Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Jdarg, Jul 28, 2014.
I appreciate that but it's only fair to give them the opportunity to back up what they are saying.
No one said that Charter Schools were/are started by big corporations. What was said is that Walton Academy is run by the Rader Group which is a FOR PROFIT, PRIVATE company based out of Ft. Walton Beach whose employees include some rather shady individuals, one of whom (Ray Sansom) was charged with felony grand theft and conspiracy and later indicted with 2 others, Jay Odom and Bob Richburg and charged with official misconduct. Sansom is also linked to the Florida Taj Mahal scandal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Taj_Mahal_scandal.
I don't think that Charter Schools are causing the districts problems per-say but I do believe that if you employ/hire/elect individuals with shady reputations that have a less then stellar reputation handling/managing taxpayer money people do tend to get a little sideways. It also raises more than a few eyebrows and creates an environment of distrust.
My issue is also not with Ms. Hobbs. Hiring unqualified individuals with only a high school diploma is a district issue and one that should have been addressed eons ago. Anyone who has lived in this county for any length of time knows what nepotism is and how it works. We have all seen its disastrous results and the taxpayers are left holding the proverbial bag.
I also have no issue with Seaside Charter School. Had Walton Academy been developed (or more accurately the Rader Group) been as interested in developing a school with the same visions Seaside has endeavored to provide to its students rather than being a warehouse for everything that's wrong with public education, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.
I'm not "hung up" on the guy on the bridge. I originally brought the story to these forums when the media failed to report a significant news event involving a Principal from what happened to be a Charter School in this county. Had it been a truly public school rather than one run by a private, for profit company the outcome may have been what the "cocaine teacher" got instead of the slap on the wrist it received. I do believe that teaching our children not to drink and drive should be taught by those who practice what they preach!!
"Lead by example!"
As someone whose parents were career educators in an appointed superintendent system, I will caution that the superintendent is often only as good or bad as the school board that selects them.
And I'm calling it now that if the vote goes for appointed, then Walton County will shortly have Superintendent Alexis Tibbets because she's had a chance to get her claws in over there.
No Public Outcry and Scandal will prevent that.
Time to look outside the Magic Circle...
You make it sound like it's a bad thing. What's your issue with Tibbets?
Certainly the Florida Statute explains guidelines and the Florida DOE office of school choice page has a FAQ section that explains in simple terms how a charter school is run.
I was only trying to dispel Misty's myth that charter schools somehow "cost" the school district. I have no political agenda here. I just hate to see someone post something that is 100% wrong and they know nothing about. Perhaps misty knows something the state of Florida and i dont, but my Specialist Degree in Public School Administration and my 14 years of experience with school districts and Charter schools tell me otherwise.
Misty, these are YOUR words on this forum:
"What can be laid at a Superintendents feet (whether hired or elected) and the school board as well, is the amount of money paid to Charter Schools in this county with no accountability. Charter Schools are pretty much exempt from laws that govern public schools because they are operated by private Corporations.
Bottom line is all that money that Ms. Anderson tossed at Charter Schools that got the school district in the shape it is in...is gone...and the taxpayers have no idea what it was used for and the schools who received it don't have to explain themselves."
Again, I will tell you that Money is not paid to charter schools, and money is not tossed at charter schools by the district. You can either use this to educate yourself or continue to believe what you want. I am done posting to this thread.
She's not the worst option but isn't necessarily the best option, would be the easy solution if the board didn't want to work too hard at going through the applications list, and has the usual regional political connections.
The Rader Group is an EMO (Educational Management Organization) operated by a PRIVATE, PROFIT SEEKING business. EMO's work with school districts or charter schools USING PUBLIC FUNDS to finance operations.
EMO's function differently from charter schools in order to carry "teaching children". Most charter schools are mission oriented, while EMO's and other FOR PROFIT institutions are market-oriented. FOR PROFITS exist in large part to fix educational market failures left by traditional institutions and they PROFIT by serving students that public and private NONPROFIT institutions ignore.
Again, Walton Academy is a taxpayer funded organization for profit.
Let's simplify the discussion. Charter schools are allotted money on a per student basis. The amount per student is slightly less than a regular public school gets because the school system within which the charter school operates gets a few bucks for administrative expenses. Some charter schools are as non-profits ( Seaside) that raise funds to supplement the money they receive from the county. Others function as for-profits who attempt to provide educational services at a cheaper cost than public schools do, and keep the profits. Real simple. From a business standpoint only, the question becomes, If the school system had no charter schools, but had to provide for the education of those currently attending charter schools, would the system enjoy cost savings because their costs for extra teachers, etc would be less than they receive in per pupil funding? From an educational standpoint, the question is, Do our charter schools meet the educational needs of their students better than they could be met through the standard system? Guessing Misty does not have factual unbiased research to effectively answer those questions.
Put simply, it makes it much more difficult for the powers that be to buy off that "elected" official.
