Why You Should #DropUTD: Once Again, They Waste YOUR DUES ON FRIVOLOUS ACTIONS FOR SHOW, Rather Than Obtain Results

Subtitle: UTD and MDCPS knew within a month of filing by expert testimony their lawsuit was pure hollywood show.

shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=820

If you didn’t know, teachers’ “union,” United Teachers of Dade (better, “Untied Teachers of Dade”) filed a lawsuit in December 2014 against Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez for “underfunding the Value Adjustment Board (VAB),” the board established to review property values so that accurate taxes – upon which the school board receives its “required local effort” portion of its budget – might be collected.
MDCPS hired 2 expert lawyers – former Federal Judge Honorable Thomas Scott and Mr. Edward G. Guedes, a highly respected and experienced constitutional attorney with the Weiss Serota law firm – to analyze the merits of UTD’s case.
What they found was that UTD was a joke and wasting its members’ money.
Read on:
I wrote about this fiasco here:
http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=754 where I wrote:
“December 5th, 2014, United Teachers of Dade filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County against Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez…on the grounds that he isn’t funding his office of Property Appraiser sufficiently to raise sufficient property tax to properly fund education…”
My analysis of this was: “This Lawsuit introduces and paves the way for [Fed’s] successor at UTD, his current Secretary, KARLA HERNANDEZ-MATS”
and,
“ Either way, it is not the teachers’ union job (UTD) to sue the city. It is the statutory responsibility of the School Board to raise the millage on property tax sufficiently to pay their employees and operational costs.
UTD should have sued MDCPS multiple times for failure to do this.
The fact that UTD is suing the city shows me that it is once again an operational extension of the MDCPS system to do the “dirty” work, protecting those in power from a public “black eye” of raising taxes.”
These conclusions that I wrote about almost EXACTLY 1 year ago, before MDCPS retained the high cost retired Federal Judge and his colleague for their legal analysis below. See http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=754
Before I highlight the most damning excerpts from the legal analysis of UTD’s BUMBLING, RIDICULOUS LAWSUIT that just begs the question: “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU MEMBERS OF THIS COUNTRY CLUB FOR IDIOTS THROWING YOUR MONEY DOWN THE SEWER?”
I include a quote from defendant & mayor Gimenez regarding his own legal analysis of the joke of a lawsuit:

“This unfortunate and frivolous lawsuit is political in nature and fails to recognize state and local laws.
Unfortunately, UTD leaders did not participate or ask to be invited to the various meetings we have had throughout the last year at both County Hall and in the Superintendent’s office. Had they participated, UTD leaders would understand that the Property Appraiser is a constitutional officer elected countywide whose budget is approved by the Florida Department of Revenue – a state agency. Furthermore, the Value Adjustment Board is a creation of the State of Florida and not under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade County.” – Mayor Gimenez, http://www.miamidade.gov/mayor/releases/2014-01-12-statement-on-united-teachers-of-dade-complaint.asp
More Damning is MDCPS own legal analysis of the merits of the case:
” Preliminary observations as to the Lawsuit:

What becomes immediately apparent from even the most cursory review of the complaint is that UTD has failed to name an indispensable party to the Lawsuit, namely, the County Commission. The Lawsuit, at its base, urges the court to compel Mayor Gimenez to “appropriate sufficient funds in the budget to adequately fund and staff the VAB Process.” However, such relief, absent the participation of the County Commission, is illusory; since any amounts allocated through the budgeting process are subject to final approval or rejection by the County Commission. Courts do not render advisory opinions based on hypothetical circumstances. ”
“At present, though, with only Mayor Gimenez named as the defendant, we do not believe it likely that Chapter 164 would be deemed applicable…Additionally, section 164.1051, which addresses the scope of Chapter 164, provides exemplars of disputes that are subject to the dispute resolution mechanisms of the chapter. All of them are decisions ultimately the responsibility of the governing bodies of governmental entities, rather than of any single governmental official.”
“More fundamental problems with the Lawsuit:

Unfortunately, there are other more fundamental problems with the Lawsuit that seriously undermine its viability. As the complaint implicitly recognizes, the legal remedy available to compel an official to take specific action is an action for mandamus relief. An action for writ of mandamus seeks to compel a government official to perform an act that he or she has a clear legal duty to perform…if performance of the act requires the exercise of discretion or judgment, mandamus is not available as a remedy…
…The Florida Supreme Court has recognized that…even when a county commission’s funding determination is wholly arbitrary and capricious, mandamus will not lie to compel that specific funding be provided; at most, a budget may be remanded for further consideration in light of concerns that the funding decision was arbitrary and capricious.””
“In the Lawsuit, UTD has failed to identify a specific statutory or constitutional provision that mandates that Mayor Gimenez fund the VAB at a specific level of funding.”
“[UTD's] reliance on Article IX, Sec. 1 of the Florida Constitution is misplaced… Article IX, section 1, imposes no clear and unequivocal legal duty, whether general or specific, on Mayor Gimenez (or, for that matter, even the County Commission) to ensure adequate funding for school districts, or to fund any County office or department the operation of which might conceivably and indirectly have an impact on the Legislature’s ability to fulfill its constitutional obligations.”
“the Lawsuit [does not] state a viable cause of action.”
“UTD conspicuously fails to identify at what level the VAB process should be funded in order to avoid the VAB Problem. Would an increase of five hearing officers suffice? Would ten? The absence of any meaningful criteria to answer that question merely highlights why mandamus would not be an effective or available remedy. If UTD is not prepared to indicate what the appropriate funding level is supposed to be, then how could the preparation of a corresponding budget be purely ministerial in nature?”
Damning Footnotes:
“l Even in this most generic sense, the Lawsuit may not align with the reality of the VAB budgeting process.
3 While the complaint indicates that the Mayor has the duty to “supervise collection of revenues,” Complaint at 4, it fails to explain how such a duty requires that he fund the VAB at a particular level.
4 Morever, the complaint provides no guidance as to what level of adequate funding would be necessary to ensure that the VAB Problem ceases to occur. This lack of specificity becomes relevant to the viability of any mandamus relief. See Section B(3), infra.
5 The Lawsuit is analogous to suing the President of the United States because he has failed to adequately budget for the proper functioning of a particular department under his direction and control when the power to actually fund that department rests exclusively with the United States Congress.
6 There may also be questions raised as to UTD’s standing, collectively, to bring the Lawsuit. At times, it appears that the complaint seeks relief on behalf of the School Board, even going so far as to refer to the “Plaintiff School Board.” Complaint at To 5, 21, 22, 30, 45. The individual plaintiff named indicates she is a teacher and taxpayer, but not a parent of a child enrolled in public schools. Usually, these lawsuits name individuals who are parents of school-age children.”
http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article6552291.ece/binary/Read%20the%20county’s%20legal%20opinion

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Does the Management Manipulated Organization Posing as a Labor Union Dismantling Union Contracts Dating Back 50 years, Undermining Union Collective Bargaining, and Unraveling the Essence of Public Education Signify that the School Board/Administration Itself Has Been Compromised by Anti-Public Education Proponents Posing as Educational Reformers?

