Ladapo’s rule 64DER21-15

64DER21-15 is a new rule from the newly appointed head of the Florida Department of Health.  Governor DeSantis appointed Ladapo, but the state senate has not yet confirmed him. As you read this, please consider if you’d like to ask your state senator to vote no on Dr. Ladapo’s confirmation.

You can find the text of the new ruling at this link:
https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/64DER21-15.pdf

The new rule also says, “64DER21-15 repeals and replaces rule 64DER21-12 that was adopted August 6, 2021.”

Under the section called “specific reasons“, 64DER21-15 notice says “the Department observed no meaningful difference in the number of COVID-19 cases in school-aged children in counties where school districts have imposed mask mandates…” On what is Dr. Ladapo basing that statement? He indicates no study or data to support that claim. Is he basing that statement on data pre-delta variant?  What would be his conclusion if masking was the only option of these four:

  • windows open
  • keeping six feet apart
  • excellent ventilation systems
  • mask mandates

Excerpt from this article:

Chalkbeat dove back into the research. In short, existing studies focusing on schools — including those cited on both sides of the debate — are strikingly limited. Little if any research has definitively shown what effect masks have on COVID spread in schools. At the same time, there is a broader body of evidence collected in other settings that suggests that masks help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19. That appears to be what’s driving health authorities to recommend masking in the classroom, alongside a general desire to minimize the risk to children and communities when cases are rising. “It’s entirely possible that open windows or fresh-air ventilation accounts for nearly all the mitigation benefit in a classroom and other ‘layered’ interventions may contribute only a marginal benefit or none at all,” concludes Zweig. In fact, it’s not clear that any of the most cited studies examining masks in schools are able to pin down cause and effect. “All of the studies that I have seen,” said Tulane University epidemiologist Susan Hassig, “are not sufficiently rigorous to assess the actual effectiveness of masks” in schools. Some experts say we should look beyond research on masking in schools and keep the basic logic of masking in mind. COVID-19 “is transmitted predominately by inhalation of respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe,” explains the CDC. The logic of masks, then, is straightforward. They can block particles, protecting the wearer and limiting transmission from an individual who has the virus. Masking is particularly important for a disease like COVID-19 where an infected individual can transmit the disease before developing symptoms (and thus realizing they should stay home).  Laboratory  simulations  confirm that masks stop many — though not all — of these droplets that could contain the virus. Jeremy Howard, author of a review of masking research and a research scientist at the University of San Francisco, says the benefits of masks very likely apply in school. “For masks in schools, the weight of evidence, when you combine it all together, is very strong,” he said. Mike Smith, a pediatrics professor and epidemiologist at Duke said “We have to make decisions weighing the risks and benefits without the gold standard randomized-controlled trial data.” Ultimately, Sarah Bode, a pediatrician in Columbus, Ohio argues, masks will help keep schools open during the delta surge, and the benefits of in-person school outweigh any downsides of masking.

https://www.chalkbeat.org/2021/8/26/22643549/covid-masks-schools-research

Elected school boards only make rules for the district-run schools. Charter school boards will be making the rules for their schools. Some Florida state laws apply to both and some only apply to district-run schools. However, I think most people agree district-run and charter schools are considered “public schools” but I keep making the plea that the term “public schools” is outdated since the advent of charter schools and voucher funded private schools. Should public schools mean any school that receives public funds? When people use the term “public schools,” are they being intentionally vague?

64DER21-15 is called “Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings.”   Can’t we assume that means all schools?

Item (1) of 64DER21-15 does use the term “public schools” so I assume everyone will agree it applies to the district-run and the charter schools. I make the case that it also applies to voucher funded private schools because of Florida Statute 1002.421 which says:

.A private school participating in an educational scholarship program established pursuant to this chapter must …  be in compliance with all requirements of this section …(g)Meet applicable state and local health, safety, and welfare laws, codes, and rules…

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=1002.421&URL=1000-1099/1002/Sections/1002.421.html

Items (2) and (3) of 64DER21-15 definitely seem to apply to ALL schools, even private schools that don’t receive government funding.

Why is the state Board of Education only going after the district-run schools? Are they even asking what protocols charter and voucher funded private schools are following? Are they threatening to reduce the funding of charter and voucher funded private schools that follow CDC guidelines? The 4 out of the 7 Duval county school board members are merely trying to follow CDC guidelines. Ladapo’s new rule is NOT following CDC guidelines. I agree with the counties that say the Florida Health Department shouldn’t have the authority to tell the Constitutional Officers (the elected school boards)  to NOT follow CDC guidelines. It’s outrageous!

When people use the term “public schools,” are they being intentionally vague? What did “public schools” mean when Article IX of our Florida Constitution was last amended? I’ve heard many people say “charter schools are public schools” but they don’t have to follow all the rules set by district school boards. My memory tells me that charter schools have only been in Florida for 20 years. I’m not sure when the state legislature started giving vouchers to help cover the cost of private school tuition.

ARTICLE IX of Florida’s Constitution

SECTION 1. Public education.—(a) The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require. To assure that children attending public schools obtain a high quality education, the legislature shall make adequate provision to ensure that, by the beginning of the 2010 school year, there are a sufficient number of classrooms so that … 

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?submenu=3#A9S01

Book discussion on September 5th at Intuition Ale Works outside on the rooftop

Limit: 24 vaccinated people
The topic suggestions are in red. Excerpts from the book relating to that topic follow the topic question. “Location” is the location in the kindle version of the book.

1. Do agree with this?

 Location: 61—page xiv— “education is the one remaining public good to which most Americans still believe we are entitled to by right of citizenship.”

2. Let’s discuss the value of a public good and what is a public good.

 Location: 254—page 6–A private good benefits only those who consume it. A public good, such as public education, benefits all members of the local, state, and national community, whether or not they have children. …Neighborhood residents benefit when young people become involved in the community and reinvest their success locally. … That’s why we treat public education more like a park than a country club. We tax ourselves to pay for it, and we open it to everyone.
Location: 1,656—page 97—In research that would win him a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2016, Oliver Hart laid out the high cost of privatizing essential services. Privatization increases pressure to cut labor costs—worker pay, as well as funding for training—which, as he put it, “can lead to a substantial deterioration of quality”

3. What about testing? Should all schools give the same tests? Should testing be used to punish schools?

 Location: 2,356—page 144–In 1999, the inaugural year of Jeb Bush’s two terms as governor, Florida rolled out a system that assigned grades to schools solely on the basis of student standardized test scores. But such grading systems, popular among conservative lawmakers, school choice groups, and the American Legislative Exchange Council, spurred a backlash. Giving A ratings to schools solely on the basis of student test scores, which closely correlate with student demography, means that the wealthiest schools earn the top grades, while high-poverty schools get Ds and Fs. “‘A’ is for affluent,”

4. How much does deceptive advertising bother you?

 Location: 2,613—page 161–Outsized claims regarding college-going rates are common throughout the charter school marketing world. The “fine print,” meanwhile—that three out of four charter school graduates, on average, leave college without a degree—never appears.

5. How do you feel about neighborhood schools being forced to advertise because the charter schools and voucher funded private schools are advertising to lure kids away from the neighborhood and magnet schools?                

