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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Miami-Dade Elected School Boards Have an Obligation to Know the Educational Laws Governing Their Domain: FCAT Data IS NOT the Only Option by Which to Judge Teachers

shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=685

Upon challenging the MDCPS school board at the January 15th MDCPS Board Meeting to direct their staff to implement more appropriate teacher evaluation methods other than FCAT Reading and Math for all teachers (including Chemistry, Calculus, PE, Art, Journalism, Photography, History, etc), a few board members interjected saying their hands were tied, that they had to use Florida FCAT data and the VAM methodology.  Here is my response:

Last night you the board heard that your “hands are tied,” that you have no authority and option to implement something more accurate and helpful to teachers (and thus students) than smearing everyone with FCAT Reading Gains as evaluation measures.

I’m glad Ceresta pointed out that MANY board members and superintendents ARE doing things beyond the dais to bring about needed change.

But one need not go further than Florida Statutes to see your hands are NOT tied.  One need look north to some of our rural counties to see where they are trying to get it right.
Florida Statutes have said since 2011:

(3) EVALUATION PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA.—Instructional personnel and school administrator performance evaluations must be based upon the performance ofstudents assigned to their classrooms or schools,

…a school district’s performance evaluation is not limited to basing …performance of instructional personnel…solely upon student performance, but may include other criteria … to evaluate instructional personnel …performance, or any combination of student performance and other approved criteria.(a)  …The evaluation criteria must include:1. Performance of students.—At least 50 percent of a performance evaluation must be based upon data and indicators of student learning growth assessed … for subjects and grade levels not measured by statewide assessments, by school district assessments as provided in s. 1008.22(8). Each school district must use … an equally appropriate formula for measuring student learning growth for all other grades and subjects, except as otherwise provided in subsection (7).

here are the relevant points of this subsection(7):

(7) MEASUREMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING GROWTH.—

(c) For a course that is not measured by a statewide assessment, a school district may request, through the evaluation system approval process, to use a student achievement measure rather than a student learning growth measure if achievement is demonstrated to be a more appropriate measure of classroom teacher performance. A school district may also request to use a combination of student learning growth and achievement, if appropriate.

(e) For classroom teachers of courses for which the district has not implemented appropriate assessments under s. 1008.22(8) or for which the school district has not adopted an equally appropriate measure of student learning growth under paragraphs (b)-(d), student learning growth must be measured by the growth in learning of the classroom teacher’s students on statewide assessments, or, for courses in which enrolled students do not take the statewide assessments, measurable learning targets must be established based upon the goals of the school improvement plan and approved by the school principal.

Since 2011, Suwannee District Schools has done exactly this.  As their FL DOE Evaluation Document on file from 2011 says:

“State Board Rule 6B-4.010, F.A.C., requires that where a district “…makes substantive modifications to an approved school district instructional personnel assessment system, the modified system shall be submitted to the Department of Education for review and approval.”  The purpose of Suwannee School District’s redeveloped Performance Evaluation System is to increase student learning growth by improving the quality of instructional, administrative, and supervisory service (1012.34 (1)(a), F.S. To this end, Suwannee School District is committed to a cycle of continually updating the evaluation system to reflect state models, best practices that emerge over time, and changes in policy.   Our system was created by a representative team of stakeholders, including principals and teachers, serving on an evaluation system redevelopment committee.”

Their alternative and APPROPRIATE teacher evaluation system includes:

  • AP exam pass rates for AP teachers
  • ACT, SAT, PSAT results from students taking those tests for teachers with these students teaching applicable content
  • Interim exams/assessments analyzed with Thinkgate, STAR Reading, STAR math, etc (majority) blended with a minority amount of FCAT growth
  • Industry Certification results for Vocational teachers (like the Veterinary Certification exams)
  • For students who fit none of these categories, Suwannee County School Board & Staff worked with principals to develop measurable learning targets aligned with each school’s School Improvement Plan (as provided for legislatively).

Since 2011, Suwannee County has been joined by AT LEAST 3 other counties (Columbia, Union, & Lafayette) in providing more APPROPRIATE performance measures for staff evaluation.