(this is not fully developed)
Sub-Title: Double-Talk UTD’s Fed Ingram  Stated in 2013 “The Contract will be compliant with Senate Bill 736″ but in 2015 Says of the Same Contract “If we maintain [this] step schedule, we would be out of compliance with the law” (see http://www.utd.org/information/what-a-yes-or-no-vote-means vs. http://www.utd.org/news/tentative-contract-agreement-reached ).

Shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=808

Question:  If you wanted to erode public education and educational unionism that defended public education, would you do it with a frontal assault?  A direct attack?

Or would you try something more covert?  Would you infiltrate the very organizations upon which public education rested locally and work covertly from within?

Which method would be resisted more vigorously?  Which method would spread and wreak havoc more completely before being discovered?

Is it possible that right wing opponents to public education have infiltrated the school board of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the administration of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and the teachers’ union staffed and paid by Miami-Dade County Public Schools?

I have already shown that the president of UTD declared that Race to the Top (RTTT) participation would jeopardize our contract and undermine collective bargaining:
We are strongly opposed to DOE’s complete disregard for the needs of our students and teachers. I want you to know that I will never sign an agreement that puts our contract in jeopardy and ignores the voices of educators.” – Karen Aronowitz, Dec 2009

“Aronowitz briefed the Board regarding Race to the Top stating that…after carefully reviewing the MOU from the State, ‘there is no way we can sign the document – it undermines our collective bargaining agreement.‘ – UTD Executive Board Minutes, January 2010″

In RTTT 1, Florida was rejected, in part for lack of union support.

In October 2010, UTD through its president Karen Aronowitz, signs full participation in the very RTTT she had rightfully declared a threat to our contract and collective bargaining, the core of unionism.

Who, or what, turned UTD’s Karen Aronowitz?

Now it has been revealed that our “union,” UTD and its president, Fed Ingram, have endorsed the abolishment of the age-old “step schedule” that veteran teachers were hired under and protected from favoritism, cronyism, “the old boy network,” the very schedule declared “grandfathered” by Florida Statute 1012.22.  UTD states:  ” If we maintain the step schedule, we would be out of compliance with the law“…when in fact, the law provides for the PROTECTION of the step schedule in place July 1 2014 and in abolishing it UTD and MDCPS now stand in VIOLATION OF THE LAW (see F.S 1012.22).

This step schedule which UTD through president Fed Ingram has abolished, the one he says on August 24 2015 is “out of compliance with the law” he said in October 2013 (when it was finalized) “The Contract will be compliant with Senate Bill 736 and other state and federal statutory provisions while maintaining protections for employees.”

So, which statement is true?  Which statement is false?  How do you know when Fed is being true or being false?

Who, or What, turned UTD’s Fed Ingram?

Regarding Fed and other anti-public education “deformers,” former Georgia Senator Kenneth Fuller says:

In recent years, local anti-tax groups, conservative politicians, and proponents of performance-based pay systems have attacked the [step] salary schedule for teacher pay, such as we have in Georgia — portraying it as an anachronism and an impediment to advancing student academic performance. Such claims have no basis in fact.
The [step] salary schedule is an objective method for determining teacher compensation and has been our law for more than 50 years. It removes biases associated with grade level, race and gender. It recognizes the contributions of all teachers irrespective of the subject matter taught. And it guards against subjective and inconsistent evaluations of performance…
…What lies behind this unprecedented assault on teachers? And, even more important, what can we do about it? We believe that these attacks are part of an effort to dismantle public education and that we need an effective, collaborative strategy to combat it…
…If [improving education] were the goal, we would see demands for adequate, equitable resources and funding for every student in every school — demands, for example, for quality early childhood education programs, full-time librarians, robust arts and physical education programs, mandated caps on class size, and enough time for teachers to prepare and collaborate
.”

So, yet another voice declares the actions of UTD to be ANTI-PUBLIC EDUCATION.

I propose to you that at the very least, UTD, if not MDCPS controlling UTD, have been infiltrated by Administrators and Board Members secretly funded and backed by organizations bent on destroying collective bargaining and the very foundation of our free and democratic nation, public education.

It is the only logical conclusion to the series of actions that have led to the impoverishment of teachers driving out the most experienced, most ambitious and creative, the undermined contracts, the erosion of collective bargaining and the abolishing of the tried and true step schedule that for decades has protected against favoritism, cronyism, the “old boy network.”

Perhaps you can trace the line of UTD & MDCPS administrators, lawyers and board members, connecting the money and their political trajectories…

…”Follow the money…”

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Annual Contracts Teachers: Vote this down and MDCPS MUST Comply & Give $7512 Bonuses. PSC’s: Vote This Contract Down and Save Your Lifetime Earnings and Keep Your Pension at the Level You Hired on For!

Shortlink:  http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=790

First, administrative duty:  PLEASE HELP REPORT YOUR SCHOOL’S RATIFICATION COUNT BY ENTERING THE NUMBER OF YES  AND NO VOTES HERE:   http://mbcurl.me/13PYD
We need observers present, record the tally, then send it to the website.
Please recruit pairs of observers at other schools.
I will provide 6 people with the link to the results (view only) so they can provide accountability.

The proposed contract for MDCPS teachers is illegal and harmful…not just to PSCs…but to ALL.
Here’s why:

1) No matter what Fed says in his long emails, he negotiated the salary schedule 2 years ago, October 2013. HE. DID. not Karen, not Tornillo. FED INGRAM.  see http://miamitimesonline.com/news/2013/oct/17/utd-gets-new-deal-worth-70-million/

To turn around and say it is bad means we can’t trust what he does one day to the next. How do we know what he proposes now is good? We don’t from his own deceitful actions.

2) This schedule is the grandfathered schedule under fs 1012.22. It is immutable. That is what “grandfather” means legally. It doesn’t change until all affected are dead. The school board and union are attempting to break the law and thought you were too stupid to catch them. Why?

3) The grandfathered, immutable schedule guarantees “sunset” raises at the end of our careers to provide a reasonable retirement pension – Fed says so himself in his letter of today. The need for this hasn’t changed and highlights the anemia of the schedule he has perpetuated. Standing up against the district’s and UTD’s latest violation of the law will give you a better lifetime earning and better pension plan.

