Monday, March 12, 2007

Exerpts from "The Wall" site by teacher Susie Ceamcheese lee

Sent to all members of the School Board

This blog has been a long time coming. The hubris of Elia in shafting the teachers with the extra class for no extra pay must have finally pushed the teachers to protest.

They mention firing Elia. I am all for that. She was the worst candidate of all those who turned up in the $36,000 "nation-wide" search, a scam on the taxpayers since the insiders with collusion of administration had already picked Elia, who can't manage and can't even write a literate essay. She has no idea where to put commas but gets $262,000 a year and perquisites while the bus drivers get 3rd-world wages and drive broken-down buses. Faliera, the Board dimwit, said when the Board gave Elia whopping salary boost this year that Elia was "a real bargain." Some bargain. She didn't even notice the real-estate scam in her building department; overbuilt classrooms in that slot; and later as superintendent shifted boundaries to cover up her mess-up. She misled the parents about the boundary issue and ignored the sobbing tots clinging to their mothers' skirts at the prospect of changing their schools.

The CTA union is in bed with the administration. Its staff refuses to post its salaries on the Web. It has no compunction about charging beginning teachers with meager salaries $500 so that the union can cozy up to the administration. Teachers should union shop for one like the Boston union, whose bargaining magic has put beginning teachers' salary at $44,000 a year. Elia makes more than the Boston superintendent (Massachusetts is the Number One school system in terms of student performance in the country). That's the Board's fault. Teachers should concentrate on the Board. Its members act as if Elia were their boss instead of the other way around. It rubberstamps everything she puts before it. It does not consult with teachers or even acknowledge that they have an iron in the fire. They immure themselves in the ROSAC bunker and listen only to the administration, which cozens and flatters them but laughs at them behind their backs.

First comes a demand for teacher time as the first slot on the Board agenda with no humiliating 2-minute cut-off bells. The Board on the stump invokes the pious piffle about teachers' being the "most valuable part of the school system"; and then its members cut them off at the mike and won't let them say their piece. In the Board policies resides a citation that says the Board can suspend the time limits. Why on earth did it not do so when those brave teachers came to protest Elia's ukase of teachers' having to teach an extra class with no compensation? Was it ignorance of their own policy, or was it contempt for teachers? Neither is good.

Teachers should not put up with this degrading treatment by the Board. Half a dozen at each school should issue invitations to Board members to appear one at the time in their auditoriums for an open question-and-answer period. They won't dare turn that invitation down. And the host school can make sure the press is on hand to spot any hypocrisy.

lee drury de cesare

Patrick: Please announce the "Wall" blog of the teachers in La Gaceta's "As We Heard It." They are finding their voice. I knew they would eventually resort to blogs to fight this crooked administration and lackadaisical School Board.

Ms. Letitia Steins: The SPTimes should not be asleep at the switch to the significance of the blog development among the teachers of Hillsborough County. I think they are still reluctant to expose their names for the most part, but I am sure if you post a comment and ask for an interview that Ms. Creamcheese will contact you for an interview.

Andrea, this phenomenon would make an excellent column. It's a definite change of the game. The administration will have a counterforce to running the school system like a plantation.

lee drury de cesare

Post a Comment On: TheWall
26 Comments - Show Original Post
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Anonymous said...
This is much needed! I will start the ball rolling. New info regarding the 6/7 plan... we have received word from an insider (who we must protect) that it only takes 4 out of 7 to remove a superintendent. Continue writing your letters to the school board and continue to attend the school board meetings. They are making a difference and its putting needed and wanted pressure on the super. All is not what it seems with the school board and everyone is NOT on the supers side! We need to use this to our advantage. Also, we have been told that if this 6/7 plan fails they can strike it and change the plan. Lets make it fail!

- dedicated High School teacher
(Carla Crabapple)

March 3, 2007 7:25 AM

Suzie Creamcheese said...
Thanks Carla! Your info is important: it shows that contrary to the posture displayed by the district THERE IS A CHANCE. I heard the the district is the largest employer in the county. That's a lot of votes sister!

