Seminoles, Spaniards versus British/Anglo/Colonial Power and Slavery

Just read this powerful essay from 1839 (The Voice of Freedom, a Vermont Anti-Slavery Newspaper) which powerfully places the blame for the Seminole Wars (3 of them: 1818, 1837, and 1858) as a product of a hidden agenda to deny runaway slaves refuge among the Seminole (a mixture of escaped Native Americans fleeing colonial expansion/Manifest Destiny in the upper states – recall, Florida was a Spanish Territory before 1821 – BTW, Seminole means “runaway” by some sources). Here’s the link:

This article clearly supports the idea that the first seminole war was about denying refuge to the escaped slaves. Of course the 2nd and 3rd Seminole Wars were destined to happen once whites had the momentum of taking lands, farms, villages, hunting and fishing grounds from the Native Americans.

The cost of these 3 wars in yesterdays dollars was probably (combined) $60 Million with losses of lives ~4000-5000 from both sides. In today’s dollars, that cost (of JUST THE WAR machinations) would be $2 BILLION (see for comparisons).

This cost does not include the human tragedies, the Trail of Tears, the buy-outs/sell-outs, the continuing costs of law-suits and social costs wrought by devastating societies and civilizations and reducing them to poverty, purposelessness, and all of the social ills that have been associated with the US’ policies that displaced Native Americans.

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Bogus Graduation Rates in Miami-Dade County (Public Schools)


This is my letter to David Smiley, education “journalist” (I think these guys are “Mad Men” for MDCPS – paid copywriters who do nothing but write obfuscations that mislead the public about the real status of schools in the Miami-Dade County Public School System).

David just wrote this article “South Florida’s former ‘dropout factories’ churn out diplomas as graduation rates soar

First, let’s be clear:  Fraud is being perpetrated on the public.  Miami Dade College says Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ graduates have dropped in their college readiness by 18%.  Fully 72% of MDC incoming students are UNPREPARED for basic college courses this year.

Subject: bogus graduation rates


Brian Peterson is correct in your article on graduation rates.  As he said “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Funny how no one talks to teachers.  If they did they would hear the truth:  the kids have not improved, they are performing lower in standards by the time they are seniors.  They have learned that test scores won’t keep them back, attendance wont keep them back, nor will GPA.  Each year the secrets are passed on – which teachers will change grades, will bend the rules, will help increase the schools graduation rates.

They have learned that the administrators NEED them to graduate and will do anything to keep their stats high.

As far as Carvallo’s rebuttal, as usual, he speaks cryptically where only someone familiar with policy and law could catch him.  The kids are not being transferred to Adult Ed Diploma programs – they are CO-ENROLLING in special “crash course” Adult Ed programs offered in May to allow Seniors with insufficient credits to make up credits that the state says should consist of 120/135 (block/standard schedule) hours of “bona fide” instruction by credentialed teachers.  These special courses are conferring full credit in day school by using MDCPS’ definition of night school credit – 68-78 hours of instruction.

Many times these students find themselves in this position because they have clowned their way through 4 years.  By the time they are seniors they have no reason to behave in class.  They skip, cause disruptions, are constantly on their phones.

When they are co-enrolled in these Adult Ed courses, they are often left in the class they are failing where they brag to the other students that they don’t need this teacher or his/her grade.

Often, virtual school is utilized to meet the credential requirement.  But as any insider knows, if the kids around you can’t help, if the google search ability has been turned off by savvy Librarians, there’s always outside help as this veiled tutoring ad suggests “HW and Test services are also available

The bottom line is that genuine dramatic increases/improvements in attendance data and graduation data would be paralleled by similar increases in skilled employ-ability and freshmen enrollment in for-credit college courses (increased college enrollment, decreased  remedial classes).

But that’s not happening.  A persistent observation is that increasingly, college students are unprepared.

The Herald  did an article in 2012:

The Herald noted “54 percent of students coming out of high school failed … placement test”

Here, they noted “72 percent of them need developmental, or remedial classes to get up to speed for college work.”

We’re not talking Harvard.  We’re talking 72 percent of Miami-Dade College students are unprepared, even though they possess a report card from MDCPS that says they are.

And, as the 1 year difference in time suggests, the problem is getting worse, not better.

The public is being lied to and as usual, the Herald and New Times are afraid to bite the advertising hand that feeds them.

But David, you and your editors, your management, are contributing to the downward spiral that is killing the literacy rate of Miami-Dade citizens.  You are shooting yourselves in the feet by protecting the fraud that is being perpetrated upon the tax payers of Florida and Miami-Dade County.

Our ability to read, to make informed decisions and think critically is plummeting.  Our ability to attract industry that uses educated human capital will remain depressed.  Our choices to generate income in M-D will remain waiting tables, changing hotel bath towels, and building more Lennar homes in the Everglades.

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Is Pressure to Increase School Grades Resulting in Graduation Requirements Shenanigans in MDCPS?


Graduation Shenanigans?

Dear Colleague
Welcome to the Summer!  I’m so glad we made it another year.  I know it’s been some time since I’ve communicated this way, but recent events have led me to reach out to you again.

Recent stories have reached me pertaining to the possible bending of graduation rules in order to inflate graduation statistics.

I wanted to ask you what you know, if anything, related to this.

Is MDCPS By-passing Graduation Safeguards and Pressuring Teachers to Increase Graduation Numbers to Increase School and District Grades?

By-passing graduation credit requirements?
Recent information raises a question as to whether or not some schools may be engaged in by-passing unmet graduation requirements for seniors by utilizing sub-standard “quickie” courses to push seniors through and thus inflate graduation statistics which are used in assigning school grades, administrator performance scores and ultimately, the district grade.  Some of these courses are 20 days in length, may be under populated, may be supervised by unqualified instructors, and may not be meeting rigorous requirements for hours and content.
Pressure to Change Grades?
Additionally, stories of teachers being pressured to change grades in the grade book before they were finalized have surfaced.
Attendance Records Altered or Ignored to By-pass Attendance Requirements?
Finally, it is wondered whether hints of “funny business” pertaining to how attendance is being recorded or even changed may be accurate?  Are students with more than 10 unexcused absences being graduated after some magic wand is passed over the records?

