Guidelines

I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Thursday, January 29, 2015

Florida Over-Testing Madness: Opting Out Not an Option




Parents, students, and more and more Florida school policy-makers are fed up with the out-of-control testing of our students in our schools.  The voices that have begged Tallahassee to restrain these out of control testing protocols have been ignored, nothing has been done to fix this problem.

Most of us understand the need for a reasonable level of Norm Referenced Testing so that we know if our students are learning the materials, however we've gone way past reasonable....

We are killing up to a full third of our school year with test administration and test preparation.

And grassroots organizations are forming to urge Floridians engage in a modern day act of civil-disobedience;  These groups are challenging students to simply refuse to take these state mandated tests.



               From Florida Today:

"Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart reiterated this week that student participation in state exams are "mandatory" and that consequences exist for teachers, schools and districts who help students "opt out" of required exams.School districts could losing funding, and educators who encourage, allow or fail to report "opt out" instances could face disciplinary action. In addition, superintendents who fail to report such acts of misconduct "could result in discipline, including forfeiture of salary," the letter says."

Read the full article and see Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart's letter to Don Gaetz addressing this issue, here

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let's Get Serious About Smashing the "School to Prison Pipeline!"


Many bemoan what has been characterized as an ever-expanding “school to prison pipeline.”  As the theory goes, underprivileged minority students are disproportionately subjected to harsher, more punitive discipline than their non-minority peers.  This “pushing-out” of students is the initial driver of the pipeline, eventually landing these students in the criminal justice system.

Many scoff at this characterization, instead believing that discipline is administered in a largely even-handed manner nationwide.   Any acute over-representation of some minorities in expulsion statistics results simply from more serious infractions being committed by such students--is this rational, more logical assessment.  To believe otherwise would lend credence to the preposterous notion that minorities are being targeted institutionally, nationwide, for more draconian punishments based solely upon race. 

Believing professional educators, administrators, teachers, and deans nationwide would deliberately conspire to subject underprivileged minorities to tougher punishments than non-minority students for similar infractions is ludicrous in America circa 2015.    

Rather than institutions “targeting” students, many believe this troubling nationwide pattern of disproportionate minority removals from school is actually the by-product of dysfunctional, deficient home lives.

The breakdown of the family unit has hit epidemic proportions in America; too many children today have no fathers, no mothers, no discipline and limited social foundations as they reach school-age.

Poverty is bandied about as the cause of such problems; however this is a disingenuous cop-out; the 

Congratulations to our 2015 Escambia County Teacher of the Year Finalists!


What Can I Say about This? Who's Fault is it when Students Misbehave?





I received this email of concern from a parent today--but where to start with this........

>>> XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX  01/27/15 >>>
To Whom It May Concern:
I am the concerned parent of children attending school in Escambia County. I have a child that attends XXXXXXXXX Elementary and I have received call after call concerning my child's behavior. I have tried everything I could think of to turn the behavior of my child around and then I thought of a solution...why not see if my child would do better in another classroom? To my dismay I was told the classrooms were full and I continue to receive calls about my child's behavior. As I sat at work today after being called yet again this morning I decided I would reach out for answers. The most prevailing question I have is why is my child in an overcrowded classroom when millions of dollars are being poured into remodeling schools that really didn't need remodeling? Millions of dollars go toward remodeling schools where the children that go there are already exposed to experiences that other children may not get to have yet those children get to go to schools with smaller classrooms and state of the art technology. Why? Why doesn't the school budget distribute funds equally and put that money into some of the schools where children may never get a chance to experience those kind of things? Schools in low income areas are ran down and low staffed. The teachers are frustrated; the parents are frustrated; the children are frustrated! and the classrooms are overcrowded (closing those schools when time that should have been spent teaching is spent managing behavior is not the solution). Is there a solution? What I have seen so far is children in overcrowded classrooms acting out and then being labeled...and then funding is used in order for those children to go to alternative programs. Instead of labeling children why not hire more teachers in those schools and have smaller classrooms sizes? Why not give them a chance to experience state of the art technology; go on fieldtrips; plant gardens etc.? These are just the thoughts of a concerned parent. I hope someone is listening.

