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#AlachuaTogether…Our PreciousChildren…

So very proud and inspired by the voices of our children from my former district in Alachua County, Florida; advocating for their own health and safety ;trying not to get Covid…

This message from them should inspire all of us to wear that mask…and get vaccinated for our children…

#DemandBetterFL

Please listen to their message advocating for themselves… Their lives…

#maskup #vaccinate

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Our Children’s Safety…DeSantis’ school mask mandate ban is unlawful, Florida judge rules…

This ruling giving our local school districts a better opportunity to protect our children, teachers, and staff…

Our children younger than 12, who can not get vaccinated, especially need that added protection from the highly contagious delta variant.

Our Governor DeSantis is definitely, only looking out for his political future… not the children and people of Florida…

This lawsuit’s ruling was fair…and extremely impactful…

With all the children now sick…we now have an opportunity to control this virus…

By David K. Li

DeSantis’ school mask mandate ban is unlawful, Florida judge rules…

Local school boards have the right to set their own policies as long as they’re “narrowly tailored,” the judge said Friday…

Our Children’s Safety…must be a priority!!!

Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper’s decision followed a four-day trial, which was held online as the state struggles to contain the spread of Covid-19…

School districts have the right to set policies, like mask mandates, as long as they have “compelling state interest” and have a “narrowly tailored” plan of action, according to Cooper…

The judge made clear that he was not ruling against Gov. Ron DeSantis, but taking action to bar state agencies from enforcing the governor’s blanket order against local mask mandates, which tramples on Florida’s separation of powers statutes…

The actions of the defendants (DeSantis) do not pass constitutional muster,” Cooper said… “They seek to deprive the school boards in advance.”

Still, Friday’s ruling was a blow to the Republican governor and his education commissioner, who have threatened to withhold funding from school districts that went against the ban…

Jared Ochs, director of communications for the state’s Department of Education, said the administration is “immensely disappointed” by Cooper’s ruling.

“This decision conflicts with basic and established rights of parents to make private health care and education decisions for children,” he said in a statement.

Ochs added: “We will continue to fight to make sure every child has access to education. We are committed to the fundamental rights of parents and will push forward on appeal to ensure that this foundation of democracy is upheld.”

In July, DeSantis barred local school districts from requiring students to wear masks even as the nation, and especially the state of Florida, fights a resurgence of coronavirus.

Opponents have said DeSantis’ actions endanger children by not letting local officials follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends that children be masked at school.

CDC recommends all students wear masks when return to school
The governor’s team argued that parents should have the final say on masks and that there’s no clear evidence masks prevent Covid-19 spread.

In his ruling against the sweeping state policy, Cooper said public schools regularly enforce mandates much more intrusive than just face masks.

The judge recalled how he couldn’t immediately enter Florida State University in 1968 because he hadn’t yet been vaccinated against small pox.

He even remembered the name of the doctor who administered the shot and where the inoculation happened, which allowed him to attend college.

“Schools can adopt policy dealing with health and education,” Cooper said. “And to the extent they may affect a parent’s right to control their children’s education or health, then it’s incumbent on the school board, if challenged in that policy, to demonstrate its reasonableness.”

The judge asked both sides to craft a proposed order by Monday, based on his findings, that he’d use to issue a final ruling…

We now have Hope for our Children and Schools….

Let’s now move forward…
Continue…

#goodtrouble
#DemandBetterFL
#DeSantisDestroysFL!!!

May Hope Prevail!!!
For our precious children…💕🙏🏼🌈🇺🇸🍎

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#GoodTrouble… Protecting our Children…

Never before have I been so concerned and extremely frustrated with a school year…than the present…

Having had such hope with President Biden funding our schools though the American Rescue Plan….

However, because our Country is so divided… Republican controlled states are causing such chaos between state and local school districts… over the safety of our children due to the new delta variant…

This new variant is causing children to be hospitalized and even dying…

And we here in Florida have our Governor Ron DeSantis, who does not care!!!

His hashtag being known as… #DeathSantis…

We must #voteblue 2022

Because… He is making reckless decisions based solely on his political aspirations, appealing solely to his base rather than the safety of our children…and the people of Florida…

Especially…prohibiting the mandate of wearing a mask…And refusing to mandate those older than 12 to get vaccinated… these necessary, safety protocols….

#DeathSantis does not want school districts to provide the necessary safety protocols!!!

And will even go to great lengths to withhold funds…

Many of our districts are rebelling…They know wearing a mask is essential to protect our children hospitalizations and deaths…And DeSantis is not allowing a true count of how many are really affected!!!

There are those citizens here in Florida litigating his authoritarian mandates…And if there was a remote possibility, even recalling him would definitely be an option…

Our only real option is to continue with #goodtrouble…As the late Representative John Lewis had said…And pass John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act… Before it is too late…

Do not get lost in despair…We will be hopeful…💕🙏🏼🌈😷🇺🇸

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Memory Lane…

Florida Educator…38 years …Retired 6 years…

7 years today …My last teaching year … Idylwild Elementary….

Praying for our children being a priority…

Starting in Palatka April Fools Day…1972… traveling 90 a day just to teach…


Alachua…1973-Assistant teacher
1974-1989
Terwilliger… 1989-2002
Idylwild…2007-2015
“38 years”…

I pray our children, teachers, essential staff…
Are safe.. learn lots, and have fun…

💞🌈🙏🏼😷🍎

#OurChildrenMatter
#teachersrock
#essentialstaff

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School Days 2021… Please… Don’t Forget Our Children

Together we can change…

Hoping for a better year for our children… They have dealt with so much this past year…

Yet, I am not so sure it will be much better…

We are still dealing with residual issues from the past year, due largely from the consequences from the previous presidency…

This pandemic is not over! We have a new variant… And, we have citizens in our Country who are extremely resistant to follow the necessary protocols and the recommendation of getting vaccinated…

Thus, our children and schools will suffer from this divisive inaction!

The CDC is now recommending children twelve and older get vaccinated…All children, teachers, essential staff wear masks indoors…

Yet here in Florida and other Republican controlled states, not always follow the necessary guidelines…

And now Governor Ron DeSantis is preparing to sign an executive order that would keep schools from mandating students wear masks in schools;

And will withhold state funds from schools with mask mandates…

This comes after that CDC guidance recommendation … https://bit.ly/3rGUg0F

Once again our children…may experience consequential repercussions!

In addition to such restrictions, Florida and Republican controlled states are even dictating what children will learn in history…

Teachers; the professionals we are; and many parents; are extremely concerned…We know how dangerous this is!!!

We know children need to be able to get a foundation in truth… without bias, with a developmentally, appropriate curriculum…

The new child tax credit parents are now receiving,  could lift more than 5 million kids out of poverty and give families in need that extra boost!!!

This new year, we will now have a wonderful opportunity to get the much needed funding from the American Rescue Plan…The Biden-Harris Administration got passed!!!

Lifting many children out of poverty…

From my own teaching experiences working with children from poverty…I so realized that those children who came to school hungry were restless and inattentive…

Because our school district was concerned for our struggling families…. They made sure our schools in need had free breakfast and lunch programs; even throughout the summer…

In addition, our district made sure children had access to wifi during the pandemic…

Now with extra monies allocated by the American Rescue Plan more resources for struggling families will be available…going directly to parents in need and schools getting extra funding!!!

With the new child tax credit parents are now receiving, it could lift more than 5 million kids out of poverty and give families in need that extra boost!!!

This upcoming year may still be quite daunting…I pray that our Country do better for our children …

We now have a President, Vice President, Secretary of Education; an Administration that truly care… knowing to provide monetary resources we have so yearned for our children…

Now really it is up to all of us …

Please…Follow CDC guidelines…so we can manage the pandemic, and our children will be safe at school…

And the citizens of Florida…

Vote for a governor that represents our children and public schools… 💞🌈🙏🏼🍎🇺🇸

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Meet Miguel Cardona, the New U.S. Secretary of Education | NEACindy Long…

Historical…

I am so hopeful that for the first time, that I can remember, our NEA
(National Education Association) will have a cooperative relationship with the Secretary of Education…What a difference for our children and public schools will this make!!! This is historical…Such an opportunity!!!

NEA President Becky Pringle sat down (virtually) with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and hundreds of NEA members to learn about the department’s priorities during the pandemic and beyond…

Pringle thanked Cardona and President Joe Biden’s administration for honoring “the promises made to get control of the pandemic, to make investments in public education, to listen to educators, and to lead on racial and social justice.”

