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, 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…

Posted in Mission, Thoughts About Children

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!!!