Here We Go… Choosing a Strong President for our Children…2020


Not since the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the candidate who would have prioritized our children, and their right to a strong public education….

And Donald Trump becoming President…a staunch supporter of the privatization of schools, and his choice of Betsy Devos…an unqualified supporter of privatization…as his secretary of education…

 

Because of their intent….Our schools are in crisis…Our children and public schools are systematically being dismantled… We have a critical teacher shortage due to unrealistic demands like arming teachers….and poor pay….And our public schools lack resources for necessary programs because their funds being diverted to…

 

Charter Schools…Profit and Non Profit…
schools that do not have the oversight and same regulations and standards that public schools must adhere to…And our tax dollars fund…

With the upcoming presidential election in 2020, we certainly  have a crucial opportunity to change all this for our children!!!

We have a strong chance to save our public schools if we elect a democratic candidate… one who supports our children who count on a public school education…There are now about 24 candidates who are in this race…

It is important to listen to the candidates, and how they plan to prioritize our children…with policies that will strengthen our public schools…And I do have my eye on a few…

One candidate that had impressive educational credentials…yet virtually unknown is Michael Bennet…a former school superintendent and senator from Colorado…

 

He was superintendent of Denver Public Schools from 2005 to 2009…Bennet was closely tied to the education reform movement;

Closing low-performing Denver schools ; changing the district’s merit pay system in a way that favors newer teachers. Both were decisions unfavorable to veteran teachers and some students….but he has since realized these mistakes …

During the Obama administration, as a senator, Bennet did help author the Every Student Succeeds Act, the overhaul of No Child Left Behind….

Bennet is a vocal opponent of Education Secretary Betsy Devos!!!

Where he now calls for preschool for all…

Another strong candidate choice is Joe Biden…former vice president…As Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden is tied to the many education policies that Obama encouraged…

 

Although many of which were detrimental including: evaluating teachers in part through their students’ test scores, the expansion of charter schools, and common standards for what students should learn… President Obama has since regretted these policies, and did enact the Every Student Succeeds Act in December of 2015…

Biden’s plan is to implement more funding into public school education; tripling Title I funding, implementing universal pre-kindergarten, and doubling the number of health professionals in schools…

Biden also said he doesn’t support any federal funding going to for-profit charter schools…However his education platform doesn’t mention charters…

Another concern I had, although happened so long ago, was revealed during the first debate by California Senator Kamala Harris, asking Biden if he was wrong to oppose busing back in the sixties and seventies…

Biden’s answer…“I did not oppose busing in America,”… “I opposed busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.”

Relating to my own personal experience, as a young teacher during those critical years…I knew busing was the only solution to integrate our schools and federal intervention was most definitely needed!!!

His stance has evolved, and recently expressed in reinstating Obama-era  desegregation guidelines that were repealed by the Trump administration in July 2018…

Biden has stated, the first thing he would do as president is to appoint a teacher as education secretary!!!

I have always thought highly of Cory Booker, the senator from New Jersey…. However he not always advocated for public schools…

 

Booker too has been a leader in the school choice movement.. promoting charter schools, test-based accountability for low-performing schools, and ratings for teachers linked to student performance…He also has supported private school vouchers, a policy few Democrats favor. He is currently a cosponsor of a bill to reauthorize the federally funded D.C voucher program…

However… Booker has evolved too as many of the candidates…. even plans to run “the boldest pro-public school teacher campaign there is,” noting that his state’s teachers unions had previously endorsed him…

Booker now states… “I’m a guy who believes in public education and, in fact, I look at some of the charter laws that are written about this country and states like this and I find them really offensive,” !!!

Booker has also stated he wants to provide better health care access to low-income communities in order to give those children better health care, so they would be more successful in school…

Pete Buttigieg, is the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana and an up and coming… candidate…Who may be lacking in years of experience however an ageless wisdom that accentuates his intelligence

 

He too, as many of the candidates indicate wants higher teacher pay… More Federal funds allocated to Title I schools… Wants debt free college…Does not believe for profit-charter schools as part of his vision…And he strongly opposes Florida’s guardian program, which gives districts the option to arm their staff.….“It’d be such an enormous, condemnation of our country if we were to to become the only developed nation where this is necessary.”

 

Julian Castro former secretary of housing and urban development…is another candidate with strong ideas for children and public schools…and whose wife was a former public school math teacher for many years….