Cardona then expressed appreciation for educators’ heroic and unyielding work during the pandemic, saying more people than ever now recognize that community and state growth starts with good education: “I want to thank you for your commitment and for everything you’ve done,” he said.

Cardona stated that he will focus on closing the digital divide and homework gap; getting all of our students back into classrooms as quickly and safely as possible; creating equitable access to college and career programs; and making higher education affordable..

As his department begins to address these issues, Cardona said he will partner with NEA every step of the way as we “learn together, grow together, and heal together.” But we must not lose the sense of urgency of the pandemic, he cautioned…

“Our kids need us now more than ever. … We now have the opportunity to hit reset on things that don’t work, and I am committed to making sure we have NEA at the table to [elevate the profession] and do the very best for our students.”

NEA members submitted thousands of questions for Secretary Cardona. The following are some highlights of the hourlong town hall, with questions and responses edited for brevity…


Key Takeaways

Cardona’s priorities: closing the digital divide and homework gap; getting all of our students back into classrooms as quickly and safely as possible; creating equitable access to college and career programs; and making higher education affordable.
The Department of Education will work with NEA and educators to guide decisions on assessments…
Educators and unions will be part of the planning process in how American Rescue Plan funds are used to best serve students…

Question:

Can you share with us how you envision the future of assessments?..

Miguel Cardona: There is no “one-size-fits-all.” For example, assessing students who don’t understand English makes no sense. I get the frustration and the challenge that assessments present. No educator needs a standardized test to let them know how their students are doing. It’s just one data point. We need sensible assessments, always asking, why are we doing this? Does it improve instruction? Does it help serve students?

I’ve seen an overreliance on tests, and I’ve seen a harmful narrowing of curriculum. Assessments should mirror good instruction, and I’m eager to make sure they are authentic and assess students in a real way. I look forward to having NEA members at the table from the beginning to guide the work on assessments.

Now that the money from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is going to the state and local schools, how are you working to ensure governors and local districts are using the funding to best help our students?

MC: We released an application for states to share what their plans are going to be and what they entail, and I want those plans to be public … to have educators’ fingerprints all over them…

We need to work with our educators and all stakeholders. We need ongoing collaboration. This is unprecedented, the amount of funds going to schools, and we need to be good stewards of that, which means bringing educators and all voices together.

We put out guidance (that includes the voices of NEA members) to make sure the money is going to support schools and not supplant funding that would have been there before.

I recognize that people are feeling burned or hurt or pushed aside. Through our actions more than our words, I want you to know that this is a new day, and I look forward to working with our educators. Our job is to help support you so can be successful in helping children…

Question:

Due to the pandemic, some students are behind academically. What will you do to help get students back on track?

MC: Many of our students were significantly affected academically. But to get to that piece, we first need to get to their social and emotional well-being. It’s hard to learn if you’re grieving, or if your teeth hurt, if you’re hungry, or if you’re not sure where you’re sleeping at night. The pandemic created a lot of these issues for our students and families…

After such a traumatic experience, let’s make sure that the social and emotional well-being of our students and educators guides the decisions we’re making. People talk about the “three R’s,” but the most important is the fourth R—relationships….

After we support that, we focus on accelerating learning inside the schoolhouse, outside the schoolhouse, after hours. That could be in nontraditional forms. We need to be creative about that…

Question:

What is your plan to serve students with special needs and to fulfill the promises made to them at the federal level?



MC: I want to make sure [those] I bring in to the agency share my belief that our students with disabilities are first students who need to access the general education curriculum. They should not be defined as students with disabilities—they are students with abilities. They are assets, and they bring so much to the table. We have to shift to that way of thinking.

We need to ensure they have access to quality, tier one education first, and then look to specializing instruction. We need to ensure there is funding for IDEA. Special education teachers’ caseloads are too high to help students grow. Our regular classroom teachers haven’t had sufficient professional learning to help these students, and there is a lot we can do…

What policies do you plan to put in place to support all educators as expert professionals?

MC: Hopefully after this pandemic, there’s a newfound appreciation for the amazing work educators do day in and day out

First, we must pay educators what they are worth. It’s unacceptable that, in 2021, educators have to work a second job because their first job doesn’t pay enough. We need to value growth opportunities and professional learning opportunities. We ask so much of our educator’s—blended learning, trauma-informed instruction—and I want to make sure that ARP resources have job-embedded professional learning opportunities. Not those offered from 4 to 8 p.m., or three times a year where we cram everything in. Let’s reimagine what professional learning means.

We also need good “grow-your-own” strategies. How can we more systematically make sure education support professionals and more people of color become certified teachers so they can grow in their careers….

Question:

How will you expand and ensure access to more student debt cancellation, particularly for Black, brown, and Indigenous students, and ensure that public service workers have a clear pathway to the loan forgiveness they were promised?

MC: We can’t expect that college students take on this massive debt and be weighed down for rest of their lives. It’s unacceptable, and there are some students that are disproportionately affected by this.

We have done some things to help borrowers most in need. For example, there is now relief—$1.3 billion—for those who have total or permanent disabilities. We will continue to look at ways to help other borrowers with the most need.

In 2017, when public service loan forgiveness loans became available, 98 percent of those who applied were rejected. We need to do better.

At the end of the conversation, Pringle told participants that it was the first in many conversations NEA will have with Secretary Cardona to discuss his experience in public schools, his vision for learning, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities for our public schools and institutions of higher learning.

Watch a Recording of the Full Conversation with Miguel Cardona…

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Summer…2021…

Summer can be a lonely time for our children…

This challenging school year has ended for most children… Some may be attending summer programs…


Yet, so many of our young children will be missing that needed routine of attending school…

To them, school is their refuge; getting that love and attention from teachers, school staff, and classmates …maybe the only love they receive…

Our children in need…

In addition, they may also be dealing with food insecurity…And they rely on our free breakfast and lunch programs… Hopefully, many of our communities continue providing meals for those children…

That I lose sleep at night worrying about my students. How can I be a better teacher, role model, and leader? —Sarah H…

We as teachers know our children…And even during the times away from the classroom…So worry about those special children…

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Looking ahead for the Coming School Year… Opportunities!

I feel like it is all coming back to me…

Graduating from the University of Florida in March of 1972… by April first…secured my first teaching position ninety miles away from Gainesville, at Browning Pearce Elementary, in Palatka…There were two campuses because of segregation, and now the schools were recently integrated… I was to teach on the second campus taking over the fourth grade where the teacher was moving to Tallahassee…

Our school had been allocated a federally funded grant, providing resources and services by the University of Florida for the many migrant children living in this low economic, potato farming community…

I was so determined to teach to make a difference.. These were exciting times….We had such Hope…

Surplus of teachers; programs and resources were available for children; Integration had been implemented….There were Headstart Programs and Title I schools…

Then a few years later I had the opportunity to teach closer to home, a school twenty miles away… I had the good fortune to be involved in an Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum Program for high-risk children…

We had fewer students, an aide, and a diagnostic, prescriptive curriculum…We were funded for about seven years…

The school was a Title I school which also received additional funds…And because this was a Title I school, I did not have to pay any of my college loans back!!!

And here we are today… Just through a Pandemic and a new President!!!

We have Hope once again!!!… Finally!!!

Budget Proposes Transformational Investments to Expand Access to Affordable Early Childhood and Postsecondary Education, and Prioritize the Physical and Mental Well-Being of Students


MAY 28, 2021
Contact: Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov

Statement by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget | U.S. Department of Education


The Biden-Harris Administration today submitted to Congress the President’s budget for fiscal year 2022. As the Administration continues to make progress defeating the pandemic and getting our economy back on track, the budget makes historic investments that will help the country build back better and lay the foundation for shared growth and prosperity for decades to come.

“This proposal reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring that student success remains at the heart of the Department of Education’s work. It calls on Congress to prioritize the physical and mental health of students and close education equity gaps, especially in underserved communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We need to focus on not only recovering from the pandemic but also look towards our students’ education after the pandemic to ensure there are improved resources to build our education system back better than before. This budget ensures all students have access to high-quality, affordable postsecondary education, while also improving career pathways for students of all ages and levels.”

