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John King, school board district 2

I wouldn’t go to a Doctor to take care of my legal needs and I wouldn’t go to a lawyer to take care of my medical ones either. Yet the city, election after election, chooses to go to politicians or people only with a tenuous connection to education for it’s educational needs. This Tuesday however we can say enough is enough and put educators on our school board.

Will teachers automatically be better than businessmen or politicians? I think yes. They have been working with the counties children, next to it’s teachers, in its schools and this more than running a business or being a career politician makes them better qualified. John King has been teaching for the last seven-teen years, dedicating himself to the cities children and this makes him better qualified than his opponents. Though it doesn’t stop there.

I’ll let his own words speak for himself.

John’s desire to become a School Board member is not an intentional launch of a political career. He would rather refer to it as a det…

Differentiated Disaster

The latest cure-all for education is “Differentiated Instruction”. It means ‘meet the students where they are and teach them to their ability’. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately it’s not - it’s actually very harmful, and this is why:

Imagine you are watching a football game. The running back takes a toss from the quarterback and rushes around end. It’s the defense’s job to stop him, except, in this case, all the defensive players have their hands and feet tied together. There is no way the running back can’t score unless he doesn’t try at all or just fails to show up. This is what the powers-that-be want to turn education into and they want the teachers to do it.

Let me give you another example. Three kids are in a tenth-grade biology class. They finish a unit and a test is given. Kid One is required to answer fifty questions and to write a short essay. Kid Two is required to answer twenty-five questions and write a paragraph and Kid Three is required to answer ten questions and dr…

Teacher Raises

Times being tough is one of the few things most people can agree upon. As a result I certainly understand why some people can become upset at the notion of teachers getting raises. However acutaly teachers aren’t getting raises they are getting steps.

A step says a first year teacher will get paid this much, a second year teacher will get paid a different amount and a third year teacher something different and so on. It’s the equivalent of a company paying a wielder a certain amount, a mason another and a carpenter yet a third sum. The steps themselves unless you are at the top end of the pay scale are very small and teachers haven’t seen an actual raise in several years. Okay if some of you are thinking maybe a step increase and a raise is actually a distinction without a difference, fair enough but here is where some real differences come into play.

Many teachers annually spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on their students and their rooms’, money that is not reimbursed by …

Hello, my name is Al Brennan, I am the principal of Forrest high school and I hate teachers (revised)

Principal Brennan didn't actually say that, and I doubt he feels that way, too. Sadly, that's what numerous teachers heard when he told them at the welcome back staff meeting that if they didn't park in their designated spots he would have their cars towed; if they didn't turn in a classroom key, he would say they stole it (and words to the effect that he would prosecute them) and that if they were one minute late they would be disciplined. “ I wouldn't dream of talking to my students that way, and if I did I would rightfully get in trouble”, a teacher friend of mine said.

Principal Brennan has also taken to monitoring (or having monitored) his teacher’s social networking sites, telling teachers that they can’t have students on their pages and taking umbrage to some of his staff’s status updates. I have better things to do than look at my student’s pages, and I would hope people entrusted to run schools would, as well.

It's common practice for teachers to sta…

The Times Union doesn't get it

The Florida Times- Union

My mother worked for the Florida Times- Union for thirty years. I learned to read by reading the paper. When I was little, I would sit at the kitchen table reading the paper with my mother. I still sit at the kitchen table to read the paper. The Florida Times- Union has been a big and important part of my life, and believe me - it gives me no pleasure in saying the Florida Times -Union “just doesn’t get it”. This is hurting both Jacksonville and its children.

Jacksonville intersects two major highways. It’s on both a major river and the ocean. It has a seaport and an international airport. Our city has lots of room to grow and much of the infrastructure in place to do so. We have a professional football team, are close to entertainment hubs and have one of the best park systems in the entire country. We are a pro-business city in a pro-business state that doesn’t have an income tax, and I haven’t even mentioned how great our weather is, yet. On paper, Jacksonv…

Shame on the Times Union for not supporting the city's children

It's disappointing to see the Times Union pick career politicians over teachers for two of the school board races. In effect they are saying the way we have been doing things (putting career politicians using the board as a stepping stone, undoubtedly up for Mr. Lee, and down for Mr. Smith) is working and nothing could be further from the truth.

The board desperately needs people who are working with the cities children next to its teachers in its schools. They better than people filled with hubris how have a tenuous relationship to education are what we need. Becki Couch and John King where not as experienced politically are better qualified.

Doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different out come is a common definition of insanity. To follow the times unions picks where perhaps not insanity is certainly folly. I am not questioning the character of their picks, I am questioning their qualifications and unless they have been in the schools day after day then they are u…

Reverse Psychology: Collaboration

Reverse psychology is one of the oldest and lamest tricks in the book. It’s where you tell somebody they are scared of something with the expectation that they will try and prove you wrong by doing it. Several times this week, when talking about collaboration, it’s been implied that teachers are scared of it. ‘It’s new, so teachers don’t like it’, and ‘teachers think it’s safer to rely on themselves’ have both been thrown out there.

I think collaboration is great. Teachers can often learn strategies and techniques from each other. Then, in the upper grades, students usually have multiple teachers and there we can learn from each other what is and what isn’t working with a particular student. These are strategies (and I am not sure the powers-that-be know it) that teachers have been employing for as long as there has been education; I am sure Plato ran some ideas past Socrates in his time.

For some reason, however, collaboration has recently become all the rage; it’s as if the powers-th…