4) The problem the district has is that it binds them to providing $7512 bonuses to AC teachers who are deemed highly effective. it dawned on me today that if we get AC teachers to stand with us in blowing the whistle on this attempt to violate 1012.22, vote it down and the 10/13 contract remains in place – they earn $7512 bonuses each time they are highly effective! not the target $2k (or whatever) bonus these guys are trying to slip in by turning our contract to a 2 year cycle with annual salary revisions.

BAM! WIN-WIN for all of us. Vote it down or join our lawsuit. Everybody wins but poor Alberto and his do-boy FED.

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Recent Salary Proposal from UTD and MDCPS is Illegal and is Set to Defraud You of Your Statutorily Established Step System.

shortlink:  http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=782

Subtitle:  This Proposed Salary Schedule is Illegal and Will Result in a Class Action Suit against UTD and MDCPS by Employees Involuntarily Removed from the Grandfathered Salary Schedule of October 18, 2013.

Senate Bill 736 implemented in part (regarding pay schedules) to Florida Statute 1012.22(1)(c)1.b. “‘Grandfathered salary schedule’ means the salary schedule or schedules adopted by a district school board before July 1, 2014” (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=1000-1099/1012/1012.html ).  It is described thusly by UTD’s documents:  “Grandfathered salary schedule- The current schedule(s) adopted before July 1, 2014 – Established as the basis for paying all school employees hired before July 1, 2014” (see www.utd.org/file_download/390/SB736-RTTT.pdf ).

On October 14th, 2013, a day MDCPS and UTD declared “momentous” in their jointly issued press releases proclaiming a “salary model [that] will facilitate a seamless transition from the existing salary schedule to grandfathered and performance-based schedules for the 2014-2015 school year” (http://news.dadeschools.net/releases/rls13/216_utd.html ).

The effect of the press release is seen in this Miami Times article based on the release:  “According to school officials, the tentative salary model will facilitate a seamless transition from the existing salary schedule to grandfathered and performance-based schedules for the 2014-2015 school year” (http://miamitimesonline.com/news/2013/oct/17/utd-gets-new-deal-worth-70-million/ )

This was the last salary schedule agreed upon before the July 1, 2014 deadline.

It is our “grandfathered” step system and is guaranteed by law until you or I INDIVIDUALLY OPT OUT.

The current proposal is a deceptive and illegal (if implemented) effort to reduce MDCPS’ financial obligation to issue $7500 bonuses to performance system employees…as well as grandfathered step system employees.

Rather than seize this opportunity to negotiate aggressively knowing that the district is so opposed to this obligation that they are risking an illegal and involuntary removal of grandfathered step system employees, our “union” traipses along behind MDCPS sheepishly proclaiming that this is their only option.

Aside from the continued loss of academic respect and professionalism, this contract represents an illegal and involuntary effort to relieve MDCPS management of its financial obligations.  A financial obligation expressed through a step system pay scale proclaimed 2 years ago as the means to satisfy SB 736 measures… yet now they state “The problem centers on the lack of funding and a salary schedule we have had for over 40 years… It was not possible…to fund a salary schedule that keeps our current steps…If we maintain the step schedule, we would be out of compliance with the law” – even though our “union” and management negotiated this schedule…not 40 years ago…but 2 years ago bragging that it would bring us into compliance with the law (see http://www.utd.org/news/tentative-contract-agreement-reached for the reference).

It is important to note that in a year that MDCPS receives $84 MILLION EXTRA, the only pertinent reduction in funding to MDCPS is the self-proclaimed (though craftily hidden in technical language) tax break the MDCPS School Board voted this past summer.  In a county where rising property values have produced 3 years in a row of surplus tax revenue allowing other entities (E.g., City of Miami) drawing from the same funding sources as MDCPS to fund extravagant wish list items, MDCPS has reduced the millage rate and tells the public “our funding has been cut”:   “a $38M revenue decrease that resulted from a drop in the funds the District levies…http://financialaffairs.dadeschools.net/ES15-16/ES15_16.pdf See my blog entry at http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=763 to read more about the deception of the public by United Teachers of Dade and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Allowing MDCPS and UTD to rob employees of promised and planned for large steps toward the end of their career only serves to increase the severity of the pay disparity identified by the recent study on teacher pay in the US by The National Council on Teacher Quality.  Here they found Miami to place 90th out of 125 large districts across the US, stating that Miami and “Florida’s other large school systems, rank poorly on a new teacher pay study” (see http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Smart_Money and http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/school-zone/os-teacher-pay-florida-study-post.html ).  In the study, and in direct contradiction to the repeated emphasis by UTD and MDCPS on starting teachers’ salaries, “A key factor in higher earnings for teachers, the study found, was not starting salary but how quickly pay increased.”

Current proposed step system changes are not only illegal because they damage the existing “grandfathered” step system, they are bad policy for producing a teaching environment that attracts and retains high quality educators.

It is a shame that teachers in Miami are so unaware of their rights and the “goings on” around the state with their colleagues in other counties to not realize that the “wool is being pulled over their eyes.”  Note that Duval County is fully funding its current step system along with the performance pay system – it must, under Florida Statutes (see http://mbcurl.me/13NG9)

My suggestion is to VOTE NO to this illegal piece of fraud and deception.

In fact, I would recommend stapling a resignation letter to UTD to your ballot when you put your NO vote in the ballot box (see last page for sample). Make sure you fax an additional copy to the provided fax number.

What kind of “union” would do this to its employees?

The same kind of union that bragged to employees and the public 2 years ago that this step system was what we needed to bring us into compliance with the new statutes in exchange for a surrender of academic rights (see http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=591 ).  The same kind of union that told us in 2006 that the biggest raises in history were going to be ours…but failed to tell employees that this was dependent only upon receiving $350 MILLION in extra funds…and as we sadly discovered, UTD was WRONG.  The same kind of union that was wrong in 2011 for incorporating RTTT/736 language into a CONTRACT when the courts overturned the requirements of the law but told us we would have to honor out contract because it was voluntarily agreed upon…  see here (http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=778 ) for additional evidence of incompetency and complicity with management by the union half of our ranks still pays hard earned dollars to to be screwed and betrayed by this Judas organization whose officers all make more money than you and have better benefits than you.

The question is, then, “why should we believe UTD now?”

Should we believe them now?

Even if they sincerely believe they are right, they now have a track record of making DEVASTATING errors and assumptions that history is showing to be unwarranted and foolish.

Why should we trust them this time when they have gotten the last 3 contract negotiations and amendments WRONG?

