Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some things to consider re Tuesday afternoon's meeting in Hollywood re city-run Charter School

Monday June 15th, 2009

Below is the Sun-Sentinel's first and only mention, thus far,
of Mayor Bober's city-run charter school proposal, and to
call the article Lite is an understatement.

Just off the top of my head, you'll notice that there is no
mention of how many city-chartered schools there currently
are in Florida and Broward County, how many have succeeded
and how many have fallen by the wayside and the particular
reasons why, nor are there any references to what if any lessons
were learned from the failed city-run charters, and whether parents
of students at those schools blamed the city's elected leadership
and administrators for the failure, the teachers, or their own kids
lack of hard work and achievement.

That sort of info would've been nice to see in a Sunday preview
story, along with a graph or a chart.
Maybe next Sunday.

I'd already done some research a few weeks ago on the sad sack
state of schools in SE Broward that I was going to post on my
blog in relation to Ben Gamla's application in Hallandale Beach.
I'll still be doing that post relatively soon. but until then, please
take a look at one particular measurement that I was planning
on using in that post, one that the State of Florida keeps track
of as a way of comparing and contrasting schools throughout
the state: percentage of students who were absent 21 days
or more.

(I'm not a good measuring stick for school absences, since
I'm quite atypical: the first time I missed a day of school came
in 10th grade, in 1976, and that was because I was doing
advance work/media for a Carter-Mondale campaign event
on South Beach, with both Carter and Mondale there, along
with all of South Florida's leading pols and celebs of the time.)

When you compare the numbers for local SE Broward schools
to some of the very best-performing high schools throughout
South Florida, new and old, traditional and charter, as well as
to average ones, the inference is pretty clear, though inference
is not the same as a direct correlation, of course.

Still, to paraphrase one of Woody Allen's most well-known
maxims, one of the best predictors of collective success for
a high school is the percentage of truly motivated kids who
show up everyday, and who aren't looking for excuses not
to show-up.

It should hardly be surprising that, in most cases, schools
with high degrees of chronic absenteeism are either exceedingly
average or below-average in precisely the sort of important
intangibles that you'd expect.
Guess who has a lot of those?!

re 2007-08 school year, Absent 21+ Days or more,per FDOE


Name # Absent 21+ Days % of total school students

Hallandale High School 404 students 23.4% of school
Hollywood Hills High School 682 students 29.5% of school
McArthur High School 743 students 28.4% of school
South Broward High School 606 students 25.0% of school

For comparison purposes:

City of Pembroke Pines Charter High School 9.7%
Coral Gables High School 10.9%
Dr. Michael M. Krop High School 7.5%
Flanagan High School 21.9%
Miami Killian High School 4.5%
Miami Norland High School 20.3%
Miami Palmetto High School 9.0%
Miami Beach High School 8.5%
North Miami High School 9.5%
North Miami Beach High School 5.3%

Yes, those numbers tell a very compelling story, don't they?

And where exactly are the Broward counterparts to the very
successful and popular Design & Architecture Charter or
MAST Academy schools in Miami-Dade?
They don't exist.

In fact, that would be a very good question to ask our local
School Board member, Ann Murray, the next time you see
her around the area, and she asks you to re-elect her next year,

Where, exactly, are the dynamic intangibles that Murray said
she'd add to shake-up the ostrich-like Broward County School
Board?
Personally, I haven't seen them yet since she got elected last year,
and I don't think I'm alone in that sentiment, based on numerous
conversations I've had with other voters,
In fact, you might want to even remind her that her School Board
hall pass is just a temporary one, unless she starts making good
on her promises of reform, cost-controls and accountability,

Though I was no fan of Frank Till, to say the least, read this
recent Bob Norman post on the Broward School Board and
be sure to read the well-informed comments of readers,
some of which concern schools in our area:


There's one more thing that I wanted to share with you
about education innovation and it's something I've noticed
about the education debate in this country for a very long time,
almost starting from the time I was dating the daughter of the
Chair of the School of Education at IU.
And it continued to be something I noticed later while I lived in
upscale Evanston and Wilmette, Illinois and then in Arlington
County, VA.
All were water-front communities full of well-educated, well-informed
dual-income parents that took education issues VERY seriously,
and, not surprisingly, were home to some of THE best public
high schools in the entire country.

While living in Northern Virginia and working in Washington, D.C.
I had lots of close friends who were VERY involved in all manner
of issues surrounding K-12 and higher education and the social
issues they intersected with, whether on Capitol Hill as staffers,
at law firm or education groups on K Street or Mass. Avenue
as lobbyists, plus those at trade groups as reps of schools or
The College Board and the AAUP.

(One was one of my closest friends, who, along with me
and another friend at The National Geographic HQ,
controlled four Oriole 19-game mini-season tickets,
not far from the press box at Camden Yards.)

