Posted in Mission, Thoughts About Children

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…💕🙏🏼🌈🇺🇸🍎

Posted in Mission, Thoughts About Children

#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…💕🙏🏼🌈😷🇺🇸

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

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… 💞🌈🙏🏼🍎🇺🇸

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

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…

President Trump is definitely not a proponent for children, and those who rely on our public schools for their education…

Just the fact his selection of Betsy DeVos , an unqualified, billionaire who has strong ties to religious, private schools…as secretary of education….
I knew our public schools were in trouble…

With the fewer resources and funding this administration has taken from public education…and putting those funds into privatization…

And Now…this week at the State of the Union, post Impeachment… President Trump had an opportunity to vindicate the past…

 

He most definitely did not… He made his State of the Union Speech…a bid for his reelection….His little regard for our public schools calling them government schools…is absolutely disgraceful!

Taking this momentous occasion as an opportunity to stage a young student, who he said attended a public school,  to be a recipient of the Education Freedom Scholarship…so  she would be able to attend a private school…(Which is reportedly false)
…She is already  attending a prominent private school!He then revealed that he
for wanted Congress to fund 1 million dollars to that Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act- for those worthy students….Adding:

“Because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government schools!
 
 
He also urged Congress to pass legislation,
creating a 5 billion federal tax credit program that would fund scholarships to private and religious schools… benefitting individuals and donors…
The scholarships would be funded by individuals and businesses who want to privately donate but who would then receive a federal tax credit…

 

The President did call for more vocational and technical education at the high school level…And  the importance of the constitutional right for prayer in schools...

 

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union, said in a statement: “Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have made no secret of their antipathy for public education. Rather than strengthen the cornerstone of our democracy and the chief enabler of pluralism and opportunity, they choose to defund and destabilize it. No amount of rebranding vouchers and privatization as ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ changes that...

 
 
 
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In State of the Union, Trump makes clear his aversion to public schools – Article by Valerie Strauss…from The Washington Post..

Posted in Thoughts About Children

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…

Continue reading “2019…When will our Children be that Priority?”

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Politics in the Classroom..

Having taught back in the early seventies, post Civil Rights Movement and  having the most important opportunity teaching all children especially those that were mainstreamed from our society that practiced segregation …I  can remember just like it was yesterday,  entering into teaching with such passion that reflected my idealism and hope…As I do speak for myself;  many of my colleagues felt as I did…

I can even remember entering the classroom for the very first time, summer of…1970…doing my first field experience in preparation for my becoming a teacher….

I was going to “Change the World”…And “Make that Difference”!

The political climate of the Seventies was definitely pro education…It was more than just rhetoric… Federal programs such as Head Start with such a strong emphasis on early childhood education and Title I programs that assisted those children who struggled with their learning…were being funded and implemented…

Parenting groups also began at this time,  providing such educational and informative workshops for those parents who needed support and encouragement;  Hopefully in the end, becoming more knowledgeable and  involved in the educational needs of their child…And I too, even had the wonderful opportunity to be involved with…

I feel so blessed that I was able to be a part of this history; fueling my passion for saving children …So much so , that most of my forty years have been in primary education…

Over twenty five years as a first grade teacher, of which ten of those years, teaching children that were not on grade level…

 This  political climate of pro funding continued through the Eighties … However by the early Nineties there was a most definite shift… … the result from the direction of our politics right here in Florida, under the Governorship of Jeb Bush. .. Sadly, his politics encouraged the privatization of education, detrimentally affecting our children with the… “No Child Left Behind” Movement…And I as many feel the beginning of Public Education’s struggles….

Public Education was most definitely not a top priority any more…We teachers felt this in our classroom everyday… We had to deal with the strain of  more standardized tests, and more biased accountability…  This was now  the beginnings of vouchers and the privatization of  education…Our children were now  feeling  this emphasis, more demands and  less resources…We  teachers, feeling so unappreciated…and devalued…And more than ever the blame with all the reasons schools were failing…

“Our children were being left behind”… 

My first twenty years flew by so…Teaching was such a joy…

However, through the Nineties, and into this New Millennium with the demands and  fewer resources due to this political shift…Society’s politics has impacted families thus affecting our children… Children are now coming in to school less prepared…More of our children live in poverty and have emotional and physical issues… …And we teachers with all our creative talents have such unrealistic demands…Our classrooms are micromanaged and we are being assessed on how proficient we are…We educators have always felt being accountable is extremely essential…Children deserve the best… However we are not being assessed fairly due to the limits placed on with testing and collecting data… Many teach in overcrowded classrooms and fewer resources at our disposal….

How will the Politics of Today play out? …Thanks to President Obama Passing…The Every Child Succeeds Act, no child will be left behind

Some of the rhetoric has been ecouraging fewer tests and even giving recess back to children….

I feel this can be a fresh start, and we may be going  back to a time in History… the politics of the Seventies when all our children were important…We must prioritize funding Public Education for all our children…