Friday, March 19, 2010

Hang In There...

Only a few more days before we can celebrate the conclusion of our high stakes accountability testing with a well deserved Spring Break! Reaching this pinnacle in the year is actually exhilarating as a little of the pressure we have felt turns to anticipation of the outstanding results to come. Now that testing is complete enjoy the next week and a half wrapping up the third grading period with your students. The focus turns to preparing them for next year.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Save Our Schools!

Article IX, Section I of the Florida Constitution guarantees that:

"The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida."

"It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for … a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education …."

Duval County expects to suffer from a $125 million budget deficit for the 2010-2011 academic year. All the facts tell us there is NO WAY to “trim the fat” and balance this budget crisis without affecting the classroom. In short, your child's school will suffer.

Guidance and Media services could be reduced!
Valuable resources like Art, Music and PE may be cut!
Essential supplies and materials could disappear altogether!

It is important to understand that this problem, this CRISIS, is not limited to Duval County alone. This fiscal crisis is statewide. Regarding the total amount of funds allocated and spent on education, the state of Florida is ranked 50th in the nation. I ask you, does this represent your priorities? I doubt it.

Are our legislators upholding the requirements of our state constitution?

As voters, we share a heavy burden. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves with accurate facts. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard. It is our responsibility to act. It is our responsibility to advocate for our children. It is our responsibility to fight for their rights, for today and for their future. If not us, then who? If we do not meet our duties, we cannot expect others to meet theirs.

I urge you. Educate yourselves. Research the facts. Go to the source. Ask questions. Speak out. Make demands. Do not accept it as fact because others believe it to be true.

Ask yourself, is 50th good enough for your child?

If the answer is NO - contact our state's legislative delegation and ask for immediate help from one of these short term solutions:

1. Please give flexibility to the school districts in the areas of categoricals, (SAI, Class Size, Instruction Materials, Reading, Safe Schools).

2. Please suspend unfunded mandates on the districts. (Examples: Transportation, Testing & Curriculum Requirements, Safety Nets, and Staffing Requirements.)

3. Please give flexibility of capital funds—so they can be used for General Revenue.

Ask them to find long term solutions to the critical funding situation in Florida and urge them to make public education a priority so that even our children's children can benefit from a right guaranteed them by our state constitution!

To learn more about how to get involved and about how to contact our legislators and ask them to make funding for public education in Florida a priority visit SaveDuvalSchools.

Friday, March 5, 2010

You Can Quote Me On That!

I'm always searching for just the right quote that punctuates the point I am trying to make in meetings, on agendas and in my writing. There are several that have always stuck with me and offer important descriptions and reminders about who and what I want to be. My all time favorite is:

No one saves us but ourselves,

no one can and no one may.

We ourselves must walk the path,

Teachers merely show the way.

For me it is the perfect anthem for personal accountability and for the impact our "teachers" of life have on providing points of direction. It's up to each of us to put the work into bettering ourselves but of paramount importance for those who lead to also be a guide. What's your favorite quote and why?