Do yourself a favor – VOTE NO on this deceptive salary proposal.  Attach the following letter to your NO vote in the ballot box:

Fax Cover Sheet

To: United Teachers of Dade

FAX: 305-576–7761

From:__________________________________________

Date: __________________________________________

Total Pages: 1 of 1

RE: Termination of Membership

Message:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to terminate my membership, effectively immediately. Below you will find the information needed to process my request.

My name is: __________________________________________

My employee number is: __________________________________________

I thank you in advance for your time and assistance.

Signature:  _____________________

read another excellent article on the proposed schedule:  https://kafkateach.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/kafkateach-does-math/

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On The Question of “Is UTD Cowering under the Shadow of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Management? Or Is It a Charade?”

shortlink:  http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=778

UTD’s performance is and has been brilliant. They project to be a labor union, when in fact it is an orchestration by MDCPS management to give the state, voting public and teachers the appearance of collective bargaining. Proof has accrued now over the years to show that this is the case:

1) from UTD’s prez Aronowitz submitting as her 2006 contract Rudy Crew’s bonus requirements ($40k starting salary at END of 3 year contract http://shawnbeightol.com/supestargets.doc );

2) The 2007 revelation that MDCPS was subsidizing Aronowitz’ staff and officers to the tune of $1.2 million. see http://goo.gl/e72P9

3) The 2008 healthcare increase – published by United Healthcare as 13.1% by Sept. 2007. UTD portrayed this increase as being anywhere from 50% – 254% increases. A dramatic back and forth series of “negotiations” is published and suddenly UTD announces they have negotiated a 13.1% increase. The audacity of such a fraudulent claim of negotiations is hard to overstate. See http://pdfs.dadeschools.net/Bdarch/2007/Bd121907/agenda/E66rev.PDF vs. http://web.archive.org/web/20071121063510/http://utofd.com/UTD_News/Property_Tax/healthcare_increase_unacceptable.htm

4) The UNANNOUNCED surrender of the 2010 raise while voting on healthcare costs: See bottom of pages 3 & 4 of the agreement found at http://www.utd.org/news/impasse-agreement-protects-jobs-and-insurance-ratification-vote-june-3-7-2011

5) The 2010-2011 orchestrated and FAKE drama shown in the alleged negotiations and legal fights between UTD and MDCPS (see http://www.utd.org/news/letter-to-superintendent) yet when MDCPS committed an unfair labor practice by emailing members directly (bypassing the bargaining team which is the legal route of communication) UTD did NOT respond legally or file a complaint (see http://shawnbeightol.com/UTDReWeismanStatements.pdf and http://shawnbeightol.com/Enids1726_001.pdf )

6) The 2011 CONCERTED rejection by UTD AND MDCPS of a judge ordered raise and no increase to healthcare! after the special magistrate appointed by the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission recommended a 1% one time bonus to UTD bargaining unit members, UTD did NOT pursue this. Rather, UTD filed an objection to this along with MDCPS, effectively terminating the process until someone requests the MDCPS school board resolve this. Why hasn’t this been done? Instead, UTD quietly pushes on behalf of MDCPS the suspension of the automatic step increase without raising alarm among members. Who does this represent? Management or membership? see http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/10Minutes-aComplicity.pdf

7) My 2011 court victory PROVED concerted actions between MDCPS and UTD to deprive employees of statutory rights (yet you continue to pay dues to these crooks?): The question I raised is, what did the district get in return for taking such an illegal risk? See http://www.3dca.flcourts.org/opinions/3D11-0163.pdf, p.2 where the courts uphold my allegation that the contract was complicitly negotiated to provide both parties with illegal benefits: “Shawn Beightol… argues the District did not act alone, but rather UTD “caused” the District’s action, and UTD’s actions were unlawful within the meaning of sections 447.501(2)(a) and (b), Florida Statutes (2010). After taking testimony, a Commission-designated hearing officer agreed with Beightol. The Florida Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) found competent substantial evidence to support the recommendation of the hearing officer and entered a final order adopting the recommendation. We affirm this order.” In short, UTD & MDCPS worked together to create a system that fed members into UTD and gave MDCPS WHAT in return?

8) The deceptive and nearly hidden ratification vote of contract changes in the 2011-2012 contract affecting the MDCPS evaluation model IPEGS needed to bring MDCPS into compliance with their Race to the Top (RTTT) application. MDCPS tells employees the contract has been changed manditorily by Senate Bill 736 (though the changes exceed SB 736 requirements and are actually changes to make MDCPS practice compliant with RTTT application). NO ONE, MDCPS nor UTD explain that the contract changes are pending ratification. In fact, the terms of the 2010 performance pay are announced POST-FACTO at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year and are attached disjointedly and illogically to the end of the contract language change for the 2011-2012 contract describing teacher evaluations (IPEGS). Most of the language is crossed out with no explanation of what the replacement language is. Teachers are told that voting Yes to this gets them a bonus while voting No would jeopardize the bonus. See http://www.utd.org/file_download/447/RTTT-Yes-No8-19-11.pdf . Such a disjointed, illogical application of “performance pay” for a year gone by attached to a contract change for the upcoming year can only be a reward for ratifing the contract change – a bribe. A bought vote.

9) furthermore, UTD disastrously included the IPEGS changes into CONTRACT rather than merely amending the IPEGS manual, guaranteeing MDCPS’ ability to maintain the draconian RTTT/IPEGS policies knowing that they were being challenged in court and likely defeated (and they were): “UTD in Miami, FL has already undermined the value of the judges decision by unwisely signing on to RTTT applications that paralleled and even EXCEEDED the legislation like SB736 in Florida.” So while the courts have declared the invalidity of the legislation, they will still require teachers to be evaluated by instruments in many instances MORE stringent than the legislation as a consequence of their lack of leadership, aggressiveness, and/or strength in opposing such travesties: “This decision does not mean that teachers’ 2011-12 performance evaluations are invalid under the bargained evaluation systems already approved by the DOE for Race to the Top purposes” – Judge Van Laningham (http://feaweb.org/fl-judge-invalidates-state-education-teacher-evaluations-rule ).

