Death of the Birthday Cupcake

Today I was told (my daughter’s birthday) that unfortunately you can’t bring in a fruit tray brought from a store (per letter sent in Jan. and our school ideas for healthy snacks website) that our school is “steering” away from birthday celebrations, a tradition that has been followed for decades. It’s unfortunate that principals, staff, teachers, etc. do not have the “time” to honor a child’s birthday with her classmates!  I know it’s a lot on the teachers behalf to facilitate this by his or herself (our children are being punished by those who have ruined the freedom of parents coming to assist. Societies random acts of violence has a domino effect on us all)! Therefore, once again our wonderful teachers have yet another burden of responsibility! To act alone and help our children celebrate their birthday with their classmates/friends! I know it’s not an easy task. However, Elimination should not be the conclusive answer (especially not on the day of without ANY prior notice). What about the child who relocates, and doesn’t have any friends, except the students she engages with daily?  They look forward to sharing that moment with classmates! Perhaps working in a specific date ahead of time to incorporate within the classroom so teachers can celebrate student’s birthday for that month is feasible. For example, the last day of each month have a celebration for all the students whose birthday fell within that month… a simple 30 minute time frame! It can be done. I’m very disappointed!! This should have been directly stated and not subliminal enforced! I could have made other arrangements (as well as other parents who has faced this same problem)!!!! Now it’s too late and my daughter will be affected! I’ll have to mend a broken heart and explain why she couldn’t have 30 minutes of a day to celebrate with the only friends she have!!!!!

Sincerely a disgruntled parent


From the Principal of Never Never Land Elementary

February 21, 2014

Dear Parents and Families,

Since our January notification to parents about cupcakes and other not-so-healthy food choices, there have been many questions generated regarding the continuation of student birthday celebrations at our school. The good
news is, “we still continue to recognize and celebrate student birthdays at school”, however, we no longer encourage the celebration or recognition to include food, whether it be healthy or unhealthy, as many of our
students are, indeed, allergic to healthy food, as well. In addition, all families aren’t always able to send in healthy snacks and/or favors for an entire class when it’s their own child’s birthday, so we often,
unintentionally, do more harm to those students and families who can’t, or choose not to do the same.

Instead of the traditional cupcakes, ice cream, candy or even fruit, cheese or crackers, many teachers choose to honor birthday students by singing songs, playing special games, announcing names on orning announcements, wearing special hats or banners, having access to the birthday chair, facilitating leadership roles of honor in the classroom etc. In lieu of food or sweet treats, some families are choosing to send in party favors such as pencils, books, stickers, movie tickets, or party invitations.

Our goal for honoring student birthdays within the school day and during non-instructional time is just to make your child feel extra special on their special day. It is of my opinion, that together we can accomplish this
simple goal without the inclusion of food. As our teaching and learning schedules do not permit time for birthday parties, our teachers creatively find time to honor and recognize their birthday students during the non- instructional part of their day; such as at the end of the lunch period, at recess, or at a scheduled snack time.

We do continue to encourage parents who celebrate their children’s birthday parties at home, or on the weekends to please send in enough party invitations for their child’s entire class membership, so that teachers
might distribute them on your behalf and with enough time left for you to plan and host attendance at your child’s special event. Thank you for your understanding as we work to celebrate all of our students’ successes, academic and otherwise, in a responsible, respectful and safe manner.

The Administration

So you want to be a . . .teacher?

Photo, Teaching a deaf-mute to talk, OK, Lewis Hines, April 1917, LoC   Let’s talk tests. . .

Test Fees and Payment Policies

Florida Teacher’s Certification Exam Test Fees

Registration Fees First Attempt Retake
Subject Area Examination $200 $220
Professional Education Test $150 $170
General Knowledge Test (any combination of subtests*) $130 $150

* You may register to take all or any combination of the 4 General Knowledge Test subtests for a single test fee.