....and here was my response


XXXXXXXXXX,

I am listening and I have a few questions, and a few suggestions.

First off, what grade is the student in that is having behavior issues?  there are different statutory requirements for class sizes based on grade, so what grade is he/she in and how many students are in that class?

Second, what sort of misbehavior are we talking about?  Have you discussed this at home with your child, explaining the consequences for bad behavior?  behavior and discipline begins at home, our teachers have their hands full teaching and dealing with chronically disruptive students destroys the learning environment and is not necessarily the fault of a teacher or a school.  This is an issue that must be addressed at home.

If a classroom reassignment is requested, that is totally up to the schools' administration to decide.  I would discuss these issues with the teacher and  principal first.  If you don't get anywhere with the teacher or principal, you can discuss this with their boss, Ms. Linda Maletsidis, at 469-5494.

And finally--to your point about allocation of resources.....

We spend inordinate sums of money on the schools with the greatest degree of poverty in this county, to include facilities like XXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXX.  Between additional staffing and additional technology, after school programs, clubs and extracurriculars-schools like XXXXXXXX get more per pupil than do most of the suburban schools.  

Call me if you'd like and I'll go through this in detail with you and provide examples.  My contact information is below.

Best of luck with getting your child back on track at school.
Sincerely,

Jeff Bergosh
Escambia County School Board 
District 1 Board Representative
850-469-6147
www.jeffbergoshblog.blogspot.com

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Violence in our Schools Part II: Liberal Psychosis Destroying the Public Schools before our Very Eyes..


Liberals have a way of patting themselves on the back when they feel things are going better in the schools.  In this ridiculous piece—if a disruptive student is acting up, not following established rules and affecting the teacher’s instruction—this is 100% the teacher’s fault and he/she needs more training.  From Salon.com

“Across the country, educators are rethinking their approach to school discipline in response to sky-high suspension rates that disproportionately affect black children. Some of the more common efforts aim to change student behavior or overhaul school protocols. A district might unilaterally ban suspensions for more subjective transgressions or adopt restorative justice practices designed to repair relationships when there’s been a rift. But a growing number of schools in the Bay Area and nationally are realizing that improving discipline is just as much about changing teacher behavior as changing student behavior.”

Meanwhile, liberals in California are busy patting themselves on the back because they are achieving fewer expulsions, even though student behavior, per se, has remained constant.  It’s just that the discipline handed out is much more lenient now, particularly for minority students. And this is legislated from the state capitol.  Essentially, like they’ve done for academic rigor, they have lowered the bar on school discipline, violence, and misbehavior so they can pat themselves on the back and claim “success” because fewer students, particularly minorities, are being expelled.  From the San Jose Mercury-News

“Impetus came from the state Legislature, which last year began limiting schools from suspending students for defiance. Suspensions for "willful defiance" dropped 28.9 percent from 2012-13, and expulsions for the same reason dropped 47.7 percent.  Previously, they accounted for the largest number of suspensions, and were associated with a large number of minority students' discipline.”

When Liberals (Democrat and/or Republican) squeeze this balloon on one side, it will expand on the other—they should know this.  When the politically correct educrats want a victory and sell out teachers, the good well-behaved kids, and parents to get it---this is not only reprehensible-it is dangerous. 

They wonder why fewer and fewer students are going into the field of education?

They wonder why some schools cannot be staffed?

It’s not a mystery.  Between careerist bureaucrats telling teachers they must endure verbal, physical, and emotional assaults from students that are violent, disruptive, and dangerous--- and parents and communities chastising them for being failures at educating and disciplining students from dysfunctional households—who would want that stress for the abysmal pay?

Teachers today have knives at their backs and knives in their face—they get it from both directions as they receive less support than ever from both administrators and parents.