The budget includes the two historic plans the President has already put forward — the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan – and reinvests in education, research, public health, and other foundations of our country’s strength. At the Department of Education (ED), the budget would:

Add at Least Four Years of Free Education. The American Families Plan will make transformational investments from early childhood to postsecondary education so that all children and young people are able to grow, learn, and gain the skills they need to succeed.
It will provide universal, high-quality preschool to all three- and four-year-olds, led by a well-trained and well-compensated workforce.
It will provide two years of free community college and invest in making college more affordable for low- and middle-income students, including students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) such as Hispanic-serving institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions.
And, it will invest in our teachers as well as our students, improving teacher training and support so that our schools become engines of growth at every level.
Make Historic Investments in High Poverty Schools. Addressing entrenched disparities in education is both a moral and economic imperative. The budget proposes a historic $36.5 billion investment in grants for Title I schools, a $20 billion increase from the 2021 enacted level. This investment would provide historically under-resourced schools with the funding needed to deliver a high-quality education to all of their students, as well as meaningful incentives for states to examine and address inequities in school funding systems. These additional funds will advance the President’s commitment to ensure teachers at Title I schools are paid competitively, provide equitable access to rigorous coursework, and increase access to high-quality preschool.

Prioritize the Physical and Mental Well-Being of Students. Recognizing the profound effect of physical and mental health on academic achievement, the budget provides $1 billion, in addition to the resources in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to increase the number of counselors, school psychologists, nurses, and social workers in schools.
In addition, it provides $443 million for Full Service Community Schools, which play a critical role in providing comprehensive wrap-around services to students and their families, from afterschool, to adult education opportunities, and health and nutrition services.
Boost Support for Children with Disabilities. The budget includes $16 billion, a historic increase of $2.7 billion over 2021 enacted, for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to support special education and related services for more than 7.6 million Pre-K through 12 students. This is a significant first step toward fully funding IDEA and supports providing a high-quality education to children with disabilities.
The budget also provides $732 million for early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, funding services that have a proven record of improving academic and developmental outcomes. The $250 million increase would be paired with reforms to expand access to these services for underserved children, including children of color and children from low-income families.
Enacting the budget policies into law this year would strengthen our nation’s economy and lay the foundation for shared prosperity, while also improving our nation’s long-term fiscal health.

For more information on the President’s FY 2022 budget, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.

Our Hope and Opportunity for our Children…💞🙏🏻🌈🍎
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What Should Children Learn about in History?..

Florida is now among a growing number of republican controlled states that are trying to suppress what our children learn about in the racial history of America…due to our Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis’ suppressive and prejudicial principles…

This is extremely dangerous…

We teachers have always appreciated developmentally appropriate curriculum, and relied on critical standards for our children…However when those in power start dictating a what and how to teach;

Our children will then develop a narrow view and suffer irreparable consequences…

A teacher is bound by professional ethics… When I taught, I was extremely careful not to project my points of personal, political biases with my children, yet teaching the facts about our history…I taught many children of all ethnicity and diversity…We learned to accept, celebrate and appreciate our differences…Moreover, learn America’s History…with clarity and appreciation…

Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran…


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (News Service of Florida) – A proposed rule that will be weighed by the State Board of Education aims to control the way history is taught in Florida classrooms and not allow teachers to “indoctrinate” students, as part of what state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran called a “constant, vigilant fight.”

The proposed rule seeks to put strict guidelines on teaching U.S. history…

“Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence,” the state Department of Education’s proposal said…

It also would require that any classroom discussion is “appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students,” and teachers facilitating discussions wouldn’t be able to “share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view” that is inconsistent with state standards…

The Board of Education will consider the proposal at its June 10 meeting at Florida State College at Jacksonville…

Corcoran touted the proposal during a recent speaking engagement at Hillsdale College, a private college in Michigan that regularly invites conservative speakers..

“You have to police them on a daily basis. It’s 185,000 teachers in a classroom with anywhere from 18 to 25 kids,” Corcoran told the crowd gathered at the event, titled “Education is Freedom.”

The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, opposes the proposed rule…

We’re passing a rule this coming month that says, for the 185,000 (Florida) teachers, you can’t indoctrinate students with stuff that’s not based on our standards, the new B.E.S.T. standards,” Corcoran said, referring to standards adopted by the state during his tenure…

The “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking” standards were adopted after Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in January 2019 to eliminate vestiges of politically unpopular “Common Core” standards…

Speaking at Hillsdale, Corcoran characterized the new standards as part of the “fight” to ensure progressive ideas aren’t pushed in the classroom…

“We rewrote all of our standards, we did all of that stuff, and then we do a book adoption,” Corcoran told the crowd. “And the publishers are just infested with liberals. And so we would have to say to them in our bid specs, we are not going to approve your bid unless … a certain percent of our reading list has to be in your text.”

“Florida isn’t going to equip students as critical thinkers by hiding facts. Students deserve the best possible education we can provide and the truest and most inclusive picture of their world and our shared history,” Andrew Spar, the union’s president, said in a statement Wednesday…

Spar also suggested that other aspects of U.S. history aren’t addressed in the proposal…

“If giving kids a good education is the goal, the rule could be amended to say in part: ‘Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction and Jim Crow.’ Those who don’t learn history are destined to repeat it,” Spar said in the statement..

During his Hillsdale College speech, Corcoran fielded a question from an audience member about how he intends to address progressive ideas in textbooks and instructional materials. Part of Corcoran’s response indicated he expects the proposed rule will be adopted.Corcoran’s comments and the proposed rule came amid a push by DeSantis to eliminate what is known as critical race theory from classrooms. Critical race theory is based on the premise that racism is embedded within American society and institutions…

The governor criticized critical race theory during a media appearance in March, while rolling out a “civics literacy” proposal…

“It’s basically teaching kids to hate our country and to hate each other based on race. It puts race as the most important thing. I want content of character to be the most important thing,” DeSantis told reporters…

At Hillsdale, Corcoran also said he is working to weed out critical race theory from instructional materials…

“They hide it in … social-emotional learning. So, it doesn’t say critical race theory, but you could definitely have a teacher who teaches critical race theory,” Corcoran said…

Copyright 2021 WWSB. All rights reserved.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, shown speaking after the 2021 legislative session, has lent his support to proposals that would restrict the way teachers teach U.S. history in Florida’s public schools. [ WILFREDO
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My Inspiration

Dedicated to Mary Towers…Who turns 102.. May 31…
We taught from 1975-1984…
Alachua Elementary…
WW Irby Principal…

We plan to have our special lunch date…in Gainesville.. to celebrate…It has been a long year …💕🙏🏻🌈🍎

Teacher Appreciation Week..

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Dreams do Come True…

In the many years I taught; dating back to 1972…

I began with such hope!

Children were a priority…Integration and Early Childhood Education were paramount…And Head Start began…

However, as the years passed, by the nineties I realized that due to changes at the Federal level: our public school children were less of a priority because they were losing the funding to privatization, and the resources needed to do all we could for our children were diminished…

Yet our expectations were unrealistic and we were being blamed…

There now was teacher accountability, developmentally inappropriate curriculum and over testing….Yet fewer resources…

And moreover since the new millennium…with all these drastic changes…. Dismantling of public schools…teacher shortage….Poor leadership… A Pandemic..

We are facing a crisis…

However, through all of these changes I always maintained there would be that better day!!!

And now with the election of a new President….we may see a change!!!

” Biden’s education plan: Targets inequity, expands federal role”…Laura Meckler and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel Washington Post

The federal government has long been a bit player in education… Under an expansive vision being rolled out this spring by President Biden, that would change…

Biden has proposed — or is expected to propose — a half dozen education programs that would constitute the largest federal investment in education in at least a half century. Any one of them would be significant on its own. Taken together, if approved by Congress, they form a cradle-to-college plan that aims to reduce inequities that course through American schools by infusing hundreds of billions of dollars into virtually every level of the system….

