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Rick Scott insults all of Florida’s teachers... again.

By placing a Teach for America hobbyist on the state board of education, Rick Scott thumbed his nose at all the hard working men and women who sacrifice so much for the state’s children. Teach for America in case you have been living under a rock takes non education majors, puts them through a five week access course and then puts them in our neediest classrooms or the exact opposite of what people call best practices.     In case you were wavering because of the pennies he recently threw the states teachers please also remember that under his watch the state stole 3 percent of teacher’s pay to balance the books, and a draconian and nonsensical teacher evaluation system was enacted.   This also continues the state's policy of not putting educators or experienced applicants in charge of education and then we wonder why we are in trouble. Shameful.

Rick Scott places Teach for America alumni on the state board of education.

Sorry I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Oh where was I, oh yeah, Rick Scott appoints 32 year old TFA alumnus Rebecca Fishman Lipsey to the state board of education. Sorry I think I need to throw up again. First there wasn’t one teacher in the whole state qualified? How about a native of Florida or somebody who has been here longer than 5 years as Mrs. Fishman Lipsey arrived, to work for TFA, in Miami Dade from New York, just in 2008. “With an exceptional career in education, Rebecca is committed to student success and accountability, and it is clear she will be a tremendous advocate for all Florida students," Scott wrote in a statement. Um career? She spent two years in a classroom and what 7 or 8 years tops in education, though I hesitate to use Teach for America and education in the same sentence? Heck in some districts that l

MSNBC, liberal democrats and Hollywood attack public education.

The battle to regain control of public education from corporate interests took a turn for the worse as several supposed friends attacked public education. First is director M. Night Shyamalan who penned the book: I got schooled, 5 Keys to Unlocking Quality Education. I can’t compete with the excellent Edshyster who has already written about it but I feel comfortable saying shouldn’t he be more concerned with 5 keys to quality filmmaking? Come on friends, we can all agree the Sixth Sense was great but what has he done since then? Even Signs and Invincible are now found lacking now as we realize we were still caught up in the Sixth Sense after glow. MSNBC however must have thought his book was groundbreaking as they invited him to speak at Education Nation with all the teachers, err a couple teachers, what no teachers have been invited?!? Seriously WTF it’s called education nation, not how to profit off of education, nation. That’s right friends th

Why the rich and powerful hate the classs size amendment

Rich and powerful policy makers often attack smaller classes as a waste of resources despite the fact no teacher ever said, I wish my class had 10 more kids because that would make me a better teacher. Jeb Bush has often attacked the class size amendment in Florida which was a citizen driven initiative that passed in 2002 and withstood a recall in 2010. He routinely attacks the class size amendment despite the fact he sent his children to the exclusive prep schools Bolles and Gulliver Prep who use their small class sizes as a selling point. Gary Chartrand the chair of the state board of education has also attacked the class size amendment. He recently said in multiple papers, “In my opinion we are wasting money to the tune of half-a-billion dollars a year, limiting the number of students in a class doesn’t help kids achieve but rather is just “wasteful spending,” he said. Ironically enough Mr. Chartrand also sent his children to the Bolles schools and his protégé, Duval County sc

Jeb Bush's business partner gets 12 years in prison.

The same Jeb Bush whose family, friends and supporters have benefitted financially from his so called education reforms may have some explaining to do about his business dealings with Miami businessman Claudio Osorio who was sentenced to 12 years in prison the other day. Apparently Jeb served on the board of a company that Osorio used to bilk investors. From the Miami Herald: Innovida had a manufacturing facility in North Miami-Dade, and prominent board members including former Gov. Jeb Bush and Miami condo king Jorge Perez, the company never gained traction. Osorio was convicted of using Innovida, which claimed to produce high-tech building panels, to deceive investors and line his pockets. Osorio, represented by attorney Humberto Dominguez, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas in Fort Lauderdale federal court in February. As part of his plea, the U.S. attorney’s office agreed to drop 19 other charges.

Rethinking Financial Aid's Role in Student Retention

The administration of federal student aid is a highly complex and bureaucratic job thanks to a great deal of program complexity and regulation. Financial aid offices are often overwhelmed with the tasks involved in that administrative process, with staff finding that little time for anything else remains at the end of the day. Unfortunately, simply following the rules and norms associated with financial aid administration is demonstrably insufficient when it comes to meeting the needs of today's students.  With a far greater number of students entering higher education without the support of college-educated parents, and facing more significant financial constraints (and higher college costs), an effective financial aid office must do more than distribute financial aid and apply rules and regulations.  To ensure that the aid dollars are spent in a cost-effective manner, aid offices must also be part of a cross-campus effort focused on student retention . Everyone who works on the c

Three Radical Ideas for Improving (not Reforming) Higher Education

While watching the annual Gates Postsecondary Education Convening from afar via twitter, I am struck by the apparent absence of discussion about several core underlying issues keeping more students from succeeding in earning college degrees. We cannot increase the success of undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds without ensuring that they are safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Food insecurity is a growing problem in higher education, as revealed by institutional surveys, and hopefully soon tracked by national data (I'm working on it). Idea #1:  Institute a free/reduced price breakfast and lunch program at all public colleges and universities where at least 1 in 3 students receives a Pell Grant.  Far too many of today's faculty are ill-equipped to teach the students of tomorrow.  The focus on research has trumped the emphasis on high-quality teaching even at institutions with no research mission. Idea #2: Make teaching a priority in public higher education.  a. Require t