 Location: 2,510—page 155–Daniels imagined a future in which all schools, even those in affluent suburban districts, would feel the need to advertise. His hope was that schools would begin competing with each other more seriously for students and the dollars that come with them.
Location: 2,530—page 156–In a school landscape already riven by inequities of race and class, edvertising threatens to open new chasms: between privately subsidized charter networks with vast budgets to devote to advertising, and traditional public schools—or even small, independent charter schools—which must now direct scarce funds toward marketing.
Location: 2,583—page 159–What Moskowitz never mentioned was the expansive—and expensive—marketing that goes into producing that demand. After labor, which chews up the lion’s share of most school budgets, marketing is Success Academy’s biggest cost.
Location: 2,652—page 163–High-profile charter management organizations (CMOs) like Success Academy and KIPP have already developed these services in-house. Both devote extensive resources to building and maintaining their brands, projecting consistent imagery and narratives to an audience that includes not just prospective parents and teachers but also funders. KIPP, whose network of charters now includes 224 schools and more than one hundred thousand students, even maintains a “Brand Guidelines” video on its website.

6. What is the solution for the high cost of special education and the high cost of Bilingual courses?            

 Location: 603—page 29–Much of the increase in the cost of public education is due to an expansion of special education services. … In the 1960s spending on special education was less than half of what it would be by the end of the twentieth century. … In 1975 with the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which required a “free and appropriate” education for all children, regardless of mental, physical, or emotional difference. … Special education costs roughly twice what general education costs, and millions of students have disabilities—two hundred thousand in New York City alone.
Location: 2,196 to 2204—page 133–When the Bilingual Education Act was passed in 1968, funding for programs increased from $7.5 million to $68 million. In 1974, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act was passed, requiring school districts to overcome barriers limiting equal participation by students. … A third group of students whose education comes with a cost are those with physical and intellectual disabilities….As the libertarian Reason Foundation complained, the regulatory state has “created ample provisions to protect and serve children with disabilities” without establishing “a cost-control provision in the law to protect the schools.” Market-oriented conservatives argue that the cost of such regulations is mostly wasted. Parents unhappy with the quality of a particular school, if provided choice, will simply move their children until they find the right fit.

7. How do you feel about neighborhood schools and socialism?               

 Location: 292 –page 8–And it isn’t just essential nutrition that schools provide. Increasingly, they have offered “wraparound services”—an approach that treats the school as the delivery site for a vast range of supports that children and their families require to overcome the hurdles erected by economic and social inequality. Advocates maintain that since out-of-school factors weigh so heavily in determining student achievement, using the school to address what’s happening in the home and the neighborhood makes sense.

8. How much do you think the Citizens United decision and super PACs are hurting our democracy?

Location: 1,579—page 92–And in Florida, the largest for-profit charter network in the state, Academica, is a major donor to conservative PACs and candidates … In fact, Florida’s charter school law, with its lax regulation and oversight, was written with the aid of the founder of yet another for-profit charter network: Charter Schools USA.  … The founder and his companies gave lavishly to pro-charter legislators, who do their part to expand funding to the charter sector and fend off regulatory efforts. 

9. Let’s discuss DeSantis’ attack on the local school boards and his broader attack on democracy

Location: 266—page 6—Consider elected school boards: imperfect though they are, the democratic process allows voters to hold them accountable for the success of the local schools.

10. Are you worried about charter schools being a way for privatizers to profit off the taxpayers rather than wanting to solve the problems of educating our children?

 Location: 1,588—page 93–charter schools “have turned into cash cows through multi-million-dollar business deals between charter schools and their founders.” One of the most egregious examples cited by the journalists was Republican lawmaker and charter school founder Eddie Farnsworth, who leveraged the state’s lax charter laws to become a millionaire. After the Republic series wrapped up, Farnsworth earned millions more by selling his for-profit charter school chain to a nonprofit entity created specifically to buy it.
Location: 1,629 to 1634—page 96–Making matters more complicated is the legal gray area, often by design, that distinguishes nonprofit and for-profit schools. ECOT, the Ohio virtual school that imploded in 2018, was a nonprofit; but founder William Lager’s management company, which ran the schools, was a for-profit entity. Most states require charter schools to operate on a nonprofit basis, but they often do little to impede the self-dealing that occurs through facilities leasing and contracting for services. …One Cleveland charter school, for instance, was paying about $516,000 above market rate to its for-profit landlord Imagine Schools.
Location: 1,855—page 111—The founder of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, Nick Trombetta, was sentenced to prison in 2018 for embezzling more than $8 million from the school to purchase luxury goods and a private plane.
Location: 1,920—page 115–State audits revealed that two virtual charter schools fudged enrollment figures, then funneled the proceeds through a dizzying array of related companies. The auditors concluded that the officials “focused on maximizing profits and revenues by exploiting perceived vulnerabilities” at every level of state and local governance.
Location: 1,938—page 116–State regulators sought to “claw back” some of the profits that ECOT’s [another virtual charter school] founder had pocketed,

11. Should charter schools be eliminated or is adequate oversight and clawback provisions possible?

Location: 1,941—page 116–“Since so many of the virtual schools are driven by profit, one option is to limit private owners and operators. Another option is to create and implement safeguards regarding private EMOs.” The authors recommended creating regulatory oversight boards, mandating transparency regarding financing and student performance, and establishing accountability mechanisms.  
Location: 2,120—page 128–
Dramatic news stories of sudden school closures, as well as fraud perpetrated at the expense of teachers and students, are also fueling calls for more charter oversight.
Location: 2,211 to 2215—page 134–Nationwide, charter schools serve fewer students with disabilities than traditional public schools. As scholar Gary Miron has observed: “There is considerable evidence that charter schools actively discourage families from enrolling disabled children and counsel them to leave when they do manage to enroll.”31 Indeed, an entire industry of advocates and lawyers has emerged to help parents get the special education accommodations from charter schools that they are entitled to under federal law. … Private schools, for their part, are free to admit (or not admit) any student they like, even when the schools receive public funds via voucher programs  
Location: 2,224—page 135—School management companies, both for-profit and non-profit, are now routinely implicated in headline-grabbing financial scandals, many involving related-party transactions—wherein charter schools purchase goods or services from companies in which board members and other administrators have a financial stake. 

12. How worried are you that there is a movement afoot to eliminate the neighborhood schools?

Location: 39—page xiii of 267–[When the pandemic began and federal aid money was being made available] DeVos encouraged states to use federal funds to help parents pay private school tuition, and demanded that school districts share millions of aid dollars with wealthy private schools.
Location: 56—page xiv —When the Koch network held its annual retreat in 2018, Charles Koch told donors, that among the network’s priorities: replacing brick-and-mortar schools with a voucher program that would allow parents to purchase education products for their children in an Amazon-like marketplace.
Location: 161—page xxi —Those seeking to dismantle the system, meanwhile, are unified, patient, and well resourced.
Location: 3,303—page 207–As reporters for the Tampa Bay Times pointed out, DeSantis, who in the 2018 gubernatorial election beat an avowed supporter of public education by a mere thirty thousand votes, is enacted an ambitious plan for private school vouchers. … With a Republican-dominated legislature and a newly conservative Supreme Court in place to brush aside constitutional objections, Florida seems poised to dismantle its public education system once and for all.               

  13. Let’s discuss the broader ideology of personal freedom

 Location: 243—page 5— Freedom, of course, can be interpreted a number of different ways. One useful, if reductive, way of understanding such differences is to divide the concept between “freedom to” and “freedom from.”
Whereas the first kind of freedom, to act as an individual, requires checks on government power, the second kind of freedom requires the opposite. Freedom from hazards usually demands collective action, usually at the direction of government, and it often requires limits to individual autonomy.
Examples:
Freedom to: freedom to speak one’s mind, or to worship as one sees fit.
Freedom from: the threat of violence, or from environmental pollution.