“These are truly unprecedented investments in education,” said Sarah Abernathy, executive director of the Committee for Education Funding…

Much of Biden’s strategy is focused on cold, hard cash, a show-me-the-money plan that would more than double federal support to high-poverty districts, rebuild crumbling schools and subsidize pre-K and community college alike. It’s excited educators up and down the system, but left some allies wondering if the administration is doing enough to use the money to drive policy changes by states and districts. For their part, Republicans oppose such sweeping new spending as well as the tax increases proposed to offset some of the cost…

Should Biden’s entire agenda become law, the U.S. educational system could morph from a 13-year guarantee — where children are entitled to free education from kindergarten through 12th grade — to a 17-year promise, where prekindergarten is available starting at age 3 and tuition is free through two years of community college…

“Think of it this way: Joe Biden is adding four years to a student’s education. It’s the largest increase in educational time since high school became universal,” said Rahm Emanuel, a longtime Biden ally who championed similar policies for early childhood and community college when he was Chicago’s mayor. Early-childhood education, he said, will prepare children to learn, while postsecondary programs prepare them for the workforce…

Biden does enjoy support for his education agenda among liberals, who are pushing him to aggressively confront educational inequity, and centrist Democrats, who like several pieces of this package…

“He’s investing in things like apprenticeships and community colleges and pre-K and all kinds of things that moderate Democrats love,” said Lanae Erickson, who heads social policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank. “There’s something in there for everybody in the party and that’s how he’s keeping folks on board.”Even when he had a Democratic Congress, Obama did not ask for this level of spending. After passing into law a recovery act meant to respond to the 2008 financial crisis, he telegraphed his interest in fiscal responsibility. At his first Cabinet meeting in April 2009, he announced that federal agencies would be hunting for cuts and efficiencies, saying he had challenged his secretaries to find $100 million in reductions…

Never give up on your dreams…

President Biden is determined…. making his Presidency consequential… Our children a priority; making our public schools stronger… Providing our children the success they so need…

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Children and Testing during a Pandemic…

Our children have been dealing with so much this past year…

And I believe, it is extremely wrong to expect them to perform their best when they take any standard test…this Pandemic year!!!

In addition to how well a teacher is doing…. teacher evaluations rely on this data…

And moreover, because of the big business of Educational Testing companies influence on education, government mandates that our children be tested…

It is unconscionable!!!

However…here in Florida…they are listening to parents, teachers, and those concerned for our children…

New order allows Florida high school seniors, 3rd graders to graduate without passing state exams…

Florida high school seniors will be able to graduate this year and 3rd graders can move on without passing the normally required state assessments, according to a new executive order signed Friday by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

Students everywhere have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic over the last year when schools closed and later reopened with virtual or in-person options.

Corcoran signed a new emergency order Friday that addresses a wide range of pandemic-related setbacks students have faced, including whether they take year-end assessments.

“Emergency Order-02 protects our seniors and empowers local school districts and schools to make the important decisions on graduation, promotion and whether to opt in to school grades and improvement ratings,” Corcoran said in a statement.

Gov. Ron DeSantis echoed those thoughts in a statement released by his office.

“Over the past year and beyond, Florida has led on prioritizing the education and wellbeing of our state’s students,” DeSantis said. “This emergency order will empower students, families and teachers with data on students’ progress and growth and provide them with the necessary tools to create the best educational experience for each individual.”

Under the order, school districts will be permitted to waive the state assessments required for graduation this spring on a case-by-case basis.

“Local school districts, in consultation with parents, are in the best position to evaluate the academic progress of each student and then make individualized decisions related to students progression and graduation in keeping with the best interest of each child,” the executive order reads….Even if they do not have an end-of-course exam….

Again, based on an individual basis, 3rd grade students will be able to move up to 4th grade without an English Language Arts assessment score or a Level 2 ELA score…

Those students will be promoted to the next grade “if the district is able to determine that a student is performing at least at Level 2 on the ELA assessment through the good cause exemption process provided in s. 1008.25, Fla. Stat., or other means reasonably calculated to provide reliable evidence of a student’s performance,” according to the executive order…

However, school districts are also required to begin remediation efforts with priority to students at risk of being retained for summer learning programs.

The executive order also addresses school districts’ concerns about school grades or ratings, which can impact funding.

Under Corcoran’s executive order, all schools will maintain their pre-pandemic grades unless a district opts in and applies to the Department of Education to have one or more 2020-2021 school grades recorded.

Schools participating in Florida’s voluntary prekindergarten education, or VPK, program will be required to have 200 hours of instruction for summer 2021 instead of the normally mandated 300, according to the order.

Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar released the following statement Friday in response to the order, saying teachers also deserve some grace:

“The new order lifts a heavy burden from our students. It’s only right that they should be exempt from dire consequences when they take standardized tests this spring. This has not been a normal school year, and a test should not cost kids the chance to graduate or be promoted. However, teachers did not get the same kind of consideration. Test scores still will be allowed to impose very real costs on them through their evaluations. The educators who have served Florida’s students throughout the pandemic also deserve to be shown some grace. They have faced unprecedented challenges this school year.”

My hope is that government put our children first…

Not big business, nor those who want to reform our schools without really addressing the needs of our children…Ask a teacher!!!

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Help is on the Way…For Our Children

This is a significant amount of money’: COVID-19 relief bill would send nearly $170 billion to schools..Jillian Berman

The Covid Relief Bill passed, and will now be enacted!!!

This is historic!!!
Our children will be able to get back to their routine of going to school, and being able to socialize with their friends…

They will be able to finally have the opportunity to receive an education they so deserve!!!

Our schools will have the necessary funding to provide the safety protocols, along with the ability to vaccinate all essential staff…And there will be the necessary funding to hire more teachers and staff!!!

What a dream coming true!!!

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Jill Biden visit a school as part of the administration’s push to reopen schools.
MandelNgan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
As part of the COVID-19 relief bill passed by the Senate Saturday, schools from kindergarten on up will receive billions of dollars in funding…
The money comes as K-12 public school systems and higher education institutions grapple with how best to cope with the fallout of the pandemic on both their students and budgets. Public schools at all levels rely on state and local government money for funding, resources that could be squeezed by the pandemic inducted downturn…
At the same time, schools are wrestling with how to return to some semblance of normalcy as more widespread vaccination brings hope of emerging from the pandemic in the next several months…
If the bill is approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Biden, the roughly $170 billion lawmakers are sending to educational institutions could help with these efforts. It comes on top of the $82 billion they received in COVID-related relief Congress passed in December and the roughly $31 billion they received as part of the CARES Act passed in March…

Here’s what’s in the bill for schools: Kg-12 schools:
Lawmakers voted to send $128 billion to state and local education agencies, which mirrors President Joe Biden’s request for $130 billion for K-12 schools in the relief package he laid out in January.

“This is a significant amount of money,” said Terra Wallin, associate director for P-12 accountability and special projects at Ed Trust, an organization that focuses on education equity.“We think that it gets much closer to addressing the needs of schools than the previous relief packages have.”
Schools will likely use some of that money to work towards safe, in-person reopening…
School reopenings have become a flashpoint over the past several weeks as questions about whether Biden will meet a goal of reopening schools in his first 100 days and what exactly that means have surfaced…
The Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines last month on the safe reopening of schools, which outlined a tiered approach to in-person learning tied to COVID-19 transmission in the communityIn addition to the guidelines, the Biden administration has taken steps to push schools towards in-person instruction including launching a vaccination program for teachers in March and using the bully pulpit. On his second day on the job, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona joined First Lady Jill Biden on a tour of schools offering in-person instruction…

Though the Biden administration doesn’t have the power to reopen schools on their own — those decisions are made at the state and district level — the funding will certainly help. To re-open safely,schools may need to hire more teachers to offer smaller class sizes, redesign classrooms for social distancing, retrofit ventilation systems and more… But the funding provided is aimed at addressing more than just the immediate challenge of getting students learning in person…
Local education agencies have to use at least 20% of the funds, respectively, to deal with learning loss resulting from the pandemic…Schools could use this money on things like intensive tutoring, extending the school year through the summer, hiring more teachers, and more to address the learning loss students have suffered during this period, said Victoria Jackson, senior policy analyst on the state fiscal team at the the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank focused on the impact of budget and tax issues on inequality and poverty…
The bill also provides guard rails to ensure that the funding for students who likely have been hardest by the challenges of remote school — those from underserved communities, including low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and others — is protected, Wallin said…

The proposal lawmakers passed Saturday is the first COVID relief package to include a maintenance of equity provision… The requirement means that if states and school districts have to make cuts, they can’t cut any more from their highest poverty districts and schools than the per-pupil average…“The idea here is that it requires that states protect the highest need or highest poverty district and that districts in turn protect their highest need schools,”Wallin said…

Higher education:
Congress will be sending nearly $40 billion to colleges and universities as part of the relief package. Though it’s less than the $97 billion, the AmericanCouncil on Education, a higher education lobbying group, estimated schools and students would need, they praised it as the “largest federal effort so far to assist students and families struggling to cope with lost jobs or reduced wages and colleges and universities facing precipitous declines in revenues and soaring new expenses.”Indeed, many colleges’ major sources of revenue — tuition, room and board, conferences, camps, parking and more — have been dinged as a result of the pandemic.