March 3, 2007 12:26 PM

Cable Guy said...
Hey this blog is a GREAT idea Suzie! How about this idea: Why not shorten the periods to 40 minutes? Then schedule an hour conference at the start or end of school. Maybe even a half-hour conference at the start AND the end of school. Schools can adopt either variety. A side benefit might be that this would provide time for a staggered bus schedule. Less traffic congestion too.

March 3, 2007 12:52 PM

Anonymous said...
I like the idea of reducing the class times to 40 minutes and doing conference times at beginning and/or end of day. However, does that accomplish instructional hours required?\
-Someone who's been on both sides of the fence

March 3, 2007 5:05 PM

Anonymous said...
ARE there required instructional hours? You go the hours and fail the FCAT and whatcha got? How about "early release" days? I had some of my best classes on days with shortened periods. It seems like a well structured 40 minutes would get the job done. Is there research that supports either side? All I know is that its NOT the amount of TIME I spent in a class, it was the amount of time I was engaged. My limit was about 45 minutes. How long before you started to "wander" at the Forum? Anybody else?

March 3, 2007 5:50 PM

Anonymous said...
I'd like to share some info from a meeting held with the super's "reps"...cause you know... it would be impossible for the woman to represent herself! The 300 mins was placed in our contract back in 1985. Back then, classes were 60 mins not 50 mins. Well you do the math... 60 x 5 gives your 300 mins! It has been explained to me that in 1985 the union decided to use the mins terminology instead of period terminology because they were fearful that the district would try to increase the mins of the period therefore shafting the teachers. No one every thought the district would be stupid enough to increase the 5 periods! We discussed this with the "reps" and a teacher who use to work in Pasco suggested the 5/6 plan that pasco is using. This keeps the 50 mins for the students and it keeps the 5 periods for us. The response from the "rep" was... uhhh... well in today's educational society there are to many students taking intensive reading and math classes and because of that all of your electives would be virtually wiped out! Well the reality is... most intensive reading and math students don't have a large impact on academic elective enrollment anyways!! Certainly not AP electives and honors electives. Perhaps we could look more into what is going on in Pasco and find out more details as a possible solution? Another teacher asked the "rep" what other counties around the state where doing since we all have budget problems. There response was... uhhh... well we haven't had much time yet to do the research however we know that Pasco is not an option and that you wouldn't be happy teaching there!!! If you have contacts with other teachers in other districts I think it would be useful to start talking with them to find out what's going on in their district.

Carla Crabapple

P.S. I will be forwarding all my district emails regarding 6/7 plan to this account and responding from here. If you'd like to send me your email I will keep in contact with you via hotmail or yahoo etc. I'm on the front lines of this beast so you'll be hearing a lot from me! :-)

March 4, 2007 6:27 AM

Anonymous said...
Oh man my spelling is awful! I promise I'm not an idiot! Just to upset to spell check as I'm typing about the idiot decisions of the district!

Carla :-)

March 4, 2007 6:32 AM

Subversive Teacher said...
Miami teachers protested. Time for Tampa teachers?

March 4, 2007 4:18 PM

James Otis said...
We need people to continue to make waves...too many parents are still oblivious to how next year's plan will hurt students. Why be afraid to stand up in front of the school board and announce "this is what we will NOT do next year..." and start listing off activities? My key quote next year when students want letters of recommendation, chaperones to sponsor events, and extra review sessions for AP exams after school will be "I'm sorry, the schoolboard does not a lot me time for that."