10) The January 2012 Healthcare announcement REPEATS the SECRET/NON-DISCLOSED surrender of raises for the 2nd year in a row (from my blog on that): “UTD once again wants you to surrender your raise that you should have gotten in the Fall of 2010 and again in Fall 2011 (surrendered by UTD’s May 2011 E-vote on 2011 Healthcare June 2011, overturned by Beightol’s challenge of E-vote at PERC). See D.1, p.29: “The 2010-2011 salary schedule will be maintained and employees will remain on their current step.” – This surrenders your right to a raise based on your growing, annual experience. It surrenders your raise for 2010-2011 (which UTD tried to do in June 2011, but my court challenge overturned UTD’s trick) and it surrenders your 2011-2012 raise – 2 YEARS’ RAISES, gone without a conversation, without UTD even pointing this sacrifice out to you. http://www.utd.org/file_download/651/TentativeAgreement-January27-2012.pdf

11) Prior to the May 2012 COURT-ORDERED re-ratification vote, opposition UTD stewards pooled their money and resources and paid a telemarketing company to send emails and robocall the UTD membership to vote NO to the hidden rejections of raises buried in healthcare votes. UTD fails to file requested unfair labor practice complaints against MDCPS for the coercive meetings, scripts, robocalls, and emails in the last days before the vote. UTD in action SUPPORTS MDCPS denial of contractually provided, court approved raises.

12) UTDs and MDCPS’ joint November 2013 deceptive introduction of the Cigna Local Plus (gutted and worthless ) healthcare option with NO information about its terms and conditions (from my blog on it): The Local Plus option was ABSOLUTELY OMITTED FROM THE DESCRIPTION OF THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT TO BE RATIFIED. It was absent from the district webpage until AFTER I announced it and challenged staff or UTD to publicly say where this information was made available to the voters. It has since been added to the district webpage (see today’s page: http://shawnbeightol.com/MDCPSMainpageEditPostSpeechtoShowLocalPlusInsExpl.jpg ), but I took pictures (with dates) of the district pages PRIOR to my speech and this information is missing (see http://shawnbeightol.com/MDCPSMainpageLackingLocalPlusInsExplNov4.jpg ). I am going to state this again to be clear: Aside from the premium/cost column at the end of the agreement, Local Plus information was NOT provided as part of the final Tentative Agreement materials made available to the bargaining unit. It represents a major change from last year’s plan. The description was added to MDCPS website AFTER the vote, as far as I can tell, AFTER MY SPEECH and letter to [the board]…I am embarrassed that when I stood to speak at SP-2 and challenged ANYONE on staff or UTD to tell the public WHERE the link to the information for Local Plus could be found, there was nothing but silence. To argue that SP-2 wasn’t the place to respond to an already passed SP-1 item is hollow – UTD’s Fed Ingram followed my 2 simple questions with his own round and round general SP-1 speech that never came close to answering my question “Where is the link to Local Plus” information so that the voters could have cast informed votes.

13) The December 5th, 2014, United Teachers of Dade lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County against Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez…on the grounds that he isn’t funding his office of Property Appraiser sufficiently to raise sufficient property tax to properly fund education. Sounds good at the surface, right? The problem is, 2 related reviews of property taxes in Miami-Dade County THIS July (2014), just prior to the inking of UTDs/MDCPS’ labor contract for teachers, show that Miami-Dade is sitting on an OVERAGE of property taxes collected THIS year (2014) of $28 MILLION and projected OVERAGE of $112 MILLION for 2015. The Lawsuit sets up MDCPS with grounds to reneg on its bonus/prorated stipend this year and/or next year, either to reduce it or cancel it (I guess we’ll know today, Thursday, 12/11/14 if this will happen this year…I doubt it since it would raise the ire of so many already pissed off teachers). Either way, it is not the teachers’ union job (UTD) to sue the city. It is the statutory responsibility of the School Board to raise the millage on property tax sufficiently to pay their employees and operational costs. UTD should have sued MDCPS multiple times for failure to do this. The fact that UTD is suing the city shows me that it is once again an operational extension of the MDCPS system to do the “dirty” work, protecting those in power from a public “black eye” of raising taxes.

14) and finally, the latest in this 9 year string of complicity and collusion: UTD continues to deceptively inform its members that MDCPS’ funding increase that would pay for teacher raises and steps (steps cost nothing, but adjusting them for Cost of Living would, and both are needed!) has been wiped out by a fictitious “shortfall” in Miami-Dade Tax Collection: http://www.utd.org/news/august-6-2015-bargaining-update and see my commentary here: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=763

It is time for people to see the reality of the THOUSANDS of DOLLARS WE HAVE WASTED ON DUES TO AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS FUNCTIONING TO PROMULGATE MANAGEMENT’s POSITION. The evidence has mounted sufficiently to file a class action law suit against UTD to recover ~$800 per member per year of membership for the last 9 years ($7200 if you have been a member this whole time)

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MDCPS Claims State Increase in Funds Erased by Tax Collection “Shortfall,” While City of Miami Increases Labor Expenditures Based on Same Tax Source

short link: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=763
UTD’s News Release on Negotiation Status (on a contract that was expired July 1 of this year…come on guys, July 1 every 3 years is schedulable…not unforeseen, let’s get this contract out) explains on behalf of management why there isn’t sufficient money for your step (http://www.utd.org/news/august-6-2015-bargaining-update ).

Yes, that’s right. Your dues are paying for representation of management’s position, not yours.

And once again, the cloud of smoke to distract you, the voter, is a “tax collection shortfall.”

As I have written before, there is no tax collection shortfall in Miami. In actuality, there is a surplus. The shortfall is a play on words accomplished by the district claiming to expect more money than what is known to be levied by the county – an amount in surplus the last few years. (see article references at end of this post as well as my earlier blog post on this http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/2014contractCaveats1.jpg )

UTDs lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Tax Collector is misplaced and a misuse of members’ monies. The SCHOOL BOARD should use its legal resources and grounds (see below) to litigate the county…IF THERE WERE ACTUALLY A VIOLATION.

UTD’s lawsuit would be a better expenditure of members’ dues monies if the suit were against MDCPS for violating FS 1001.42(12) that authorizes MDCPS to levy sufficient tax to carry out its educational mandate (see pertinent excerpt of statute below).

MDCPS actually states, in black and white, in its own document, that there is a short fall because it chooses NOT TO LEVY SUFFICIENT TAX, thus violating its own legal responsibility (see below).

******************statutory requirement to tax sufficiently***********************

1001.42 Powers and duties of district school board.—The district school board, acting as a board, shall exercise all powers and perform all duties listed below:
(12) FINANCE.—Take steps to assure students adequate educational facilities through the financial procedure authorized in chapters 1010 and 1011 and as prescribed below:
(c) Tax levies.—Adopt and spread on its minutes a resolution fixing the district school tax levy, provided for under s. 9, Art. VII of the State Constitution, necessary to carry on the school program adopted for the district for the next ensuing fiscal year as required by law, and fixing the district bond interest and sinking fund tax levy necessary for districts against which bonds are outstanding; and adopt and spread on its minutes a resolution suggesting the tax levy provided for in s. 9, Art. VII of the State Constitution, found necessary to carry on the school program adopted for the district for the next ensuing fiscal year.