Your Feedback is Requested:

If you have any stories about night school programs that seem to be handing out grades that don’t seem to be rigorous, unsupervised Florida Virtual School programs, attendance “funny business,” or any other practices that seem to skirt the spirit of the laws aimed at providing/ensuring meaningful quality education, please write me back.
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Miami-Dade Elected School Boards Have an Obligation to Know the Educational Laws Governing Their Domain: FCAT Data IS NOT the Only Option by Which to Judge Teachers


Upon challenging the MDCPS school board at the January 15th MDCPS Board Meeting to direct their staff to implement more appropriate teacher evaluation methods other than FCAT Reading and Math for all teachers (including Chemistry, Calculus, PE, Art, Journalism, Photography, History, etc), a few board members interjected saying their hands were tied, that they had to use Florida FCAT data and the VAM methodology.  Here is my response:

Last night you the board heard that your “hands are tied,” that you have no authority and option to implement something more accurate and helpful to teachers (and thus students) than smearing everyone with FCAT Reading Gains as evaluation measures.

I’m glad Ceresta pointed out that MANY board members and superintendents ARE doing things beyond the dais to bring about needed change.

But one need not go further than Florida Statutes to see your hands are NOT tied.  One need look north to some of our rural counties to see where they are trying to get it right.
Florida Statutes have said since 2011:

(3) EVALUATION PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA.—Instructional personnel and school administrator performance evaluations must be based upon the performance ofstudents assigned to their classrooms or schools,

…a school district’s performance evaluation is not limited to basing …performance of instructional personnel…solely upon student performance, but may include other criteria … to evaluate instructional personnel …performance, or any combination of student performance and other approved criteria.(a)  …The evaluation criteria must include:1. Performance of students.—At least 50 percent of a performance evaluation must be based upon data and indicators of student learning growth assessed … for subjects and grade levels not measured by statewide assessments, by school district assessments as provided in s. 1008.22(8). Each school district must use … an equally appropriate formula for measuring student learning growth for all other grades and subjects, except as otherwise provided in subsection (7).

here are the relevant points of this subsection(7):


(c) For a course that is not measured by a statewide assessment, a school district may request, through the evaluation system approval process, to use a student achievement measure rather than a student learning growth measure if achievement is demonstrated to be a more appropriate measure of classroom teacher performance. A school district may also request to use a combination of student learning growth and achievement, if appropriate.

(e) For classroom teachers of courses for which the district has not implemented appropriate assessments under s. 1008.22(8) or for which the school district has not adopted an equally appropriate measure of student learning growth under paragraphs (b)-(d), student learning growth must be measured by the growth in learning of the classroom teacher’s students on statewide assessments, or, for courses in which enrolled students do not take the statewide assessments, measurable learning targets must be established based upon the goals of the school improvement plan and approved by the school principal.

Since 2011, Suwannee District Schools has done exactly this.  As their FL DOE Evaluation Document on file from 2011 says:

“State Board Rule 6B-4.010, F.A.C., requires that where a district “…makes substantive modifications to an approved school district instructional personnel assessment system, the modified system shall be submitted to the Department of Education for review and approval.”  The purpose of Suwannee School District’s redeveloped Performance Evaluation System is to increase student learning growth by improving the quality of instructional, administrative, and supervisory service (1012.34 (1)(a), F.S. To this end, Suwannee School District is committed to a cycle of continually updating the evaluation system to reflect state models, best practices that emerge over time, and changes in policy.   Our system was created by a representative team of stakeholders, including principals and teachers, serving on an evaluation system redevelopment committee.”

Their alternative and APPROPRIATE teacher evaluation system includes:

  • AP exam pass rates for AP teachers
  • ACT, SAT, PSAT results from students taking those tests for teachers with these students teaching applicable content
  • Interim exams/assessments analyzed with Thinkgate, STAR Reading, STAR math, etc (majority) blended with a minority amount of FCAT growth
  • Industry Certification results for Vocational teachers (like the Veterinary Certification exams)
  • For students who fit none of these categories, Suwannee County School Board & Staff worked with principals to develop measurable learning targets aligned with each school’s School Improvement Plan (as provided for legislatively).

Since 2011, Suwannee County has been joined by AT LEAST 3 other counties (Columbia, Union, & Lafayette) in providing more APPROPRIATE performance measures for staff evaluation.

Furthermore, since 2011, the FL DOE has published and provided resources and assistance to districts to do just this, solutions including such things as teacher FINAL EXAMS!see

Here’s Gilchrist county’s exemplary program of using TEACHER EXAMS as performance measures:

I wrote to the MDCPS staff (including the lawyers since I had a lawsuit against the ratification process that adopted the current INAPPROPRIATE performance measures) in September 2011 to apprise them of Suwannee’s creative, motivated, and APPROPRIATE performance measure attempts.

I got no written response.  I heard a committee of teachers would be formed to generate better methods.

Obviously no better methods were generated…whether because no committee formed or if one formed, no better ideas were generated.

I KNOW, you all know, that the State VAM “is a sham.”

But this is NOT what I was addressing last night.

There are 2 layers of insanity that we teachers are dealing with  - the State VAM SHAM and the district layer of insanity -
1) The lack of attention/commitment to generating APPROPRIATE measures of performance.

2) The capricious generation of “Cut Scores”: Last year it was based on [VAM +/- multiple of the Standard Error].  This year, sometime after January 6th, the formula was published (changed) to [VAM/(Standard Error)].  What will it be next year?  When will we be told?  When will we be trained?

3) Some point between August 2011 and today, someone decided to make a choice between FCAT Reading and FCAT Math (now EOC Algebra?) for Schoolwide performance data for teachers NOT teaching assessed classes.  We were not told.

4) Someone chose the higher of the two, Reading or Math……but not the higher of the 9th Grade Reading or 10th Grade Reading?

5) Someone chose a weighted average of the 9th Grade Reading and 10th Grade Reading……but not the weighted average of the Reading and the Math?

6) Someone chose to do the weighted average on the number of teachers……but not on the number of students whose scores are being used?

7)Someone chose to describe Categories 1, 2, & 4, leaving 3 “Assign category 3 to all other teachers”……but had they defined any other 3 and left category 4 to “all other teachers,” the summatives would be very different.

My attempt last night was to goad you board members into intervening here and push your staff to produce something more healthy for your workers in the trenches, where morale is hurting for a number of reasons, now most recently because of the District Insult added to the State Injury of VAM. Your hands are NOT tied.