March 5, 2007 1:22 PM

Anonymous said...
Thank you SO MUCH for this forum. As was said in the last school board meeting, teachers never speak up because we always do what is right for our students regardless of how it affects us....they think they have an ace in the hole since we never speak up. But you want to know what? If we don't speak up, our students will suffer GREATLY! Is there a gifted writer out there/English teacher out there that can write an editorial style letter and send it to all the papers alerting PARENTS to the horrible repercussions that this stupid decision will cause? I still say that if the parents knew what was going to happen, they'd be utterly pissed! Elia has done a wonderful job marketing this stupid decision as a "wonderful" way for the students to get more time with us. Parents don't realize the inner workings of the system. We have got to let them know. So glad to know that a movement is starting to get Elia ejected. Does this woman really think that she can do as she please at any given moment without the consent of the school board, teachers and parents? OBVIOUSLY SHE DOES! We've got to do something to get this woman off of this "power trip" she is on. She's using speed to help get her new plan ushered this way, it is done so quickly, that nobody can do anything about this....At the school board meeting 3 weeks ago, Candy Olson was the only school board member to speak up in defense of teachers asking Elia why all of this had to be done so quickly without a thorough evaluation. Elia told her in front of everyone, "I don't need school board approval to do this". Is this sounding like a dictatorship to you? That is what it is sounding like to me. Please spread the word of this website and get the fires started at your school for the benefit of us all and most importantly, to help the kids. They will pay the ultimate price for this stupid fiasco.

March 5, 2007 2:04 PM

Anonymous said...
I 100% agree with James Otis! The next school board meeting is March 13. I think we need to get as many school teachers as possible to attend and shed light on what they will be "forced" to give up. I think the key word is FORCED... not refuse. My proposal for the next school board meeting is to get as many teachers as possible to stand in front of the school board and say "I am Carla Crabapple and I teach blah blah blah at Blank high school. Because of Ms. Elias decision I will be forced to give up Blank club and I will no longer be able to volunteer for _ _ _ _". Next teacher stands up... "My name is .." I think this is a strong strategy and will prevent us from sounding like a broken record. What do you all think of this idea ?

Carla Crabapple

March 5, 2007 2:58 PM

Anonymous said...
The newspapers have no interest in letting parents know "the truth" as far as this is concerned. Remember we are funded by the public's tax dollars. In order to run things properly and have the class size amendment actually do what the voters wanted it to do, the public would have to pay more in taxes. Parents have no interest in taking responsibility for their children... as far as they're concerned, that is our job. They do not want to hear the reality of the school situation.

March 5, 2007 4:06 PM

settergirl said...
Today, a department head at our high school was told to let her staff know that those teachers who planned to "work to the contract" next year could expect to have that decision reflected in their evaluations next year. Even though CTA is not taking the stance we all would like, it seems to me that threatening reprisals for anyone who follows the contract exactly as it is written has the potential to become a class action law suit.

March 5, 2007 7:03 PM

Anonymous said...
7:03 You need to document the "veiled" threat regarding evaluations and "working to the contract" for any future need. If you are a CTA member it should be reported. Why not at least name the school here so that those of us who MAY be "shopping around" know when to keep walking. You can see the true colors start to show. Any principal that feels a negotiated contract is bendable needs to be exposed. To get an unsatisfactory evaluation for performing to the contract is indeed a lawsuit waiting to be filed. Your experience should prepare you. Do not allow the opportunity to slide. Names, dates, times, witnesses and as many quotes as possible. You may have it and not need it but there will be a quiet satisfaction to building the case and feeling that you have some control over the issue. Do NOT trust your memory. Stay cool.

March 6, 2007 2:36 PM

Anonymous said...
I find it sad that the school district is resorting to threats and intimidation instead of just communicating and working with the teachers! If you or your school is threatened in any way shape or form you need to document as the other poster said and inform CTA (although they are probably useless!) If this is happening to you please post your experience on this blog (anonymous is fine). I think we need to get a feel of whether this is an isolated case or are their others out there getting the same crap. Also, please forward this blog to as many teachers as possible. The more schools and teachers involved the better :-)

March 6, 2007 3:34 PM

James Otis said...
Keep in mind that evaluations are really nothing more than beaurocratic paperwork. When was the last time any of us received a raise or promotion for receiving "outstanding" marks? I for one have NEVER seen anything come out of this. On the reverse side, what is going to happen with a Needs Improvement check? I realize none of us want to work in a hostile environment, but don't give up because of BS checkmark! Keep fighting!

