PASCO PARENTS AND TEACHERS GROW TIRED OF SCHOOL DISTRICT DOUBLETALK
Pompous Pasco Pinheads Attempt to Circumvent Parents and Teachers
Parents concerned about excessive testing in Pasco County Public Schools better not hold their breath waiting for Kurt Browning to come to their rescue.
He ain’t gonna.
Ol’ Bubba, on the contrary, seems to be infatuated with tests. He has indeed become a great disappointment to parents and teachers alike, who by and large bought into the hope and change melody he so splendidly crooned while running for office. Of course, we can’t forget that this is the same guy who knowingly made at least one false promise during his election campaign. Remember the campaign ad where he declared with authority that he’d “get disruptive students out of the classroom?” He even admitted that his school nurse wife, Kathy Browning, told him he “(couldn’t) do that.” Did the ad stop afterwards? Ah, NO. That fact alone, as far as the WA is concerned, makes ol’ Bubba nothing more than just another opportunistic politician. Enough already. I think it’s safe to say that Pasco parents are sick and tired of their schools being led by politicians; at least the sort who don’t really mean what they say.
As we all know, the Florida Standards Assessments debacle of last spring, together with the sideshow-worthy, smoke and mirrors cover up and disinformation campaign carried out by the state in an effort to legitimize the bastard test, has parents and teachers once again full of doubt about the value of our leadership, at all levels, with regards to the education of our children.
Last school year, in a very rare act of true leadership, the district made a big show of cancelling several stupid, unnecessary tests after the state thoroughly blew up public education with the disastrous FSA.
The problem now is that Browning is doing the exact opposite of what anyone with a any degree of common sense would do about excessive testing. Browning, who loves to repeat himself for emphasis when speaking to a live audience, made much of common sense in the speech he made to teachers and staff back in January of 2013. He remarked in his address that common sense often collides with bureaucracy. Bingo Bubba! That is truly the case here. During that same speech, wherein he referred to parents in less than complimentary terms several times, he proclaimed that, “when we have happy teachers, we have happy students.” Well Browning, in this latest bungle, rather than trying to abate the oppressive burden that testing has become to students, parents, teachers and schools alike, has actually allowed his district brain trust to add to the mess with quarterly exams! The teachers are definitely not happy about having their assessment prerogative taken from them. So much for happy teachers and students!
‘Nessa Gets Some Limelight
Vanessa Hilton, née Vanessa Gude (That’s important and worthy of an upcoming post.) appears to be the front person for this latest effort to terrorize students and teachers with unnecessary exams. Hilton, who according to eyewitness accounts used to literally cry on a near-daily basis as a middle school teacher because her 7th and 8th graders ran all over her, enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks of the district’s “leadership” cadre, ultimately securing herself a position at the right hand of the great Bubba himself. Family ties go a long way in this district! Only in Pasco folks! Only in Pasco!
Hilton explained, at the September 15 board meeting, that the quarterly tests would “help teachers answer a parent’s question, ‘How is my child doing in your class?’ ”
We don’t need anymore of your help!
Hilton told parents and teachers at the school board meeting that the exams would provide teachers with “insight into student understanding of recently taught material,” and “inform future lessons.” So now we need the failed teachers who ran to district to sit in high-backed leather conference chairs bought by the same taxpayers they ignore to write our tests! She apparently likes to call the tests “multitaskers.” Parents and teachers around the district are eager to give her some multitasking of their own, and it doesn’t have a thing to do with tests; you can rest assured of that. Her Orwellian doublespeak is truly awe-inspiring. 1984, at least in education, has finally arrived.
According to parents who have contacted the WA, the district chimps have become true experts on deflection and obstruction of parent concerns. That’s just as well, because they don’t know diddly squat about leadership or management. They may as well become experts on something.
Well known and respected Pasco teacher Pat Connolly, who attended the meeting, weighed in with an assessment of the situation that most Pasco teachers surely share. He said, “I feel like a mushroom in this district.” Very well put.
The Boneheaded Board Weighs In
In a futile attempt to somehow appease parents without changing one iota of anything, the school board essentially told parents to go talk to the legislature. Indeed! That’s like telling a black man in 1930s Mississippi to go talk to the sheriff about the cross burning in his front yard. Only in Florida, folks; only in Florida.
Note to school board:
Why don’t you get off your own fat fannies and go talk to the legislature?
Enough about that; I think we all get the picture here.
Ol’ Bubba seems a lot more concerned with his employment status than doing the right thing for students, parents and teachers. As it turns out, the much maligned FSA will be used for teacher evaluations, school grades and student placement, and that revelation has put him in a pickle. Browning says he just doesn’t see a way out of this mess. A lot of people are exasperated with hearing our leaders talk about how they can’t or won’t fix problems. Browning laments that if he were to do the right thing, his job might be in jeopardy.
Welcome to our world Bubba!
Numerous superintendents have been on the phone with one another trying to figure out how to not completely destroy what’s left of the wreckage their districts have become as a result of legislative intrusion into district education business. So Bubba, in his patently puzzling way of looking at things, said that even having latitude to mitigate the negative impact on their districts means that the system is flawed. What on Earth does that mean? Would he prefer to have less leeway? Does he want a system with no wiggle room at all?
A few thoughts and some words of advice to Mr. Browning:
First, with an iniquitous gang of hooligans running the Florida House and Senate, we need all the wiggle room we can get. Don’t worry about why it’s there. For the sake of our children, just use it.
If you want to fix this big rotten mess that more than a few of your own buddies have created, then do the right thing. You could be famous for actually having some guts. You already retired once, and even forewent your salary for the first year of your term as Superintendent of Schools. That was truly noble. You obviously do not need the money. Why don’t you take a stand as a principled person of the first order and tell the legislature to go pound sand with their test? Yes, it might get you fired, but it also might make ol’ Slicky Ricky and his crooked cohorts take a second look at their devious campaign to destroy public education under the tired old banner of “reform.” You might even become a national hero.
OPT OUT PASCO Means Parent Power
It has become painfully obvious to parents in Pasco County that if we’re going to recover from this catastrophe, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. That means standing up to the charlatans who pretend to know what’s good for our kids. This is supposed to be a democracy. A deep disconnect has been allowed to form between parents and those who are elected to do right by our children. They now attempt to beguile us back into complacency in order to get back to the task of laying our schools to ruin.
OPT OUT Pasco has another idea:
We must stop them.
It is up to you and me, one and all, to overcome the legislature and its district lackeys who have dedicated their very careers to the destruction of the Greatest Institution. It is time to fight. It is time to be heard through the deaf ears of the ignoble pillagers of public education.
Join OPT OUT Pasco.
OPT OUT Pasco is an organization dedicated to the cessation of the mindless corporate testing of our students as a means to discredit our schools. OPT OUT Pasco was founded on the express premise that it is PARENTS who have the final say in the education of our children, and that, by joining together, we can force the politicians who have demonstrated their indifference to our rightful demands to cease the insane offensive against our students, teachers and public schools.