Saturday, October 20, 2012

Making a difference for ALL students

The old he-coon may no longer be with us, but we can carry the torch for Governor Lawton Chiles and all Floridians who want our schools to be the best for all of our children. I attended the Duval County School Board debates this evening at First Coast News and was disappointed that one candidate decided to play up his conservative credentials at the expense of understanding that there are liberals, moderates and independents who also want our children to succeed. The school board races have been traditionally nonpartisan, so it annoyed me that we have folks who depend on big names from Tallahassee to steer voters in the direction of one party coming in and telling our community what is best for our schools. I believe in accountability for our public schools. I believe in supporting the best and the brightest educators to help our community. I believe in best serving our children in all schools - public, charter, private, parochial and home. I do not believe in the current paradigm in which we continually use 'accountability' as a weapon with which to remove resources from the schools that need it the most, with which to punish communities that are already struggling, with which to demonize the teachers who toil daily and spend their own money to build better schools and with which to paint a negative picture of the professional organizations that advocate for public schools. The national debate is vigorous as we search for ways to compete in the global marketplace. The real issue is how to solve these pressing problems, and I can say that our educators and education support professionals are not the problem. The real problem lies in perverting the true purpose of what was supposed to be diagnostic testing into a partisan sledgehammer that is used to cripple our schools. This is why I am taking a stand this evening to fully throw my support behind Jon Heymann for School Board.

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