Furthermore, since 2011, the FL DOE has published and provided resources and assistance to districts to do just this, solutions including such things as teacher FINAL EXAMS!see http://www.floridafoil.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/TAP_for_District_Developed_Assessments2.pdf

Here’s Gilchrist county’s exemplary program of using TEACHER EXAMS as performance measures: http://www.fldoe.org/arra/pdf/GilchristCountySchoolDistrictTeacher-DevelopedAssessments.pdf

I wrote to the MDCPS staff (including the lawyers since I had a lawsuit against the ratification process that adopted the current INAPPROPRIATE performance measures) in September 2011 to apprise them of Suwannee’s creative, motivated, and APPROPRIATE performance measure attempts.

I got no written response.  I heard a committee of teachers would be formed to generate better methods.

Obviously no better methods were generated…whether because no committee formed or if one formed, no better ideas were generated.

I KNOW, you all know, that the State VAM “is a sham.”

But this is NOT what I was addressing last night.

There are 2 layers of insanity that we teachers are dealing with  - the State VAM SHAM and the district layer of insanity -
1) The lack of attention/commitment to generating APPROPRIATE measures of performance.

2) The capricious generation of “Cut Scores”: Last year it was based on [VAM +/- multiple of the Standard Error].  This year, sometime after January 6th, the formula was published (changed) to [VAM/(Standard Error)].  What will it be next year?  When will we be told?  When will we be trained?

3) Some point between August 2011 and today, someone decided to make a choice between FCAT Reading and FCAT Math (now EOC Algebra?) for Schoolwide performance data for teachers NOT teaching assessed classes.  We were not told.

4) Someone chose the higher of the two, Reading or Math……but not the higher of the 9th Grade Reading or 10th Grade Reading?

5) Someone chose a weighted average of the 9th Grade Reading and 10th Grade Reading……but not the weighted average of the Reading and the Math?

6) Someone chose to do the weighted average on the number of teachers……but not on the number of students whose scores are being used?

7)Someone chose to describe Categories 1, 2, & 4, leaving 3 “Assign category 3 to all other teachers”……but had they defined any other 3 and left category 4 to “all other teachers,” the summatives would be very different.

My attempt last night was to goad you board members into intervening here and push your staff to produce something more healthy for your workers in the trenches, where morale is hurting for a number of reasons, now most recently because of the District Insult added to the State Injury of VAM. Your hands are NOT tied.

Regards,

Shawn Beightol

ChemistryFerguson Sr. High School

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Say No to Inappropriate VAM Use by MDCPS at Next Board Meeting, Wed, Jan 15, 5 PM

shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=679

Please feel free to forward this:

I am asking you to join me and other teachers to voice our opposition to the current and unnecessary utilization of VAM for teachers not teaching state assessed subjects.at the Wednesday January 15th 5 PM Public Hearing of the MDCPS School Board Meeting at 1450 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132. If you wish to speak, you must fill in this form, print it out and fax it “Attn: Citizen Information Center” by 430 PM Monday, January 13th: http://forms.dadeschools.net/webpdf/6314.pdf

If you want, you can fax directly from your computer by “print to PDF” the filled out pdf board speaker form above. Your computer will save the filled out pdf and you can send it by following directions at http://faxzero.com/

If you are like me and the majority of MDCPS School Staff, you are devastated by the seemingly random VAM score that brings down your total score.

Did you know that MDCPS’ own research department JUST published this conclusion about the VAM we are using:

“The teacher value-added estimates are so noisy that…’it is not possible to distinguish good teachers from bad teachers.’”
p.3, http://oada.dadeschools.net/VAM%20Information/UnfulfilledPromiseofValueAdded.pdf

Did you know that University of South Florida just published an analysis of the VAM, concluding that there were only “weak relations between the observational scores of teachers’ performance and teachers’ value-added scores… the observational and VAM measures…do not often converge”
http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/etd/4678/

In other words the 2 different halves of our evaluations have no logical connection, rather, the VAM score appears to be random.

Now, add to the insanity of the VAM the double insanity of MDCPS choosing to evaluate last year’s teacher performance of the majority (60%) of its teachers on the basis of the average reading score gains of the whole school. This current year MDCPS plans to use YOUR students’ reading/math score gains…a move that will subject you to even more random error with such a small sample size.