During the Great Recession, public colleges in particular struggled with cuts to state funding, “but colleges just didn’t lose revenue to the same extent,” as over the past several months, said Robert Kelchen, an associate professor of higher education at Seton Hall University.“The big challenge for colleges is they’re not replacing the revenue they got from not having students on campus,” he said...Colleges across the country have made cuts in staff and Programs to cope with the lost revenue, Kelchen noted. At the same time, they’ve spent money on COVID tests, technology and other infrastructure necessary to try and make campuses safe. If the bill becomes law, a lot of the money colleges receive from Congress “will be used to backfill what they’ve already spent,” Kelchen said.At least 50% of the funds colleges receive will have to go directly to students for emergency financial aid...The pandemic and accompanying down turn has put up obstacles in the way of attending and completing college, particularly for the most vulnerable students.

The relief package requires that colleges spend some of the money they receive on outreach to students to let them know they can get more financial aid if their circumstances have changed… The bill also allocates $91 million to the Department of Education to reach out to students and borrowers about financial aid and other benefits for which they may be eligible.

JillianBerman covers student debt and millennial finance. You can follow her on Twitter @JillianBerman.

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States Still Must Give Standardized Tests This Year, Biden Administration Announces

This decision to leave it up to states is not a strong message for our children…Our children have been living through this Pandemic for a year…Their physical, educational, emotional lives have been disrupted…

Having the additional stressor of a standardized test…I question what would such a test measure???

Give our children time to get back to a stable routine before .. measuring their educational growth…

States Still Must Give Standardized Tests This Year, Biden Administration Announces….

By Andrew Ujifusa

Updated

States will not be allowed to cancel federally mandated standardized exams this school year despite the pandemic, though they will be offered significant flexibility in how they give those tests and how they’re used, the U.S. Department of Education informed state education leaders Monday.

In a letter to states, the department said that it will not invite state requests for “blanket waivers of assessments” required by the Every Student Succeeds Act; states received such waivers last spring. However, the department said it would allow states to administer shorter versions of state exams in English/language arts, math, and science, or let states administer exams this summer or even into the next school year.

The Education Department also told states that it will allow them to seek waivers from federal requirements for school accountability, including the mandate to identify certain low-performing schools, for the 2020-21 school year. Such flexibility would include a waiver from the requirement that states test 95 percent of eligible students…

“It is urgent to understand the impact of COVID-19 on learning,” Ian Rosenblum, acting assistant secretary in the office of elementary and secondary education, wrote to states. “We know, however, that some schools and school districts may face circumstances in which they are not able to safely administer statewide summative assessments this spring using their standard practices.”

Rosenblum said states would still have to publicly report data by student subgroups, as required. He also specifically encouraged states to extend the testing window for English-language proficiency tests.

Rosenblum did not give a deadline for when states would have to seek flexibility from accountability or other requirements. However he also said the department recognized that “individual states may need additional assessment flexibility based on the specific circumstances.” He added that in such cases, the department “will work with states to address their individual needs and conditions while ensuring the maximum available statewide data to inform the targeting of resources and supports.”

Whether to let states cancel these exams has been a major question looming over the Biden administration. Leading Democrats for K-12 policy in Congress and others have said the tests are crucial to informing educators about how students have been affected by the pandemic. Yet teachers’ unions and some Republicans are among those who have pushed for students and schools to be let off the hook when it comes to these exams. States like Michigan and New York have sought testing waivers from the department for this spring.

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/biden-introduces-miguel-cardona-education-secretary/

During his confirmation hearing, Miguel Cardona, President Joe Biden’s nominee for education secretary, said that assessments are crucial to learning where students stand but did not take a firm position one way or the other on letting states cancel them. Before his nomination, Cardona, Connecticut’s education commissioner, told his state last year that he planned to press forward with annual state exams. Cardona has not been confirmed by the Senate.

Last year, former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said her department would not grant blanket testing waivers for this year, although that position no longer mattered after President Joe Biden won the November election.

In response to Monday’s news, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called the decision not to grant waivers a “frustrating turn” of events.

“It misses a huge opportunity to really help our students by allowing the waiver of assessments and the substitution, instead, of locally developed, authentic assessments that could be used by educators and parents as a baseline for work this summer and next year,” Weingarten said.

Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, encouraged states to apply for the waivers being made available, but also disparaged the value of the state exams during the pandemic: “Standardized tests have never been valid or reliable measures of what students know and are able to do, and they are especially unreliable now.”

Meanwhile, Carissa Moffat Miller, the CEO of the Council of Chief State School Officers, indicated support for the department’s approach to assessments this year.

“We appreciate that the Department will provide flexibility on how to administer statewide assessments and modify accountability systems as state leaders manage the continuing effects of the global pandemic,” she said. “In addition, we are pleased that the Department has committed to working with states that may need additional flexibilities.”

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Safety First…Our Children #VaccinateTeachers

#vaccinateteachers

School Personnel Lost To Covid…

@LostToCovidObtained from public sources…

Current number people

posted: 1,008

Of those, died since:

Aug 1: 653

Oct. 1: 571

Dec 1: 394

Fauci: ‘Non-workable’ to vaccinate teachers before schools open…

However recommend…Not a requirement!!!!

Very disappointed…

They really do not know …life in a classroom…

Just looking at data…Does not reflect what dangers lie in an unfunded classroom…

I would only recommend powers that be, work in a classroom…with twenty plus young children…

Most schools are poorly ventilated…lacking the staff to make routine visits to sanitize and clean surfaces…

From my many years teaching … Teaching through flu and even pneumonia…

It is extremely challenging to manage socially distance, masked young children… Through out a day…

Teachers are always expected, even blamed…

This would be the right time to protect our teachers and essential staff…So our children will be safe to attend school…

💕🌈🙏 🍎

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Dr. Jill Biden…FLOTUS… Educator 💕

@DrBiden
#FLOTUS

Dear Dr. Jill…

Thank you…for decorating the lawn…at your new home…
Just what we so need…A White House of Love…

Healing
Courage
Love
Compassion
Gratitude
Peace
Amor
Strength
Kindness
Family
Unity

Love,
Jill

#valentinesday2021

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Helping Kids Process Recent and Ongoing Current Events…Hope

Our children are dealing with quite a lot these days…It is up to us to provide comfort through our careful conversations with them; helping them cope, helping them process what is currently happening by instilling feelings of safety and well-being …

And…

Hope for their future…

Helping kids process recent and ongoing current events

By Suzanne Monaghan KYW NewsradioPHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)

Coronavirus-induced isolation, an inconsistent school year, fallout from the violence in Washington, D.C. — kids are living through many back-to-back historic and potentially life-changing events.

Counselor and author L.J. Jackson said young people are dealing with many anxieties as a result, like missing friends, fearing that their parents will get sick, or falling behind in school.

“The newness of it all is something that they’re trying to wrap their heads around and understand,” she said. “Whether they’re toddlers or pre-teens or teens or young adults, this is their first go-round for a lot of them with something as intense as what we’ve been going through in 2020 and the first start of 2021.”

For parents, Jackson suggests not listening to the news when children are around. Also, talk to them about how they’re feeling, reassure them that everything will be OK, and come up with things to look forward to.

“Their brains are still developing and they’re thinking in the moment, here and now, so just help them think and create a bright future so that no matter what happens, they can see beyond this.”

For example, make a vision board that you and your children can post pictures and lists of things to look forward to. Kids need consistency, especially during the inconsistency of today.

“With young people, hope is very important, and so it’s kind of like our gas tank,” she alluded. “Just kind of do a check-in with them periodically. Whether they want to talk or not, make sure their ‘hope tank’ is filled.”

LISTEN NOW on the RADIO.COM App

Follow RADIO.COM

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We now have the hope we have so needed…

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COVID and Schools: The Data and Science Then and Now | Cloaking Inequity … Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig


President Trump and and his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos have used our children, teachers and essential staff as pawns during this Pandemic…. trying to keep schools open to boost the economy…not caring about the lives involved….And now here in Florida teachers and staff are not a top priority to receive the Covid vaccine….

