Junkroom classroom for special-needs children
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
Dear Secretary Duncan:
Today the New York Times frontpages the information that your office will conduct compliance reviews of unnamed school systems across the country. I hope that the school system of Hillsborough County, Florida, is at the top of the list.
The article says the department will conduct compliance reviews for civil rights.
I wish you would extend the compliance review in Hillsborough County, Florida, to a compliance review of these areas as well:
• Superintendent Elia's running a jobs programs for friends, hangers-on, and family of the administration and board plus handing out no-bid contracts to former administrators, not advertising the jobs with the school lawyer Tom Gonzalez's complicity;
• the board's and superintendent's using the Professional Standard office to blackmail teachers by trapping teachers with minor offenses or making up charges whole cloth so that teachers will give up their free-speech rights as the price for keeping their jobs because the administration and board hierarchy don't want teachers' revelations on how they misrun the schools;
• administration and board's trying to controll all information that gets out of the schools to the public by running data through the Community Affairs Laundromat to clean their behavior up to make them look good;
• board member Jennifer Falliero's announcing for re-election with a history of flagrant in-school adultery that caused the firing of a married male administrator with two small children to preserve her "reputation," and now Falliero's saying, in effect, that she expects to use the Gates grant money to fire high school teachers when the administration puts certain teacher standards in place, teachers whose help Falliero needs, because she can't compose a letter to the editor without the use of the Community Affairs office to clean up her own marginal illiteracy;
• the mismanagement of special-needs children by putting one class in a junk room with unstable storage leaning against the walls which the children could topple down and hurt themselves and others;
• Superintendent Elia's forcing teachers to inflate grades so that she would look good in the state school bureaucracy;
• the shutting down of free-speech access to the government by board member Carol Kurdel's not allowing a citizen comment on issues flagged for comment on the board agenda, abandoning her oath of office when she took the job of board member to honor the Constitution;
• the failure of the board to set aside a fixed slot for teacher and students comments;
• the paying of Attorney Tom Gonzalez $275,000 a year for a part-time job, the highest in the state for a board attorney, in which his slovenly performance suggests he fails to read schools' business data soas to give informed opinions to the board;
• the board's using tax money to fly around the country on joy rides when poor students in the county can't afford supplies to participate in class work while board member Susan Valdes spends $50,000 in one year on optional travel.
• the failure of the board and administration to obey the equal-opportunity laws and compliance obligations for federal contractors by advertising jobs, instead parceling them out to friends, fans, and incompetents, with only one Ph.D. in the administration and early-childhood degree holders having such appointments as head of building and construction.
Your civil-rights commission could bivouac in Hillsborough County for months and still not clean up the thuggery that goes on in a school system which overpays administrators with shoddy credentials, underpays teachers, and even pays slothful board members who don't do their homework by reading background material of the issues that come before the board yet make $8,000 a year more than do beginning teachers, too many of whom have to work second jobs to survive.
Come on down, Mr. Secretary. The Hillsborough County schools needs your committee's and your most rigorous scrutiny.
Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
c: Hillsborough County legislative delegation
Hillsborough County Commission et al
Hillsborough County Children's Board
Bill and Melinda Gates
Florida Secretary of Education Smith
La Gaceta Newspaper
Solocheck SPTimes; Marshall SPTimes
Junkroom-classroom for Special Needs Children presided over by Supervisor Smiley