Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles:
Your children need you to help them now.. The future does depend on the children and the fight for their hearts and minds is on.......I begin by saying that the national implementation of Common Core and all of its parts was ILLEGAL. Education is a State's right. This intrusion at the National level is a clear violation of at least 3 Federal Statutes and the 10 Amendment..
Many of you are aware that the fight to remove Common Core from Florida schools continues and while there were a few small victories in the last legislative session they were NOT sufficient. WE MUST CONTINUE THE PRESSURE ON OUR LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS IN THE AREAS WHERE WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE NOW.
ACTION ITEM #1
This Tuesday September 2nd from 6-8PM the Duval County School Board will hold their monthly meeting and we need to be there in force if we are to take advantage of the recent actions of the Lee County School Board to Opt out of State testing and of this year's legislative items.
THIS IS THE MOMENT for action and we may not get this chance again.
The DCSB meeting begins at 6PM and we are asking everyone to fill out a speakers card by 6:20 so that questions and comments can be made. If you do not wish to speak that is fine as we need to be seen as well.. Wear a RED shirt/blouse so that the impact will be even greater. Lee County had over 400 people show up and it made a difference.
We are working to have local Common Core resources available to assist you in any way possible. As of now, Debbie Higginbotham, Kelly Lorbeer and I (From Fl Parents R.I.S.E) will be there to meet you as you enter the building. A list of relevant questions are being developed that will be provided if you wish to speak but are unsure of what to say. However please feel free to develop your own or contact me here via the comment field and I will assist you as needed.
The meeting location is: The Cline auditorium of the School System Administrative Building. 1st floor..1701 Prudential Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32207
ACTION ITEM #2
Lee school board meeting Tuesday to reconsider decision to opt out of state tests
Please help Lee County stand against the jackbooted thuggery of the state & federal governments! Because of the long list of threatened consequences, many of which are not constitutional and some of which are inaccurate, for opting out, board member Mary Fischer, who was the most undecided in the vote to opt out of state testing has called a meeting for Tuesday 9/2 at 8:30 AM when it will be very difficult for teachers and the public to attend to offer a motion to rescind the courageous and historic vote of 8/27. Although there is still some question on whether the meeting will happen or at that time, it is CRITICAL that you email the board members and thank the three that voted yes and tell all of them how important it is to stand to protect our children from the invasive, unhelpful, unconstitutional, and expensive state and federal testing mandates. Please respectfully focus on Mary Fischer to support and encourage her as well as Jeanne Dozier to change her mind. Here are the email addresses:
Voted for Testing Opt Out
Mary Fischer MaryBF@LeeSchools.net Ask Her NOT To Change Vote
Don Armstrong DonHA@LeeSchools.net
Thomas Scott ThomasWS@LeeSchools.net
Voted Against Testing Opt Out
Jeanne Dozier JeanneSD@LeeSchools.net Ask Her To Change Vote
Cathleen Morgan CathleenOM@LeeSchools.net
Lee County School Superintendent
Nancy Graham NancyJG@LeeSchools.net
LET THESE BOARD MEMBERS KNOW THAT NOT JUST OUR STATE BUT THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS WATCHING AND THAT WE STAND BY THE PARENTS OF LEE COUNTY!!!
ACTION ITEM #3
(If you could do by Tuesday 9/2 it would be most helpful)
One of the areas where a bit of progress was made was with the passage of SB 864 related to Instructional Materials. While it was amended and did not end up a total win for the children the following two opportunities were provided.
#1: “Each district school board must adopt a policy regarding a parent’s objection to his or her child’s use of a specific instructional material, which clearly describes a process to hand all objections and provides for resolution.”
#2: “A district school board or consortium of school districts MAY implement an instructional materials program that includes the review, recommendation, adoption and purchase of instructional materials. The district school superintendent shall certify to the department by March 31 of each year that all instructional materials for core courses used by the district are aligned with applicable state standards. A list of the core instructional materials that will be used or purchased for use by the school district shall be included in the certification. IF A DISTRICT CHOOSES TO IMPLEMENT ITS OWN INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS PROGRAM, THE SCHOOL BOARD SHALL ADOPT RULES IMPLEMENTING THE DISTRICT'S INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS PROGRAM WHICH MUST INCLUDE IT PROCESSES, CRITERIA, AND REQUIREMENTS FOR ….
We are requesting that this "INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS REVIEW PROGRAM" be set up by the school board.
For more details see the actual bill: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2014/0864/BillText/er/HTML
I have pulled together the following information to assist you in communicating with the Superintendent and the School Board members in YOUR SPECIFIC COUNTY
Below is a copy of an email sent to one Superintendent requesting the creation of an Instructional Review Board for St. John’s County. Following that is the reply received from the Superintendent. You will see that we must put pressure on if this is going to happen. If you know others who would be willing to make contact with the SB members and the Superintendent please feel free to pass this information along.
Sample letter sent to St. John’s county superintendent:
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2014 2:13 PM
To: Joseph Joyner
Subject: Instructional Materials
According to the newly enacted Florida law SB 864, a District School Board can to create its own instructional materials program - consisting of reviewers that include parents with children in public schools.