We are engaging in this very thing here in our local schools in many instances and it is disgusting to me.   Telling the world that everything is fine in the schools when I hear from teachers, parents, and

Friday, January 23, 2015

Unusual Alliance: NAACP Joins Florida Establishment in Effort to Kill School Choice for African-American Students....

WatchdogArena.com has published a piece I wrote recently about the unusual alliance between Florida educational elitists and the NAACP—who together are working to kill a popular tax-credit scholarship that primarily benefits at-risk, African-American students…  from the article

“Why in the world is the NAACP working with these Florida establishment elites to kill a program that benefits tens of thousands of African-American students?”


"As we approach school choice week for 2015, the struggle for choice in education is heating up to a roiling boil in the state of Florida, with 70,000 students and their parents as the unwitting, unwilling pawns in this conflict.
In 2014, the Florida legislature broadly expanded the eligibility criteria for an established statewide education choice initiative that serves primarily poor, minority students.  This Florida tax-credit scholarship program is wildly popular among students and parents throughout the sunshine state, as many of these students and their parents have not fared well in their local public schools-and have instead found success using these scholarships to attend private schools.
Florida corporations like the program because the donations such entities make to the program result in a directly proportionate reduction it their state corporate taxes.
As one might expect, however, powerful special interests from the state capitol were not happy with this expansion.  Immediately upon the announcement of the expansion of this program-these entities linked arms and filed suit to have this worthwhile program scrapped.  The usual suspects were involved; The Statewide teachers unions, The Superintendent’s association, the School Boards’ Association-they all circled the wagons,  joining forces to attempt to fight these scholarships in court.
Their logic for initiating this litigation looks like a clinic on maintaining message discipline.  They decry the diversion of potential state revenue, loudly and often, re-stating their firm belief that if they just had ALL the taxpayer resources then they could “fix” ALL the schools. 
Astonishingly-this coalition against student and parent educational choice has now managed to gain the support of the Florida branch of the NAACP in their quest to kill school choice for poor Floridians.  (The ironic thing is that the primary recipients of these scholarships are poor minorities, chiefly African-American students!)"



The New American Educational Aristocracy

Is inequitable educational opportunities in America leading to a calcification of an elitist class?



This is the interesting opinion with lots of very valid points in yesterday's edition of The Economist.  from the article

  "A young college graduate earns 63% more than a high-school graduate if both work full-time and the high-school graduate is much less likely to work at all. For those at the top of the pile, moving straight from the best universities into the best jobs, the potential rewards are greater than they have ever been…None of this is peculiar to America, but the trend is most visible there.America is one of only three advanced countries where the government spends more on schools in rich areas than in poor ones. Its university fees have risen 17 times as fast as median incomes since 1980, partly to pay for pointless bureaucracy and flashy buildings... Many schools are in the grip of one of the most anti-meritocratic forces in America: the teachers’ unions, which resist any hint that good teaching should be rewarded or bad teachers fired. To fix this, and the scandal of inequitable funding, the system should become both more and less local…Dollars should follow pupils, through a big expansion of voucher schemes or charter schools. In this way, good schools that attract more pupils will grow; bad ones will close or be taken over. Unions and their Democratic Party allies will howl, but experiments in cities such as battered New Orleans have shown that school choice works…Finally, America’s universities need an injection of meritocracy. Only a handful, such as Caltech, admit applicants solely on academic merit. All should."

Read     America's New Aristocracy

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Voting Against Student Disciplinary Recommendations..

Every now and then I find a recommendation in an agenda that I just cannot support.  Last night there were two such recommendations that I voted against, both dealing with student discipline issues.

Over the last nine years on the board, I have seen much inconsistency with respect to the punishments meted out to individuals, based upon a variety of reasons.  Although minorities appear to be removed from school at a greater proportion than their representation percentage would warrant, I have also seen that oftentimes these same students receive far more “chances”  than their non-minority peers get (# of major discipline referrals given), before they are eventually punished with removal from their school.  

