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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

$136,000.00. : What is the best Way to Spend This Much Money?

The Escambia County School Board is being asked to approve an expenditure of $136,000.00 for Flip Flippen and the Flippen group to bring a seminar to the district on June 16th.  200 staff members will participate in this 2 and 1/2 day training seminar called "Capturing Kid's Hearts."

District staff appear very receptive to this concept, and all of the assembled staff at yesterday's workshop spoke glowingly of this wonderful program.

I remain skeptical, particularly given the price-tag.

What are the opportunity costs of $136,000.00?

Why can't we do this ourselves with materials that are available online right now for free?  Why not scale one of the many available MOOCs, TEDtalks, or Khan presentations that relate to professional development, classroom management, and/or forming good relationships with kids?

Is this the most efficient way to spend $136,000.00?  I asked how it is measured, and I was told that the number of discipline referrals went down.

But what does that mean?  We have watered down discipline so much in this district, that behavior could be getting worse and referrals still could be declining.  I asked how else it is measured, and I got a nebulous response about how the number of  greetings administered to students in the mornings by teachers is one measured metric.  Whaaaat?

This is the fourth year they are bringing this, and I'm not sold on it.  Inviting me to participate does not help sell me on this expenditure.

Telling me that teachers have to examine themselves and question themselves about whether they have committed a "foul" contributing to students' misbehavior ---sounds like some social justice experimentation and social engineering.  I'm not convinced.

I'll probably vote against this because I think there are more economical ways to provide better professional development.

This is too much taxpayer cash to expend when this could fund three reading teachers for a whole year!

Or how about we give that money as raises for the teachers working in the most challenging environments, like Weis Elementary, as a bonus?

What are the opportunity costs of $136,000.00?


Anonymous said...

One teacher of the year used Capturing Kids hearts. Last name was Pavlus. The skill comes in having the talent to implement the program.

Jeff Bergosh said...

I have no argument that the program may have some merit; my issue is the cost. And is this the best way to spend $175,000? Could we think differently, give the money to the 200 participants and challenge them to find the best of the best of the plethora of readily available (and free) Open source, MOOC, or TEDtalks material on discipline, classroom control, etc. Then make it a competition to see who has found the best "Stuff" to address the significant issues we face with respect to the evisceration of the family in certain areas, which is the wellspring for all of they dysfunction we see that bleeds over into schools. Can you imagine it? 200 teachers all searching for the BEST solutions online for free, receiving a $500 pay bump, and then being able to share the best of the best with everyone else??? How amazing could this be, how incredibly valuable could all of this concentrated research on the web to address our problems be? We will not know, because we are told that "Capturing Kid's Heart's" is THE PROGRAM we all need to be on together. I'm not convinced of this, I'm not supporting a third or fourth year of this excessive expenditure. If we truly care about Kids and outcomes, we can do much better with much less expenditure of taxpayer cash.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can certainly understand your position and think its a good idea to motivate teachers to find the best stuff....if they have time. One issue with that though, it seems, is a problem of being able to execute the ideas in a well orchestrated manner. Maybe Capturing Kids's Heart teaches teachers how to execute the plan. Another problem is knowing which stuff works or doesnt.

In the end, I do think its up to the teacher to strive to be better (so I regress on talent). You can have all the training in the world, but if you dont have passion, youll be hardpressed to make a difference.

Not only that, concerning how we spend money, the Turnaround group at Warrington seems to be showing promise. It may not have reached all its goals, but there has been some improvement.