Or become a principal? FELE Test Fees

Registration Fees First Attempt Retake
Any combination of subtests* $215 $225

You know this is non-refundable, and there is no compensation for it, right? Passing it does not guarantee you a job.

Photo:  Lewis W. Hines









Teachers: Earn less than he pays his secretaries at Microsoft!

Reprinted from the Washington Post/ The Answer Sheet Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 11/30/2010

“Diane Ravitch Answers

Bill Gates

In a paean to Bill Gates, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter calls Diane Ravitch the Microsoft founder’s “chief adversary.”
It’s the world’s richest (or second richest) man vs. an education historian and New York University research professor.
Gates, through his philanthropic foundation, has invested billions of dollars in education experiments and now has a pivotal role in reform efforts. Ravitch, the author of the bestselling The Death and Life of the Great American School System, has become the most vocal opponent of the Obama administration’s education policy. She says Gates is backing the wrong initiatives and harming public schools.
In the Newsweek piece, Gates poses some questions aimed at Ravitch. I asked her to answer them. Below are the questions Gates asked, in bold, and the answers, in italics, that Ravitch provided in an email.Gates: “Does she like the status quo?”
Ravitch: “No, I certainly don’t like the status quo. I don’t like the attacks on teachers, I don’t like the attacks on the educators who work in our schools day in and day out, I don’t like the phony solutions that are now put forward that won’t improve our schools at all. I am not at all content with the quality of American education in general, and I have expressed my criticisms over many years, long before Bill Gates decided to make education his project. I think American children need not only testing in basic skills, but an education that includes the arts, literature, the sciences, history, geography, civics, foreign languages, economics, and physical education.
“I don’t hear any of the corporate reformers expressing concern about the way standardized testing narrows the curriculum, the way it rewards convergent thinking and punishes divergent thinking, the way it stamps out creativity and originality. I don’t hear any of them worried that a generation will grow up ignorant of history and the workings of government. I don’t hear any of them putting up $100 million to make sure that every child has the chance to learn to play a musical instrument. All I hear from them is a demand for higher test scores and a demand to tie teachers’ evaluations to those test scores. That is not going to improve education.”
Gates: “Is she sticking up for decline?”Ravitch: “Of course not! If we follow Bill Gates’ demand to judge teachers by test scores, we will see stagnation, and he will blame it on teachers. We will see stagnation because a relentless focus on test scores in reading and math will inevitably narrow the curriculum only to what is tested. This is not good education.“Last week, he said in a speech that teachers should not be paid more for experience and graduate degrees. I wonder why a man of his vast wealth spends so much time trying to figure out how to cut teachers’ pay. Does he truly believe that our nation’s schools will get better if we have teachers with less education and less experience? Who does he listen to? He needs to get himself a smarter set of advisers.

“Of course, we need to make teaching a profession that attracts and retains wonderful teachers, but the current anti-teacher rhetoric emanating from him and his confreres demonizes and demoralizes even the best teachers. I have gotten letters from many teachers who tell me that they have had it, they have never felt such disrespect; and I have also met young people who tell me that the current poisonous atmosphere has persuaded them not to become teachers. Why doesn’t he make speeches thanking the people who work so hard day after day, educating our nation’s children, often in difficult working conditions, most of whom earn less than he pays his secretaries at Microsoft?”

Gates: “Does she really like 400-page [union] contracts?”

Ravitch: “Does Bill Gates realize that every contract is signed by two parties: management and labor? Why does management agree to 400-page contracts? I don’t know how many pages should be in a union contract, but I do believe that teachers should be evaluated by competent supervisors before they receive tenure (i.e., the right to due process).

“Once they have due process rights, they have the right to a hearing when someone wants to fire them. The reason for due process rights is that teachers in the past have been fired because of their race, their religion, their sexual orientation, or because they did not make a political contribution to the right campaign, or for some other reason not related to their competence.