Did you know this is unnecessary? Did you know the school board has the authority to develop/use APPROPRIATE assessments to measure student learning growth in the subject that the teachers teach?

Did you know that acceptable alternatives to using FCAT Reading and Math on teachers who do not teach these subjects directly include teacher-written FINAL EXAMS, AP exams, and Industry Certification exams? (see FL Statutes 1012.34 and 1008.22)

Did you know that the Florida Department of Education has provided “How-tos” to Districts to assist them in writing APPROPRIATE assessments in place of simply stuffing FCAT data down non-FCAT/non-EOC teachers’ evaluations?
http://www.floridafoil.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/TAP_for_District_Developed_Assessments2.pdf

Did you know that since 2011, at least 4 “old-fashioned,” country districts in Florida have done just that – written and applied their own assessments for courses not yet tested by EOCs or FCAT?
(see http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/pdf/pa/Lafayette.pdf p10 ff, http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/pdf/pa/Suwannee.pdf p.9 ff for 2 examples).

These bullet points are the reason I am asking you to join with me and other professional teachers who care about getting accountability right, starting with the accountability of our downtown staff to do their jobs getting accountability right for the teachers and our students.

Join us Wednesday, January 15th, at 5 PM at the School Board Auditorium, 1450 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132.

The message is simple: we do not teach state assessed courses, MDCPS is bound legally to choose appropriate measures for us, it hasn’t but has the authority to make the changes

Let me know you will be joining us by filling out this quick form: http://tinyurl.com/vamsham

Please email me back with your thoughts. One that I am exploring right now is a class-action lawsuit against MDCPS for its inappropriate use of FCAT data on non-FCAT teachers.

Regards,

Shawn Beightol, M.S.Ed,
Chemistry, John A Ferguson Sr. High
Miami, FL
www.shawnbeightol.com ← I will be updating this blog with news about VAM over the weekend.

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A Well Kept Florida Secret: What a Great Teacher Looks/Performs Like: Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.065, “Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP)”

shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=656

While researching the reported egregious behavior of a particular administrator in Miami-Dade County “camping out” in a teacher’s classroom for 4 hours (FOUR!!! perhaps the one in need of professional help wasn’t the teacher but the administrator?) to “observe” (translation: “harass”), I ran across the following Florida Administrative Code (these “flesh-out” the often and necessarily bare-bones statutes) describing “Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP)” – in other words, what makes a “perfect” educator. Rule 6A-5.065,  The Educator Accomplished Practices.

I suppose it would have been nice to know (from my union?  from my professional development department?) that Florida had described such professional characteristics in 2011.

Briefly, the 6 described characteristics fall into 2 major categories: 1) Quality of Instruction and 2) Continuous Improvement, Responsibility and Ethics.  The 6 characteristics are

1. Instructional Design and Lesson Planning.
2. The Learning Environment. To maintain a student-centered learning
environment that is safe, organized, equitable, flexible, inclusive,
and collaborative.
3. Instructional Delivery and Facilitation. The effective educator
consistently utilizes a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject taught.
4. Assessment. The effective educator consistently analyzes and applies data
from multiple assessments and measures.
5. Engages in Continuous Professional Improvement.
6. Demonstrates Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct.
As the Race to the Top application to the Feds specified the Marzano Assessment instrument as the tool to assess teachers, it would also make sense for our Administration and unions to verse us in just what they are looking for.  Here’s what Marzano tells Admins to look for in our classroom (from http://www.marzanocenter.com/files/MC_White_Paper_20120424.pdf ):

Domain 1 classroom practices and strategies
Communicating learning goals
Establishing rules and procedures
Helping students practice and deepen knowledge
Helping students generate and test hypotheses
Engaging students
Recognizing adherence to rules and procedures
Establishing and maintaining effective relationships with students
Communicating high expectations for all students

In case you are interested in the actual language of the Florida Administrative Code that describes the conduct and characteristics of the “perfect” teacher, here it is:

“Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP)” Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.065


