Sunday, May 24, 2009

Climbing the Ladder of Influence, One Rung at a Time


Dear Dr. Smith:
As president of the Florida Association of School Superintendents, I am sure you take seriously the goals of your organization, especially the two that begin the goals list.

These are the following:

It shall be the goals of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents to:

1. significantly influence the development and implementation of the best possible education practices in the school districts of Florida;

2. assist Superintendents in implementing those practices as well as in meeting requirements established by law and regulations;

It grieves me to tell you that Maryellen Elia, superintendent of the Hillsborough County School system, acts athwart these goals. She is adverse to blogs and is not above cooking up false charges in the Professional Standards office against a teacher who has one. Her helper in this office is its head, Linda Kipley, who willingly joins Ms. Elia in this barbarous exercise.

Ms. Kipley herself has a home-ec degree, and Ms. Elia just hired Ms. Kipley's husband for an accounting job even though he had no accounting degree nor the needed experience the job description cited. For the life of me I cannot see how a home-ec degree and a high-school diploma in administrative positions adds luster to the administrative coterie of pals, sycophants, children of board members, and hangers-on that Ms. Elia has assembled to lead the schools.

Ms. Kipley's husband has only a high school diploma. Four of the other candidates had accounting degrees and experience in the field. One infers this hiring of the unqualified husband of Ms. Kipley was reward for her joining the superintendent in manufacturing charges against teachers whom Ms. Elia wants to fire or to terrify because they have blogs.

This conduct surely goes against the Florida Association of School Superintendents' goal of "the best possible educational practices," not to mention its violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act ("requirements established by law," Goal 2), which mandates equal opportunity in hiring, not favoritism for an already-employed wife's performing acts of skullduggery to undermine teachers the superintendent has it in for.

The board and Ms. Elia dislike blogs because they deliver candid reports that have not gone through the Public Affairs Office's Laundromat and spin machine that cleans up the behavior of the administration and the board for public consumption.

Ms. Elia and the chair of the backstage terror committee who executes Ms. Elia's attacks on teachers via the Professional Standards Abu Ghraib cell block, one Mr. Valdez, have kept Special-ed teacher Steve Kemp on suspension for the whole semester on the cooked-up charge of child abuse. The Sheriff threw it out directly after Ms. Elia dispatched underling Smiley to lodge it with the Sheriff's office.

Steve Kemp has a blog, and La Elia and Le Valdez are trying to squeeze him and make him increasingly terrified of his losing his job if he does not give up his blog, sacrifice his dignity, and abandon his Constitutional rights. I hope he doesn't for the reason cited in Goal 2 of the School Superintendents Association: "meeting requirements established by law."

An Elia apparatchik even called up Mr. Kemp to cite the subject he could not write about in his blog. I infer as good citizens the Florida Association of School Superintendents supports the Constitution and does not encourage its member superintendents to shut down free speech in their individual schools. Surely that is not the best educational practice.

I believe you need to cite the organization's support of law to Ms. Elia, who is not a big fan of the Constitution. Surely this attitude does not fulfill "the best possible education practices" desiratum of Goal 1 or "meeting requirements established by law" in Goal 2.

I assume also that the "best possible education practices in the school districts of Florida" includes a condemnation of cooking up false charges against a teacher to make him shut down a blog in a sadistic terror tactic to interfere with his free-speech rights. Relevant counseling by you of Ms. Elia would complement the "meeting requirements established by law and regulation" of Goal 2 since the Constitution trumps all other laws, and Ms. Elia and her administrative barbarians are violating it.

This untoward superintendent behavior corrupts the children and frightens the horses. It as well defies the goals of the Superintendents Association.

I am sure the Hillsborough County teachers would be grateful for your good counseling of Ms. Elia: the punished pedagogues who work under the yoke of Ms. Elia's disregard of their rights and experience her practice of cooking up professional-standards violations against them to make the poor wretches toe an arbitrary and inhumane line that she sets are not optimum working conditions to be sure.

Pray use your best efforts, Dr. Smith, as president of your important association to convince Ms. Elia to act in ways that would do the goals of the Florida Association of School Superintendents proud and improve the ethical climate in the Hillsborough County schools.

Perhaps you could make Mr. Valdez an honorary member and work on him too.


Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708 Sent via Fax to 850 921 5273

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