Last year I went through the statistics and found some evidence of the trends I had seen but not previously verified.  

Consistency is important, and following board policy is important as well. 

Minimizing some infractions and going the opposite direction and going overboard on other rules transgressions is a big problem--- and two cases yesterday fall right into this category.

Student “A” had a checkered past, racking up 10 discipline referrals for major rules violations, fighting, threatening a board’s employee with physical violence, numerous major class disruptions, dropping the "F" bomb in class frequently, and  then he finally he brought a bag of marijuana to school.  The

Dealing Appropriately with Speakers That Violate Board Policy...



Should a member of the audience be able to usurp our meetings,  utilizing antics and shenanigans that are disruptive, divisive, and antagonistic?

…..I think not, and it is for that reason that I’m astonished by what transpired and what was allowed to occur at last night’s school board meeting.  I spoke to the board’s attorney, secretary, and to the superintendent of schools about what was coming.  This was not a surprise, yet it still was allowed to occur.  Astonishing…..

Because it was my turn in the rotation to select a guest to bring the pre-meeting prayer, I selected a Rabbi from Pensacola’s Temple Beth-El.  Rabbi Joel Fleecop was delivering a very respectful prayer to those of us assembled for the meeting, and he was rudely interrupted by a member of the audience who began chanting and praying loudly on a rug right next to the podium.

A member of the audience that spoke subsequently chastised the Chair for not stopping this loud and distracting stunt; the speaker said that because of the chanting, he could not hear the Rabbi’s prayer.

Nothing was done to stop this chanting, which was the first disappointment of the night.

Later, when this individual who had interrupted the invited Rabbi had his three minutes to speak, he came right out and started insulting me and my invited guest, deridingly referring to the Rabbi with an anti-Semitic barb, calling him a “Token-Jew”

nothing was done to derail this man and his ad hominem attacks.  

When this member of the audience insulted me, insinuating that I “used” my guest as a prop, I maintained my bearing, fully expecting some leadership from the dais and the chair to shut down this personal attack against me. 

Didn’t happen.

We have a rule against addressing board members other than the Chair, and this infraction was not addressed.

We also have a rule against personal attacks, which also went unenforced.  

A total loss of control.  

Very disappointing.  

It is one thing for this individual that loves disrupting our meetings to try to push the envelope—I half expect him to do so.

The big disappointment is that he was allowed to do so in blatant contravention to board rules of decorum-----that I did not expect.

So when this person got finished insulting me, my guest, and then he decided to start reciting a 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Violence in our Schools Part I: Audit Finding Demonstrates Schools Intentionally Under-Report School Incidents of Violence

Violence occurs in schools, that is a fact.  It happens in schools around the country, and it happens frequently locally.  The problem, the huge problem, is that some violent students get multiple "chances" to fix their violent, anti-social and dysfunctional behavior due to the threats of litigation and massive pressure from outside social justice institutions.  Lawmakers and policy-makers pass rules and laws, like the 2000 NY state safe schools bill.  These rules and laws are meaningless if they are not faithfully enforced.  A recent audit in NY found that many schools were simply not reporting the incidents, in violation of the law.  If we took an honest look at practices nationwide, and yes, even here in Escambia County Florida, we would find instances of this under-reporting are not isolated.  They happen all the time.....

From the Poughkeepsie Journal:

"auditors found that numerous schools failed to report hundreds of cases, while many cases were misclassified as less serious...The state Education Department has agreed to DiNapoli’s recommendations to improve school safety...“In recognition of the need to revisit the existing VADIR guidance and support districts’ reporting efforts, the department has begun the review of existing VADIR training materials provided to schools to improve the accuracy of data collection, reporting and records retention of annual VADIR data submitted to the department,” state deputy education commissioner Sharon Cates-Williams said in a statement...During a review of the 2011-2012 school year, auditors found 935 unreported cases of violence from the seven schools outside of New York City, including cases of sexual contact, assault and drug and weapon possession...Auditors found that East High School only reported 256 cases instead of the 769 that auditors said should have been reported, including two unreported cases of sexual offense that involved inappropriate sexual contact and 11 unreported cases of possession of a weapon...In a statement, the Rochester school district said the high school had been reporting only incidents of misbehavior that resulted in student suspensions. But auditors said the district should include students who received alternatives to suspension."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Elected or Appointed Superintendent of Schools, Part II