14. Let’s discuss market philosophy and where it works and where it doesn’t

Location: beginning around 408—page 16–Unlike bread or beer or even milk, education is not merely produced for the individual who consumes it, but for the social, civic, and economic benefit of the broader public. ….Yet for adherents of market philosophy, what is true for the production of food is generalizable to public goods like education. …A contributor to the free market magazine Reason put it this way: “The freed market is a political-legal setting in which people are at liberty to peacefully pursue their chosen plans. This activity generates, unintentionally, an undesigned order that facilitates cooperation and coordination among even distant strangers, making each person’s pursuit more effective and efficient than otherwise…. And it does this work without compulsion or authoritarian central direction.”
Location: 432—page 17–The idea that the market model should be applied to education was first outlined three-quarters of a century ago by Milton Friedman.
 Location: 505—page 22–A report commissioned by the libertarian Reason Foundation, for instance, pronounced charters “a middle ground between the existing public-school system and a full school-choice program that allows the flow of public funds to private schools.” 
Location: 1,887—page 113–To that end, K12 Inc. has already experimented with outsourcing parts of its teachers’ jobs, including having student essays graded in India.   
Location: 1,980—page 119–The resulting prohibition against child labor was part of a vast legal framework that emerged during the Progressive Era, often in response to corporate abuses detailed by journalists who wanted to protect consumers and public interest   
Location: 2,089—page 126–Doug Tuthill, president of a group administering Florida’s school voucher program, wonders why teachers even need bachelor’s degrees, and maintains that private schools receiving taxpayer-funded vouchers should be free to hire whomever they want.

What are the qualifications to be on the state Board of Education?

I find it worrisome that these state Board of Education members who were appointed by Scott and DeSantis are drafting standards for our student’s curriculum.

An excerpt from the article:

Tuck took the State Board chairmanship — a position that can control the board’s agenda and serve as a bully pulpit — as the board stood poised to consider revisions to all K-12 academic standards. Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in January calling for the review, with results due to him by the start of 2020. The board could have proposals to debate and vote on by spring 2020.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/gradebook/2019/08/08/florida-board-of-education-chairman-takes-beating-over-past-comments-on-evolution/

It makes me wonder if the attacks on teaching evolution are part of the problem. If people don’t have a basic grasp of evolution, they can’t grasp that the virus mutates? Even though this is a 2019 article, Andy Tuck is still on the state Board of Education.
Excerpt from article:

Andy Tuck voted with the Highlands School Board in 2008 to oppose the teaching of evolution as fact.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/gradebook/2019/08/08/florida-board-of-education-chairman-takes-beating-over-past-comments-on-evolution/

How would you define expert when you want an expert to design the standards for a course on the Holocaust?

Do you object to any of the new Holocaust standards? The  final version of the Holocaust standards starts on page 20:
https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/18736/urlt/SR-SocialStudies.pdf

When we advocate for “experts” to draft standards for our district-run schools, how should we define “expert”?

The task force’s official position is that the Holocaust should be “taught in ways that encourage a pluralistic perspective and democratic practices.” This view is standard among Holocaust education experts.“ The Holocaust should be studied in a way that builds empathy and focuses on social action so that it doesn’t happen again,” Dobrick said. “You have to also bring into Holocaust education things like hate groups today, and hate crimes against Asian Americans, and shootings at synagogues and mosques.” Though the final draft of the standards includes, at the very end, the mandate to “recognize the significance of ‘Never Again,’” Hershfield argues that the rest of the document fails to live up to that goal. “If we truly want to educate our next generation to understand the evils of hatred, exposed during the Holocaust, we must address the universal lessons,” Hershfield wrote in a letter to FLDOE on June 11th. “Failure to do so effectively makes the last proposed standard a mere label without any meaning or substance.”  … LAST OCTOBER, the expert panel appointed to write Florida’s Holocaust education standards—a group composed of scholars and Jewish communal leaders—received feedback on a draft of the standards from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) provided by the right-wing Christian Zionist organization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN). … Tensions boiled over at a February meeting between FLDOE officials and members of the expert panel and task force. Stier likened the FLDOE’s reliance on PJTN to inviting a group “championing the so-called ‘lost cause’ of the southern states” to contribute to learning standards on slavery. … The expert panel rejected PJTN’s recommendations, citing both historical inaccuracies and an inappropriately religious tenor, which, they wrote in a letter, “has no place in the public school curriculum.” … Over the course of many months, the members of both the expert panel and a state-appointed Holocaust education task force of area experts fought to minimize PJTN’s influence on the standards—but the final draft still bears evidence of the group’s political project, and its efforts to overtly falsify history to build support for Zionism. The latest standards contain scaled-down versions of the inaccuracies that the experts have protested. … PJTN’s communications director, Jackie Monaghan, explained that “Jewish interests are a big part of our game plan.” The “game plan” of Christian Zionists is well established: They support complete Jewish control over Israel/Palestine based on the theological premise that it will bring about the rapture, or the end of days. The group approaches state education standards as an opportunity to cultivate political support for Zionism toward its theological ends. … PJTN is not the only group guiding the transformation of Florida’s schools: In 2020, FLDOE also invited Hillsdale College, a conservative college in Michigan with deep ties to pro-Trump Republicans, to weigh in on civics education standards. …

https://jewishcurrents.org/the-christian-zionist-group-shaping-holocaust-education-in-florida/

The League of Women Voters has a list of issues for which they advocate.  I think they need to define “expert” in this bullet point:

Support a curricular framework that includes broad common standards developed by educational experts that serves as a guide to local districts.

https://lwvfl.org/issues/education/

The way I understood Florida Statute 1003.42 (2)(g) is that its main purpose was to explain the Holocaust in a way to reduce prejudice against all groups. It wasn’t meant to be a history course or a course on comparative religions.  Am I wrong?  This is how that statute reads:

(g)1. The history of the Holocaust (1933-1945), the systematic, planned annihilation of European Jews and other groups by Nazi Germany, a watershed event in the history of humanity, to be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions,

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=1000-1099/1003/Sections/1003.42.html 

Some of the new standards seem to have an agenda other than trying to instill tolerance in our children. Specifically
1. It seems to me (and I could be wrong) 912.HE.1.3 is trying to tell kids that reparations led those paying the reparations into an irrational mob mentality. That seems a distortion of history. Certainly there could be a course about the pros and cons of reparations, but does it belong in a course about the Holocaust?
2. It seems to me (and I could be wrong) SS.912.HE.2.2  is trying to blame Hitler’s actions on the one Jewish kid who committed a crime. How is that helpful? It was HItler who did these things.  It’s like blaming George Floyd for Trump having protesters pepper sprayed.

Please tell me if you think these are OK. These are excerpts from the standards (see link above):
SS.68.HE.1.1 
 Students will describe the basic beliefs of Judaism.   
 Students will identify examples of antisemitism related to Israel 
SS.912.HE.1.3   
  Students will recognize German culpability, reparations and military downsizing as effects of the Treaty of Versailles  
SS.912.HE.1.7  
 Students will explain how the Nazis used propaganda, pseudoscience and the law to transform Judaism from a religion to a race.   
SS.912.HE.2.2 
 Students will understand the reasons for Herschel Grynszpan’s actions at the German embassy in Paris and how the assassination of Ernst vom Rath was a pretext used by the Nazis for Kristallnacht.

Admittedly my knowledge of history isn’t that great. I wasn’t interested in history in school. Maybe we do need to know the ugly as well as the good so we can know when people are distorting history. However, it doesn’t seem that the new standards are focusing on

The history of the Holocaust (1933-1945), … [should be] taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions,

What do people mean when they call something marxist?

A friend of mine used the term marxist so I asked him what he meant. This was his response:

If what you’re examining is class struggle and how an economic system determines behavior, you’re doing Marxist analysis.

But my friend wasn’t the only one that has used the term “marxist” lately and I don’t think the above definition fits into the context of how many people use the term. It sparked my curiosity so I went googling (aka searching the internet for clues as to what people mean when they use that word).

