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…

 

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….

“Our Children…New Year 2017”

Be the voice for our children...

Be the voice for our children…

Hillary Clinton advocate for children's right to a strong public education...

Hillary Clinton… advocate for  our children’s right to a strong public education..

Blessings for the New Year 2014

Be open for our truth that all children’s voices must be heard…

 

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All Children need a leader that will provide them with a strong Public School Education..

It is extremely frustrating and challenging for me to accept  that in this brand new year,  with the election over, President Elect Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos will be Secretary of Education…She has never been a proponent of public schools… Her focus will be on privatization and school vouchers for school choice…This choice for all children will be catastrophic for most children who rely on public schools!

Dedicating my professional life to teaching in our public schools… I know from first hand experience what such an impact will have,  when public schools  lose  resources affecting our children…

Just like it was yesterday; back in the Nineties when Jeb Bush was our governor right here in Florida. It was the beginning of privatization  with school vouchers…”The no child Left Behind” Act began, making testing and accountability priorities… School vouchers and charter schools taking  monies and resources available to our children and public schools….We were required teaching  a more sophisticated curriculum that has been characterized developmentally inappropriate,  with fewer resources…And we teachers evaluated unfairly and blamed for the failures in our public schools…

This loss of necessary revenues has led to overcrowded classrooms, fewer specialized teachers helping our children with issues impacting their learning… We even have had school closings that have caused these overcrowded classrooms with longer bus rides for our children…

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President Obama signing Elementary and Secondary Act on December 10, 2015…

We must thank President Obama for realizing our public schools needed his involvement… We have been dealing with those many challenges imposed from the Bush era…And this act was to put more emphasis on children in those young years, when learning is crucial to a child’s foundation…

Having taught many children from  impoverished homes… Knowing how  they  come to school hungry for what public schools  have to offer…Their families are just surviving, and it has been  up to dedicated teachers providing them with the necessary tools to be successful… a hope for a better future…

What saddens me is that we as a Country could have made a difference for our children… I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer for Hillary in Flagler County, in Florida… a predominately Republican County… I met wonderful volunteers who worked along with me to make that difference… We made calls and knocked on doors… Meeting wonderful people in our community who wanted a better tomorrow… Even with those who did not see the future as we see for our children…

And now we are left with a future very uncertain for our children and public schools… My hope is that we will realize what is right for our children before our public schools become severely affected…

 

 

 

 

“Letting Go”…

I am now in the final weeks of my career as a public school teacher…🍎

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Reflecting on my thirty-eight years; I have taught so many children from grades ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade; dating back from 1972, up to the present.. I even had a wonderful opportunity teaching a college seminar for beginning teachers at the University of Florida, while on a sabbatical working on an advanced course work in counseling education…

I feel so blessed…touching the lives of so many children….

I did have to retire briefly for five years due to my health…However, I still was able to advocate for children in the court system during that time as a Guardian ad Litem…

Teaching, being an advocate for children has been my lifetime passion…

I have such mixed feelings about my retirement…

It is my strong belief that I am leaving at a time our bright intelligent children, especially those from poverty, who souly rely on our public education system are not being adequately represented…Our priorities for children are hindered by an emphasis on testing and collection of data…Our schools that teach children from challenging homes have fewer resources making teachers such as myself overwhelmed and devalued by being micromanaged…And making all this even more difficult;
fewer strong, young, professional teachers will no longer commit to such a rewarding career...

For this I have such regret…

As for myself…I will always feel the need to advocate for our children, and their right to a strong free public education…
And know that I really did make a difference!

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“New Direction”…

Google Email:

New Direction

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From: Janis S Sexton
To: Christopher Lake… teacher representative, Karen L. McCann… President of Alachua County Education Association

Details:

Dear ACEA:
I have appreciated being a teacher in Alachua County since 1972…On a personal level, for me, our district gave me that wonderful opportunity…
I am retiring this year and for these last 10 years, I  have been quite concerned with the direction our public education of children from poverty have experienced…

It is my belief and experience, these precious children have been so neglected…We have crowded classrooms with fewer resources…Yet demands are extremely unrealistic..
I feel our school district does not address the real issues…We are now going to close schools, shuffling our children, taking  more resources away…And I question how will that help these children?…
Young, strong teachers are so micromanaged…Will they make teaching a lifetime career?…And will those in charge want to acknowledge their dedication…with such unrelenting demands?…

Sadly I have kept quiet…however,once I do retire, I want to actively get involved…I can and do share my concerns on social media…
Thank you for representing us,
Janis Sexton🍎

From: Karen L McCann…President ACEA..                                                        To: Janis S. Sexton

Details:

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I am happy to hear that as a retiree you want to make your voice louder and will now have more time to become more active. I will see you at the ACEA retirement dinner in May, at least I hope.
You can join our union retiree group TRACE and start coming here for events .

Thank you for your love and caring of our most precious lives, our children.

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