We will now have a new President, Joe Biden and a new Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona….

Let’s make our schools safe…. Funding our schools with the resources necessary to put the right protocols in place…Making our children a priority…

COVID AND SCHOOLS: THE DATA AND SCIENCE THEN AND NOW

Early on in the pandemic the thinking was that masks were not necessary. In fact, there is a video circulating online that shows Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), saying “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” Fauci’s remarks were made on March 8, 2020 and do not represent his current stance or the national conversation about the importance of face coverings nor the updated guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That was then, this is now.

In early November, a staff writer for the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) argued that “An emerging body of evidence suggests that young children do not spread the coronavirus easily. Does that mean it’s safe to bring them back to class?” Here were the core arguments of the piece:

  • The virus spreads in schools — but schools are rarely super spreaders
  • School outbreaks typically come from the community — not vice versa
  • Children transmit the virus — but not how adults do

For months, the common conversation in the media and research was that schools were not heavily documented sites for Covid or superspreading events. But I kept hearing anecdotally from the field that the situation was different. A friend that works in a Texas school district was infected in a public school by another teacher. The friend relayed that the teachers were rapidly getting sick in her school, but the students were not showing symptoms. This is not the only Texas superspreader event that flew under the radar. The Texas State Board of Education hosted their own superspreader event when they were forced to meet in person by Board leadership to make a political point. The argument made was if the State Board of Education couldn’t meet in person, why would school districts across the state of Texas agree to do so? While I am not an epidemiologist, anecdotally, this information seems quite problematic compared to the public discourse about school reopening. The AAMC article did include an important caveat and/or hedging.

The early data suggest that schools can reopen safely under certain conditions, but the analyses come with follow-up questions and multiple caveats — the most basic of which is some form of, “That’s what we know so far.” “We’re nine to 10 months into a brand-new disease,” cautions Helen Bristow, MPH, program manager of Duke’s ABC Science Collaborative, which guides schools on COVID-19 safety. “We’re regularly learning something we didn’t know before.”

That was then and this is now.

So what is the latest? The Guardian reported on January 2, 2021 that Symptomless cases in schools could be key driver in spread of Covid-19. Please read that again. They report that Up to 70% of schoolchildren infected with coronavirus may not know they have it until after a positive test result.” Please read that again. In my own experience, I have heard many stories of people testing negative and then not soon after testing positive and/or having symptoms. Has this “negative” test situation happened to your friends and family too? This is now being borne out in the broader data.

A key factor in the spread of Covid-19 in schools is symptomless cases. Most scientists believe that between 30% and 40% of adults do not display any Covid symptoms on the day of testing, even if they have been infected. For children, however, this figure is higher. “It is probably more like 50% for those in secondary school while for boys and girls in primary school, around 70% may not be displaying symptoms even though they have picked up the virus,” says Professor Martin Hibberd of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The Guardian

We don’t know what we don’t know. Proponents of immediate school reopening often point to contact tracing and testing. However, in the United States the number of cases has rapidly overwhelmed contact tracing and testing. It’s hard to argue that testing and contact tracing is currently adequate for K-12 schools.

The US Department of Education has absolutely failed in its responsibility to track the spread of Covid in higher education and K-12. LITERALLY FAILED. Besty DeVos said it was not her job. In the absence of leadership from Betsy DeVos and the US Department of Education, the free press of our nation have stepped into that glaring gap. The COVID Monitor is a US News database that tracks coronavirus cases in K-12 schools. They’ve shown there had been nearly 250,000 student and staff cases across the United States since Aug. 1— and that data doesn’t include the massive December surge. Read that again. 250,000. While those have been tied to schools, we also know that more than 1 million children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States.

The most distressing part of this pandemic is the death. Every time I have been forwarded an article by a reader of Cloaking Inequity about the death of an educator, I have posted it on my Twitter to make point. Educators are being infected with Covid and they are dying.

Inaccurate, unproven claims have filled the data gap, aiming to assuage anxieties about reopening schools for in-person classes, with seemingly little regard for the potential impacts the virus may have on the students, staff and communities affected by such choices. With uncertainties about the long-term effects of infection on an individual’s health, the evidence of children being asymptomatic spreaders and the increase in pediatric cases recently, public pleas for closing schools have grown.

In guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, schools are called a “potential source of COVID-19 outbreaks, due to the number of individuals intermingling in close proximity for extended periods of time.”

It makes sense when you think about it. Stuff a bunch of people into a confined space for eight hours a day and the likelihood of catching the virus increases.

And internationally, data indicates how quickly schools may become super spreaders.

In Israel, for example, many schools closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks only two weeks after the country fully reopened classrooms. Districts in Georgia and Mississippi experienced similar scenarios when they started school in August.

A recent study from the United Kingdom in November also showed a decline in cases in every age group except, apparently, among school-aged children and teens.

US News

Yes, internationally, they have already figured out in the public consciousness that schools are platforms for superspreading. It is very clear that Covid has taken advantage of some of American’s most challenging traits— denial and hubris— in the debate about reopening schools.

So what does the national data reported in early December by US News tell us about the situation with communities, schools, and Covid?

  • Their analysis of their national data shows that the high school student case rate (13 per 1,000 students enrolled for in-person classes) is nearly three times that of elementary school students (4.4 per 1,000).
  • They observed that the higher the community case rate, the higher the school district case rate, as depicted in the graphic below.
  • They found that case rates for school districts are often much higher than case rates in the community. Meanwhile, within their data, a recent review of school district case rates based on total enrollment showed that less than 3% of all districts reporting two or more cases met a lowest-risk, case-rate threshold advised by the CDC for communities.
  • They also show that the percentage of students enrolled for in-person classes directly impacts the case rate in school districts. A recent study based on their data found school districts can reduce COVID-19 case rates by about 40% by reducing the in-person class size by 50%.
  • Based on data from Florida, their data show that school districts without mask mandates have an average case rate (12.1 per 1,000) nearly twice as high as those with mask mandates (6.9 per 1,000).

Do you come away from this independent national data thinking that schools are safe to reopen under current circumstances and do not contribute to the spread of the virus?

Also, there is worrisome new data. @DrEricDing say “new B117 Covid variant is not only more infectious, it’s potentially more infectious in children 0-9 (+24%) and 10-19 (+14%), and less among 60-79, compared to common strains. More sobering—the R estimate is much higher.” See more at this thread h/t to LH.

Arguments about social and mental well-being of students due to online learning have been made by experts in various fields. However, now that we have data, research and experience strongly indicates we need to prioritize the health of communities in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. We must do this until ALL states prioritize the vaccination of educators and provide the financial and strategic resources to reopen safely. States should immediately prioritize this goal so that we can both address the social and mental well-being of students as well as protect the health of the nation.

We’ve seen how problematic and absent leadership has led to less than a quarter of Covid vaccines (as of right now) being used for vaccinations in Florida, Texas and other states. Yet many states are insisting and placing enormous political and financial pressure on school to reopen. It’s a severe and gross failure of leadership to allow vaccines to sit on shelves and at the same time demand educators reopen schools. I have been impressed by the leadership in Kentucky prioritizing educators for inoculation as a high priority group so that schools can reopen more safely. Furthermore, absent inoculating all educators and providing the financial and strategic resources for districts to reopen schools safely (i.e. PPE, smaller class sizes etc.) for students and families, President-elect Joe Biden’s promise to open all schools in the first 100 days is a problem and a national disaster waiting to happen. I am sure President-Elect Joe Biden is aware that Secretary of Education-Designate Cardona pressured schools to reopen in Connecticut throughout 2019. So, considering the current knowledge in the data and science, it is my hope that Biden and Cardona get it right on school reopening in the upcoming months, otherwise history and voters won’t be kind.

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Florida teachers, DeSantis at odds over delay in COVID vaccine rollout for educators –

Our teachers have little regard when it comes to what is best for our children and their own lives….It concerns me that here in Florida we have a governor who lacks compassion and leadership…

ORLANDO, FLA. (WSVN) – Some teachers in Florida are calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to reconsider his decision to delay the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to them.

Educators like Wendy Doromal, president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, said she’s glad to hear that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has included teachers as essential workers recommended in the second priority group for COVID-19 vaccination guidance.

That decision, Doromal said, is particularly important, considering the school district announced that about 18,000 students will return to face-to-face learning after the holidays.