Trust me, I knew from countless conversations with my friends
and from being on Capitol Hill myself, the names and pet causes
of the entire House Education Committee, and if there is
more useless trivia than that stuck in my head now,
I don't know what that could be ...
My friends knew where the bodies were buried, and followed
these folks closer than you can possibly imagine, since
-shocker!- there is lots of money to be made in education
funding and knowing where loyalties lie.

So for all those reasons, more than most people, I am used
to reading and hearing (and cringing when) people opposed
to either innovation, greater public accountability or charter
schools, or all three, talk about how charter schools were
"taking money away" from public schools and their students.

No, actually, it's parents voting with their feet and their
heads and taking their own tax dollars with them.
The money doesn't belong to the school, though a lot of
apologists in South Florida for the current system act like it does.
Keep that in mind when you read the reader comments to the
Sun-Sentinel article below, as that distinction is completely
lost on many of them.

Don't make the same mistake they do.

The City of Hollywood's staff summary of the city-run charter
school meeting is at:

And remember, if you can't make it, or to the 7 p,m, meeting
later on the future of Johnson Street,
you can watch the city's webcast,

--------------------

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Hollywood considering opening its own charter school

Idea will be floated at workshop Tuesday

By Ihosvani Rodriguez

June 14, 2009

HOLLYWOOD

City officials will host a workshop Tuesday to float the idea of opening a city-run charter school.

Mayor Peter Bober said he wants to gauge public opinion before proceeding.

"I've always said that education is the missing puzzle in the city," said Bober. "Hollywood has some excellent schools, but the perception that Hollywood's schools are sub-par is an unfortunate reality, which confronts us each day and causes young families to move out of Hollywood, and causes families looking to relocate to go elsewhere."

The workshop is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Blvd. Among the speakers will be Pembroke Pines City Manager Charlie Dodge, whose city operates the largest city-run charter school system in the country. Charter schools are privately run public educational facilties.

The charter high school, two middle schools and four elementary schools in Pembroke Pines serve 5,400 students.

But that city is struggling to keep the system open because of funding problems.

In November 2007, Pembroke Pines filed a lawsuit alleging the Broward school district owed the charters at least $2.5 million a year in capital projects money. The suit is pending.

Ihosvani Rodriguez can be reached at ijrodriguez@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7908.

Copyright © 2009, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Readers comments at:

http://www.topix.net/forum/source/south-florida-sun-sentinel/T4DGGBS0U3NFIVT42

-----------

City of Hollywood, Florida

Office of the City Manager

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 15, 2009

Contact: Raelin Storey

Public Affairs and Marketing Director

Phone: 954.921.3098 Fax: 954.921.3314

E-mail: rstorey@hollywoodfl.org


Special City Commission Meeting to Explore

A City-Run Charter School


HOLLYWOOD, FL The City of Hollywood will hold a Special City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 2600 Hollywood Boulevard, to discuss whether the City should move forward with seeking a Charter from the Broward County School Board to operate a city-run charter school.

“When I was sworn in as Mayor, I vowed to make education a top priority,” says Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober. While Hollywood has some excellent schools, there is a perception that the educational opportunities in Hollywood are sub-par. A Charter School could be one step toward offering more options for families and changing outdated perceptions.” The meeting will include information from City of Hollywood Staff along with the City Manager of Pembroke Pines, Charlie Dodge, about Charter School programs. Additionally, the public will have an opportunity to comment on whether the City of Hollywood should apply for a charter.

For additional information or media inquiries, please contact Raelin Storey, Public Affairs Director at (o) 954.921.3098 or (c) 954.812.0975.

Just some things to think about in anticipation of the Tuesday
afternoon Hollywood City Commission meeting on consideration
of a City of Hollywood-run charter school, modeled on the very
successful one in Pembroke Pines.

Michael Putney's live report from the school on Friday, and
Charter Schools USA's Jon Hage's remarks are here:

Crist visits local charter school
Gov. Charlie Crist visited a North Lauderdale charter school
on Friday morning to sign into law a new bill promoting school
improvement and accountability.

Governor Crist's statement is here http://www.flgov.com/release/10829

------------------------------------

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2009/06/crist-visits-broward-to-sign-education-bill.html

Crist visits Broward to sign education bill

-------------------------------

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/southflorida/story/1095087.html

At Broward academy, Crist again celebrates school-ratings law

BY PATRICIA MAZZEI
pmazzei@MiamiHerald.com

June 13, 2009

He may have quietly signed a bill that changes the way Florida schools are rated earlier this week, but that didn't stop Gov. Charlie Crist from inking his name on the law again at a ceremony in a North Lauderdale charter school Friday.

