GERARD ROBINSON – Florida’s King of the Hill!

He might want to be very careful  about sitting on the top of a hill if he can remember what happened to Jack and Jill!

Florida continues to have an array of problems when it comes to education.  Mr. Robinson thinks his authority allows him to ignore the concerns and opinions of parents, local school boards and the State Board of Education. This is a follow up to what I sent the other day to show the arrogance of this man and it is time for him to tell the people of Florida just where he stands and what his objectives are. The problem with none of the legislature being educators is another issue.  We knew where their focus was when they played the Race To The Top game for “money” and our kids were the pawns. Parents urged them not to play and they again ignored us. Same thing is true about the Common Core Standards however,  Charlie Crist slipped that in on us.

At the recent meeting of the Florida School Board Association, Education Commissioner  Gerard Robinson  told the local school boards, they were to comply or else when it comes to the state’s main assessment, the FCAT. The Association presents representation from all 67 school districts in Florida and they have been working on a resolution opposing the high stakes testing as the main tool for student and teacher evaluation.  Did I understand that correctly to be a threat?

Robinson said of the local school boards, “They can express their opinion, but let’s also remember the local school board’s obligation is to implement the laws approved by the Florida Legislature; to implement the regulations approved by the state board.”

Did everyone understand what Robinson said?   He is telling parents that essentially they have only as much local control as your state legislature and the state school board gives to you. Actually he is telling you that you have no say at all in the education of your children. Maybe in addition to the FCAT problem and “one size fits all testing”, we should be taking a VERY hard look at who is making these decisions.

In 2009, then Senator Wise stated, “Florida has the largest school systems in America. They also have the largest schools in America.”  “The prime concern we have is about student performance. Research shows that there is no significant difference in student performance if the superintendent is elected versus being appointed.”

Wise also offered some insight on the issue from his years as an educator.  “I served under elected and appointed superintendents. “When you are elected the question is if the school board says they want this policy and if you are an elected superintendent, they can’t fire you. It creates an interesting confrontation between elected bodies.”

I disagree with Senator Wise and I am going to ask you to think about solutions.

Superintendents if elected are to serve the children, parent’s, taxpayers and the school board. If a school board does not have enough sense to have in their contract/agreement with that superintendent ways of removing them from office even to include a special election, than the school board needs to be replaced.

Superintendents appointed by a school board show that they only owe allegiance to the school board since they hired them. Here in my county you can see the cronyism at every school board meeting.  Our superintendent is more interested in bragging about how many chairmanships she has received from the committee’s/boards she has served on rather than produce an A/B district.  The reasons for failure are always someone else’s.

Commissioner Robinson stated, “If you take a look at where students have performed in math, reading, writing as well and other subjects, we’ve been moving in the right direction for over a decade.” Robinson said, “That didn’t happen overnight. That happened because we set accountability and assessments are in place.”

Is this the same man who in the past few months went to Jacksonville to look into the possibility of another KIPP Charter school opening when the one there had already failed? When questioned by a reporter as to why he would allow another Kipp school to open with the current one having failed, he stated, “Oh we don’t take that into consideration when approving new schools.”  Is this man smoking “wacky tobacky?” Just what guidelines are you using Commissioner?

Commissioner Robinson is one of Jeb Bush’s Chief’s for Change! Jeb Bush pushed No Child Left Behind on our children his whole time in office stating it was great, Florida was moving ahead and the whole time our children were suffering because of “teaching to a test” and yet, for the most part according to THEIR own FCAT scores, they were flat-lined. Now that Jeb Bush can focus on his Foundation for Excellence in Education he tells us the public schools are bad, our children are not learning and they are not ready for college and Charter Schools are the answer.  Well,  they would be with the right guidelines, oversight, decent curriculum’s and certified teachers. Jeb Bush’s foundation, Michelle Rhee’s group School Choice and all the consortium’s you see popping up are “for profit”.  Now I have nothing against a fellow American making money  from a legitimate enterprise, but when our children are the poker chips I draw the line.

I am not saying ALL Charter schools are bad, but the failure rate is astounding as are the amount of scandals appearing. Did all of you know the State of Florida gives all Charter school a $250K start-up grant if they apply for it?  When a Charter school closes down in the first year or soon after, who is responsible for all the debt they have accrued?  You? Me? All of US? What happens to all the furniture, school books and other supplies left behind. No one talks about those things.

Somewhere in this a complete disconnect!   One school board member characterized it this way, “for our Florida Department of Education not to be willing to listen to the concerns from parents, students and school board members all across the state of Florida – we have a problem. We have a communication problem, we have a messaging problem.”

I can tell you from personal experience from having gone to Tallahassee to discuss the problems in education, the gentleman from Gov. Scott’s office we had the meeting with agreed with us totally until we stated the problems with FCAT, accountability and Jeb Bush. We got cut off right at the knees!

They have more than a messaging problem. They have an ego and an economic problem. Jeb Bush has a lot of his personal political worth on the line with education reform in FL. BobsIdleMusings noted, “He cannot remain education reforms voice if he is being challenged by the state’s local school boards – many of them filled with republicans.”

Our state has a lot of problems in relationship to the cronyism that has developed in Tally.  There are the  economic problem because of all the ties in to Pearson who produces the FCAT and has the company’s future viability challenged if they do not have a lock on the standardized testing protocol in the state. Osceola County School Board member Jay Wheeler said the FCAT, started “with the best intentions,” has turned into a successful “business model for Pearson” — which earns millions from Florida — but not something meant “to help kids.” Where business and politics cross is dangerous territory.

Keep in mind everyone, Race To The Top, since our legislature has seen fit to play this Monopoly game, takes all control from our local school boards and makes all the decisions coming from Washington, D.C.

You see, that is the final goal! For the Federal government to have TOTAL control over our children’s education!

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