Some people seem to use the term marxist to mean a Stalinist type of communism but they are most assuredly wrong.

Rubio says he wants to send the BLM marxists to Cuba. DeSantis and Corcoran want to ban marxist critical race theory discussion from the district run schools. What do they mean by marxists? Do they even know what they mean or are they just using it as a scary term that they hope people will interpret to mean Stalinist type of communism?

Karl Marx did say “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” a slogan in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. The principle refers to free access to and distribution of goods, capital and services. It hits many people the wrong way because many feel that people should be rewarded for their hard work and their skills so a slogan such as that goes against that value.

Karl Marx is also popular for the idea that the workers of the world will rise up in revolution against the investors as part of his hypothesis of dialectical materialism. But according to my google search, most people think Marx was wrong about that. Scholars think that as long as the investors pay the workers well, the workers won’t be motivated to rise up in revolution. Also as time has progressed since Marx’s time, socialist programs–such as free education, employer provided health care, government provided safety net, OSHA safety regulations, social security, Medicare, etc–have dissuaded the workers from revolution against the investors.

Marx’s theory of Historical Materialism states that all objects, whether living or inanimate are subject to continuous change. The rate of this change is determined by the laws of dialectics. Marx says that new developments of productive forces of society came in conflict with existing relations of production. Engels postulated three laws of dialectics from his reading of Hegel’s Science of Logic. Engels elucidated these laws as the materialist dialectic in his work Dialectics of Nature: The law of the unity and conflict of opposites.

Another place where I recently read the word marxist was in a review of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition. Here’s the excerpt:

However, we need to listen carefully to what she is saying, for we can easily misunderstand her message as a call for humanity to rise from its torpor, take charge of events, and consciously make our own future. The trouble with that quasi-Marxist scenario is that there is no “humanity” that could take responsibility in this way.

It seems the author, who is writing a critique of of Arendt’s book, is using marxist to mean rising up in revolution. Do you agree? Dare I say that many use the term to mean that. And if you don’t mean that, will you be misunderstood if you don’t clearly define the term as you plan to use it.

My google search continues.

When historians refer to marxist theory, they mean something other than communism. It means a practical approach where you can suggest a set of rules based on evidence that will lead to an ideal society. Do you think that I have correctly summarized the below? Excerpt from link:

“Critical Theory” in the narrow sense designates several generations of German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition known as the Frankfurt School. … In the broader sense, any philosophical approach with similar practical aims could be called a “critical theory,” including feminism, critical race theory, and some forms of post-colonial criticism. …In both the broad and the narrow senses, however, a critical theory provides the descriptive and normative bases for social inquiry aimed at decreasing domination and increasing freedom in all their forms. … The issue for Left Hegelians and Marx was then somehow to overcome Hegelian “theoretical” philosophy, and Marx argues that it can do so only by making philosophy “practical,” in the sense of changing practices by which societies realize their ideals. … While Critical Theory defends the emphasis on normativity and universalist ambitions found in the philosophical tradition, it does so within the context of particular sorts of empirical social research, with which it has to cooperate if it is to understand such normative claims within the current historical context.

https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2016/entries/critical-theory/

Reading about the Frankfurt School took me down this rabbit hole because Horkheimer was part of the Frankfurt School. Excerpt:

No social philosophy that denies the singular import of suffering, and the corresponding desire to overcome that suffering, can properly grasp human social reality. Thus, in the 1933 essay “Materialism and Metaphysics” Horkheimer writes that man’s striving for happiness is to be recognized as a natural fact requiring no justification.”

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/horkheimer/

Is that where Thomas Jefferson got the idea for the pursuit of happiness? It’s based in the philosophy of Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School?

Another book group (that I’m in) was discussing a book about the Kurds in Syria and Turkey and Iraq. These particular Kurds love Öcalan. And he talks about Marx also. It seems to be everywhere these days. I went down the rabbit hole to learn about Öcalan.

Öcalan’s political thought is influenced by Murray Bookchin, Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as well as feminist political theory and the myths of Ancient Mesopotamia. Öcalan’s is the symbolic leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a militant left-wing nationalist movement, managing to maintain this role whilst in prison. He is the empty signifier of freedom, liberation and decolonization for Kurds, and his political project is one that can be classified as decolonial and as having a radical democratic aim. Crucial to Öcalan’s thought is a feminist politics in which he figures Women at the centre of his theory of democratic civilization or freedom. … Öcalan’s work from 2000 onwards illustrates a new political project in which he develops his own version of socialism through which ‘democratic self-government’ can function, and in practice this implies, according to Öcalan that it ‘builds on the self-government of local communities and is organized in the form of open councils, town councils, local parliaments and larger congresses

https://globalsocialtheory.org/thinkers/ocalan-abdullah/

I started this journey because of a discussion in a book group about a book on Native American history by Dunbar-Ortiz. Excerpt from a book review:

I’ve always thought the strength of Dunbar- Ortiz’s work is intertwined with exploring the effects of capitalism on collective tribal peoples’ cultural and political realities—which in turn means that a Marxist economic analysis is essential in order to ground the material world’s inequalities into a critique that amalgamates the intersectionality of race, class, and culture. … Dunbar-Ortiz is able to argue the main theoretical thrust of her text through the lens of settler colonialism.

I don’t think what the reviewer means by Marxist economic analysis is this definition that I found earlier:
A practical approach where you can suggest a set of rules based on evidence that will lead to an ideal society.

But perhaps he means this:
If what you’re examining is class struggle and how an economic system determines behavior, you’re doing Marxist analysis.

Continuing my google journey, I found this great article. Excerpt:

This tendency to criticize Marx without actually engaging his ideas…Another go-to argument of conservative thinkers is to dismiss Marx’s “theory of human nature”: either Marx was dangerously naive about the human capacity for evil and selfishness — which shows why his ideal classless society turned out to be such a bust in practice — or he believed that there was no human nature, that we are infinitely plastic beings that could be made and remade by a sufficiently rational and powerful state committed to utopian planning.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/08/conservatives-karl-marx-jordan-peterson-ben-shapiro

Here’s a good article about some of the things the author thinks Marx got right. Although everyone agrees that Marx’s major premise didn’t and probably won’t happen, i.e. the workers aren’t going to revolt against the investors as long as the investors pay the workers a living wage. And as the author says: Marx was wrong about many things. Most of his writing focuses on a critique of capitalism rather than a proposal of what to replace it with – which left it open to misinterpretation by madmen like Stalin in the 20th century.

1. The inherently chaotic, crisis-prone nature of capitalism was a key part of Marx’s writings. He argued that the relentless drive for profits would lead companies to mechanize their workplaces, producing more and more goods while squeezing workers’ wages until they could no longer purchase the products they created.
2. Marx warned that capitalism’s tendency to concentrate high value on essentially arbitrary products would, over time, lead to what he called “a contriving and ever-calculating subservience to inhuman, sophisticated, unnatural and imaginary appetites.”
3. The relentless search for new markets and cheap labor, as well as the incessant demand for more natural resources, are beasts that demand constant feeding.
4. The classical theory of economics assumed that competition was natural and therefore self-sustaining. Marx, however, argued that market power would actually be centralized in large monopoly firms as businesses increasingly preyed upon each other.
5. Marx believed that wages would be held down by a “reserve army of labor,” which he explained simply using classical economic techniques: Capitalists wish to pay as little as possible for labor, and this is easiest to do when there are too many workers floating around.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/marx-was-right-five-surprising-ways-karl-marx-predicted-2014-237285/

It can be confusing when people use terms such as marxism, capitalism, and socialism. And sometimes I think they purposely do it to obfuscate and use the logical fallacy of equivocation.