“Gates probably doesn’t know this, but 50% of all those who enter teaching leave within the first five years. Our biggest problem is not getting rid of deadbeats, but recruiting, retaining, and supporting teachers. We have to replace 300,000 teachers (of nearly 4 million) every single year. What are his ideas about how to do this?”

Gates: “Does she think all those ‘dropout factories’ are lonely?”

Ravitch: “This may come as a surprise to Bill Gates, but the schools he refers to as “dropout factories” enroll large numbers of high-need students. Many of them don’t speak or read English; many of them enter high school three and four grade levels behind. He assumes the schools created the problems the students have; but in many cases, the schools he calls “dropout factories” are filled with heroic teachers and administrators trying their best to help kids who have massive learning problems.

“Unless someone from the district or the state actually goes into the schools and does a diagnostic evaluation, it is unfair to stigmatize the schools with the largest numbers of students who are English-language learners, special-education, and far behind in their learning. That’s like saying that an oncologist is not as good a doctor as a dermatologist because so many of his patients die. Mr. Gates, first establish the risk factor before throwing around the labels and closing down schools.”

Gates: “If there’s some other magic way to reduce the dropout rate, we’re all ears.”

Ravitch: “Here’s the sad truth: There is no magic way to reduce the dropout rate. It involves looking at the reasons students leave school, as well as the conditions in which they live. The single biggest correlate with low academic achievement (contrary to the film Waiting for Superman) is poverty. Children who grow up in poverty get less medical care. worse nutrition, less exposure to knowledge and vocabulary, and are more likely to be exposed to childhood diseases, violence, drugs, and abuse. They are more likely to have relatives who are incarcerated. They are more likely to live in economic insecurity, not knowing if there is enough money for a winter coat or food or housing. This affects their academic performance. They tend to have lower attendance and to be sick more than children whose parents are well-off.

“The United States today has a child poverty rate of over 20%, and it is rising. This is a national scandal. The film compares us to Finland, but doesn’t mention that their child poverty rate is under 5%. Mr. Gates, why don’t you address the root causes of low academic achievement, which is not ‘bad teachers,’ but poverty. It won’t involve magic, but it would certainly require the best thinking that you can assemble. And if anyone can afford to do it, surely you can.

I don’t mean to suggest that schools as they are now are just fine: They are not. Every school should have a rich and balanced curriculum; many don’t. Every child should look forward to coming to school, for his or her favorite studies and activities, but those are the very studies and activities likely to lose out to endless test preparation. Schools need many things: Some need more resources and better conditions for teaching and learning; all need a stable, experienced staff. Teachers need opportunities for intellectual growth and colleagueship. Tests should be used diagnostically, to help students and teachers, not to allocate bonuses and punishments. Teachers, principals, administrators, parents, and local communities should collaborate to create caring communities, and that’s happening in many places. I know that none of this is the “magic way” that you are looking for, Mr. Gates, but any educator will tell you that education is a slow, laborious process that requires good teachers, able leadership, willing students, a strong curriculum, and willing students. None of that happens magically.” “


And that’s the truth. . .

Sent to me by the union:


November 18

You are valued and important to society and your students and we owe you for choosing this profession. While you may not feel valued every day, it is important to say “thank you” to each other this week.
-Thank you for picking up my students while I…
-Thank you for tutoring after school..
-Thank you for typing that summary…The list goes on.  Thank you for all you do from CTA.  We believe in you and continue to stand up for your rights.  We know this evaluation system has demoralized our profession. Stand strong with your chin up. Don’t allow another adult to treat you inappropriately.Remind anyone who treats you in an unprofessional manner that you would not be allowed to treat students in that manner and you do not want to be treated in that manner. We have a Code of Civility that applies to ALL employees.  This includes raising  a voice, threats, pointing fingers in your face or saying something regarding your evaluation or teaching in front of other colleagues.  Report it.  Send an e-mail about what happened in the hallway or meeting to this person, stating you expect to be treated as a Professional and that their behavior was not appropriate.  Article 7, p. 32 section M.Keep this in a file.You are a Professional and deserve to be treated as a Professional every day!”You don’t improve education by demoralizing those who do the work.”
Diane Ravitch. “
Celebrate American Education Week

Fun! Fun! Black Wednesday!