From Tennessee School Boards Association

I strongly support the model of an elected school board hiring, supervising, and evaluating a professional, highly-qualified superintendent of schools from a large, nationwide pool of talented applicants.

This is not a shot against our current elected superintendent of schools Malcolm Thomas.  I've talked to him about this.  It is not personal, as I happen to think Mr. Thomas is one of the hardest working men I have ever known and I agree with the majority of his initiatives.

But I think the overall system would greatly improve, and our district would be more responsive to

Wounded Warriors Coming Through Pensacola

I received the below information from a representative from USO.  I'm looking forward to Pensacola hosting this leg of the  Ride to Recovery.


Dear Mr. Bergosh: 

The next ride will be the Gulf Coast Challenge.  The schedule is below:

            1 March - Atlanta, GA to Columbus, GA
            2 March - Columbus, GA to Montgomery, GA
            3 March - Montgomery, GA to Pensacola, FL
            4 March - Pensacola, FL to Mobile, AL
            5 March - Mobile, AL to Gulfport, MS
            6 March - Gulfport, MS to New Orleans, LA
            7 March - Community Service Event - New Orleans, LA

As you probably are aware, the USO provides services and programs to support the brave men and women who serve our country in the Armed Services all over the world.  One of the programs that we support is the Ride 2 Recovery Program.  The Mission of the Ride 2 Recovery or R2R is to improve the health and wellness of injured veterans by providing a life changing experience that impacts their lives forever...the Ride 2 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Elected or Appointed Superintendent of Schools Part I



Inweekly has a piece in their current issue regarding the debate surrounding which model is better for a school district:  Elected Board/Elected Superintendent, or Elected Board/Appointed Superintendent.

I've been contacted by three separate individuals/entities over the last two weeks, all of whom wanted my opinion on the subject of what the best model is for our schools locally.

I'm of the firm belief that we desperately need an appointed superintendent, hired by an elected board, evaluated annually, and accountable to the board.  A system like this, which is utilized in more than 99% of school districts nationwide, eliminates the friction between a "strong" elected superintendent and an elected board.

It also makes an elected school board less of an after the fact, rubber-stamp board, left out of most of

Explaining Our Nation's Fiscal Disaster in 200 Words Using a Dr. Seuss Cartoon...



$19 Trillion is a lot of money, but explaining our nation's debt and problems to students can be simplified using a character from "The Sneeches," some sarcasm, a little hyperbole, some creativity,  and 200 words.  Here Goes....


Don’t Trust the Bank of Sylvester McBean
Sylvester McBean is CEO of a bank. 

He’s paid $100,000 yearly. 

This isn’t enough, so he spends $150,000 yearly.  

He’s racked up $700,000.00 on the bank’s charge-card. 
Recently, McBean bought new homes, new cars, and a pool.  “We must keep up appearances”, McBean tells Shareholders & Trustees….

The trustees, a mix of liberals and conservatives, allow McBean’s extravagant deficit spending to continue, thereby endorsing it.

The trustees don’t control McBean’s overspending because they’re well compensated—and the bank’s shareholders haven’t complained-they don’t pay attention to financial statements and other such nuisances...

So trustees know they can print more stock, diluting existing shares whenever they want more cash!  “Let them eat cake” is their condescending attitude toward shareholders!

Now trustees congratulate themselves because McBean cut his deficit spending in half; he now only spends $125k yearly! (His salary is still $100K.)

Discussing McBean’s spending is unpopular.  How will McBean’s huge debt be repaid? Not addressed- trustees simply ignore the problem…

McBean’s contract expires in two years. 