Crist visited the North Broward Academy of Excellence, a K-8, to tout House Bill 991, which expands to all Florida schools a pilot program that combined the state's method of grading schools with the rating system under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Classes have been out since last week, but the school invited some students and their parents to the ceremony.

About 16 students, clad in their school uniforms, surrounded Crist and offered him blue Sharpie pens to sign the bill -- and autograph their name tags.

''I'm going to run out of pens,'' Crist joked.

''You have to buy new ones,'' suggested 6-year-old Miles Fleisher, a soon-to-be first-grader, to much laughter.

All public and charter schools already receive grades. But the No Child measure only rates schools that get federal money because they have a high percentage of low-income students.

Last year, Florida got permission from the U.S. Department of Education to mesh the two methods.

The new bill puts that change into law. Schools will continue to get a grade -- as well as a breakdown of how well students in different categories of race, disability and poverty are performing in math and reading like the No Child law already does for some schools.

Supporters say that will help schools identify struggling students in high-performing schools. Critics counter that the measure comes with no new money for schools to do something with the extra data.

On Friday, bill sponsor Rep. Tom Grady, a Naples Republican, said the hybrid rating system is in line with President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan's push for more transparency in schools.

''This bill walks that talk,'' he said.

When the state first brought the state and federal rating methods together last year, it significantly reduced the number of schools that would have otherwise faced serious sanctions -- like closing or turning them into charter or special district-run schools -- for repeatedly failing to meet federal standards.

Expanding the system to all schools might mean a greater number may face drastic consequences. Crist said it could also mean more students moving into charter schools or more schools giving that model a try.

''It gives more schools the opportunity . . . to become a charter school,'' he said.

Thirteen Florida schools risked sanctions this school year under the pilot hybrid rating system, including four in Miami-Dade: Miami Central Senior High, Miami Edison Senior High, Liberty City Elementary and Holmes Elementary. A fifth, Larkdale Elementary, is in Broward.

None will officially know if they skirted sanctions until school grades are released this summer; some have already celebrated significant gains in student test scores.

----------------------

For more stories on educational innovation across the country,

see Education Sector Biweekly Digest, which is a DC-based

newsletter that I've been receiving via email since it first started,

http://www.educationsector.org/ and the LA Times Education

webpage, http://www.latimes.com/news/education/

---------------------
Los Angeles Times


Spitting in the eye of mainstream education

Three no-frills charter schools in Oakland mock liberal orthodoxy, teach strictly to the test -- and produce some of the state's top scores.
By Mitchell Landsberg
May 31, 2009

----------------------

Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-teachers15-2009jun15,0,4612975.story

From the Los Angeles Times

Editorial

Paying for bad teachers


California has long put an outmoded notion of teacher protection over the interests of students. Now that practice may cost the state some federal money.

June 15, 2009

They put it off. They debated it at length and watered it down. And in the end, the Los Angeles Unified school trustees barely passed a
resolution asking the Legislature to make it a little easier to fire teachers accused of serious crimes. Mind you, not the ineffective teachers who sleep in the classroom, ignore the curriculum and pass their unprepared students to the next grade. Just the ones who stand accused of abusing or molesting students.

Union leaders warn that the Legislature will never comply without their stamp of approval, and they're probably right. Failure to put the interests of children over the power of unions is characteristic of California education policy.

It also puts the state out of touch with education reforms sweeping the nation, and could put our schools out of contention for new pots of federal money. Just two days after the resolution squeaked through last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made it clear that antiquated notions of teacher protection will not pass muster with the Obama administration. Teachers should be evaluated, retained and paid based on how well their students learn, Duncan said, and that includes progress on standardized tests.

California couldn't do that if it wanted to right now. At the behest of unions, the state put a
firewall between student data and teacher performance. The data "may not be used ... for purposes of pay, promotion, sanction or personnel evaluation," the law reads. Duncan has $4.3 billion in competitive grant money to parcel out to schools that meet his standards for innovation, and California's perverse position on teacher pay and firing isn't likely to make the grade. But Duncan has a role to play in making that more feasible. The kinds of data called for by the No Child Left Behind Act don't measure individual student progress. The federal law has long needed revision to emphasize yearly growth rather than meeting an arbitrary, inconsistent bar called "proficiency."

We agree with union leaders that teachers need decent job protection and that they should not be judged by test results alone. But a recent
study by the New Teacher Project, a training organization in New York, found that in many schools where teachers agreed that a colleague should be fired for poor performance, no one was even given an "unsatisfactory" rating on evaluations. Some objective measures are necessary.

We are so far from that in California. Here, it is considered revolutionary for a school board to beg for relief from a tortuous, money-wasting teacher termination process that is nearly doomed to failure anyway. Duncan has given the state a new reason to act on behalf of children, an incentive it shouldn't need in the first place.

Readers comments at:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-edw-teachers15-2009jun15-gb,0,1706402.graffitiboard

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.