Equivocation fallacy occurs when one word has two different meanings. Simply put, the same word is used in two different contexts in the same phrase. Phrases that contain equivocation fallacy are not grammatically incorrect, but a change in the meaning of a word tends to change the subject of that sentence or phrase entirely.

Some say capitalism merely means that the government doesn’t run/operate/own the “something” and socialism means the government operates the “something.” In that sense, all the countries in the world are part socialist and part capitalist. There are different types of each.

This fun site uses the term “producers” which I assume means the workers. One of the types of capitalism (according to their analysis) is what they call right wing socialism partly described as follows:

A small minority, less than 1/10th of 1% of the citizens, takes control of Government and sets up Government programs that allow them to concentrate the wealth of the Nation into their hands. In Right Wing Socialism, the owners pay those who produce the commodities, trades, goods and service the least amount possible. Right Wing Socialism is operated very similarly to Communist Socialism. The Government is involved in both systems. In both systems the Government sets policies that redistributes and concentrates the money, value, energy, wealth, capital and power into the hands of the powerful people who control the Government.

https://youcreatemoney.com/5-21-three-types-capitalism/

Please take the civics standards survey

Please check the revise or eliminate benchmark blocks and put a note in the comment section for these standards.

Revise SS.K.CL.1.2 which says “Define a constitution as an agreed-upon set of rules.”
Please put this comment

Revise the standard to read:
Our constitution is the supreme Law of the Land.
Reason: By defining the constitution as a rule rather than a law, you have downgraded the Constitution by calling it just “rules” and not “laws.”
Add this clarification under the benchmark:
Article VI of our Constitution includes these words:
This Constitution … shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby

Revise SS.2.CL.3.2 which says “Identify the United States as a constitutional republic.”
Please put this comment:

Revise the standard to read:
Identify the United States as a democratic constitutional republic.
Add this clarification under the benchmark:
Our democracy depends on citizens being able to freely elect leaders who will represent their interests and on our citizens to be able to easily remove those representatives who abuse their power. The policies that representatives pursue should be dictated by public opinion. Our constitutional republic depends on our representatives making sure the laws they pass adhere to the Constitution including the Bill of Rights which aims to protect the minority from tyranny of the majority.

Revise SS.3.CL.1.2 Describe how the United States government gains its power from the people.
Please put this comment:

Add this clarification under the benchmark:
Our democracy depends on citizens being able to freely elect leaders who will represent their interests and on our citizens to be able to easily remove those representatives who abuse their power. The policies that representatives pursue should be dictated by public opinion. Our constitutional republic depends on our representatives making sure the laws they pass adhere to the Constitution including the Bill of Rights which aims to protect the minority from tyranny of the majority.

Revise SS.4.CL.3.3 which says “Identify the United States as a constitutional republic.”

Revise the standard to read:
Identify the United States as a democratic constitutional republic.
Add this clarification under the benchmark:
Our democracy depends on citizens being able to freely elect leaders who will represent their interests and on our citizens to be able to easily remove those representatives who abuse their power. The policies that representatives pursue should be dictated by public opinion. Our constitutional republic depends on our representatives making sure the laws they pass adhere to the Constitution including the Bill of Rights which aims to protect the minority from tyranny of the majority.

Eliminate SS.7.CL.1.3 which says “Explain the influence of religion (Hebraic and Christian) on America’s founding ideas about law and government.”
Under the comments, write:

If you want to teach religion, then do it in an elective comparative religion course. Otherwise, let parents and the religious institutions they choose explain the meaning of their own religious doctrine and how it is similar to the laws of the United States.

Revise SS.7.CL.2.4 which says “Explain how the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights safeguards and limits individual rights.”
Under the comments, write:

Change the clarification by adding “and arguments against” to “examine rationales for.” The clarification now reads
● Students will examine rationales for government-imposed limitations on individual rights (e.g., forced internment in wartime, limitations on speech rationing during wartime, suspension of habeas corpus).

Revise SS.7.CL.3.1 which reads “Analyze the advantages of the United States constitutional republic over other forms of government in safeguarding liberty, freedom and a representative government.”

It’s important to note that we are a democracy and a republic. I fear that calling our government merely a “constitutional republic” down plays the importance of active citizen involvement.

Revise SS.7.CL.3.10 Analyze the effects of landmark Supreme Court cases on law, liberty and the interpretation of the United States Constitution.

Revise the clarification by substituting “including but not limited to” instead of “e.g.
The clarification now reads:
Students will recognize landmark Supreme Court cases (e.g., Marbury v. Madison; Dred Scott v. Sandford; Plessy v. Ferguson; Brown v. Board of Education; Gideon v. Wainwright; Miranda v. Arizona; In re Gault; United States v. Nixon; Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier).

Revise SS.7.CL.3.13 Explain the advantages of capitalism and a free market system over government-controlled economic systems (e.g., socialism and communism) in generating economic prosperity for all citizens

Revise the benchmark by substituting “the hybrid system of regulated capitalism and some social services run by the government” in place of “capitalism and a free market system

Eliminate SS.912.CL.1.2 Analyze the influence of religion (Hebraic and Christian) on America’s founding ideas about law and government.

If you want to teach religion, then do it in an elective comparative religion course. Otherwise, let parents and the religious institutions they choose explain the meaning of their own religious doctrine and how it is similar to the laws of the United States.

Revise SS.912.CL.2.2 Explain the importance of political and civic participation to the success of the United States constitutional republic.

Revise by changing this clarification from
● Students will describe the ways in which individuals can be denied and limited in their right to practice political and civic participation (e.g., losing voting rights for felony conviction, limitations on political contributions, limits on the type of protesting).
to
● Students will describe the ways in which individuals have be denied or limited in their right to practice political and civic participation (including but not limited to felony conviction and campaign finance laws that favor the wealthy)

Revise SS.912.CL.2.7 Explain how the principles contained in foundational documents contributed to the expansion of civil rights and liberties over time.

Revise by changing this clarification:
● Students will explain how different groups of people (e.g., African Americans, immigrants, Native Americans, women) had their civil rights expanded through legislation action (e.g., Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act) executive action (e.g., Truman’s desegregation of the army and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation), and the courts (e.g., Brown v.Board of Education, In re Gault).
to
● Students will explain how different groups of people (e.g., African Americans, immigrants, Native Americans, women) were denied civil rights early in our country’s history but all Americans’ civil rights were made to be equal through constitutional amendments as well as court cases and legislative action.

Revise SS.912.CL.3.14 Analyze the role of federalism in establishing the relationship between the federal and state governments.

Revise by changing this clarification
from
● Students will analyze how states have challenged the federal government regarding states’ rights (e.g., Civil War, the New Deal, No Child Left Behind, Affordable Health Care Act and Civil Rights Movement).
TO
● Students will analyze how states have challenged the federal government regarding states’ rights (e.g. efforts at seceding from the United States by violent means and court cases challenging laws passed by Congress).


Civics standards in Florida–they asked our opinion

They asked our opinion. Here’s the survey:
https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6360487/Civics-and-Government-Standards-2
Here’s the proposed standards:
http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/18736/urlt/CivicsGovernment.pdf

The changes I suggested in the survey are listed in red:

SS.K.CL.1.1 Identify the purpose for rules and laws in the home, school and community.
● Students will define rules as standards of responsible behavior (e.g., rules for home and school).
● Students will define laws as a system of rules intended to protect people and property which are created and enforced by government (e.g., follow the speed limit).
● Students will identify the difference between rules and laws.
● Students will identify what happens without rules and laws.
SS.K.CL.1.2 Define a constitution as an agreed-upon set of rules.
● Students will recognize that the United States has a constitution.
● Students will identify the words “We the People” as found in the United States Constitution

I’d hate for Kindergarteners to learn that the Constitution is merely a rule that won’t be enforced by our government. I suggest they change the SS.K.CL.1.2 benchmark from
Define a constitution as an agreed-upon set of rules
to:
Define a constitution as the supreme law of the land.