Nevertheless, trustees naively believe future trustees, shareholders, and/or other CEOs will “fix the finances.”

These finances can’t be “fixed”, though.


(BTW-we’re the shareholders in this “bank”-congratulations!) 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Race Politics Surrounding School Closure Decisions

WatchdogArena.com has published a piece I wrote about school closure decisions at the local level, and how decisions on closure sometimes stoke unwarranted claims of bigotry, racism, etc.

It is an interesting topic that does not get much attention, but why not ask the question:  How many drastically underutilized public school facilities are being kept open, to the detriment of other overcrowded schools, to appease those who think closure decisions are an attack on poor minorities?

From Watchdog Arena:

"Ya’ll a bunch of racists!” the man was screaming in my face.  “Corrupt! Ya’ll don’t care about black folks!” I could see the anger in their faces. I could hear them. They were in my face, and they were following me out the door. Many people had lobbied me prior to the meeting, imploring me to keep the school open.  One student even sent me a hand written plea.The meeting had just ended, the one where we closed a neighborhood school in Century, Florida.  On my way to the car the folks who had attended the meeting had no problem shouting in my face, letting me know what they thought.  It was tense for a few moments because I was outnumbered and I felt like the face of the system with
 which they were unhappy. I was a swing vote in the 3-2 decision to close the school.Carver-Century

Recruiting to Deny Applications



Both of my High School seniors were sent literature from colleges nationwide--urging them to apply.  I thought it strange that colleges from Alaska sent my daughter multiple mailings and emails....now I know why.

From PBS:

"It’s been “overwhelming,” said the 18-year-old Kelley, an A student who has already been accepted to Oklahoma State and Arizona State universities. Now, as the emails keep pouring in, he said, “I just delete them immediately so I don’t have to deal with it.”
As college-admissions season kicks into high gear, Kelley is a target of a little-known practice among colleges and universities called “recruit to deny,” in which they try to make their admissions process look more selective by boosting their number of applicants — then turning many of them down — through hard-sell marketing techniques.
One major reason for this is that the more selective an institution appears to be, the higher it ends up in the college rankings, said David Hawkins, executive director of education content and policy at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC.  “The rankings drive this,” Hawkins said. “But if the rankings went away tomorrow, you would still have college presidents, trustees, alumni, students and all sorts of other stakeholders who care about how selective their

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Single-Gender Married Couples Now Eligible for District Spousal Benefits...




This below email came out of the district's Risk Management Department late yesterday afternoon, Sent in "Red" to every district employee with the highest priority level and exclamation points.....As Bob Dylan once sang, The Times, They are a Changin ---In Escambia County with respect to spousal benefits.




From:    ECSD- Risk Management Employee Benefits       Monday - January 12, 2015 3:58 PM
To:          Domain_1; Domain_2; Domain_3; Domain_4; Domain_5; Domain_Adm
CC:         Union Group
Subject:               NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES: CHANGE IN STATUS PERIOD DUE TO RECENT COURT RULING INVOLVING SAME GENDER MARRIAGES
Attachments:    ContinuousMarriage..pdf (180 KB)           [View] [Open] [Save As]
Required Documentation Memo.pdf (151 KB)    [View] [Open] [Save As]

ALL BENEFIT ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES:

Employees whose marriages will be legally recognized in Florida as of Jan. 6, 2015, have a qualifying status change event. There will be a special enrollment window between Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 through Friday, February 6, 2015, to enroll in a plan (or change a Flexible Spending Account

Monday, January 12, 2015

New AFP Poll: Florida Parents Overwhelmingly Support School Choice Options!



This does not surprise me at all, I knew this from going door to door in the past three campaigns for my position as a school board member.

Parents want their students to go to a good school, the best school available.  That has been the message I have heard loud and clear.

In a new poll released today, the numbers are clear.