 

As mayor of San Antonio, Castro expanded Pre-K acess, having more children in high-quality early childhood programs…If elected president, Castro wants to create a grant-funded, universal “Pre-K for USA” program…

He’s even created a ” People First Education” platform which will fund $150 billion to grow technology in schools…. ending tuition in public colleges….Raising teacher pay by $10,000…and ideas for safety and policing in schools…

He would promote school integration through efforts to integrate housing and “voluntary busing.” … recalling from his own personal experiences…“Today we’re still grappling with so many of the same issues that we were grappling with 30, 40, 50 years ago.”

One candidate who is one of my favorites...Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor, now a senator from Californiawho strongly advocates for our children and public schools

 

One of her education ideas is to propose federal funding to boost teacher salaries by an average of $13,000…and supports an increase school funding…Stood up for better working conditions in her state when California’s teachers went on strike…She has criticized Betsy Devos and has rejected the education secretary’s suggestion for arming teachers…

She is also proposing more federal funding to boost scholarships, research, and grants to historically black colleges and universities…And as a prosecutor, has prosecuted cases involving charter schools and truancy…

Amy Klobochar, senator from Minnesota…is one to watch…She was a front runner, but has fallen behind…

She too is a strong advocate for public schools….She wants in increase infrastructure by a trillion dollars to repair schools, increase teacher pay, make community colleges free, reduce rates on student loans, and expand Pell grants…

She is against private school vouchers and hold higher standards to charter schools…

Beto O’Rourke has become quite popular…He is a former representative from El Paso, Texas…He ran against Ted Cruz in 2018 for his senate seat…And now a vocal advocate gun reform…

He does support non-profit charter schools; believing they enhance innovation…Vocally opposes vouchers and taking funding away from public schools…

Beto’s children attend public schools and his wife was a former public school teacher…Now recruiter for new charter schools and launched a dual-language charter in El-Paso…

He is against high- stakes testing…Funding our schools with $500 billion that will help close the racial barrier inequities, and increase teacher pay … And for those teachers having at least taught for five years… debt forgiveness on their college loans…

Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont…is one of the most popular candidates espousing many of the progressive policies for the democratic platform…And was very powerful running in 2016 against Hillary…

 

Sanders has developed a 10-point platform called A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Education… outlining his program will include tripling Title I funding, and spending $5 billion on summer and after-school programs. He also proposes using federal funding to promote school integration…He has proposed making community college free for all…

He too has supported the teacher strikes…by paying them a starting teacher salary of at least $60,000… Restraining charter school growth by eliminating federal monies…and ban profit charter schools (which presidents do not have the authority)…

As a senator he voted against the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. In June, he introduced student loan forgiveness, expand what Pell grants can pay for, and eliminate tuition at public four-year colleges and universities.

Last is Elizabeth Warren another of my favorites…She is a senator Massachusetts…An advocate for progressive policies… although supports non profit charter schools…

Warren’s platform is progressive…She wants
free community college…and student loan forgiveness…Her Pre-K plan will have a sliding scale for tuition, and those in poverty, tuition will be free… As of yet Warren has not shared her K-12 policy plan… In the past….She formally supported accountability testing…Which Warren now believes an education is not about testing…

She has shared she will appoint a public school teacher as her secretary of education…and has definitely stated her disapproval for the current secretary of education… Betsy Devos…

I have included Marianne Williamson, author and activist to be extremely interesting because of her philosophical ideas and approach to a political run for president

Williamson believes that undereducation is a form of oppression…And wants a change…A whole-person educational system…and less testing…

These eleven candidates may be strong possibilities, and have some beneficial ideas for our children and public education… However there are thirteen more…We have our next debates on September 12 and 13… And there may be changes until those dates…and some may not qualify for the debates…

But the one critical factor I am counting on is …

Our children and their right to a strong public school education…must be that priority… 💙🇺🇸🍎

It will be up to all of us…united to support a candidate that will make that happen…

Be an education voter…

 

Children’s Safety…at School… GunViolence…

I would never have imagined gun violence would be such an issue for our children’s safety at school…

I would never have imagined that those in power would not want to do what it would take to make our schools safe…

And I would never believe those Republican, elected officials here in Florida would vote on arming teachers with a gun as an appropriate solution!!!