Shawn Beightol

ChemistryFerguson Sr. High School

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Say No to Inappropriate VAM Use by MDCPS at Next Board Meeting, Wed, Jan 15, 5 PM


Please feel free to forward this:

I am asking you to join me and other teachers to voice our opposition to the current and unnecessary utilization of VAM for teachers not teaching state assessed the Wednesday January 15th 5 PM Public Hearing of the MDCPS School Board Meeting at 1450 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132. If you wish to speak, you must fill in this form, print it out and fax it “Attn: Citizen Information Center” by 430 PM Monday, January 13th:

If you want, you can fax directly from your computer by “print to PDF” the filled out pdf board speaker form above. Your computer will save the filled out pdf and you can send it by following directions at

If you are like me and the majority of MDCPS School Staff, you are devastated by the seemingly random VAM score that brings down your total score.

Did you know that MDCPS’ own research department JUST published this conclusion about the VAM we are using:

“The teacher value-added estimates are so noisy that…’it is not possible to distinguish good teachers from bad teachers.’”

Did you know that University of South Florida just published an analysis of the VAM, concluding that there were only “weak relations between the observational scores of teachers’ performance and teachers’ value-added scores… the observational and VAM measures…do not often converge”

In other words the 2 different halves of our evaluations have no logical connection, rather, the VAM score appears to be random.

Now, add to the insanity of the VAM the double insanity of MDCPS choosing to evaluate last year’s teacher performance of the majority (60%) of its teachers on the basis of the average reading score gains of the whole school. This current year MDCPS plans to use YOUR students’ reading/math score gains…a move that will subject you to even more random error with such a small sample size.

Did you know this is unnecessary? Did you know the school board has the authority to develop/use APPROPRIATE assessments to measure student learning growth in the subject that the teachers teach?

Did you know that acceptable alternatives to using FCAT Reading and Math on teachers who do not teach these subjects directly include teacher-written FINAL EXAMS, AP exams, and Industry Certification exams? (see FL Statutes 1012.34 and 1008.22)

Did you know that the Florida Department of Education has provided “How-tos” to Districts to assist them in writing APPROPRIATE assessments in place of simply stuffing FCAT data down non-FCAT/non-EOC teachers’ evaluations?

Did you know that since 2011, at least 4 “old-fashioned,” country districts in Florida have done just that – written and applied their own assessments for courses not yet tested by EOCs or FCAT?
(see p10 ff, p.9 ff for 2 examples).

These bullet points are the reason I am asking you to join with me and other professional teachers who care about getting accountability right, starting with the accountability of our downtown staff to do their jobs getting accountability right for the teachers and our students.

Join us Wednesday, January 15th, at 5 PM at the School Board Auditorium, 1450 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132.

The message is simple: we do not teach state assessed courses, MDCPS is bound legally to choose appropriate measures for us, it hasn’t but has the authority to make the changes

Let me know you will be joining us by filling out this quick form:

Please email me back with your thoughts. One that I am exploring right now is a class-action lawsuit against MDCPS for its inappropriate use of FCAT data on non-FCAT teachers.


Shawn Beightol, M.S.Ed,
Chemistry, John A Ferguson Sr. High
Miami, FL ← I will be updating this blog with news about VAM over the weekend.

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A Well Kept Florida Secret: What a Great Teacher Looks/Performs Like: Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.065, “Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP)”


While researching the reported egregious behavior of a particular administrator in Miami-Dade County “camping out” in a teacher’s classroom for 4 hours (FOUR!!! perhaps the one in need of professional help wasn’t the teacher but the administrator?) to “observe” (translation: “harass”), I ran across the following Florida Administrative Code (these “flesh-out” the often and necessarily bare-bones statutes) describing “Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP)” – in other words, what makes a “perfect” educator. Rule 6A-5.065,  The Educator Accomplished Practices.

I suppose it would have been nice to know (from my union?  from my professional development department?) that Florida had described such professional characteristics in 2011.

Briefly, the 6 described characteristics fall into 2 major categories: 1) Quality of Instruction and 2) Continuous Improvement, Responsibility and Ethics.  The 6 characteristics are

1. Instructional Design and Lesson Planning.
2. The Learning Environment. To maintain a student-centered learning
environment that is safe, organized, equitable, flexible, inclusive,
and collaborative.
3. Instructional Delivery and Facilitation. The effective educator
consistently utilizes a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject taught.
4. Assessment. The effective educator consistently analyzes and applies data
from multiple assessments and measures.
5. Engages in Continuous Professional Improvement.
6. Demonstrates Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct.
As the Race to the Top application to the Feds specified the Marzano Assessment instrument as the tool to assess teachers, it would also make sense for our Administration and unions to verse us in just what they are looking for.  Here’s what Marzano tells Admins to look for in our classroom (from ):

Domain 1 classroom practices and strategies
Communicating learning goals
Establishing rules and procedures
Helping students practice and deepen knowledge
Helping students generate and test hypotheses
Engaging students
Recognizing adherence to rules and procedures
Establishing and maintaining effective relationships with students
Communicating high expectations for all students

In case you are interested in the actual language of the Florida Administrative Code that describes the conduct and characteristics of the “perfect” teacher, here it is:

“Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP)” Florida Administrative Code 6A-5.065