(1) Purpose and Foundational Principles.
(a) Purpose. The Educator Accomplished Practices are set forth in rule as Florida’s core standards for effective educators. The Accomplished Practices form the foundation for the state’s teacher preparation programs, educator certification requirements and school district instructional personnel appraisal systems.
(b) Foundational Principles. The Accomplished Practices are based upon and further describe three (3) essential principles:
1. The effective educator creates a culture of high expectations for all students by promoting the importance of education and each student’s capacity for academic achievement.
2. The effective educator demonstrates deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject taught.
3. The effective educator exemplifies the standards of the profession.
(2) The Educator Accomplished Practices. Each effective educator applies the foundational principles through six (6) Educator Accomplished Practices. Each of the practices is clearly defined to promote a common language and statewide understanding of the expectations for the quality of instruction and professional responsibility.
(a) Quality of Instruction.
1. Instructional Design and Lesson Planning. Applying concepts from human development and learning theories, the effective educator consistently:
a. Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor;
b. Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge;
c. Designs instruction for students to achieve mastery;
d. Selects appropriate formative assessments to monitor learning;
e. Uses diagnostic student data to plan lessons; and
f. Develops learning experiences that require students to demonstrate a variety of applicable skills and competencies.
2. The Learning Environment. To maintain a student-centered learning environment that is safe, organized, equitable, flexible, inclusive, and collaborative, the effective educator consistently:
a. Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention;
b. Manages individual and class behaviors through a well-planned management system;
c. Conveys high expectations to all students;
d. Respects students’ cultural linguistic and family background;
e. Models clear, acceptable oral and written communication skills;
f. Maintains a climate of openness, inquiry, fairness and support;
g. Integrates current information and communication technologies;
h. Adapts the learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of students; and
i. Utilizes current and emerging assistive technologies that enable students to participate in high-quality communication interactions and achieve their educational goals.
3. Instructional Delivery and Facilitation. The effective educator consistently utilizes a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject taught to:
a. Deliver engaging and challenging lessons;
b. Deepen and enrich students’ understanding through content area literacy strategies, verbalization of thought, and application of the subject matter;
c. Identify gaps in students’ subject matter knowledge;
d. Modify instruction to respond to preconceptions or misconceptions;
e. Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences;
f. Employ higher-order questioning techniques;
g. Apply varied instructional strategies and resources, including appropriate technology, to provide comprehensible instruction, and to teach for student understanding;
h. Differentiate instruction based on an assessment of student learning needs and recognition of individual differences in students;
i. Support, encourage, and provide immediate and specific feedback to students to promote student achievement; and
j. Utilize student feedback to monitor instructional needs and to adjust instruction.
4. Assessment. The effective educator consistently:
a. Analyzes and applies data from multiple assessments and measures to diagnose students’ learning needs, informs instruction based on those needs, and drives the learning process;
b. Designs and aligns formative and summative assessments that match learning objectives and lead to mastery;
c. Uses a variety of assessment tools to monitor student progress, achievement and learning gains;
d. Modifies assessments and testing conditions to accommodate learning styles and varying levels of knowledge;
e. Shares the importance and outcomes of student assessment data with the student and the student’s parent/caregiver(s); and
f. Applies technology to organize and integrate assessment information.
(b) Continuous Improvement, Responsibility and Ethics.
1. Continuous Professional Improvement. The effective educator consistently:
a. Designs purposeful professional goals to strengthen the effectiveness of instruction based on students’ needs;
b. Examines and uses data-informed research to improve instruction and student achievement;
c. Uses a variety of data, independently, and in collaboration with colleagues, to evaluate learning outcomes, adjust planning and continuously improve the effectiveness of the lessons;
d. Collaborates with the home, school and larger communities to foster communication and to support student learning and continuous improvement;
e. Engages in targeted professional growth opportunities and reflective practices; and
f. Implements knowledge and skills learned in professional development in the teaching and learning process.
2. Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct. Understanding that educators are held to a high moral standard in a community, the effective educator adheres to the Code of Ethics and the Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession of Florida, pursuant to Rules 6B-1.001 and 6B-1.006, F.A.C., and fulfills the expected obligations to students, the public and the education profession.
Rulemaking Authority 1004.04, 1004.85, 1012.225, 1012.34, 1012.56 FS. Law Implemented 1004.04, 1004.85, 1012.225, 1012.34, 1012.56 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 2-13-11.
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