It is sadly all about the money and politics ; most definitely not about our children….

Since this rise in gun violence ….The powerful NRA’s (National Rifle Association) control over members of Republican members of Congress…here in Florida and the United States…has had such a detrimental impact…

Due to their monetary influence over Republican lawmakers…. We do not provide a real control over gun ownership in our Country…Nor are we providing the necessary resources and funding for those who act out with violence because of mental illness…with a the proper medical treatment…

According to Campus Safety Magazine’s article… October 2018 Edition…titled:

The K-12 School Shooting Statistics Everyone Should Know

In 2018, there were 82 school shooting incidents in the United States, the highest there have ever been since 1970…

K-12 School Shooting Statistics…
There have been 1,300 school shooting incidents since 1970…
2018 had the greatest number of incidents since 1970, with 82 recorded incidents.

The next highest year was 2006 with 59 incidents….
2018 was the highest year for the number of victims killed, including the shooter, with 51 killed….
California, Texas and Florida are the top three states in the U.S. with the most incidents….
669 incidents occurred outside on school property and 588 occurred inside the school building.

Most school shootings occurred in the morning….

Our children are scared!!!

We now have a growing population of children that have lived with this fear throughout their school career:

Children may have directly been involved with such violence;  They may have  become  aware of such school violence through talks at home, school, friends or even the media,  Their school may even have monthly practice drills if a shooter were to come on campus!!

And now because of the powerful NRA,  Florida lawmakers have voted allowing teachers to use a gun at school…..

Waiting for the Republican, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis to sign into law…

This is definitely not the solution…There may be lawsuits…ahead…

Our children must be a priority...

2019…When will our Children be that Priority?

When will educating all our children be a priority?

At the beginning of my teaching career in the early seventies… schools were finally integrated and and the funding of federal programs such as Head Start…were in place to provide the necessary resources to help with educating all children that were in need ….

I was so inspired and hopeful to be a part of this moment…We were giving our children opportunities they never had before….

However, progress slowed down in the nineties due to the enactment of “No Child Left Behind”… by then Florida Governor Jeb Bush…

This policy would continue through the millennium and into the present….

Even with the Obama administration, who too, was a proponent of privatization and the charter school movement…Monies that had once been allocated to our public schools were now being funneled back into private schools with our tax dollars;
Affecting many of the necessary resources and programs that had been in place, providing our children… a chance for that strong, public education….

We in turn began utilizing into the curriculum, thanks to Bill Gates and his Foundation… Core Curriculum, a developmentally inappropriate curriculum; which included the use of a sophisticated battery of standard testing…

Trying to bridge this learning gap associated to those children who struggle …

Now resulting in an inappropriate program with more objectives and standards for children to master…With fewer resources to meet those standards!

Then, just before President Obama left office, finally realizing our children in public schools deserved more opportunities to achieve success, he signed:

The Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015 that governs the United States K–12 public education policy. This new law was to replace , the No Child Left Behind Act, …This was to be that wonderful opportunity for all children…

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A Vote for Our Children… Midterm 2018💙🇺🇲

Our children are counting on your vote…

This election is crucial for our values and progress…into the future…

Our children have so much to gain if we vote for that democratic agenda…

A democratic agenda would provide better funding to our public schools… Providing those necessary programs and resources…to have children succeed…

We wouldn’t have a critical teacher shortage because they would be paid more…

Safety in our schools today is crucial…A democratic agenda would support gun reform…A school would be safe and secure without arming schools…and teachers…Guns have no place in a school…

Children from diversity need to feel safe in our Country… Democrats want fair standards for immigration…They believe in acceptance and inclusion for those who need a voice…

Vote like our children’s lives depends on your vote

Their future and success will depend on that vote

Today’s Teachers…

Thank you to the teachers of today…

Who deal with so many challenges…Yet.. their love and passion prevail for their children…
Back when I began in the seventies, teaching was filled with hope and optimism…
Retiring three years ago…my feelings about teaching had changed dramatically over the years…

Due in part to the blame we teachers felt for all the ills with the failure to educate our children…

And now since retiring, this has not changed…and in fact has gotten worse…

Teachers have been dealing with fewer resources since “No Child Left Behind” of the Nineties… due to children over tested… being taught with developmentally, inappropriate curriculum…