(1) Purpose and Foundational Principles.
(a) Purpose. The Educator Accomplished Practices are set forth in rule as Florida’s core standards for effective educators. The Accomplished Practices form the foundation for the state’s teacher preparation programs, educator certification requirements and school district instructional personnel appraisal systems.
(b) Foundational Principles. The Accomplished Practices are based upon and further describe three (3) essential principles:
1. The effective educator creates a culture of high expectations for all students by promoting the importance of education and each student’s capacity for academic achievement.
2. The effective educator demonstrates deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject taught.
3. The effective educator exemplifies the standards of the profession.
(2) The Educator Accomplished Practices. Each effective educator applies the foundational principles through six (6) Educator Accomplished Practices. Each of the practices is clearly defined to promote a common language and statewide understanding of the expectations for the quality of instruction and professional responsibility.
(a) Quality of Instruction.
1. Instructional Design and Lesson Planning. Applying concepts from human development and learning theories, the effective educator consistently:
a. Aligns instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level of rigor;
b. Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge;
c. Designs instruction for students to achieve mastery;
d. Selects appropriate formative assessments to monitor learning;
e. Uses diagnostic student data to plan lessons; and
f. Develops learning experiences that require students to demonstrate a variety of applicable skills and competencies.
2. The Learning Environment. To maintain a student-centered learning environment that is safe, organized, equitable, flexible, inclusive, and collaborative, the effective educator consistently:
a. Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention;
b. Manages individual and class behaviors through a well-planned management system;
c. Conveys high expectations to all students;
d. Respects students’ cultural linguistic and family background;
e. Models clear, acceptable oral and written communication skills;
f. Maintains a climate of openness, inquiry, fairness and support;
g. Integrates current information and communication technologies;
h. Adapts the learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of students; and
i. Utilizes current and emerging assistive technologies that enable students to participate in high-quality communication interactions and achieve their educational goals.
3. Instructional Delivery and Facilitation. The effective educator consistently utilizes a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the subject taught to:
a. Deliver engaging and challenging lessons;
b. Deepen and enrich students’ understanding through content area literacy strategies, verbalization of thought, and application of the subject matter;
c. Identify gaps in students’ subject matter knowledge;
d. Modify instruction to respond to preconceptions or misconceptions;
e. Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences;
f. Employ higher-order questioning techniques;
g. Apply varied instructional strategies and resources, including appropriate technology, to provide comprehensible instruction, and to teach for student understanding;
h. Differentiate instruction based on an assessment of student learning needs and recognition of individual differences in students;
i. Support, encourage, and provide immediate and specific feedback to students to promote student achievement; and
j. Utilize student feedback to monitor instructional needs and to adjust instruction.
4. Assessment. The effective educator consistently:
a. Analyzes and applies data from multiple assessments and measures to diagnose students’ learning needs, informs instruction based on those needs, and drives the learning process;
b. Designs and aligns formative and summative assessments that match learning objectives and lead to mastery;
c. Uses a variety of assessment tools to monitor student progress, achievement and learning gains;
d. Modifies assessments and testing conditions to accommodate learning styles and varying levels of knowledge;
e. Shares the importance and outcomes of student assessment data with the student and the student’s parent/caregiver(s); and
f. Applies technology to organize and integrate assessment information.
(b) Continuous Improvement, Responsibility and Ethics.
1. Continuous Professional Improvement. The effective educator consistently:
a. Designs purposeful professional goals to strengthen the effectiveness of instruction based on students’ needs;
b. Examines and uses data-informed research to improve instruction and student achievement;
c. Uses a variety of data, independently, and in collaboration with colleagues, to evaluate learning outcomes, adjust planning and continuously improve the effectiveness of the lessons;
d. Collaborates with the home, school and larger communities to foster communication and to support student learning and continuous improvement;
e. Engages in targeted professional growth opportunities and reflective practices; and
f. Implements knowledge and skills learned in professional development in the teaching and learning process.
2. Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct. Understanding that educators are held to a high moral standard in a community, the effective educator adheres to the Code of Ethics and the Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession of Florida, pursuant to Rules 6B-1.001 and 6B-1.006, F.A.C., and fulfills the expected obligations to students, the public and the education profession.
Rulemaking Authority 1004.04, 1004.85, 1012.225, 1012.34, 1012.56 FS. Law Implemented 1004.04, 1004.85, 1012.225, 1012.34, 1012.56 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 2-13-11.
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VAM Necessitates Teacher’s Knowledge of Their Rights and Authority to Maintain a Respectable Learning Environment


Most teachers (and school bus drivers) are ignorant that under Florida Law they are considered the most crucial person in the safety and education of the children for the simple reason they are the primary contacts.

We are fools for letting our administrations put the burden of proof on ourselves for the task of securing a safe, respectable learning/bus environment.

With the increased and arbitrarily determined “accountability” over teachers for student learning/progress and the increased vulnerability of teachers’ careers to less than “effective” ratings (often the result of factoring arbitrary measures like “school average reading scores” into the evaluation), it behooves the educator to take a more serious look at classroom control:

In case you haven’t waded through the Florida laws that authorize you and the bus drivers to have a pleasant, safe, respectable work environment (or your District or Union have failed to educate you to your rights and authority), let me summarize:

  • We teachers and bus drivers are authorized to remove students from our environment who challenge our ability to provide a safe, distraction free bus ride/learning environment.
  • This does NOT require phone calls home or documentation prior to our demand a student be removed.
  • We tell the principal what the penalty is. He/She may choose something more strict, but not less, without conferring with us.
  • The principal may NOT return the student to our class/bus without our OK in terms of the meted out consequences. If we do not agree, the principal must relocate the student to an equivalent environment away from us. If this is NOT possible, he/she has 5 days to convene a placement review committee to determine a course of action.
  • We can remove up to 25% of our student load before being judged in need of professional development.
  • This same authority and right extends to teachers/staff of ESE students, see the footnote below the main body for additional notes on this topic.

Teachers and Bus Drivers are more powerful than many of us realize when we know the authority and rights given us under Florida Law:

1003.04(2)Student conduct and parental involvement.— “The parent of each public K-12 student must cooperate with the authority of the student’s…teachers, and school bus drivers, according to ss. 1003.31 and 1003.32, to remove the student from the classroom and the school bus and, when appropriate and available, to place the student in an alternative educational setting, if the student is disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive.

1003.31 Students subject to control of school.—
(1)Subject to law and rules of the State Board of Education and of the district school board, each student enrolled in a school shall:
(a)During the time she or he is being transported to or from school at public expense;
(b)During the time she or he is attending school;
be under the control and direction of the…teacher …or of the bus driver to whom such responsibility may be assigned by the principal….Each district school board, each district school superintendent, and each school principal shall fully support the authority of teachers, according to s. 1003.32, and school bus drivers to remove disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students from the classroom and the school bus and, when appropriate and available, place such students in an alternative educational setting.

(4)Each student enrolled in a school may be required to take the following school child’s daily conduct pledge:
(a)I will be respectful at all times and obedient unless asked to do wrong.
(b)I will not hurt another person with my words or my acts, because it is wrong to hurt others.
(c)I will tell the truth, because it is wrong to tell a lie.
(d)I will not steal, because it is wrong to take someone else’s property.
(e)I will respect my body, and not take drugs.
(f)I will show strength and courage, and not do something wrong, just because others are doing it.
(g)I pledge to be nonviolent and to respect my teachers and fellow classmates.