*******Excerpt from 2015-16 Executive Summary of the Budget*************
Yet, MDCPS explains away an increase in funds of $84.2 million by stating “This increase in revenue is partially offset by a $38M revenue decrease that resulted from a drop in the funds the District levies to account for the now annual tax collection shortfall. ” http://financialaffairs.dadeschools.net/ES15-16/ES15_16.pdf

Now, whose fault is this “drop in the funds…?”

the sentence continues “…funds the district levies…”

You see, AC is at his word game again and again.

There is money for a step (and in truth, when steps are granted regularly, they do not cost the district more since each step will have relatively the same proportion of the workforce distributed and the budget doesn’t care about names of people on each step, just numbers, a fairly stable number over the years around 23000. it is only when the district withholds steps and the union allows this that employees distribution becomes skewed – new hires “pile” up on the initial steps, causing a large mass of employees on that step so that the district claims it to be cost prohibitive to advance…but even this is a lie, because the cost is caused by the district spending the money “saved” from the withholding of the step advancement. Money that is owed the workforce and money the union – UTD – should recover for us).

One final question…if AC and MDCPS are correct about tax collection shortfalls…why isn’t every government agency funded by the same source affected the same way? For example, why does the city of Miami continue to meet increased labor costs due to increased property values, the same property values that AC/MDCPS claims are in shortfall?

“Rising property values helped soften the blow of higher labor costs…No matter the property’s location, individual tax bills are likely to be higher, since property values themselves are up about 8 percent this year.”
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article2144721.html#storylink=cpy

And
“Posted Wednesday, July 8th 2015 @ 8am
Miami-Dade County’s latest budget proposal is bucking the trend of cuts and layoffs.

That’s because Mayor Carlos Gimenez’ newest $6.8 billion plan calls for an expansion in some parks and library services — and even an extra $1 million for police body cameras.

The latest surplus coming because property values jumped more than expected.

The 9% increase leading to an additional $48 million in property tax money to spend in 2016.”

Read more: http://www.wiod.com/articles/wiodam-local-news-122821/miamidade-mayor-unveils-2016-budget-proposal-13741722/#ixzz3iUKzDFGj

Once again, it seems we have been lied to by both our employer and our union.

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Today We’ll Know if UTD’s Lawsuit is JUST to Introduce Karla as Next President Material or as a Precursor to a Contract Negation…Either way, UTD PROVES it is Merely an Extension of MDCPS

http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=754

December 5th, 2014, United Teachers of Dade filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County against Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez…

…on the grounds that he isn’t funding his office of Property Appraiser sufficiently to raise sufficient property tax to properly fund education.

Sounds good at the surface, right?

The problem is, 2 related reviews of property taxes in Miami-Dade County THIS July (2014), just prior to the inking of UTDs/MDCPS’ labor contract for teachers, show that Miami-Dade is sitting on an OVERAGE of property taxes collected THIS year (2014) of $28 MILLION and projected OVERAGE of $112 MILLION for 2015.

I was puzzled over the inclusion of the contractual caveats that stated teacher bonuses (“Prorated annualized stipends”) were dependent upon the amount of projected SHORTFALL in property tax collection: less than $20 Million shortfall, bonuses awarded this year and next; between $20-$27 Million shortfall, a prorated bonus awarded first to step 23 teachers, then step 1, 2, 3…etc until the money ran out…this year and next; and finally, if the shortfall was over $27 million, no bonus either year.

Once again, MDCPS' puppet United Teachers of Dade, is used to negate another contract clause. (click to enlarge)

I realized something funny is up when the City of Miami, the Miami-Herald, and Miami-Dade County all project OVERAGES in property tax collection this year and next, but tag team contractor destroyers MDCPS/UTD set up a contract as though there is a shortfall.

Then I learned of the 12/5 lawsuit against Mayor Gimenez by UTD…and UTD Secretary KARLA HERNANDEZ-MATS (you read right, not UTD Prez Fed).

Now it is crystal clear and here is whats going on:

1) UTD FED (em crumbs) is running for FEA Office:

UTD's FED Readies the Sinking Ship for His Departure to State FEA, Leaving Karla at the Helm

2) UTD’s Secretary Karla’s name is the only one on the Lawsuit (Fed’s is conspicuously absent)

Where's Fed? Karla is Being Set Up to Run for UTD Prez as Power Player. MDCPS is Using UTD to Set Up for Claim Miami-Dade Has Tax Shortfall to Reduce/Retract Bonuses.

3) FED may have already been manipulated into a position of power with FEA.  He is an eloquent, strong, handsome leader-looking who appeals across the demographics.  This Lawsuit introduces and paves the way for his successor at UTD, his current Secretary, KARLA HERNANDEZ-MATS

and

4) The Lawsuit sets up MDCPS with grounds to reneg on its bonus/prorated stipend this year and/or next year, either to reduce it or cancel it (I guess we’ll know today, Thursday, 12/11/14 if this will happen this year…I doubt it since it would raise the ire of so many already pissed off teachers).

Either way, it is not the teachers’ union job (UTD) to sue the city.  It is the statutory responsibility of the School Board to raise the millage on property tax sufficiently to pay their employees and operational costs.

UTD should have sued MDCPS multiple times for failure to do this.

The fact that UTD is suing the city shows me that it is once again an operational extension of the MDCPS system to do the “dirty” work, protecting those in power from a public “black eye” of raising taxes.

I’ve run out of time on this blog entry, so I’ll just post raw my ramblings in earlier emails on this topic:

I wondered why the vague language about “pro-rated” annual stipends was in the contract…hearkens back to the “amazing, unprecedented” 3 year contract Karen signed in 2006 that had the asterisk stating that the whole financial aspect depended on $350 MILLION ADDITIONAL funds from Tallahassee over 2 years (an increase NEVER BEFORE OBTAINED…and at the outset of the housing bubble bursting, impossible to expect then).I wondered why the vague language about “pro-rated” annual stipends was in the contract…hearkens back to the “amazing, unprecedented” 3 year contract Karen signed in 2006 that had the asterisk stating that the whole financial aspect depended on $350 MILLION ADDITIONAL funds from Tallahassee over 2 years (an increase NEVER BEFORE OBTAINED…and at the outset of the housing bubble bursting, impossible to expect then).

Why was this asterisk, this caveat in the contract that somebody somewhere apparently voted yes for?Why was this asterisk, this caveat in the contract that somebody somewhere apparently voted yes for?