And….moreover…since the election of Donald Trump and his choice of Betsy DeVos; as Secretary of Education; who admittedly prefers privatization, and has absolutely no experience with public school education…

Our public schools are suffering…Tax dollars that could be going to our children…get allocated to privatization …Our children lose out and thus teachers must work even harder!…

Teacher’s today are speaking out…And rightfully so….They know what is at stake…They want better for our children…Teachers are required to teach with inadequate funding and resources, earn less than many other professions …Yet many do stay! Their passion for our children prevail…

Sadly…However, there are many teachers who can not…They can not endure all the challenges…And we can not blame them….When our government does not care…

Because many of the brightest, talented young people may not choose to teach, and our teachers are leaving the profession…we now are facing a teacher shortage…

If we want dedicated, talented, creative young people of today to become teachers…we need to do so much better…And moreover take the opportunity to vote for candidates that support teachers and public schools…for our children…

Along My Teaching Journey…

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, on March 18th, 1972, just three days after my twenty-third birthday… I was so ready to influence; moreover make a difference for our children… Being a mother of a two year old, I was so excited to make that impact!

I was so willing to travel ninety miles a day to teach at an elementary school in a diverse community…So, on April 1, 1972, I began this journey, to Browning Pearce Elementary in Palatka, Florida… At the time, we had just gone through integration, and that particular school had two campuses… One originally being the school for African American students, was now the school’s intermediate grades…And I was to finish the year in a fourth grade…

Boy, how unready I was… Yet so very excited…It was the last ten weeks of school, and I was assigned to take over a for a seasoned teacher, who was relocating to Tallahassee to be with her husband …

I might have cried most days feeling overwhelmed, however with the wonderful assistant principal, and a caring colleague…I made it through!! Learning so very much ; This challenging opportunity was just my beginning!!!

The next year I was then assigned to teach kindergarten …Not being certified, I was required to get early childhood classes from my alma mater, University of Florida, to be certified in early childhood … This wonderful placement was an opportunity for such growth… My love for young children, and an appreciation of diversity thrived…Many of whom had been migrants

My next opportunity in my teaching career lead me a little closer to home, now I was only traveling about 30 miles a day to a newly integrated community elementary school… Alachua Elementary…Another diverse population of young children…first working as a paraprofessional, then teaching first graders….

This placement was for sixteen years, from seventy four to ninty; These were exciting times for public education and children coming from diversity… I felt my passion for teaching flourish …The federal government was providing programs and resources for our children…
At Alachua…I have some of my fondest memories in my years of teaching…I had the wonderful opportunity of team teaching with Mary Towers, a seasoned teacher…We taught together for nine wonderful years…teaching  high risk first graders…in one such federally funded program…“Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum”,ECPC…

I learned so much about the developmental ablities of young children with the challenges they may face…  However, with a smaller class size, and the extra assistance of an aide… And curriculum developmentally appropriate….I was to learn later, that many of our children grew into successful adults…

Upon Mary’s retirement in 1984, which tremendously impacted my growth …

I had another strong influence on my career, team teaching with Wetona Johnson…We taught together for five years…teaching first grade in Chapter I; Another federally funded program giving young children extra reinforcement in reading and math skills…

I must also thank the the two principals I worked under at Alachua Elementary School, who guided this growth…

First of whom was Mr. Bill Irby…A man of tremendous integrity… When Mr. Irby retired…this wonderful community even built an elementary school in his honor…
The second was another strong leader, Mrs. Pansy Post…who became principal of Alachua when Mr. Irby retired…Mrs. Post brought such a creative flair to Alachua…

I must again acknowledge and appreciate these opportunities that instilled such values making me the strong teacher I was to became; sixteen glorious years at Alachua Elementary …

I was now forty years old…a seasoned teacher ready for my next learning opportunity…And now I was closer to home, by less than five miles… Terwilliger Elementary…A neighborhood school enriched with diversity….A wonderful blend of students…This was nineteen eighty-nine, and public education was changing, not for the better… Here in Florida, we especially felt this impact with the “No Children Left Behind Act” thanks to our Governor, Jeb Bush… If it weren’t for the blend of wonderfully talented and professional teachers; and that mixture of diverse students, these years were filled with such blessings… I was able to teach upper level students: a year in fourth grade, and five years at fifth grade…Both were great… I also had the opportunity to teach second grade for five years…Even taking an educational sabbatical where I was able to attend the University of Florida in graduate level courses in counseling education…

However, due to health issues, I retired in 2002… after thirty years… I was so proud of my years of inspiring and influencing children…

I still had more to accomplish in my teaching career….More children needed my influence, especially in the times we were heading, in the twenty first century…

So, I was so blessed to be able to resume my teaching career in 2008…at Idywild Elementary, a diverse population of children where many of my students were from challenging homes situations….