1003.32Authority of teacher; responsibility for control of students;
“each teacher or other member of the staff of any school shall have such authority for the control and discipline of students as may be assigned to him or her by the principal or the principal’s designated representative and shall keep good order in the classroom and in other places
(1)…teachers … shall have the authority to undertake any of the following actions in managing student behavior and ensuring the safety of all students in their classes
(c)Have disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students removed from the classroom for behavior management intervention.
(d)Have violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students directed for information or assistance from appropriate school or district school board personnel.
(f)Request and receive information as to the disposition of any referrals to the administration for violation of classroom or school rules.
(g)Request and receive immediate assistance in classroom management if a student becomes uncontrollable or in case of emergency.
(3)A teacher may send a student to the principal’s office to maintain effective discipline in the classroom and may recommend an appropriate consequence consistent with the student code of conduct under s. 1006.07. The principal shall respond by employing the teacher’s recommended consequence or a more serious disciplinary action if the student’s history of disruptive behavior warrants it. If the principal determines that a lesser disciplinary action is appropriate, the principal should consult with the teacher prior to taking disciplinary action.
(4)A teacher may remove from class a student whose behavior the teacher determines interferes with the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with the students in the class or with the ability of the student’s classmates to learn. Each district school board, each district school superintendent, and each school principal shall support the authority of teachers to remove disobedient, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students from the classroom.
(5)If a teacher removes a student from class under subsection (4), the principal may place the student in another appropriate classroom, in in-school suspension, or in a dropout prevention and academic intervention program as provided by s. 1003.53; or the principal may recommend the student for out-of-school suspension or expulsion, as appropriate. The student may be prohibited from attending or participating in school-sponsored or school-related activities. The principal may not return the student to that teacher’s class without the teacher’s consent unless the committee established under subsection (6) determines that such placement is the best or only available alternative. The teacher and the placement review committee must render decisions within 5 days of the removal of the student from the classroom.
(7)Any teacher who removes 25 percent of his or her total class enrollment shall be required to complete professional development to improve classroom management skills.

1006.09Duties of school principal relating to student discipline and school safety.—(1)(a)
” Each school principal shall fully support the authority of his or her teachers and school bus drivers to remove disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students from the classroom and the school bus and, when appropriate and available, place such students in an alternative educational setting. The principal or the principal’s designee must give full consideration to the recommendation for discipline made by a teacher, other member of the instructional staff, or a bus driver when making a decision regarding student referral for discipline.”
(1)(b) “The principal or the principal’s designee shall make a good faith effort to immediately inform a student’s parent by telephone of a student’s suspension and the reasons for the suspension. Each suspension and the reasons for the suspension shall be reported in writing within 24 hours to the student’s parent by United States mail. Each suspension and the reasons for the suspension shall also be reported in writing within 24 hours to the district school superintendent. A good faith effort shall be made by the principal or the principal’s designee to employ parental assistance or other alternative measures prior to suspension, except in the case of emergency or disruptive conditions ”

Footnote on Discipline of Students with Special Needs:

regarding removal of students with disabilities, consider Florida Adminstrative Code 6A-6.03312 “Discipline Procedures for Students with
Disabilities” – “(2) Authority of school personnel. Consistent with the school district’s Code of Student Conduct and to the extent that removal would be applied to students without disabilities, school personnel may:
(a) Remove a student with a disability who violates a code of student conduct from the student’s current placement for not more than ten (10) consecutive school days.
(b) Further remove a student with a disability for not more than ten (10) consecutive school days in that same school year for separate incidents of misconduct, as long as those removals do not constitute a change in placement as defined in this rule.
(3) Manifestation determination. A manifestation determination, consistent with the following requirements, must be made within ten (10) school days of any decision to change the placement of a student with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct.”

- see page 305 (p327 of pdf doc) at

Bottom line is, the kids may not be disrespectful or disruptive, may not interfere with our ability to teach or another student’s ability to hear/learn, regardless of their abilities/disabilities. Alternative placement can be determined by the placement review committee for non-ESE kids within 5 days or within 10 days for ESE, “the school district, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team” must determine if it is a manifestation of the student’s disability. If so, ” the IEP Team must either:
1. Conduct a functional behavioral assessment, unless the school district had conducted a functional behavioral assessment before the behavior that resulted in the change of placement occurred, and implement a behavioral intervention plan for the student; or
2. If a behavioral intervention plan already has been developed, review it and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior; and
3. Except as provided in subsection (6) of this rule, return the student to the placement from which the student was removed, unless the parent and the school district agree to a change in placement as part of the modification of the behavior intervention plan.”
if not,
“(d) For disciplinary changes of placement, if the behavior that gave rise to the violation of a code of student conduct is determined not to be a manifestation of the student’s disability, the relevant disciplinary procedures applicable to students without disabilities may be applied to the student in the same manner and for the same duration in which they would be applied to students without disabilities, except that services consistent with subsection (5) of this rule must be provided to the student with a disability”

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Tallahassee’s Funding is like “Mexican Pesos” – Albert Carvalho, Urging His Raise Which is 1/2 Tallahassee’s Recommended Raise


Dear board members:

I will repeat my requests to you that I made at the Wednesdays board meeting, a meeting that was an embarrassment to me.

Not because I was ridiculed (being the only one who spoke to the contract ratification, Mr. Carvalho’s attacks against “some who spoke here” were directed ONLY toward me) – I am used to people attacking my character and other ad hominem attacks rather than factual rebuttals.

I am embarrassed by the behavior demonstrated yesterday – not the content of the ad hominem attacks, but the fact that such thinly veiled ad hominem attacks were resorted to.

The derogatory comparison of another country’s currency/economy meant to belittle and minimize the $137 million ADDITIONAL FEFP funding (btw, the items Mr. Carvalho listed to subtract from the FEFP increase should have been listed in comparison, not to $137 million increase that included funding sufficient for raises of $2200 for 24000 – a liberal estimate of the bargaining unit including support staff, but to the $2.38 BILLION Tallahassee sends us).

“Mexican Pesos?”

I’m embarrassed that no one called him on this smoke-and-mirror tactic. It is reminiscent of the language “Tallahassee has cut our budget” even though Tallahassee has predominantly INCREASED our funding annually (if you survey the funding out of Tallahassee, it is evident that INCREASES FAR OUTWEIGH CUTS). It seems that not only does the public not understand the difference between a FANTASY BUDGET and REALITY FUNDING (I have described it like this: a child gets an allowance of $10 weekly from mom (funding). He announces he is planning a trip to Disney World and needs more allowance (fantasy budget). His mom says “I’ll give you another $1 weekly (increased funding). He cries and tells his friends “I can’t go to Disney with you, my mom CUT MY BUDGET!” – even though his allowance INCREASED!

I’m embarrassed by the avoidance of clear statements and questions:

Dr. Perez, you asked a question and were NOT given the simple, direct answer to your simple, direct question. You were given a run around.