“That means that those rooms that are small and are ready don’t have space and adequate social distancing will be more crowded, so we were looking forward to teachers having the option of getting a vaccine,” she said, “especially those that have [Americans with Disabilities Act] accommodations, and their health is at risk, or a family member’s health is at risk.”

But DeSantis has opted to deviate from the CDC’s recommendation.

“We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly, vulnerable population,” he said.

The governor said essential workers like teachers will have to wait.

“On one hand, he’s saying, ‘Fling open the school doors,’ and on the other, he’s not providing adequate safety measures,” said Doromal.

Elizabeth Albert, president of the Volusia County Educators Association, said she is disappointed by DeSantis’ announcement.

“If you’re a teacher, or you work in the schools, you’re there every day, then you go home to your family,” she said. “You have children in the public schools, they go out, and they come back in, they interact with their own families. I mean, it’s a spider’s web of a connection, if you will.”

Florida is likely 6 to 8 weeks away from the start of Phase 2 vaccinations. The vaccine continues to make its way to hospitals and nursing homes to vaccinate those most at risk first.

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp…

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Biden’s Education secretary pick acknowledges ‘ongoing crisis’ in schools

By Juan Perez Jr

“For too many students, public education in America has been a ‘flor pálida’, a wilted rose neglected and in need of care,” Cardona said in his first public remarks since his nomination…

Watch “Biden Introduces Miguel Cardona as His Pick for Education Chief” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/Ivls6Ar4jgY

President-elect Joe Biden formally introduced Miguel Cardona as his secretary of Education nominee on Wednesday, placing the Connecticut state education official atop the incoming administration’s sweeping plans to reopen the majority of American schools in 100 days and accelerate federal spending on education.

Cardona previewed a broad agenda to address persistent achievement gaps, fill neglected construction and trade jobs, expand access to college and universal early childhood education, and boost the status of the nation’s teachers.

“For too many students, public education in America has been a ‘flor pálida’, a wilted rose neglected and in need of care,” Cardona said in his first public remarks since his nomination. “We must be the master gardeners who cultivate it, who work every day to preserve its beauty and its purpose.”

But the nominee acknowledged Covid-19 has wrenched open long-standing and painful disparities in the nation’s schools — and that those problems will persist after the pandemic fades.

“We also know that this crisis is ongoing, that we will carry its impacts for years to come, and that the problems and inequities that have plagued our educational system since long before Covid will still be with us even after the virus is gone,” Cardona said…

“So it’s our responsibility, it’s our privilege, to take this moment and to do the most American thing imaginable: To forge opportunity out of crisis, to draw on our resolve, our ingenuity and our tireless optimism as a people, and build something better than we’ve ever had before.”

Cardona’s selection fulfills Biden’s campaign promise to name an educator with public school experience to replace Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, but his nomination also allows the incoming administration to highlight a fast-rising Latino education official who noted his public school education and birth at the Yale Acres public housing complex in Meriden, Conn.

“And I, being bilingual and bicultural, am as American as apple pie and rice and beans,” Cardona said…

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Dr. Miguel Cardona… Secretary of Education…

I am holding onto hope for our children…. President Elect Biden’s choice Dr. Miguel Cardona for Secretary of Education… having a background in education… regarding values and inclusion are added blessings…

However, I do have some strong concerns….He has only a few years of experience as a classroom teacher…So mostly his years is an administrator will be from that perspective…

Another concern….Dr. Cardona has not been a strong advocate for public schools …. and he may continue funding charter schools with public school monies…

And lastly he does advocate opening schools in a thoughtful manner…Which may be without the necessary funding and protocols to keep children, teachers, essential workers safe…

My hope is that he will care….

And will fund our schools with the programs and resources….our schools so desperately need…In these most challenging of times….

If confirmed, Cardona would be a visible part of the administration’s efforts to win public trust on the divisive issue…

Here is where Cardona stands on some of these key K-12 issues

By Evie Blad

December 22, 2020

Continue reading “Dr. Miguel Cardona… Secretary of Education…”

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“Brown girl, brown girl

What do you see?

I see a Vice President

That looks like me…

#BlackGirlMagic

#Children

#NewBeginnings

Joe Biden ~ “If you’re an educator in this country, this is a great day for y’all, You will have one of your own in the White House…

Dr. Jill Biden, our First Lady elect….is a junior college English Professor….

She will be bringing with her to the White House her knowledge and understanding of what teachers today are dealing with…

Joe Biden will be making changes!

Through executive action and negotiations with Congress, Biden wants to bolster public schools.

He has promised hundreds of billions of dollars in new education spending, for preschool through college.

He has also promised to appoint an educator as an education secretary…No more ” Betsy DeVos!

“Possibilities…

To Reach Higher and Higher “

Our children will not be forgotten!!…

To Little Brown Girls…Our Children…

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I am holding onto hope that we will take this moment given to all citizens living in the United States of America, to vote for bringing back those important values along with the heart we so desperately need…



Our children; their families, and many households throughout have not been represented these last four years…

Schools are in crisis due to neglect, defunding, and now the coronavirus pandemic…


We still have 545 children that were separated from their parents, who were fleeing into our Country for freedom, that are not able to be reunited with their families… still living in detention centers…

Parents of 545 children still not found three years after Trump‘s separation policy...


Don Winslow (@donwinslow)…
NEW VIDEO!
Please Watch…

#PleaseSaveTheseChildren 
If you don’t have a bright line for crimes against children you don’t have a line.

And if you support Donald Trump after watching this video you don’t have a soul either...





https://twitter.com/i/status/1320157514021875712




President Obama, “Behavior Matters, Character Matters “…



We have this opportune moment to give our children a promising future…

Vote…

  Joe Biden and Kamala Harris…

Vote Blue!!!

For our children and their future!!!

Remember Our Children… November, 3rd…

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Posted in Thoughts About Children

Back to School Fall 2020… ???

In the past…We have always relied on our leaders guiding us through the many challenges we have endured …

Yet…. Today, we have such a dilemma of whom do we trust…


And…Moreover lies to cover up his inadequacies…

Does not provide the required care for our children, and their struggling families… Allowing them to suffer without governmental resources; to alleviate their hunger and to provide adequate healthcare, and the necessary funding for their public education …

Even…having our immigrant children still being locked in cages…


First, we must …

Adhere to the recommendations from the scientific community and medical experts …


Especially in the decisions about …how and when our schools should open in the Fall…

Moreover…

I so worry for young children…

Even with the challenges of virtual learning at home….Many parents and teachers… worry as well…

We have not flattened the curve!

…. And the more we loosen restrictions it will only get worse…

It would be extremely impossible to require young children to be socially distant…

Movement and play are part of their development…Not to mention keeping schools strictly free of germs….

Teachers and staff would have an impossible task…to protect our precious children…

We must do right for those who need our protection…


We must vote November 3rd, for a leader who has Heart and experience with Leadership!!!



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Thank You… Teachers…

Our World…has virtually changed due to this Coronavirus Pandemic…that began as far back in January…

Since mid March we have shut our communities down… except for essential work…

Our children have not been going to their respective schools… Relying on their learning from computers with parent and teacher support…

And now we are beginning the month of May….After great dissonance from parents, teachers and schools here in Florida, our governor will maintain the stay at home order for children to remain home the rest of this school year… assisted by virtual learning and home schooling…

In addition….although our state will slowly be opening …even though we are still not really flattening the curve….Many of our children’s lives have been impacted greatly…

With less restrictions in place… the challenge of how to control this most catastrophic virus…Will there be some relief?

Parents and teachers trying to meet those most challenging of circumstances…
Balancing life as it is now…

We do have an opportunity to keep this virus under control if we adhere to being socially distanced and staying at home…

My hope for the future is to listen to the scientists along with the medical field…

We as a people must vote by mail for a president that cares…and who will lead… Tuesday November 3…Vote for Joe Biden…He will be that leader with a heart…

Our Children’s future is definitely depending on us doing the right thing!!!


A Better…Tomorrow!!!


Hope…

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Posted in Reflections

My Dearest…Mary

Mary and Me… Celebrating Mary’s 100th birthday!!!