I was back teaching first grade…. where, with the many years of experience, I was able to provide my children a strong, structured, safe and loving classroom…. Moreover, with a strong support staff providing our children the best education we were able…And, given these times of less funds…more testing and developmentally inappropriate curriculum…

Our children were successful!!!

As for me…What a gift I was given…to be able to teach eight more years, thirty-eight in all …I then felt I was ready to  retire from my teaching career …in 2015…

These last eight years at Idywild turned out to be my most rewarding…I truly felt I had made that difference I so hoped when I began this journey!!!

And now have the time advocating for our children, and their right to a strong public school education….

The Hearts of the School…

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I have learned through all my experiences as a teacher, there are those special individuals besides the classroom teacher that enhance a warm and caring climate …for children…One of those is a strong support staffThese special people interact with the children out side of the classroom… And their interactions are extremely beneficial to the care and welfare of children…

The first I need to recognize are those busy, caring office personnel; never too busy, to handle the many situations that occur each and everyday… Even before the day officially starts…These wonderful people utilize their talents to answer concerns that adults may have, and that particular child needing assistance, and moreover they will always find the time to wipe away the tears when a child needs some love…The office personnel are most times, the first to meet parents and make that initial important contact, even before they meet with their child’s classroom teacher…

Another caring person we teachers can not say enough about is the importance of the school nurse… she or he is that loving pair of hands that is there for those medical needs of children … Along with the many medical talents and duties a school nurse is responsible for, besides the dispensing of the medications and taking care of cuts and scrapes … is taking that extra time to be a good listener to that child in need or just may need to look for a warm jacket on a cold morning to finding dry clothes if a little one has an accident…

A warm and caring climate would not be successful without the caring support of the custodial staff...They not only have the important task of keeping the school clean and safe…Being many times understaffed, they are utilized to their full talents and capacity…They also are another pair of hands or heart, when a child needs just that…love…

Through my experiences. I must add how the cafeteria and cafeteria staff affect the climate of the school…They are the providers of nutritious meals for the children prepared with love and care… The cafeteria is that meeting place in the mornings where all the children are provided breakfast… For many children this meal is free and most need to get the day started on that full tummy…and warm hearts…Helping with their success in the classroom…

Lunch time too is a very important part of the children’s day… The cafeteria staff provides another nutritious meal, however now due to government constrains will no longer be so nutritious, and may be no longer free for those children in need… Lunch time is a favorite time for children to socialize appropriately… Caring support staff monitors children’s needs giving them loving attention…

In addition, I can not forget the many other support teachers who reinforce curriculum… providing academic support for those children in need, and moreover another loving heart…

When children have the opportunity to play out doors, a strong Physical Education Program provides just the right skills children need to learn; how to play cooperatively with a love and appreciation for good health through their exerciseHowever, because of funds and schedules, this may just be once a week… A physical education teacher provides this important knowledge and the necessary skills children need with the awareness of each child’s abilities and development…

However, children may get another opportunity to free play at recess, which they need and love…and gives them more time to practice cooperation and social skills … This free play time releases their pent up energy from the hours in the classroom…Sadly, recess may not be allowed due to governmental constraints…

Art and music are wonderful programs where children have an opportunity to utilize their creativity and release emotions constructively… These creatively talented, loving teachers who teach the arts, give their time to children to enable free expression …Many children who may not be strong in academics, may find success, love and passion through the arts!!!! Music and art teachers are a strong support to enhance this creativity and free expression children…

We can not forget to recognize bus drivers who are a special group of men and women… who are responsible for children getting to and from school each day…Our bus drivers must take extra precautions for the welfare of children…. Children safety is the utmost importance…Children may have had a hard morning or a challenging day… The bus driver, with a loving heart and driving skills, must utilize all his or her talents making sure the children will arrive safe and sound…And we must say thank you!

A warm and caring school climate impacts the hearts of children hopefully enabling them to have a successful education….And feel loved!!!