “champion” of inner cities


How a factory deal puts the “con” in “Foxconn” -- and how taxpayers will get taken,amp.html


Pruitt is carrying out his EPA agenda in secret, critics say


Calls for diplomacy vie with fresh threats in North Korea crisis


Ellison: “Irresponsible” Trump could bring about first strike by North Korea


Trump is giving North Korea exactly what it wants


Despite Trump’s threats, the military doesn’t appear to be on a wartime footing


Officials downplay idea that nuclear war with North Korea is imminent


Trump has been thinking about nuclear war for decades


Trump predicts “tenfold” boost in tourism for Guam amid threats by North Korea


Guam official following Trump’s tourism assessment: “None of this is good publicity”


Congressional leaders not hearing much from White House on North Korea


North Korea’s missile success is linked to Ukrainian plant, investigators say


Nelson cautions Trump while touring Florida Poly


Deutch faults lack of Trump leadership on North Korea


Trump says he does not rule out “military option” to deal with strife in Venezuela


Pence vows to end “tyranny” in Venezuela through “peaceable means”


Venezuelan government uses Trump’s threat to boost anti-American sentiment


Powerful Venezuelan lawmaker may have issued death order against Rubio


Trump's China trade crackdown coming today


Chinese state newspaper says Trump trade probe will “poison” relations


Kushner to meet with Mideast leaders in latest attempt at peace deal


Iran lawmakers raise missile, guard spending to challenge U.S.,-Guard-spending-to-challenge-US


How Trump’s State Department is sabotaging America’s future leadership


Kelly considers further shuffling of West Wing staff, officials say


Report: Trump suspects chief strategist Bannon of leaking to the press


Bannon has a shadow press office. It may violate federal law.


Trump aides predicting “brutal” September


White House aide forced out after claim of leftist conspiracy


Trump is using the presidency to enrich his family


How a conservative TV giant is ridding itself of regulation


Trump TV ad attacks Democrats, media as “the president’s enemies”


“We’ve had enough”: Conservatives relish the “fury” in Trump’s talk


Man charged after white nationalist rally in Charlottesville ends in death (Randi Weingarten quoted) (Randi Weingarten quoted) (Randi Weingarten quoted)


Trump is criticized for not calling out white supremacists


Pence assails media for criticizing Trump over Charlottesville


Sessions defends Trump’s response to Charlottesville violence


One group loved Trump’s remarks about Charlottesville: white supremacists


There are only two sides to Charlottesville. Trump is on the wrong one.


Trump lit the torches of white supremacy. We must extinguish them.


After Charlottesville: End the denial about Trump


Sessions opens federal probe on Charlottesville


Charlottesville crash suspect was “very infatuated with Nazis,” teacher says


Charlottesville victim: “She was there standing up for what was right”


Far-right groups surge into national view in Charlottesville


After Charlottesville, will white pastors finally take racism seriously?


Local vigils held in response to violence in Charlottesville


White supremacist leader at center of Charlottesville events may come to UF


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