by Suzanne Eovaldi, staff writer
As our nation’s public schools begin yet another year’s exercise in futility, read about the abject failure of the Pinellas County (Florida) School Board that is trapping black students in failure factories “within six square miles in one of Florida’s most affluent counties!”
An exhaustive investigation by the TAMPA BAY TIMES reveals that “Ninety-five percent of black students tested at the schools are FAILING reading or math, making the black neighborhoods in southern Pinellas County the most concentrated site of academic failure in all of Florida.”
Continuing on, teacher turnover is so critical that “some children cycle through a DOZEN instructors in one year.” Some of the teachers just walked off of their jobs and over half asked for transfers out of these five schools: Melrose, ranked by Florida’s Department of Education as its worst elementary school; Fairmount Park comes in at No. 2; Maximo No. 10; Lakewood at No. 12, and Campbell Park at No. 15.
Black children are FAILING AT OUTRAGEOUS RATES say TIMES staff reporters in their outstanding news story. Their research traced and reviewed “tens of thousands of pages of district documents, millions of computer records and interviewed parents” to compare the Pinellas School Board’s effectiveness with other boards all over the state. “Eight in 10 [students] fail reading, nine in 10 fail math.” For crying out loud, Mike Grego, school superintendent. Get your head out of its very dark place and DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!
Grego carries advanced degrees in Educational Leadership. Hello. Erratic funding of black schools, ending integration, solid slippage in achievement scores over the past ten years make for a dismal achievement record for these elected officials and their administrative staff! The huge salaries paid to administrators who pile up degrees in education to get themselves out of the classroom is a big problem, IMHO. Why are these people drawing big salaries given their pathetic record? How would they like their own children to suffer in this educational fraud, year after year? Why is the State of Florida allowing any of this district’s supervisors to receive taxpayer funded dollars? Where is the Department of Education’s head in all of this? If Black Lives Matter, shouldn’t the left be yammering that the Education of Blacks does too?
But Pinellas County isn’t America’s only school district from Hell. Years ago, a long-tenured high school science teacher at a Chicago inner city school told me he and his fellow teachers always signed up for 8 a.m. classes. I was complaining because I, as a non-union teacher, kept getting skewed schedules. “Why would you do that?” I asked him. “We don’t care if they don’t show up on time,” he answered. In other words, he liked not having to teach. He said many of his black students just didn’t show up until around 10:30 a.m. and that was just fine with him.
The truant guard was so overwhelmed he wouldn’t get to the laggards for days and that was a good thing for these inner city teachers. But the teachers are not the problem. Can you envision for yourselves just what it’s like to be trapped in these classrooms day after day? You get little to no help from administration. Your students come into class with all kinds of electronic gear and if you say something they don’t like, they put you up on youtube or other social media. You have a literal fear for your own life, your car, your belongings. No matter how much or how little homework you assign, count on many students not doing a thing. They get their federal dollars and educational perks either way so they don’t care. Our students maintain so little knowledge in their “knowledge storeroom” that you have to reinvent their wheels of background data over and over.
Here, in my opinion, are just some of things that must be done:
1.) Get the federal government OUT of our schools. Stop their unfunded mandates, their money payouts for indoctrination of our young people with liberal, progressive mantras, many of which come right out of Communist playbooks for destruction of America. 2.) Stop with the social engineering, the political correctness, the silly academic mind games. 3.) Protect our schools from frivolous lawsuits that drain much needed taxpayer dollars. 4.) Get rid of outrageous administrative bloat, salary pay scales, silly, endless rounds of pointless, “make nice” meetings. Make these people do something for a change; make them go into the classrooms to help out our suffering teachers, at least with student discipline and control. 5.) Get rid of public sector unions for every public employee except police and fire. And NONE, police and fire included, may be permitted to elect their own lobbyists, i.e. elected officials who exchange union donations for union favors in our legislatures or local city and county councils. 6.) Get rid of do nothing wasters of our taxpayer dollars, namely those silly Departments of Education. 7.) Get rid of automatic union dues deductions. For decades, Democrats have maintained a death grip on our schools by exchanging political contributions raised from union dues for the votes of uncaring politicians who happen to be in bed with this toxic system known as American education. 8.) Stop grade inflation. Return the teacher’s imprimatur to student transcripts. Flunk them if they fail your course. Put pressure on the student, not the teacher, to satisfy the federal grade quotas for federal dollars, a dirty little secret no administrator wants you to know about.
Finally, yet another source finds that parents are responsible for American students ranking behind sixteen other countries. “In the U.S., kids from homes where there are more than two full bookcases score two and a half grade levels higher than kids from homes with very few books…the problem is that parents–and particularly poorer parents–aren’t empowered to make a difference.”
One of the most important things I did in teaching 26 years full time at a Chicago area college was to require students work through the Little Brown Vocabulary workbook every day to receive grades in my composition courses. All levels of achievers received much benefit from this homework. While their vocabulary workbooks required enormous amounts of my out of classroom time, student vocabulary skills improved their overall success. BTW, this wonderful teaching tool IS NO LONGER IN PRINT! That shows you the current demand for one of the most valuable possessions in determining success in adult life—the ability to properly speak the English language.
Administrators use silly, cotton mouth “educationalese” to keep parents, especially poorer parents, well at bay. When one guy started that claptrap with me after I complained about my neighbor’s daughter walking in on her classmates performing oral sex in the girls’ restroom, I used some of those words of my own to tell him he and his other administrators needed to quit, leave, slip out the back or whatever and let someone else take over!
How often I would see these bloated, over-payed fat cats tear out of school at the end of the day, doing everything in their power to avoid their students, their stricken teachers and concerned parents. This has to stop, NOW. On our first day of school, the Palm Beach County School District had so many bus pickup failures that the local television station ran and ran missed pick-ups! Same old, same old.
As an adjunct at a well-respected area college, I had no desk, no phone, no computer, no office. I was paid $2,750 for one semester, two classes at two different campuses, four days a week, one class of turtles, one class of mainstream. Out of this enormous paycheck, the college deducted my pension, which I’ll never draw in Florida and my health insurance which I didn’t want, need, or plan to use.
Meanwhile, our local newspaper printed the salaries of the college president and his MANY administrators. President Edwin Massey is picking up an obscene HALF OF A MILLION DOLLARS every year from taxpayers, along with bloated administrators and their own six figure theft of our money. Now just multiply the effects of this cruel lunacy all over our state, our country and you can add up on you own why Johnny can’t read, write, add, subtract, get to school on time, treat his teachers with respect, etc. BTW, my pension as an English professor is with the State of Illinois’ pension system, the worst funded in the country. Nice, what? No, I’m not getting anywhere near the dough those Chicago Teachers’ Unionists are pulling in for their retirement. Nowhere near it!