I request that our county create an instructional materials program.
I would also like to know how the reviewers will be selected.
This was his reply:
Thank you for your email request for the St. Johns County School Board to adopt its own instructional materials adoption program.
As you stated, SB 864 allows a school district to either select instructional materials off the state adoption list or implement its own instructional materials adoption program.
The St. Johns County School Board whole heartedly supports local control and values parental input; however, the provisions set forth in SB 864 for implementing our own instructional adoption process impose a nearly impossible workload on the district to evaluate all materials from all possible vendors, and then certify that they meet state standards.
When passing SB 864, the State did not include any additional funding for school districts to pay for the hiring of additional professionals or to pay teachers to honestly and accurately evaluate all materials in well over 800 courses so that the district can legally certify they meet state standards. Based on past adoption cycles, we estimated a cost of over $600,000 to our district in teacher hourly rates, volunteer mileage reimbursements, appeals hearings, etc.
On average, the state receives 130 or more vendor applications per adoption cycle. Currently, it takes SJCSD staff two hours per book to properly vet materials. If the school district had to review every vendor submission, rather than the 4-10 the state places on their adoption list after vetting to ensure they meet state standards, we would have to either hire staff to do the reviews, take teachers out the classroom in order to review the materials, or recruit teachers to review materials in their already limited spare time.
Not only do we have concerns over the enormous cost the district would have to incur to hire additional staff to review the influx of materials, but it would significantly increase the district’s purchasing department’s workload and necessary approvals of purchase orders for multiple individual publishers rather than to a single state depository.
I want to assure you that the current state adoption process does not limit the district’s ability to review and select other materials. We still have local control on which materials work best for our students. What the state system does provide, is the ability to have instructional materials designated that are aligned to state standards, meet bid specifications written specifically for Florida’s needs, provide for cost effective contracts to be awarded, and narrow the massive list of submissions to a manageable number for our district to then review.
Additionally, the state places very strict timelines on the district for review and adoption of materials, making it all the more difficult to bring in those who are unfamiliar with the intricacies of textbook selection and state standard alignment and more difficult for a single district to do the review process alone.
While no other school district in the state of Florida, even those with significantly larger budgets and staffs, have ventured into creating their own instructional materials review process, please know that the district has given much thought to creating our own instructional materials adoption program, but believes at this time it is not financially feasible to do so.
That being said, we are always looking for ways to include parents and community members in our school system and will look for additional avenues for parental involvement in the instructional materials adoption process.
Again, thank you for your willingness to serve the students of St. Johns County.
Joseph G. Joyner, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
St. Johns County School District
Phone: (904) 547-7502
When I send my emails I will be adding to my communication a request for explanation or the copy of their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the appeals process for parents to object to textbooks and an understanding of their requirement for notification before a school district adopts materials. These were both passed as part of SB864 (Instructional Materials for K-12 Public Education.)
Please feel free to use any of the above material or construct your own message to your ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS. Remember they work for US. It is not the other way around.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS OTHER THAN CLAY, ST.JOHN’S AND DUVAL CAN BE OBTAINED BY CLICKING ON THE FOLLOWING LINK FROM THE FCTP WEBSITE.
Duval County School Board
1701 Prudential Dr., Room 642, Jacksonville, FL 32207 - FAX (904) 390-2237
District 1 - Cheryl Grymes, Phone (904) 390-2371, email: email@example.com
District 2 - Fred "Fel" Lee, Phone (904) 390-2386, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 - Ashley Smith Juarez, Phone (904) 390-2239, email: email@example.com
District 4 - Paula D. Wright, Phone (904) 390-2374, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5 - Connie Hall, Phone (904) 390-2375, email: email@example.com
District 6 - Becki Couch, Phone (904) 390-2373, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 7 - Jason Fischer, Phone (904) 390-2372, email: email@example.com
St Johns County School Board
40 Orange Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084
District 1 - Beverly Slough, Phone (904) 547-7510, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2 - Thomas L. Allen, Jr., Phone (904) 547-7510, email: email@example.com
District 3 - Bill Mignon, Phone (904) 547-7510, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4 - Bill Fehling, Phone (904) 547-7510, email: email@example.com
District 5 - Patrick Canan, Phone (904) 547-7510, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clay County School Board
Meets at Teacher In-Service Center on campus of Fleming Island High School
District 1 - Janice Kerekes, Phone (904) 571-9618, email: email@example.com
District 2 - Carol Studdard, Phone (904) 264-9649, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 - Tina Bullock, Phone (352) 494-3454, email: email@example.com
District 4 - Johnna McKinnon, Phone (904) 610-1080, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5 - Lisa Graham, Phone (904) 282-3043, email: email@example.com
If you are not familiar with Common Core to include the standards, the assessments, the curriculum and data mining and you have a Facebook page please go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FLParentsRISE/ for great information.
Additionally, if you wish to learn more, have a group that would like a presentation or to just get involved please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. .
As always….I thank you for your attention to this very critical matter. Our window of opportunity is small but at least we have an opening where if we unite and push hard we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE..
God Bless You and GOD BLESS OUR AMERICA.