What Is Work To The Rule Black Wednesday?

Always play tune while reading.

We have heard you, and you are sick and tired, and we mean literally, sick and tired. Almost 40% of the visits to our Employee Assistance Program are for Anti-depressants.  While all visits are confidential, union does get reports on the numbers for the use of this benefit. Your first few visits are FREE.     PLEASE access this benefit if you are feeling anxious or having difficulty with other issues. Check out the 5 locations and services offered at, after your trainings or meetings, teachers at MANY schools have chosen to leave ON TIME at the end of their 7.5 hour day. They are wearing black and calling it “Workload Wednesday”.  They will go to the mall, visit their doctor, grocery shop for their family, watch their children’s soccer practice or just go home and take a nap!Enjoy!!!!

More horses’ asses than horses

File:Mill Children in Macon 2.jpgHow we can we restore confidence in our public schools. Jack says, bring back them good ole days!

By CNN’s Jack Craffarty:

Americans’ confidence in public schools is at a 40-year low.

A new Gallup Poll shows only 29% of those surveyed say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools.

That’s down 5-points from last year.

And it’s down from 58% who had confidence in the country’s public schools when gallup first asked the question in 1973.

It should come as no surprise that Americans have lost faith in our schools when you take a look at the dismal state of education.

One international assessment of 34 countries shows the U.S. ranking 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading.

Many of our students graduate high school without the skills they need to survive in a global marketplace: things like reading, writing and math.

Meanwhile there seems to be little – if any – accountability when it comes to our schools and our teachers.

Just last month we told you about how Florida lowered the passing grade on the writing portion of a standardized test – after students’ scores plunged. State lawmakers voted to shield the job-performance reviews for hundreds of thousands of individual teachers from the general public. Instead – the new law allows parents to see scores only for their child’s current teacher.

Here’s my question to you: How can we restore confidence in our public schools?

Let teachers get their just desserts!

And the latest example comes courtesy of New York:

Supporters say it’s the right balance between the educational needs of the students and the parents’ and teachers’ rights.

What about the public who pays these teachers’ salaries? Aren’t we entitled to know who’s cutting it and who isn’t? Yes, we are.

Here’s my question to you: How can we restore confidence in our public schools?

Let’s try administrative more decisions like these:


Mixed Messages-Rigor Or 50% E-mail?
MEMORANDUMDate: September 10, 2013To:​ All Principals

From: ​​Victoria Lupus, Senior Director
Academic Services

Subject: Proportional Grades

New procedures in regards to proportional grading is now updated in Progress Book. Students will not be given marking period grades of less than 50%.

Upon entry of a marking period grade less than 50%, a pop up message states, “Highlighted grades are subject to rounding. Any grades below the administrator defined threshold will be rounded up to the threshold. Select OK to round the grades and save.” The new grade displayed is a 50.00.

Please be sure this information is communicated to all teachers prior to the ProgressBook window opening for report cards on October 24th.

If you have any questions contact Kristy Kizme, Student Services or submit a service request.


So, Jack, when are horse’s asses like politicians who dream up these educational schemes, and others, as you, going to be held accountable? For the past thirty years we have followed drivel from right wing windbags as yourself, and SAT scores have never been lower!

Another 42G “part time” job I want! –Don’t you?

schoolRemember when I wrote that I want a p/t job for 30G, this one is even better at 42G!!!

News You Should Use

School Board Members received an automatic 4% raise on their part time job. According to this news story it is the highest in the state. Watch the story by clicking on this link. County school board members received a salary increase from $40K to $42K. Did any of them donate this raise? Do you think that you deserve a 4% increase for your full time job? Administrators received 4% on July 1st and will get 1-2% more when VAM arrives.