The Brevard County School Board and its superintendent are teaching all of the children to violate the law if there is money to be had. This is teaching by example.
The board intentionally broke the law that set limits on class size knowing it would be punished with a fine, a fine paid with the education tax money they control. None of them are personally penalized. They refuse to hire necessary staff as required by law. They refuse to comply with the educational law they were elected to serve and protect for our children. Openly break the law and then spin the message. Shameful.
This is arrogance and abuse of office – no matter how much media spin is applied.
If one teacher taught children one lesson in one class to intentionally break the law for monetary gain, that teacher would justifiably be fired. How Superintendent Binggeli ever expects to get another job in any district in any state is questionable. Why a thinking voter would ever nominate or elect any present board member is questionable – unless raw manipulative politics replaces the honest election process. Large sums of money are willingly paid for invalid high stakes testing along with text books and programs that teach to the test. Yet, cheating on class size as a means of “saving” money is condoned and practiced.
“In 2002, Florida voters approved an amendment to the state constitution mandating the (class size) limits. The law caps the number of students in core classes, such as English, to 18 students in prekindergarten through third grade, 22 students in grades four to eight and 25 students in grades nine to 12.”
– USA Today
The ends justify the means. To “save the district tax money” was the excuse to betray the voter approved amendment to the state constitution that has been approved and in force for over a decade. This is precisely the school board behavior that has caused school districts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and other states to be taken over by overseers appointed by their governors. The contempt for constitutional law displayed by the BPS board and superintendent shows a dereliction of duty and purpose. They deserve to be removed from office. Wrapped in the flag, spouting family values and elected to office, they now flagrantly violate the constitution. For some reason, this board feels this will never happen to them. Perhaps they are right, but it opens the door for this to happen at any moment or in the future.
Have people previously violated this law by more devious methods? Yes.
No one is specifically mentioned or cited since the USA Today article uses the passive voice to soften the message.
“But the definition of a core class has changed over the years. It no longer includes foreign language classes, for example, nor Algebra 2, chemistry or physics. An unintended consequence of the law, however, has been the impact on elective classes that are not governed by it.” Has changed? Unintended consequences?
The video is a media lesson in itself. A teacher in a right-to-work state that requires high stakes testing and teaching to the test smiles through the rationalization she has been given as the sole reality. A smiling principal laughingly admits that his compliance affects his job evaluation. A sober faced student tells how much time is blown off in classes (“louder and more vibrant”) that are too large.
“We all understand the intent of the law,” Viera H.S. principal Jim Hickey said. “There are winners and losers.”
School board members and the superintendent were not quoted in the article or part of the video. Shame on them all.
Disclosure: This blog hits home. I live 2 1/2 blocks from Williams school, 7 blocks from Manatee school, and 2 1/2 miles from Viera H.S. and the adjacent School Board which is part of the government complex. I watch our community’s children walk and bike to school daily. There has been no massive parental outrage over this travesty, probably because of the spin (propaganda method) applied in press releases. The last sentence of the USA Today article is a direct quote from Cyndi Van Meter, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “In the end, the kids benefited from the direction that we took this year.”
Wake up Brevard parents! Your children and their futures are at stake.