MY INSURANCE RATES ABSOLUTELY INCREASE BY $2700 TO KEEP THE SAME COVERAGE [I pay $636 per month *12 currently = $7632 (salary band 4, family plan). Next year this jumps to $863 per month * 12 =$10356, The difference in PREMIUMS alone is $2724 to keep the same insurance.).

[As I said in my earlier letter to you before your vote: "But this isn’t about me, its about the bargaining unit (including support staff who are seeing a 2.3% increase ~ $4-500 per year)…On average, anyone staying on OAP20 will see an increase in premiums of $1200; on OAP10, an increase of $1600; and even if they switch to the UNDESCRIBED/UNDEFINED Local Plus from OAP20, their premiums will go up an average of $455, easily eating up any support staff’s family’s meager increase in pay.  This is just for PREMIUMS.  Under the new terms of service/costs, the average annual healthcare costs will go up anywhere from $2800 (individual) to $7100 (family of 4) as projected from Merrill Lynch’s projected healthcare costs for next year."]

Ms. Castillo, you were lied to.

The Local Plus option was ABSOLUTELY OMITTED FROM THE DESCRIPTION OF THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT TO BE RATIFIED. It was absent from the district webpage until AFTER I announced it and challenged staff or UTD to publicly say where this information was made available to the voters. It has since been added to the district webpage (see today’s page: ), but I took pictures (with dates) of the district pages PRIOR to my speech and this information is missing (see ).

I am going to state this again to be clear: Aside from the premium/cost column at the end of the agreement, Local Plus information was NOT provided as part of the final Tentative Agreement materials made available to the bargaining unit. It represents a major change from last year’s plan.

The description was added to MDCPS website AFTER the vote, as far as I can tell, AFTER MY SPEECH and letter to you.


I am embarrassed by the thinly disguised “bump, set, spike” approach used by a board member asking a series of questions designed to draw attention away from my facts and toward other entities (Broward’s most expensive health option.  Note to Boardmember “Setter” Feldman:  thanks for pointing out Broward’s Healthcare system as an example of WHAT IS WRONG WITH A SYSTEM THAT CONTINUES TO RAISE ITS RATES BEYOND AFFORDABILITY: Indeed, it drew the attention of the Florida Ethics Commission, the FBI, and ultimately resulted in Broward Board member Kraft’s arrest for corruption.  So “Good Tip” from the “Setter.”  We’ll keep looking for those corruption forces that might be tied to MDCPS’ inability to direct its teacher earmarked funds to the teachers).

I am embarrassed that when a few of you board members DID ask the critical questions, Mr. Carvalho interrupted his staff’s answering and essentially told them how to answer the question – answers that were NOT specific, but rather round and round generalities and cliches.

I am embarrassed that when I stood to speak at SP-2 and challenged ANYONE on staff or UTD to tell the public WHERE the link to the information for Local Plus could be found, there was nothing but silence. To argue that SP-2 wasn’t the place to respond to an already passed SP-1 item is hollow – UTD’s Fed Ingram followed my 2 simple questions with his own round and round general SP-1 speech that never came close to answering my question “Where is the link to Local Plus” information so that the voters could have cast informed votes.

I’m embarrassed that once again, the 4th largest school district in the nation has ratified a hodge-podge of pdf pages that it passes off as a contract – containing typographical errors, mis/disorganized information, factually incorrect information, legally contradictory information (see my last letter for details).

I’m embarrassed that few question the reported election tally of an election that costs employees more than it benefits, especially with UTD’s challenged and proven inability to run an honest election (see

These showed UTD utilized a method for vote counting that could not be verified (proving the June 2011, August 2011, and February 2012 UTD Tentative Agreement Ratification results were unreliable and untrustworthy). – this ongoing litigation, with former UTD VP Leichner as co-plaintiff, alleged voting irregularities and possible fraud – this ongoing litigation alleges ballot box stuffing in both 2010 and 2013 officer elections

I’m embarrassed that people do not know the history of the MDCPS bureaucracy’s2 penchant for distorting information, misplaced priorities, and twisted means to achieve goals:

“we were never able to establish where the money is presently being kept. Is the money sitting in an account somewhere?…” (Grand Jury, PART 1,Spring 2000 )‏

“We received a somewhat misleading chart from the District Office…”(Grand Jury, PART 1, Spring 2000, ibid )‏

“it may not be quite as much as the District suggests…We identified a reoccurring problem…The Office of Facilities and Management provided us with information that was not entirely accurate…The effect, was that we were being misled.” (Grand Jury, ibid, Spring 2000).

“‏District Staff sent a memo to the School Board that…The Grand Jury found to be an ‘alarming misrepresentation’”(Grand Jury, 2002, )

“On the day the football player was arrested, District Administration made it crystal clear that its priorities were skewed…The State championship game was to be played in a few days [and] the big question on the day of arrest was, “Should the kid play?” Not, “How is the little girl?”…a decision usually made by a principal, was made by District Administrators and attorneys for the School District. Their decision was to let him play…Another decision was soon to be made and it proved to be of even greater concern to us. It appeared that an effort was made by a high level district administrator to halt the criminal investigation” (Grand Jury, FALL TERM 2006, )

“The investigation revealed that [a regional administrator] used her position and friendship with various M-DCPS employees at [a local school] and at regional offices to obtain the necessary evaluations and documentation for her daughter to be awarded a McKay Scholarship.” (OIG Annual Report, 2009-2010,

“Miami-Dade’s alleged overuse of a Florida law called the Baker Act surfaced in the media toward the end of the last school year…Critics said the law, which allows police officers to transport students for involuntary psychiatric evaluations instead of arresting them, allowed the chief to pad school crime statistics.” (

And the point of raising these examples of staff improprieties is to remind all of us of the need for constant vigilance to provide righteous, humane, dignified work conditions for those who labor beneath us.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, I made the following requests:

1) Find a way to allow teachers to use the same email system that UTD, MDCPS and a host of vendors and politicians use to promote/market their ideas and profits. To continue to block solid discourse on the factors that affect our work conditions is dictatorial and resembles the kinds of governing seen in China, Cuba, and Venezuela.

2) Assess what is happening trend-wise to employee utilization of healthcare provisions. To slowly drive out employees and families without shifting the financial resources to the employees to obtain equivalent healthcare in the private marketplace is dishonest and unethical. The State of Florida is providing MDCPS with funds based on the historical understanding (work conditions) that a portion of it will be used to provide healthcare. A quick average of the Employer contribution for healthcare from the recent tentative agreement puts it at approximately $900 per month, average. If you are serious about providing your employees with choice as well as the peace of mind necessary to allow us to focus on our work at a professional level, earmark as much of that as possible to the employee for their choice of healthcare alternatives to the increasingly prohibitive Cigna Self-Insured option provided by MDCPS. Additionally, the changes being wrought by ACA/Obamacare are huge and will require patient, compassionate coaching to help the employees obtain the best healthcare for their individual needs. We are an educational system, surely asking you to help educate our employees is within our reach!