SS.K.CL.2.3 Define patriotism as a love of one’s country.
● Students will identify the patriotic holidays and observances (e.g., American Founders Month, Celebrate Freedom Week, Independence Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Patriot Day, Veterans Day).

I don’t see how the clarification helps explain the benchmark. Delete this clarification:
Students will identify the patriotic holidays and observances (e.g., American Founders Month, Celebrate Freedom Week, Independence Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Patriot Day, Veterans Day)

SS.K.CL.2.4 Recognize symbols that represent the United States.
● Students will recognize the American flag, Pledge of Allegiance and United States currency as symbols that represent the United States.
● Students will identify “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” as the Pledge of Allegiance.

Delete currency as one of the symbols.
Add these symbols:
Liberty Bell, the Statute of Liberty
Add:
Students will identify when “under god” was added to the pledge of allegiance
and discuss if it makes atheists uncomfortable

SS.K.CL.2.5 Recognize symbols that represent Florida.
● Students will recognize Florida’s state flag as a symbol that represents the state

Delete that benchmark. How does it help? Some founding fathers were reportedly atheists and some Americans are atheists. It doesn’t feel right to push theism in a school that is supposed to be for all Americans.

SS.1.CL.2.4 Recognize symbols and individuals that represent the United States.
● Students will recognize the Bald Eagle, the United States President, Uncle Sam, and national motto (“In God We Trust”) as symbols that represent the United States.
● Students will recognize Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. as individuals who represent the United States.

Delete the benchmark or add: The modern motto of the United States of America, as established in a 1956 law signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is “In God we trust”. The 1956 law was the first establishment of an official motto for the country, although E Pluribus Unum (“from many, one”) was adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782 as the motto for the Seal of the United States. Many Americans are atheists which means they don’t believe in a god. In America, theists and atheists can live in harmony.

SS.1.CL.3.2 Recognize that the United States and Florida have Constitutions.
 Students will define a constitution as an agreed-upon set of rules.

Change “Students will define a constitution as an agreed-upon set of rules.”
To: Students will define our Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

SS.3.CL.1.2 Describe how the United States government gains its power from the people.
● Students will define popular sovereignty.
● Students will recognize what is meant by the consent of the governed.
● Students will identify sources of consent (e.g., voting and elections).
● Students will recognize that the United States republic is government by the “consent of the governed” and government power is exercised through representatives of the people.

Delete this:
Government power is exercised through representatives of the people.
Add this:
Elected representatives who abuse their power can be removed from office during an election, impeachment and recalls.

SS.3.CL.2.5 Recognize symbols, individuals, documents and events that represent Florida.
● Students will recognize the Great Seal of the Florida as a symbol that represents the state.
● Students will recognize William Pope Duval and William Dunn Moseley as individuals who represent Florida.
● Students will recognize the Declaration of Rights in the Florida Constitution as a document that represents Florida.
● Students will recognize that Florida became the 27th state of the United States on March 3, 1845

I don’t see what this has to do with civics. Delete this benchmark.

SS.4.CL.2.3 Identify ways Florida citizens can show respect for their state.
● Students will recognize ways for showing respect for Florida (e.g., cleaning up litter, showing care for wildlife, keeping waterways clean, putting flags on veterans’ graves, cleaning graffiti from public spaces and tending public gardens).

Instead of “state”, it should say community.

SS.4.CL.3.3 Identify the United States as a constitutional republic.
● Students will identify a constitutional republic as a symbol of the United States.
● Students will recognize that Florida has a representative government.

Change “constitutional republic” to “democratic constitutional republic.”
References:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/13/is-the-united-states-of-america-a-republic-or-a-democracy/
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/
Add:
As a republic’s most unique feature, a constitution, enables it to protect the minority from the majority by interpreting and, if necessary, overturning laws made by the elected representatives of the people. In the United States, the Constitution assigns this function to the U.S. Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. The Constitution was meant to foster a complex form of majority rule, not enable minority rule. American constitutional design can best be understood as an effort to establish a sober form of democracy. It did so by embracing representation, the separation of powers, checks and balances, and the protection of individual rights

SS.5.CL.1.4 Discuss arguments for adopting a republican form of government.
● Students will identify Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments supporting and opposing the ratification of the United States Constitution.
● Students will explain what is meant by a representative government

Add: Students will explain what it means to be a democratic republic with checks and balances to keep the majority from abusing the minority and to keep the elected representatives from abusing their power.

SS.7.CL.1.3 Explain the influence of religion (Hebraic and Christian) on America’s founding ideas about law and government.
● Students will recognize ideas contained in the founding documents (e.g., due process of law, equality of mankind, limited government, natural rights, the rule of law) have origins in religious texts.
● Students will identify “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as God-given rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
● Students will explain what is meant by the phrase “all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…” as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
● Students will describe how religious ideas (e.g., due process of law, equality of mankind, limited government, natural rights, the rule of law) influenced America’s Founding ideals and documents.

Delete this benchmark. Religion should be taught in the home and religious institutions. Keep the schools nonsectarian so everyone feels welcome. Please make every neighborhood school GREAT. Let people get their version of religion at their home and religious institution.

SS.7.CL.3.10 Analyze the effects of landmark Supreme Court cases on law, liberty and the interpretation of the United States Constitution.
● Students will recognize landmark Supreme Court cases (e.g., Marbury v. Madison; Dred Scott v. Sandford; Plessy v. Ferguson; Brown v. Board of Education; Gideon v. Wainwright; Miranda v. Arizona; In re Gault; United States v. Nixon; Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier).
● Students will use primary sources to assess the significance of each United States Supreme Court case.
● Students will evaluate the impact of each case on society.
● Students will recognize and/or apply constitutional principles and/or rights in relation to the relevant United States Supreme Court decisions

The “e.g.” list doesn’t include them all.

SS.7.CL.3.13 Explain the advantages of capitalism and a free market system over government-controlled economic systems (e.g., socialism and communism) in generating economic
prosperity for all citizens.
● Students will recognize various economic systems (e.g., capitalism, communism, socialism).
● Students will identify the relationship between various economic systems and the ideal of freedom.
● Students will analyze scenarios describing various forms of economic systems.

Revise the benchmark. The simple terms “capitalism” and “socialism” obscure the fact we have some government controlled systems such as police departments. Also we have regulated capitalism not a complete free market system.

SS.912.CL.4.1 Discuss how liberty and economic freedom generate broad-based opportunity and prosperity in the United States.
● Students will differentiate between government systems (e.g., autocracy, democracy, monarchy, oligarchy republic, theocracy).
● Students will differentiate between economic systems (e.g., capitalism, communism, mixed market, socialism).
● Students will analyze the disadvantages of authoritarian control over the economy (e.g., communism and socialism) in generating broad-based economic prosperity for their population.

Add: Brainstorm solutions to the problem of poverty and wages too low to survive without some form of welfare.

The state Board of Education is meeting in Jacksonville on June 10th and the public is invited

On June 10th, 2021 the Florida State Board of Education is meeting in Jacksonville.
Details: http://www.fldoe.org/policy/state-board-of-edu/meetings/

You might want to address this issue during the public comment period at the meeting on June 10th (or by email if you can’t make the meeting):

What does education commissioner Corcoran mean by traditional as compared to factual?