They'd have to have three of the five on the School Board. Didn't plan for that and it will take years to recover.
An appointed Sup can be terminated (based on contract) when they allow a teacher on Felony Probation for Narcotics to be employeed to teach High School Children.
While the Radar Group and Eddins connections is important, I tend to look at the candidate as opposed to the "group".
Eddins has a criminal history that involves a significant amount of NSF Checks.
Sounds like Kirby is hooked into the C. Jones camp.
What a mess... Now people don't know if yes means yes or if no means no... This isn't a first date issue, it's a school district with $100million + budget folks.
Yes means you want an APPOINTED SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT, accountable to the five Elected School Board Members, that YOU the VOTER get to VOTE for.
Numbers don't lie, people with agendas do. A vast majority of School Districts Appoint.
Could you all only imagine if our County Administrator was Elected??? Oh the drama there... Let's avoid this when it makes sense and the Sup is a position where it makes sense.
If you $buy$ in to the argument that your are "loosing your right to vote", you are not thinking with your brain but with emotion. That's what the "NO" people want. Confusion and Emotion. Way to go Bonnie...
Much has been written about our School system being an 'A' rated system by the Department of Education. That rating is based on "FCAT" Scores only. There are other rating organizations and the Not-For-Profit Great Schools organization is probably one of the best and most highly rated.
Below is their rating for each School in the Wallton County School District.
Are you willing to bet no one can answer those questions about Walton Academy?
I believe Seaside does. Not so sure about the Academy. Are you?
Wow...who would have thought the academy was ranked the absolute lowest?
The website that Bob sourced, Greatschools, receives "grades" from people who log in and grade schools based upon personal experience or any other motivation. They can even comment. Many times the input comes from students themselves, other times parents. I have always thought the responses were interesting. Sometimes insightful, sometimes disgruntled current students. It is not, however, scientifically based. I am not defending Walton Academy, but as I understand it, it is a school for at risk kids who were not appropriate for normal school, with less privileges at school, etc. it would surprise me if they gave their alternative school a thumbs up!!!
You need to look a little farther into how they rate schools. See below The GreatSchools Rating is on a 1-10 scale, where 10 is the highest and 1 is the lowest. Ratings are broken down into three categories: ratings 1-3 signal that the school is “below average,” 4-7 indicate “average,” and 8-10 are “above average.” Ratings for these categories are shown in red, yellow and green (respectively) to help you see the distinctions. The foundation of the GreatSchools rating reflects how well students do on standardized tests compared to other students in the state, and ratings in most states are based exclusively on test scores. While test results give parents a good sense of how well students are performing at a given school, it only provides a limited snapshot of school quality. Therefore, in a growing number of states where data are available, the GreatSchools Rating includes additional information of student outcomes, such as information on how much students are learning in a given year and how prepared they are for college.
A Broader Picture of School Quality
As states make more data on school quality available, GreatSchools is committed to providing this information to parents and incorporating it into the GreatSchools Rating. Based on extensive research on what contributes to long-term success for students, we are currently focused on three measures of academic quality: Student achievement: Student achievement tells parents how well students at a school are doing in academics. This is measured as the percent of students meeting state standards based on state standardized tests. While this measure tells parents how well students at a school are doing currently, it does not necessarily show how much students are learning at that school — that is, how much students are growing.
Measures of student growth tell parents how much students are actually learning in a year, rather than how much they already know. A school with high growth could be a school with students that started behind grade level and have now caught up. It could also be a school with students that started already above grade level and have moved even further ahead of similar students. Student growth is typically measured through gains on test scores year-over-year, comparing similar students with each other.
Data on high school graduation rates and performance/participation on college entrance exams (such as the SAT and ACT) show how well students are prepared for life after high school in college or career.
Calculating GreatSchools Ratings
In States with Only Data on Test Scores In states where only student achievement is used to calculate ratings, the overall GreatSchools Rating is an average of how well students at a given school do on each grade and subject test. For each test, ratings are assigned based on how well students perform relative to all other students in the state, and these ratings are averaged into an overall rating of 1 to 10. The distribution of the GreatSchools Rating in a given state looks like a bell curve, with higher numbers of schools getting ratings in the “average” category, and fewer schools getting ratings in the “above average” or “below average” categories. In States with Data on Multiple Student Outcomes For states where ratings include student growth and college readiness information, the overall GreatSchools Rating is an average of how well students do on each sub-rating. Sub-ratings are weighted equally, though actual weights depend on the amount of data available per school and what grades that school serves. For instance, a K-5 school has no college readiness data, so the overall rating would be based 50% on student achievement and 50% on student growth. In contrast, the rating for a high school with data for all three measures would be based 33% on student achievement, 33% on student growth, and 33% on college readiness. Each sub-rating represents how a school compares to all other schools in the state on each measure, and these sub-ratings are averaged into an overall rating. For more information on how GreatSchools calculates ratings, please see the GreatSchools Ratings Methodology Report. Greater Data Transparency At GreatSchools we believe that transparency builds trust. We believe that government education agencies have an obligation to make data on school quality available to parents and the public. Data transparency helps parents know how schools in their community are doing, where there is room for improvement, and what the best options are for their children. Of particular interest is information on student outcomes, such as student test scores, high school graduation rates, course completion rates, etc. Sharing school information — good and bad — also cultivates parent engagement and trust. Additionally, it's important that school data be made available in accessible, easy to use formats so that non-governmental organizations can use the information to inform parents and students about the quality of their local schools.