3) Finally, no matter how I slice it, Tallahassee’s encouragement to provide your teachers (and support staff) with raises calculated at $2500 (including FRS and FICA funding on top!), I cannot arrive at the $1350 amount that most employees will see. Taking all bargaining unit members full time for a LIBERAL amount at 26000 employees, this results in $2423 each. When we deduct the $10 million for charters from the $63 Million provided, this is still $2038 each – recurring – BEFORE RTTT amounts. There’s a reason that Tallahassee’s politically motivated recommendation of a $2500 raise passed both the legislative test and the public opinion test – your employees NEED this to help us focus our energy on doing our jobs professional with minimal (dis)stress. Please, take your staff critically and send them back to find a way to shift adequate portions of the state funding to employee compensation.


Shawn Beightol,
MDCPS Chemistry Instructor (20 years)
John A Ferguson Sr High Teacher of the Year 2013

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An Open Letter to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Board Members on Why the Proposed UTD/MDCPS Contract Addendum of Nov 2013 Should NOT Be Ratified

Short Link:
Dear Board Members:
I know that tomorrow you are slated to vote in the new MDCPS/UTD contract.
The problems I see with this contract are
1)  I do not believe the net recurring increase (RAISE vs bonus) is near $2500 for most employees.  When rebutted with the information that Rick Scott/Legislators didn’t send enough money, to me I see that the most recent FEFP shows a total increase in MDCPS’ funding over last year of $137 Million, which follows last year’s increase over the previous year of $113 Million.  I also question the REQUIREMENT of MDCPS to shave $10 Million off for charter schools.  As I quoted in an email to some of my colleagues:  ”I believe the $10 million cut to charters is voluntary and negotiable (see Q9, ),  also the $2500 must be added to each step (Q13 of the same doc.), and should be recurring (RTTT bonuses are not, see Q15),”
Furthermore, a simple question to my charter school acquaintances of their knowledge of raises due to this $10 million transfer from MDCPS to charter schools was met with blank faces.  Are Charter School teachers going to see a raise from this?
2) Whatever gain we are seeing in the financial movement (step, bonus, etc), we are losing to healthcare.  If I stay on OAP20, I will have to pay $2700 more for my family’s healthcare.  If I move to the Local Plus (for which a description was NOT provided with the final proposed agreement), I will lose my primary care physician who I’ve had for years and my college town kids will have difficulty finding “local” physicians that are on Local Plus.  But this isn’t about me, its about the bargaining unit (including support staff who are seeing a 2.3% increase ~ $4-500 per year)…On average, anyone staying on OAP20 will see an increase in premiums of $1200; on OAP10, an increase of $1600; and even if they switch to the UNDESCRIBED/UNDEFINED Local Plus from OAP20, their premiums will go up an average of $455, easily eating up any support staff’s family’s meager increase in pay.  This is just for PREMIUMS.  Under the new terms of service/costs, the average annual healthcare costs will go up anywhere from $2800 (individual) to $7100 (family of 4) as projected from Merrill Lynch’s projected healthcare costs for next year.
The worst part about this is that these astronomical healthcare premium and service spikes (29% avg increase in premiums and 63-84% increase in costs) are double the national averages according to the NY Times (  Objections that South Florida doesn’t compare to the national scene fall flat for next year when ACA/”Obamacare” competition among vendors projects the LOWEST healthcare costs in Florida, right here in Miami! (
The only sense I can make out of this is that MDCPS is following the unethical practice of many corporations of pushing out the insured and dependents in order to lower costs:

the Transitional Reinsurance Program…will charge health insurers and self-insured employers (that is, companies that provide their own insurance = MDCPS) $63 per person covered on their plans… Employers and insurers, already saddled with their own rising health care costs, are likely to pass those fees on to consumers in the form of rate increases, Darling says.”


“By [discouraging] coverage to spouses, employers not only save the annual premiums, but also the new fees that went into effect as part of the Affordable Care Act. This year, companies have to pay $1 or $2 “per life” covered on their plans, a sum that jumps to $65 in 2014.”…and “when employers drop spouses, they often [save on] more than just the one individual, when couples choose instead to seek coverage together under the other partner’s employer”…”companies drive spouses away using other tactics, such as making spousal coverage prohibitively expensive through higher surcharges or by making reimbursement rates so low that spouses can’t afford the plans.”

To those who would point to the percentage of Employees “enjoying” the “free, employee only” insurance, I would counter with “yes, you have driven the family members away to other plans where it is still cheaper to keep one spouse on MDCPS.”  But this is the result of intentional cost inflation to drive the families away to either NO INSURANCE or lower quality insurance in many cases.
3) Errors/Contradictions/Omissions?
a)  As stated, the official links to the proposed contract changes (Including the shift of the “no cost” individual employee insurance plan from OAP20 to Local Plus) do NOT include a description of this plan.
b) Credential Payments:
i) Appendix E. Section 2.B.2.n – I cannot figure out what this refers to…switching back from part-time hourly (AT/AU) to nurses’ schedule?  I think they mean 2.B.2.m.  If so, this is in error.
ii) I cannot find the Credential Payment schedule repeatedly referred to in the proposed changes.  Either that means (and doesn’t explain) that the credential payment schedule is the same as before or that a yet to be defined Credential Schedule will be revealed (via MOU?).  If the latter, this is very open-ended and could be financially damaging to many who are reliant upon credentials.  If the former, it is not clear.
c) Article XII-Hiring E.5 “Teachers who are assigned to teach Career and Technical Education courses shall possess an applicable industry certification.  Current employees who fail to satisfy this requirement prior to June 30, 2015 shall be terminated.”  It appears this language is contradictory in part to the FDOE memo dated 9/9/11 from Loretta Costin, Chancellor, Division of Career and Adult Education, page 2, Q&A, Q2. “Is this legislation (section 1012.39) retroactive? No, the legislation is not retroactive…the additional qualification of ‘Documentation’…does not apply to teachers who were issued local district-issued teacher certificates prior to July 1, 2011″ – a phone call to the number provided in the memo affirms that the district cannot impose a more stringent requirement than what the state has set.  I know from multiple conversations that this is not clear in the contract and may be a mistake or at least a vagueness that will cost tax-payers to clarify via grievance or judicial challenges.
d) Article XXI Section 1(A) is STILL in violation of Florida law, as determined by PERC in 2010 ( ) with these FINAL ORDERS: Both UTD and MDCPS are “Prohibited from “Negotiating, administering, and maintaining Article XXI, Section 1(A), Subsections 2, 3, and 5, of the collective bargaining agreement insofar as they discriminate against employees who are not members of the United Teachers of Dade” – yet the outlawed contract language is being maintained VERBATIM in the current contract.  It must be changed.
To those who would argue that the bargaining unit has spoken, I would counter with this:  at the very best, 44% of the bargaining unit did NOT cast a yes vote.  At the very worst, suspicions of the numbers come into play considering the history of UTD and its multiple convictions of conducting illegal ratifications (June 2011, August 2011, February 2012 were shown IN COURT to be insecure and and impossible to verify the veracity of the results).
Consider also there are 2 pending legal actions against UTD alleging voting fraud/manipulation in the successive 2010 and 2013 officer elections, one a consortium of UTD candidates for office that originally included outgoing UTD Vice-President Artie Leichner as CO-PLAINTIFF:
Case Number (LOCAL): 2013-6290-CA-01 Filing Date: 02/20/2013
Case Number (STATE): 13-2013-CA-006290-0000-01 CaseType: 81
Consolidated Case Number: N/A Judicial Section: 05
Party Code Party Name