Because just before this contract was “negotiated,” Mayor Gimenez released the city of Miami budget predicting and OVERAGE for 2014-2015 in property taxes of $28 Million…something a Miami Herald article a couple weeks later echoed.Because just before this contract was “negotiated,” Mayor Gimenez released the city of Miami budget predicting and OVERAGE for 2014-2015 in property taxes of $28 Million…something a Miami Herald article a couple weeks later echoed.

UTD is filing this lawsuit so that MDCPS can point to it and say “See, there’s a shortfall” and restrict or cancel the stipends that are due out Thursday/Friday in the paycheck.UTD is filing this lawsuit so that MDCPS can point to it and say “See, there’s a shortfall” and restrict or cancel the stipends that are due out Thursday/Friday in the paycheck.

See my attached image that I had posted on facebook for links and analysis.See my attached image that I had posted on facebook for links and analysis.

I believe you are being played right into the fraud of faked collective bargaining by being urged to sign up and support a UTD lawsuit that states there is a shortfall in property tax collection.I believe you are being played right into the fraud of faked collective bargaining by being urged to sign up and support a UTD lawsuit that states there is a shortfall in property tax collection.

*In addition to the fanatasized/smoke and mirror $350 million additional FEFP funds of 2006 you will remember:*In addition to the fanatasized/smoke and mirror $350 million additional FEFP funds of 2006 you will remember:

1) the Dec 2010 – Feb 2011 faux tough talking emails that went out from UTD re: Enid’s/MDCPS’ healthcare stance and raises.  Enid fired back her own direct appeal to the bargaining unit, circumventing the bargaining team (as the board has told us so many times they CANNOT do when we sign up to speak about our contract’s paltry raises prior to the announcement of terms) – this was a violation of “good faith” bargaining as described in Florida Law…and done to make it appear there was a real rift and real antagonism between the 2 entities.  If there had been, UTD could have filed a PERC complaint about this violation and prevailed.  See my blog for documentation and possibility 2 for my speculation that this had all been smoke and mirrors:1) the Dec 2010 – Feb 2011 faux tough talking emails that went out from UTD re: Enid’s/MDCPS’ healthcare stance and raises.  Enid fired back her own direct appeal to the bargaining unit, circumventing the bargaining team (as the board has told us so many times they CANNOT do when we sign up to speak about our contract’s paltry raises prior to the announcement of terms) – this was a violation of “good faith” bargaining as described in Florida Law…and done to make it appear there was a real rift and real antagonism between the 2 entities.  If there had been, UTD could have filed a PERC complaint about this violation and prevailed.  See my blog for documentation and possibility 2 for my speculation that this had all been smoke and mirrors:

“Regarding the Recent Volley of Antagonistic Emails between Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the United Teachers of Dade”
Shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=43 – Posted on February 4, 2011
“Regarding the Recent Volley of Antagonistic Emails between Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the United Teachers of Dade”
Shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=43 – Posted on February 4, 2011

2) the May/June 2011 accidentally won lawsuit – UTD had filed a PERC complaint in spring of 2011 stating that MDCPS had the money for our raises and healthcare.  Surprisingly (perhaps, history shows PERC finds in favor of labor/employees more than half the times), PERC sided with UTD and demanded MDCPS pay us our raises.  On the last day to respond to PERC, after bargaining unit was said to have passed the healthcare agreement which SURRENDERED our raise and then so had the School Board – UTD FAXES A REJECTION OF THE JUDGES ORDER, surrendering our raise and no increase in healthcare cost.  10 minutes later, so does MDCPS.  See my blog entry here:2) the May/June 2011 accidentally won lawsuit – UTD had filed a PERC complaint in spring of 2011 stating that MDCPS had the money for our raises and healthcare.  Surprisingly (perhaps, history shows PERC finds in favor of labor/employees more than half the times), PERC sided with UTD and demanded MDCPS pay us our raises.  On the last day to respond to PERC, after bargaining unit was said to have passed the healthcare agreement which SURRENDERED our raise and then so had the School Board – UTD FAXES A REJECTION OF THE JUDGES ORDER, surrendering our raise and no increase in healthcare cost.  10 minutes later, so does MDCPS.  See my blog entry here:

“Evidence from May/June 2011 that UTD’s Karen and MDCPS Management are Secretly Complicit Against UTD Unit Members”

Shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=365 – Posted on May 11, 2012 by“Evidence from May/June 2011 that UTD’s Karen and MDCPS Management are Secretly Complicit Against UTD Unit Members”
Shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=365 – Posted on May 11, 2012

If you read the links I sent, the City of Miami has predicted a $28 Million overage for this year and similar for next year.

The question I raised in my attachment and on the Facebook discussion groups is…knowing that both the City/Gimenez and Herald have predicted tax collection overages this year and next year, WHY would MDCPS/UTD put language in the contract about a shortfall that no one else foresees?

I believe it is a play on words that will allow the district to either cut back or nullify our “prorated” stipend amount:

IF the shortfall is fantasized by UTD/MDCPS, then perhaps it refers to a shortfall in the OVERAGE that Miami predicts:  in the past, MDCPS has told the public that they cannot fund teacher steps since Tallahassee has cut the BUDGET…when in fact, every year except a couple during the recent recession (and Scott’s first term) for the last 2 decades that I collected FEFP data, Tallahassee has INCREASED MDCPS’ FUNDING (A budget <>funding).  In other words, by using a play on misunderstood and mistakenly interchanged words, MDCPS has deceived the public into believing funding was reduced so that contracts could not be honored.

I believe that by MDCPS/UTD putting strawman language about tax shortfalls in the middle of a 2 year predicted overage that we are being set up similarly – that if the overage is not as large as predicted, MDCPS will claim it is a shortfall to save a buck on our stipends 2 years in a row (the contract offers the possibility of the stipend repeated next year).

My biggest problem with this –  other than we don’t actually have a union representing us as much as MDCPS, a public entity governed strictly by law, has a private entity with much LOOSER requirements to do its dirty work - is this:

it’s not UTD’s job to be spending your dues money for MDCPS.  Florida law REQUIRES each school district to raise the millage rate sufficiently to pay the portion not provided by Tallahassee.

MDCPS refuses to do this for political expedience and popularity.

UTD should be suing MDCPS for not having adequate millage rates year after year thus impoverishing staff, losing best teachers, and providing sub-standard education to children.

For the same reason that local school board members don’t want to raise millage rates, for decades Tallahassee politicians have been trying to get out of the taxation and redistribution business, cutting Tallahassee out of the middle of school funding by shifting the burden locally,  requiring the local district to raise their own taxes through millage rates – it cuts out the middle man (Tallahassee) and keeps the tax money local (something MDCPS complains about)…but MDCPS refuses to raise the millage sufficiently and thus we continually have a budget that exceeds Tallahassee’s increasing funding.