March 6, 2007 4:42 PM

Anonymous said...
Mr. Otis et al have good points! Of course, in order to qualify for Performance Pay or STAR don't we need points that require an "outstanding" in a few areas? Personally my self-respect will not be affected if I stand up for my beliefs and sacrifice the money. I refuse to be intimidated!

March 6, 2007 5:44 PM

Dixi said...
I would like to know how many people received a surprising needs improvement on their review that was never there before and and quite shockingly used as an attempt to keep the teacher quiet.

I for one, Dixi, have and I would like to see how many others have. I have documented and informed CTA.

If you have please post so we can tally it up.

March 6, 2007 7:22 PM

Anonymous said...
The newspapers have no interest in letting parents know "the truth"

Replace newspapers with media. We all realize their integrity is rated BELOW that of lawyers. They need to sell papers and advertising. Note how both the Times and the Trib have lowered their standards. Our boys are dying and it was Anna Nichol all over the front page and lead story for days!

Read the accounts of any School Board meeting and compare it with what you saw in person or on Ch 18. You scratch your head wondering how they edit what happens. It's a shallow pool in the editing room.

March 7, 2007 2:14 PM

Anonymous said...
So, we had a department meeting today and our department head informed us that... get this...the district has changed their mind. Apparently there is not enough funding for 25:1 so they are changing compliancy to 27:1. How many teachers would like to place money on the bet that by the time school starts next year it will be.... you guessed it... 30:1. Wow... the whole notion of "you'll be teaching the same number of kids under the 6/7 plan" has just gone right out the window. Our DH also mentioned the fact that unit cut are coming our way. So, we're having a teacher shortage, we can't afford to hire new teachers for the 6/7 plan, and now some teachers will be cut!!?? What the he!! is going on downtown?

Fuming CC

March 7, 2007 2:22 PM

Anonymous said...
Ok I think we all need a good laugh! I saw this on a jobsite and had to post it. Enjoy!

Job Description
Florida has jobs for teachers Teachers, Florida’s growth has created a need for 20,000 dedicated and highly effective teachers for the 2007-2008 school year. Florida has jobs for teachers!
Florida’s educational quality is top priority; which is why our teachers receive mentoring and professional development, and outstanding teachers are rewarded. Florida is a great place to live, work and play! Representatives from the Florida Department of Education are coming to your area to share with you why teaching in Florida is a great choice. We want you to consider furthering your educational teaching career in Florida schools… because Florida needs you!
Why is Florida a great place for your teaching career?

More high schools in the AP Top 100 than any other state

National leader – increased reading performance – Elementary

Nationally recognized system for professional development

Commitment to academic excellence – We make a Difference!
Why is Florida a great place to Teach?

Paid life insurance, retirement and teacher liability insurance

Tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness for teaching in critical shortage areas

Recognition and rewards for high performing teachers

Salary bonuses for earning national certification, mentoring other teachers and doing what teachers do best – inspire student learning


March 7, 2007 2:35 PM

James Otis said...
WOW!!! I for one teach AP with exceptional passing scores, honors, and an elective. I sponsor probably THE most active service club at my school and am up for a major community award for it(not through the school district), and I have NEVER received any sort of recognition or reward for my hard work. That ad is the biggest load of crap...OK, but that's just venting. I have a really big issue with the addition of 2 more kids per class, and also feel that Carla is correct in assessing that this will keep rising until we hit 30 or 32 per class, blowing the explanation that we'll be teaching the same amount of kids out of the water. I was also present for the unit cuts information, and wonder...didn't our school district representatives inform us that the 6/7 plan is underway because despite the attempts to recruit new workers from other states, we have too many positions to be filled to keep up with the teacher shortage. But we're cutting units???????????? So there goes that whole justification for next year's plan. We need more people to speak up at the next meeting, not just the same voices who have been heard. Please try your hardest to get other people on board with this, and to my people who are facing intimidation, I have so much respect for you not backing down. Keep fighting...that's the only way revolutions take place (although I personally like to think of this as a coup!) It's more fun that way...