From sunshine state news:

"73 percent favor allowing parents the option to move children to other public schools while 22 percent oppose the notion. The poll finds a majority of those surveyed -- 58 percent -- support school vouchers while 36 percent oppose them. Almost two thirds -- 65 percent -- of those surveyed support charter schools"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

$50K Minimum Wage for Florida Teachers??

That is what Florida State Senator Darren Soto wants.  From first Coast News:




"The bill filed by State Sen. Darren Soto (D), whose district covers Kissimmee, would prevent school districts from setting a minimum salary lower than $50,000 a year, though it would leave negotiating base pay with teachers unions up to each district.
Plus, it would require the state Department of Education to raise teachers' salaries each following year, based on inflation from the previous year."
Everyone wants teachers to be paid better, we can all agree on that.  The problem with this proposal is the universal fact that even though we have lots of needs and wants-- we can still only spend our money once, as Andreas Schleicher points out.  
Florida has staked out the priority of "small class sizes"  and that's where the money is being spent. To do that and also what Soto wants would strip the local districts of control, while simultaneously blowing up state and local budgets like a hot air dirigible.  I also find the language dictating that these teachers must be union members to be unsavory.  Why must they be union members?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Free Community College For All?


President Obama has announced an ambitious plan to offer free community college for America’s students, with a formula that calls for the Feds to pay 3/4 of the costs with the states picking up 1/4 of the expense.

While on the surface this may seem like a very worthwhile idea, It would be an absolute disaster if implemented.  It stands no chance to succeed if it is pursued—particularly with the new Congress that has just been seated.

Why not?

Because somebody has to pay, there is no free lunch, and right now-we’re broke, tapped out, strapped--that's why.  Worse yet, we’re leveraged.  So to pay for this sort of a scheme, either we borrow more money, or we raise taxes.  Both ideas that are reckless and irresponsible.  That’s number 1.

Number two is a simple axiom of truth:  When we add government money into institutions –the costs go up exponentially. 

Number three is if you give something away for free, it greatly diminishes the value of that “thing.”

Look at healthcare-the idea was to lower costs, but what is happening is we are keeping costs fixed and covering millions of new enrollees with massive government subsidies, and this “reform” is just in its infancy and already the costs are skyrocketing… 

Look at the post office attempting to compete with FEDEX and UPS for package delivery services, the USPS gets shellacked.  

Everyone knows the DoD stories of $500.00 toilet seats when similar (or better) can be bought at Home Depot for $19.99.  And the list goes on.

In education-just look at the meteoric rise in the costs ofpublic universities in just the last two decades as the government has feverishly doled out student loans to many who in reality have no business going to college.  Now there are $1.2Trillion in outstanding student loans that may not be collected -creating a new bubble that could threaten our fragile economy.

Government infusions of cash into education at the college level have made public, state school tuition rise to the point that many middle class students can barely afford the tuition.   Many can’t afford it, yet they are not eligible for sufficiently affordable student loans to cover the costs.  The middle class gets squeezed once again!


So no, excuse me if I do not enthusiastically support this ill-conceived initiative.  We can’t afford it, it will only add to our historic debt, and possibly worst of all- it will entice even more students who are unprepared and in reality need to directly enter the work-force-to attend college.  Not everybody needs to go to college, and not everybody is equipped mentally or academically to be successful in 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Florida's English Language Learners to Get 2 Years before Testing Sanctions Count against Districts.....

.....And this will help schools that have high numbers of English Language Learners transition these students and give them a better language foundation--- before the scores of these students count against the districts.  From Education Week:

"The U.S. Department of Education has granted Florida flexibility in how it assesses English-language learners, bringing an end to a months-long dispute between the federal agency and state officials that had included a threat from Gov. Rick Scott to file a lawsuit.
Federal officials last month agreed to Florida’s request to give its ELL students two years in a U.S. school before factoring their scores on annual English/language arts and mathematics tests into school grades. Florida had sought the two-year testing timeline as part of its waiver from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act."

Read more here