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Seminoles, Spaniards versus British/Anglo/Colonial Power and Slavery

Just read this powerful essay from 1839 (The Voice of Freedom, a Vermont Anti-Slavery Newspaper) which powerfully places the blame for the Seminole Wars (3 of them: 1818, 1837, and 1858) as a product of a hidden agenda to deny runaway slaves refuge among the Seminole (a mixture of escaped Native Americans fleeing colonial expansion/Manifest Destiny in the upper states – recall, Florida was a Spanish Territory before 1821 – BTW, Seminole means “runaway” by some sources). Here’s the link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84022687/1839-12-21/ed-1/seq-4/

This article clearly supports the idea that the first seminole war was about denying refuge to the escaped slaves. Of course the 2nd and 3rd Seminole Wars were destined to happen once whites had the momentum of taking lands, farms, villages, hunting and fishing grounds from the Native Americans.

The cost of these 3 wars in yesterdays dollars was probably (combined) $60 Million with losses of lives ~4000-5000 from both sides. In today’s dollars, that cost (of JUST THE WAR machinations) would be $2 BILLION (see http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22926.pdf for comparisons).

This cost does not include the human tragedies, the Trail of Tears, the buy-outs/sell-outs, the continuing costs of law-suits and social costs wrought by devastating societies and civilizations and reducing them to poverty, purposelessness, and all of the social ills that have been associated with the US’ policies that displaced Native Americans.

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Bogus Graduation Rates in Miami-Dade County (Public Schools)

shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=703

This is my letter to David Smiley, education “journalist” (I think these guys are “Mad Men” for MDCPS – paid copywriters who do nothing but write obfuscations that mislead the public about the real status of schools in the Miami-Dade County Public School System).

David just wrote this article “South Florida’s former ‘dropout factories’ churn out diplomas as graduation rates soar

First, let’s be clear:  Fraud is being perpetrated on the public.  Miami Dade College says Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ graduates have dropped in their college readiness by 18%.  Fully 72% of MDC incoming students are UNPREPARED for basic college courses this year.

Subject: bogus graduation rates

David:

Brian Peterson is correct in your article on graduation rates.  As he said “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Funny how no one talks to teachers.  If they did they would hear the truth:  the kids have not improved, they are performing lower in standards by the time they are seniors.  They have learned that test scores won’t keep them back, attendance wont keep them back, nor will GPA.  Each year the secrets are passed on – which teachers will change grades, will bend the rules, will help increase the schools graduation rates.

They have learned that the administrators NEED them to graduate and will do anything to keep their stats high.

As far as Carvallo’s rebuttal, as usual, he speaks cryptically where only someone familiar with policy and law could catch him.  The kids are not being transferred to Adult Ed Diploma programs – they are CO-ENROLLING in special “crash course” Adult Ed programs offered in May to allow Seniors with insufficient credits to make up credits that the state says should consist of 120/135 (block/standard schedule) hours of “bona fide” instruction by credentialed teachers.  These special courses are conferring full credit in day school by using MDCPS’ definition of night school credit – 68-78 hours of instruction.

Many times these students find themselves in this position because they have clowned their way through 4 years.  By the time they are seniors they have no reason to behave in class.  They skip, cause disruptions, are constantly on their phones.

When they are co-enrolled in these Adult Ed courses, they are often left in the class they are failing where they brag to the other students that they don’t need this teacher or his/her grade.

Often, virtual school is utilized to meet the credential requirement.  But as any insider knows, if the kids around you can’t help, if the google search ability has been turned off by savvy Librarians, there’s always outside help as this veiled tutoring ad suggests “HW and Test services are also available

The bottom line is that genuine dramatic increases/improvements in attendance data and graduation data would be paralleled by similar increases in skilled employ-ability and freshmen enrollment in for-credit college courses (increased college enrollment, decreased  remedial classes).

But that’s not happening.  A persistent observation is that increasingly, college students are unprepared.

The Herald  did an article in 2012:

The Herald noted “54 percent of students coming out of high school failed … placement test”

Here, they noted “72 percent of them need developmental, or remedial classes to get up to speed for college work.”

We’re not talking Harvard.  We’re talking 72 percent of Miami-Dade College students are unprepared, even though they possess a report card from MDCPS that says they are.

And, as the 1 year difference in time suggests, the problem is getting worse, not better.

The public is being lied to and as usual, the Herald and New Times are afraid to bite the advertising hand that feeds them.

But David, you and your editors, your management, are contributing to the downward spiral that is killing the literacy rate of Miami-Dade citizens.  You are shooting yourselves in the feet by protecting the fraud that is being perpetrated upon the tax payers of Florida and Miami-Dade County.

Our ability to read, to make informed decisions and think critically is plummeting.  Our ability to attract industry that uses educated human capital will remain depressed.  Our choices to generate income in M-D will remain waiting tables, changing hotel bath towels, and building more Lennar homes in the Everglades.

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Is Pressure to Increase School Grades Resulting in Graduation Requirements Shenanigans in MDCPS?

Shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=693

Graduation Shenanigans?

Dear Colleague
Welcome to the Summer!  I’m so glad we made it another year.  I know it’s been some time since I’ve communicated this way, but recent events have led me to reach out to you again.

Recent stories have reached me pertaining to the possible bending of graduation rules in order to inflate graduation statistics.

I wanted to ask you what you know, if anything, related to this.

Is MDCPS By-passing Graduation Safeguards and Pressuring Teachers to Increase Graduation Numbers to Increase School and District Grades?

By-passing graduation credit requirements?
Recent information raises a question as to whether or not some schools may be engaged in by-passing unmet graduation requirements for seniors by utilizing sub-standard “quickie” courses to push seniors through and thus inflate graduation statistics which are used in assigning school grades, administrator performance scores and ultimately, the district grade.  Some of these courses are 20 days in length, may be under populated, may be supervised by unqualified instructors, and may not be meeting rigorous requirements for hours and content.
Pressure to Change Grades?
Additionally, stories of teachers being pressured to change grades in the grade book before they were finalized have surfaced.
Attendance Records Altered or Ignored to By-pass Attendance Requirements?
Finally, it is wondered whether hints of “funny business” pertaining to how attendance is being recorded or even changed may be accurate?  Are students with more than 10 unexcused absences being graduated after some magic wand is passed over the records?

Your Feedback is Requested:

If you have any stories about night school programs that seem to be handing out grades that don’t seem to be rigorous, unsupervised Florida Virtual School programs, attendance “funny business,” or any other practices that seem to skirt the spirit of the laws aimed at providing/ensuring meaningful quality education, please write me back.
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