James "The MadDog" Otis

March 7, 2007 4:17 PM

Anonymous said...
Check THIS out...

Seems to be a lot more the 6/7 going on @ ROSSAC...

Once again it seems that the Trib and Times display the same level of motivation...they seem to look down on their readers as not being able to follow an investigative report. Have they replaced the "old boys network with the old gals network"? Can we trust them to get it right?

March 7, 2007 7:56 PM

Tampa.teacher said...
I have also been surprisingly marked Needs Improvement on my review....It is reprisal for my speaking out on the issue of 6/7 plan.

March 8, 2007 5:56 PM

Anonymous said...
How many of you will be attending this Tues school board meeting? We need to drum up support. We can't always rely on the same teachers over and over again.

March 10, 2007 6:30 AM

Anonymous said...
If you'd like to go but really can't then let's email them letting the Board know we will be watching on Channel 18 (Ed. channel). Go and look at the SDHC Web site. It appears as though the board is in meetings ALL day before they show up for the public meeting. I'd like to point out that they will experience on that one day what we experience every day! Maybe they would like to add a few more hours to very meeting. Fair's fair.

I looked at:

Anyone know Orlando? If so please make sure he knows he has our support.

March 10, 2007 8:00 AM

This blog has been designed to give the teachers and employees of the Hillsborough County School District an outlet to vent, rant, and most importantly share information and suggestions about Superintendent Elia's plan to increase the number of teaching periods from 5 to 6 periods a day.

We are not under the constraints of our school board's 2 minute warning. We are not under the constraints of the district's email guidelines and its interpretations.

Your use of an electronic mail account constitutes your agreement that you will not:
* Violate the conditions of the Education Code dealing with student rights to privacy.
* Use profanity, obscenity, or other language that may be offensive to another user.
* Use District Email for personal, political or editorial uses.
* Use District Email for financial gain or for any commercial or activities legal or illegal.
* Copy commercial software or other copyright protected material in violation of copyright laws.
The District reserves the right to terminate any account, which it believes, in its sole discretion, is transmitting SPAM and unauthorized bulk Email. The District considers SPAM and unsolicited bulk e-mail a serious misuse of District resources. Infractions will be reported to Professional Standards.

We will display a professional and unemotional resistance to this attempt at forcing an ill-advised change upon us. We will offer thoughtful solutions and alternatives to this $28 million dollar+ albatross that is being hung around our neck. We will post legal and workable ideas for a district who is ignoring the input of its employees. A district that can't get the buses to show up on time and call in expensive consultants when all they really needed was to ask the drivers! SDHsheesh! (can't take credit for that one). When the district's workload gets unmanageable THEY hire more support staff. Ever walk through the upside-down pyramid? Notice departments being moved to other buildings?

We will - above all - display a political strength that this district has not seen since the 60's! An election is on the horizon, the anger that seethes among us will be a POSITIVE driving force.

Don't expect CTA to do anything. They want your membership dollars FIRST. There is no guarantee they'll grow 'nads for us. Quite frankly, management loves it when labor argues among themselves so let's focus on MANAGEMENT. There is time enough for the association- unless you know "something" about any collusion. ;>/

This is the teacher's lounge, the hallway, or the mail room. Throw your ideas against "The Wall". Sign you name or not: speak out!

"All in all we're NOT another brick in the wall". Pass this address around.

posted by Suzie Creamcheese at 3:07 PM on Mar 2, 2007

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1 comment:

Natesa said...

Thanks for writing this.