A new rule proposed by education commissioner Richard Corcoran would require Florida teachers to align their civics lessons to a traditional view of American history. The rule would address a concern raised by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who wants to make sure “critical race theory” — an approach to teaching the role of racism in U.S. society — isn’t used in the district run public schools. The measure, which is headed to the State Board of Education on June 10, states that teachers “may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” The rule also would require teachers not to share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate students to a point of view that deviates from the state’s newly adopted academic standards.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/education/2021/05/19/what-should-florida-kids-learn-about-us-history-a-rule-is-in-the-works/

WHO drafted these standards: 
http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/18736/urlt/HolocaustEducation.pdf  

Who suggested “benchmark” SS.4.HE.1.2?

SS.4.HE.1.2 Compare the similarities of Judaism to other major religions celebrated around the world, and in the United States and Florida, to see how they are similar and different.

I worry about Christian Nationalists (hashtag NOT ALL Christians) using benchmark SS.4.HE.1.2 to promote their version of Christianity. Older folks remember when some Protestants denigrated the Catholics in public schools. I have no problem with an elective comparative religion studies class but what is the purpose of this benchmark SS.4.HE.1.2 being part of the course required by 1003.42 (2)(g)?

Who suggested the wording of benchmark SS.912.HE.1.3?

SS.912.HE.1.3 Analyze how the Treaty of Versailles led to the increasing spread of antisemitism in Germany … 

Certainly the reparations included in the Treaty of Versailles caused the German workers hardships. The broad statement, in this benchmark SS.912.HE.1.3, that the treaty itself led to anti-Semitism isn’t historically accurate.

Powerful people use scapegoats to fuel tribalism and certainly that should be included in the courses required by Florida statute 1003.42 (2) (g) and (h)

Please ask the board of education if they have the authority to require the courses mentioned in the statutes to be taught not only at the district run schools but also at the voucher funded private schools and the charter schools, i.e. at all publicly funded schools.  I was sad that SB 772 (which aimed to do that) wasn’t even given a hearing in the committee to which it was assigned: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/772

For reference:

Florida statute 1003.42(2) .. 

(g) history of the Holocaust (1933-1945), the systematic, planned annihilation of European Jews and other groups by Nazi Germany, a watershed event in the history of humanity, to be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions, including the policy, definition, and historical and current examples of anti-Semitism, as described in s. 1000.05(7), and the prevention of anti-Semitism. Each school district must annually certify and provide evidence to the department, in a manner prescribed by the department, that the requirements of this paragraph are met. The department shall prepare and offer standards and curriculum for the instruction required by this paragraph and may seek input from the Commissioner of Education’s Task Force on Holocaust Education or from any state or nationally recognized Holocaust educational organizations. The department may contract with any state or nationally recognized Holocaust educational organizations to develop training for instructional personnel and grade-appropriate classroom resources to support the developed curriculum.
 (h) The history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the contributions of African Americans to society. Instructional materials shall include the contributions of African Americans to American society.

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/1213/BillText/er/PDF includes the following beginning on line 38:

Section 1. The Commissioner of Education’s African  American History Task Force is directed to examine ways in which the history of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots will be included in instruction on African-American history required pursuant to s. 1003.42(2)(h), Florida Statutes. The task force shall submit its recommendations to the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education by March 1, 2021.   


The Florida Board of Education is meeting June 10th in Jacksonville

Have you analyzed the new suggested standards?
Standards Under Review – Spring 2021
http://www.fldoe.org/standardsreview/

As this op-ed suggests, teaching kids to think critically is paramount: 
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/guest-commentary/os-op-civics-teaching-both-sides-on-race-20210514-773zq567zfckbg3xzoasmuehwa-story.html However, we shouldn’t distort the facts to fit our political agenda.

I am reading a book about Christian nationalists (hashtag NOT All Christians) that mentions a Hillsdale College propaganda flyer about Putin.  Please read it and tell me if you want Hillsdale College to be part of the standard setting process: https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-think-about-vladimir-putin/ I heard that Hillsdale College was a contributor to the standards. Please ask the board if that is true. I’ve sent a public records request but it went unanswered.

Another troubling issue that you might want to bring up with the Board of Education is Corcoran telling school districts to fire teachers based on his ideology.

Last week, she was led to believe that she had been fired based on a speech by state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. In the speech posted on a YouTube video by Hillsdale College in Michigan, where Corcoran gave the address, he said that “we made sure she was terminated” as part of his effort to keep teachers from “indoctrinating” students with critical race theory, according to news reports. 

https://www.splcenter.org/news/2021/05/21/blm-backlash-nations-racial-reckoning-meets-bitter-resistance-high-school-florida-named

Another issue (the church/state issue) you might want to mention is the importance of publicly funded schools being nonsectarian. As this article indicates, when schools are NOT nonsectarian, the non-majority religion may feel discriminated against. Let religious doctrine be taught at home and in the religious institutions not in publicly funded schools.

Catholic schools began in the United States as a reaction against a growing publicly-funded school system that was essentially Protestant.

https://www.catholicleague.org/anti-catholicism-and-the-history-of-catholic-school-funding/

Here are some of the proposed standards that I found troubling.

SS.7.C.1.12 Recognize how Judeo-Christian values influenced America’s Founding ideals and documents.
● Students will identify Judeo-Christian values (e.g., rule of law, God-given rights, equality of mankind, limited government, separation of powers, consent of the governed) in founding documents.
● Students will recognize the influence of the Protestant work ethic on economic freedom and personal responsibility.
● Students will recognize the influence of the Ten Commandments on establishing the rule of law in America.
SS.7.C.3.13 Explain the advantages of capitalism and a free market system over government controlled economic systems (e.g., socialism and communism) in generating economic prosperity for all citizens.
SS.912.C.1.5 Analyze the influence of Judeo-Christian values on America’s Founding ideals and documents.
• Students will recognize Judeo-Christian principles of law and government in primary sources (e.g., rule of law, God-given rights, equality of mankind, limited government, separation of powers, consent of the governed) in primary sources to including but not limited to, the Articles, Lawes and Orders, Divine, Politique and Martiall for the Colony in Virginea (1610-1611); Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639); Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641); Constitution of Massachusetts (1780)).
SS.912.C.4.1  Analyze the advantages of the United States constitutional republic and free market economic system over authoritarianism (e.g., autocratic or oligarchic) and government-controlled economic systems (e.g., socialism and communism).

Part of the problem is church/state separation issues as I mentioned above. Another issue is not distinguishing between regulated capitalism and crony capitalism. The standard that reads “advantages of capitalism over socialism” has the logical fallacy of a false dichotomy.


The Florida Board of Education is meeting June 10th at 9 am
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Advanced Technology Center
401 West State Street,
Room T140/141
Jacksonville, FL 32202

These are the board members:
Chair, Andy Tuck – Andy.Tuck@fldoe.org
Vice Chair, Marva Johnson – Marva.Johnson@fldoe.org
Monesia Brown – Monesia.Brown@fldoe.org
Ben Gibson – Ben.Gibson@fldoe.org
Tom Grady – Tom.Grady@fldoe.org
Ryan Petty – Ryan.Petty@fldoe.org
Joe York – Joe.York@fldoe.org

The Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran can be contacted:
Karen Dennis Phone: 850-245-0505
Email: Commissioner@fldoe.orgEDIT

Letters to the editor published 2020 and 2021

State legislators need to safeguard our tax dollars Published April 25, 2021
Charter schools need clawback provision Published April 10, 2021
All publicly funded schools should be required to meet the same high standards Published March 15, 2021
Ideas for charter school reporting Published February 13, 2021
Civics education in schools needs a boost Published February 25, 2021
Charter schools need clawback provision Published Feb 3, 2021
School sales tax needs clawback provision Published December 20, 2020
Oppose SB 484 Published January 15, 2021
Say no to SB 582 Published February 5, 2021
We need compassion and empathy from police Published October 13, 2020
Parks shouldn’t be named for human traffickers Published Sept 9, 2020
Mayor needs to put teeth Into his mask mandate Published August 14, 2020
Published June 18 but no title–it was about Mayor Curry using our tax money to bring Trump here
Legislature should not require sharing funds with charters Published Feb 25, 2020

Can public sentiment persuade our school board to deny charter school applications?