Defendants,   alleging voting fraud/ballot box stuffing in the 2010 officer election.  Here is an excerpt:
“The core allegation in the case – Defendants rigged the 2010 election of union officers - can be proven or disproven only through release of the electronic voting records in the possession of VoteNet, which is located in Washington, D.C.   Predecessor Judge Caballero ordered the release of the records subject to a court approved confidentiality order, after which certiorari on the issue was denied by the 3rd DCA. Although the Superior Court in Washington has assured Plaintiffs that the records will be released, VoteNet has indicated – once again, as it has previously – that it will not release the records until resolution of this latest issue.
Further, because of Defendants’ 23 motions for stay or delay (each requiring a special set hearing), and because of an initial 22 months for exhaustion of union internal administrative remedies, the sequel 2013 election has come and gone. VoteNet was again retained to conduct the election, although this time paper ballots were used. No observer physically present was permitted to be close enough to visually ascertain the accuracy of the count of paper ballots.
Notwithstanding, and using Defendants’ documents, the ballot box was demonstrably stuffed once again. According to the union-certified election results, the total votes recorded as cast for president exceeded the number of ballots by 365. Although 7,602 votes were counted for president, there were only 7,237 ballots. Not enough paper ballots were distributed to equal the amount of votes tallied by Defendants. Similarly, the total votes declared to have been cast for vice-president exceeded the number of ballots distributed by 493. Although 1,496 votes were counted for vice-president, only 1,003 ballots were collected.
Again, not enough paper ballots were distributed to equal the amount of votes tallied by Defendants.
As a result, Plaintiffs have moved to amend their complaint to incorporate another round of election misbehavior. Meanwhile, Defendants continue perniciously to obstruct compliance with this Court’s decision to require production of records relevant to fraud in the first election.”
It is the sum total of these and many earlier unchallenged but questionable ratification outcomes that result in many questioning the veracity of a this current vote that results in a net loss to employees, but are stuck in a ratification system free from having to show site by site results for verification purposes.
For these reasons, I would ask you to consider sending the contract language BACK to the negotiation teams to clean it up, tighten it up, and to make it more economically beneficial to the hardworking MDCPS employees who do the work that IS the reason this whole system with its burgeoning bureaucracy exists.  Grant the steps increased with RECURRING raises so that every teacher/student services employee sees the as close to $2500 as possible, move the support staff along their step system with a COLA adjusted (raise) to their step, and hold the line on healthcare, knowing that next year, the costs are projected to be the lowest in the state as a consequence of the competition spawned by ACA/”Obamacare.”  Finally, fix the language of the contract so that it is compliant/congruent with Florida Statutes and Administrative Code.
Shawn Beightol
Chemistry Teacher,
John A Ferguson “Teacher of the Year”!
CC: David Smiley, Miami Herald
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Sequel to Prior Blog: So Fla’s Insurance Rates LOWEST, yet MDCPS’ rates will be DOUBLE national average: Corporate Tactics to Push You to ACA’s Health Exchanges

Short link:

In an area where our rates will be lowest next year, MDCPS jacks the premiums and out of pockets/costs through the roof. Why? to push you out and into ACA’s health exchanges (see latter quotes for details of strategy used in industry):

South Florida Insurance Rates Will Be Among Lowest In State, Report Says
By Evan S. Benn and Patricia Borns, Miami Herald
SEP 26, 2013

Miami-Dade and Broward County residents who buy health insurance through federally run online marketplaces opening Tuesday will be paying some of the cheapest rates available in Florida, according to federal data released Wednesday.
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, said competition among insurers has helped drive down costs. In Florida, where there are an estimated 3.8 million uninsured residents, people will have an average of 102 health plans to choose from — the second-most in the country.

“Now there will be more choice and more competition thanks to the marketplace, and most consumers will find they will be able to choose from multiple companies when choosing which plan works best within their budget,” she said at a news conference Tuesday.

I guess the lesson here is that MDCPS is deliberately driving its employees out of its healthcare umbrella…because, without a real union to oppose, it can…

Why would MDCPS want to drive people out of healthcare?

” companies have cut back on health spending and trimmed benefits, especially in advance of an ACA tax on employers who offer overly generous plans in 2018…”


” the Transitional Reinsurance Program…will charge health insurers and self-insured employers (that is, companies that provide their own insurance = MDCPS) $63 per person covered on their plans… Employers and insurers, already saddled with their own rising health care costs, are likely to pass those fees on to consumers in the form of rate increases, Darling says.”

“By [discouraging] coverage to spouses, employers not only save the annual premiums, but also the new fees that went into effect as part of the Affordable Care Act. This year, companies have to pay $1 or $2 “per life” covered on their plans, a sum that jumps to $65 in 2014.”…and “when employers drop spouses, they often [save on] more than just the one individual, when couples choose instead to seek coverage together under the other partner’s employer”…”companies drive spouses away using other tactics, such as making spousal coverage prohibitively expensive through higher surcharges or by making reimbursement rates so low that spouses can’t afford the plans.”

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