For more information on GreatSchools’ commitment to working with government education agencies to provide better information on student outcomes, please contact us.
[FONT="]If anyone wants to know how with an elected superintendent impacts a school system, they need to look no farther than the mess with the teacher salary and contract negotiations with the district last winter and spring. For citizens who were actually involved and informed (i.e., had kids in schools, parents with close relationships with their schools and teachers, or people who made an effort to follow the mess in the media), it was apparent that the 3 prong structure created by an elected superintendent- the board, superintendent, and the employees, made for a total disaster when it came to negotiations actually having to be negotiated instead of just rubberstamped by the union representative, as in years past. [/FONT]
[FONT="]Here is how the system completely broke down during the teacher salary negotiations. The superintendent has complete authority over the employees for day to day operations, salaries, hiring and firing. Throughout the entire process of trying to come to an agreement with the employees, the school board absolutely could not do anything, participate in meetings, answer any questions, comment, make recommendations- nothing. The district’s complete delay in starting the negotiation process (especially in a very important year with the Rick Scott money on the table), rescheduling meetings, ineffective communication to employees and the public in regards to the negotiation situation, and of course the ever-present horrible relationship between the sitting superintendent and the majority of the county’s teachers, created a negotiation process that was so bad it had to be seen to be believed. The school board could not do a thing until the negotiations resulted in impasse, and a special magistrate was brought in (more money) to make a recommendation to the board, at which time they could accept or reject the recommendation. It was accepted. Also, since the superintendent had to hire an additional attorney to represent the district (the superintendent) during the negotiation process, since the district could not represent both the teachers and the superintendent (more money). [/FONT]
[FONT="]It is time we do what other districts do and look at the current elected leadership system in terms of reality and how the process SHOULD work instead of looking at test scores. There are so many families who have relocated to Walton County in the past decade who have had kids in school systems from all over the country, and were shocked upon moving here that this system was so behind other schools. We all have personal stories of our friends’ kids and what they are doing in school compared to what our kids are doing. This is not a reflection on the teachers at all, as they have graciously and magnificently stepped up to the plate despite the flawed system that constricts them. We know better systems exist, we have seen them and been part of them, and know that changing to a hired superintendent is the start to a new era in Walton County education. This has nothing to do with “liberal” or “progressive” education- it is just bring us up to 2014. [/FONT]
[FONT="]In a nutshell, we have outgrown our current system, in the numbers of students that can get the best education in both North and South Walton, expectations of parents, and our ability to really excel as a school system- and school ratings don’t measure any of these things. Hiring a superintendent will be a big change and will bring big changes in the years to come, and it will be hard work for the board. Our responsibility as a community does not stop at voting to change the system. We will need to continue our support through the changes as well. The day of constant criticism of our school district with no real solutions offered needs to end. Wake up Walton County.[/FONT]
The following letter appears in today's NW Florida Daily News
LETTER: A better process
August 1, 5:32 PM
A recent letter (“A cunning ruse,” July 27) warned that the referendum to improve the process of choosing Walton County’s superintendent of schools is a liberal scheme to institute a “progressive education philosophy” in the county.
As president of the Walton County Taxpayers Association, as a committed and lifelong conservative and as someone who led the effort to put this referendum onto the ballot, I must respond: You’ve gotta be kidding!
The WCTA strongly supports the referendum to make the superintendent of schools in Walton County a professional position hired by and directly responsible to the School Board, with community input and involvement every step along the way.
We believe that the current system, which requires effectively no qualifications to serve in a position responsible for the education of 8,000 children and daily management of a $100 million annual budget, is a liability for students and taxpayers.
We believe that not having checks and balances, meaningful accountability, or the ability to recall or remove an ineffective superintendent, one perhaps having minimal or no professional qualifications, is too risky for students and taxpayers.
Of the more than 14,500 school districts nationwide, only 150 (including Walton’s) still hold local elections for the position of superintendent of schools. In 99 percent of districts, elected school boards hire superintendents after thorough search processes and significant community involvement.
The process isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly more conservative and responsible than the one we have now.
This is about everyone’s children, their future, and our responsibility to act in their best interest. I encourage everyone to vote YES on Aug. 26.
— DON RILEY
Separate names with a comma.