Mary Towers has been an inspiration to both; my professional and personal life…

Our story begins when I was hired by Mr. Bill Irby, principal of Alachua Elementary School, in Alachua, Florida; in the fall of nineteen seventy-three… I was hired for a paraprofessional position…

Before then, I had been a beginning teacher at Browning Pearce Elementary, in Palatka, Florida… traveling ninety miles daily… Alachua Elementary was fifteen miles from my home; so I accepted this position… I was assigned to tutor first grade students who needed extra support…Hoping that if a teaching position would become available…I would be hired…

Mary was one of the five teachers I was to assist in an open classroom; Learning Community A… LCA, as it was called; housed five classrooms, four of which were first grade and one was kindergarten; with over one hundred students separated only by partitions…I was to be placed with my small group, in the middle of this very large room divided by furniture and mobile chalkboards… Believe it or not, it it was not all that noisy…

On my very first day, I will never forget how I met Mary… I was walking through the unit, being introduced by the team leader, Chris Hirsch, to the teachers of the team in LCA… Mary being one of them, was very busy with a particular student…A little girl in her class was in the bathroom dealing with intestinal worms, and Mary was taking care of this most challenging situation…How impressed I was by how Mary was managing such a situation …

It was then, after a year, my wish came true…I did get reassigned to teach a first grade class!

And then, opening up the very next year in nineteen and seventy-five; one of the most special of my teaching opportunities opened up!

I was to team with Mary Towers, a professional relationship lasting nine years…. ending in 1984…when Mary retired…

This special opportunity arose in the summer of seventy-five, when Mr.Irby, offered me a co-teaching position with Mary, in a newly federally funded, early childhood education program called ECPC… The Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum Program...

This innovative program was designed as an intervention for diverse, young children who were screened in kindergarten, exhibiting difficulties with their learning…

This center based program was designed with no more than sixteen students, assisted by a full-time aide who would be responsible for the reinforcement associated with specific activities; that would build upon the deficits, diagnostically determined through pre and post tests through the child’s auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile learning styles…

Mary and I each had our own group of children assisted by our full time aide.. Our class was housed within the large classroom in LCA…which now had mobilized walls separating each of the five classrooms; providing the children less distractions…

Our morning time was devoted to four specific centers that incorporated the curriculum:

Reading; Follow Up Reading, and Language Arts activities: Listening; and last “Willy Worm” an aide directed center with specific activities prescribed by the pre and post testing…

The reading curriculum utilized, the Sullivan Programmed Readers…a successful program of the time…. teaching children decoding skills in reading context within a linguistic progression of sound-symbol relationships...

Teaching those nine years with Mary really flew by!!…Sadly both our Team and ECPC Program ended with Mary’s retirement... Mary and I can look back and be quite proud of what our children accomplished from the Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum Program…

Many of our children went on to have successful lives; some going into local politics and a few playing collegiate and professional football…

Mary made this for me…when she retired…1984….

June 5, 1984…..Mary’s Retirement…

As I have reflect on our years together, this special relationship provided me the knowledge and experiences I learned from teaching with Mary…enabling me to evolve into a strong teacher…

Not only has Mary been such an influence on me professionally…Personally, Mary has been a guiding support even more so…

Having lost my mother when I was a senior in high school…I always felt a little lost…Mary was close in age to what my mother’s age would have been…And having such a warm connection with Mary…I always believed my mother, placed Mary in my life for a special reason…I have felt blessed to have Mary in my corner for these forty plus years…

Through the many years I have learned so much about Mary’s beautiful family; especially now that her husband’s recent passing,..Her four children never leave her side…

Mary will be one hundred this year, and she still lives in the same house that she and her husband built after World War II; on land that has been in her family for generations … There are always family gatherings with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other family members and close friends …

What I dearly appreciate truly about Mary is about service and sacrifice, pertaining to her husband Frank Towers ….their story; how they met and married during World War II…Frank was a true hero of the War…He was a commissioned officer in the 30th Infantry Division during the Invasion at Normandy and helped in the liberation of the Jewish Holocaust survivors on a train from the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp….

Mary was still actively involved in my life even in her early nineties…The years passing we have kept our special lunches just to keep in touch…

Then when I began teaching at Idylwild in 20O7…She and her husband offered to assist me in my move to be closer to Idylwild…Utilizing their large van and Frank’s technological skills….with my computer…

Mary would even volunteer in my classroom…I so loved and appreciated her help…

She did so much: she would help any child that needed assistance with their math or reading; at home she would make all the children flash cards for reading practice; bring in much needed school supplies; make our individual math packets…
Our children and Idywild loved her…And in 2011 Idywild nominated Mary for “Volunteer of the Year…

With my retirement in 2015…I have moved to Palm Coast, to be closer to the ocean…

I am still loving and appreciating Mary…

And… so looking forward to coming back to Gainesville; spring and fall…celebrating our friendship with our special lunch dates…

Thank you Dearest…Mary♥️

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My Mission…

I have always believed giving all our children the opportunity for a strong, public school education;

Educating children gives them a “POWER” from within…that which would provide them the ability to grow and transform…

It is my belief “Children all over the World“.. should have that opportunity

Children are the future….They will carry on our history…

It is a moral responsibility to instill this knowledge into their lives to further our civilization for the betterment of mankind

87a263c22de3219c8e6ca5fda2b29bd8
Posted in Mission, Thoughts About Children

Florida… The Education State…

Amen…💕🌈🙏🏼🍎

Through all the challenges facing our children…I keep holding onto hope, and pray for that better day… Opportunities come and go… We have a president that cares…and is providing opportunities…funding and resources…And trying to keep children safe during this pandemic…

Then, we here in Florida are dealing with a governor that does not care…And then he does something quite unexpectedly and why…

@GovRonDeSantis…
How I have held onto hope.. For some reason you will be eliminating our rigid testing system, and developmentally inappropriate curriculum…Is this true???

So many questions…

What will this mean for the success of our children?
You describe Florida, “The Education State…”

However….Putting children first in safe schools will be Florida’s direction…

Means…Provided them with the 7 billion dollars you are withholding…from the Biden administration…And allowing vaccination and mask mandates in our schools…

If your real intent to give our children opportunities…We definitely would be…

Florida…The Education State

#OurChildren
#school

Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) Tweeted:

Florida is the “Education State.” Today I announced our plan to make Florida the first state to fully transition to progress monitoring. No more FSA testing. No more Common Core. https://twitter.com/GovRonDeSantis/status/1437832550253277184?s=20

Florida Department of Education (@EducationFL) Tweeted:

Florida is putting students first…

Today … @GovRonDeSantis announced the end of the FSA, the elimination of Common Core and a plan to provide real-time results for educators, parents and students…

https://t.co/Kg8fXvCIOv https://twitter.com/EducationFL/status/1437801813647011847?s=20

Posted in Mission, Thoughts About Children

Our District… Alachua County says no to Governor!!!

Carlee Simon, superintendent of Alachua County Schools, listens to the start of a school board meeting Tuesday night where th board voted for a two-week mask mandate for students as they prepare to start a new school year amid spiking cases of COVID-19…


The new mask mandate would begin on Aug 10 — the first day of school — and be evaluated at the next board meeting Aug. 17, when the district could require masks further into the school year. The 4-0 vote came late Tuesday…

So proud of my former district thinking of our children… teachers and staff …Our governor is making reckless decisions, that are impacting our lives, especially our children!

Superintendent Carlee Simon said the decision was made after discovering that there were around 20 positive cases among district staff and that two custodians had recently died from COVID-19…

Within the order, if a school board chooses not to comply then the district is at risk of losing state funding…

“If you want the district to be able to continue to run as usual, we need to have the mask that’s why I made that decision, and this is something that I think the board needs to consider with our students,” Simon said…

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy Pediatric Association have encouraged that universal masking be required for all students, preschool through grade 12…

Parents appeal: Alachua parents rally for safe schools, urge school board to consider mask mandate

Before the school board meeting Tuesday, parents rallied at Bo Diddley Plaza to advocate for a safe school return, urging a mask mandate…

Dr. Adrienne Mott-Younge, a pediatrician at UF Health and a member of the School Health Advisory Committee, said to the board that a mask mandate was needed because of the emergence of the new delta variant and because of the growing number of children who are now contracting the virus…

What is even more concerning…our government is not releasing the data of Covid cases accurately so schools and parents can make decisions…

This is a very challenging beginning for our schools…

Our Hope is President Biden’s leadership! He is providing extra funds from the American Rescue Plan to our schools…And it really is up to all of us to protect our children…


We can… vaccinate, wear our masks…And …#voteblue2022 here in Florida…💙🌊🙏🏼🇺🇸