My public records request revealed that no capital outlay funds were returned after the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) showed seven Duval Charter schools as closing between 2015 and 2020. No capital outlay funds were recouped in spite of the Florida statute 1013.62 that says:

(5) If a charter school is nonrenewed or terminated, any unencumbered funds and all equipment and property purchased with district public funds shall revert to the ownership of the district school board, as provided for in s. 1002.33(8)(d) and (e). In the case of a charter lab school, any unencumbered funds and all equipment and property purchased with university public funds shall revert to the ownership of the state university that issued the charter. The reversion of such equipment, property, and furnishings shall focus on recoverable assets, but not on intangible or irrecoverable costs such as rental or leasing fees, normal maintenance, and limited renovations. The reversion of all property secured with public funds is subject to the complete satisfaction of all lawful liens or encumbrances. If there are additional local issues such as the shared use of facilities or partial ownership of facilities or property, these issues shall be agreed to in the charter contract prior to the expenditure of funds.

Action item:  Write your elected state representatives and ask why they didn’t put more protections in place before they voted yes on HB 7097 in 2020 forcing us to give part of sales surtax to charter schools on a per student rather than a needs based formula. Clearly more protections were needed since no capital outlay funds were returned (according to the public records request) when charter schools closed. The legislature forced us to give our sales tax dollars to charter schools on a per student basis with HB 7097.  It begins on line 1301 of HB 7097:

(b) The resolution must include a statement that … the revenues collected must be shared with eligible charter schools based on their proportionate share of the total school district enrollment.

 https://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/7097/BillText/er/PDF

Would public sentiment give the school board the strength to deny charter school applications for charter schools that don’t clearly lay out the plan for returning our sales surtax dollars in the event the school closes?

The newly approved KIPP charter school has requested to be a feeder school so it doesn’t have to wait the two year probationary period to get our sales surtax money. My understanding is the school district has the ability to deny that request. If they approve the request, then all other schools will get a smaller percentage of the sales surtax money since the allocation is based on a percentage of the school’s enrollment to total enrollment.

According to a DCPS website $922,541.99 is the sales surtax share for the charter schools in 2021 so far. I hope going forward the website will give us more information. I assume that number is the dollar amount for January to March since sales tax returns are normally filed quarterly and the sales surtax began January 1st of this year.

Please encourage your elected school board representative or sales surtax citizen oversight committee member to demand that the school district make the website report this information:

  • How much of our sales surtax money did each charter school get?
  • What provisions are in each charter school contract that will allow the school district to recoup the funds, the equipment, and the facility purchased with our sales surtax dollars if the charter school should close?
  • Date the charter school closed if it isn’t still open or the date it quit receiving funds
  • Reason the charter school isn’t receiving funds other than a closing. Examples are listed in Florida Statute 1013.62 and include financial problems or inadequate student achievement.
  • How much, if any, of our sales surtax dollars was recouped when the charter school closed?

My public records request asked why the seven Duval County Charter schools (that had been receiving state capital outlay funds) quit receiving them.

Many other charter schools closed before they had been open 2 years, which is the usual probationary period before a charter school can receive capital outlay funds under 1013.62. The two KIPP schools in the list of seven charter schools that closed didn’t exactly close; they merged with another KIPP school. I wonder why. Was it so they could more easily share money? Was it because merging them protected them from losing funds due to a bad grade? According to Florida Statute 1013.62, the capital outlay funding will stop for a couple of reasons including not meeting these requirements:

2. Have an annual audit that does not reveal any of the financial emergency conditions provided in s. 218.503(1) for the most recent fiscal year for which such audit results are available.

3. Have satisfactory student achievement based on state accountability standards applicable to the charter school.

The other five charter schools on the list are shown as closing for various reasons including financial insolvency and declining enrollment.

The public records department of the Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) made me pay $151.44 before they’d look for the information. Don’t you think the information should be readily available? The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) abdicated responsibility even though it was the state legislators that forced these dollars to be given to charter schools with inadequate safeguard provisions within the state law. The FLDOE responded to my public records request:

The Duval County School Board serves as sponsor of charter schools and would be the appropriate resource for information on school closures in the county. You may contact Mr. Eugene Hays, Director of Charter Schools, Duval County School at hayse@duvalschools.org to find the reasons the listed charter schools closed.

I continue to wish the school board or citizen sales surtax oversight committee would create better safeguards for our sales surtax money that is going to charter schools that may close. It’s a travesty that the state legislators passed HB 7097 in 2020 forcing us to give our sales surtax to charter schools without proper safeguards.

The dollar amount being reported on the FLDOE website (as shown below) as received includes PECO funds which (I think) in some years the state legislators gave it all to charter schools and none to the neighborhood or magnet schools. These are the seven charter schools I asked about:

2012-2019
total $ rec’d school #
318,575160601   KIPP VOICE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (closed 2017)
515,118161341   MURRAY HILL HIGH SCHOOL (closed 2015)
21,161165531   VALOR ACADEMY OF LEADERSHIP MIDDLE SCHOOL (closed 2016)
149,650165581   KIPP JACKSONVILLE K-8 (closed 2018)
22,327161381   SOMERSET EAGLE HIGH SCHOOL (closed 2016)
279,440165501   Somerset Preparatory Academy (closed 2015)
418,464161181   SIATECH (SCHOOL FOR ACCELERATED LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGIES, INC) (closed 2020)

The Florida statutes 1013.62 (4) say capital outlay funds can only be expended by charter schools for these reasons:

   (a) Purchase of real property.  (b) Construction of school facilities.  (c) Purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of permanent or relocatable school facilities. (d) Purchase of vehicles to transport students to and from the charter school. (e) Renovation, repair, and maintenance of school facilities that the charter school owns or is purchasing through a lease-purchase or long-term lease of 5 years or longer. (f) Payment of the cost of premiums for property and casualty insurance necessary to insure the school facilities. (g) Purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of driver’s education vehicles; motor vehicles used for the maintenance or operation of plants and equipment; security vehicles; or vehicles used in storing or distributing materials and equipment. (h) Purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of computer and device hardware and operating system software necessary for gaining access to or enhancing the use of electronic and digital instructional content and resources; and enterprise resource software applications that are classified as capital assets in accordance with definitions of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, have a useful life of at least 5 years, and are used to support schoolwide administration or state-mandated reporting requirements. Enterprise resource software may be acquired by annual license fees, maintenance fees, or lease agreement. (i) Payment of the cost of the opening day collection for the library media center of a new school.

I asked the FLDOE:  Is there any provision to pay the taxpayer back if the building is sold?

​They answered:
​Section 1013.62 (4) F.S. states, “If a charter school is non-renewed or terminated, any unencumbered funds and all equipment and property purchased with district public funds shall revert to the ownership of the district school board. The reversion of such equipment, property, and furnishings shall focus on recoverable assets, but not on intangible or irrecoverable costs such as rental or leasing fees, normal maintenance, and limited renovations. The reversion of all property secured with public funds is subject to the complete satisfaction of all lawful liens or encumbrances. If there are additional local issues such as the shared use of facilities or partial ownership of facilities or property, these issues shall be agreed to in the charter contract prior to the expenditure of funds.”

I asked the FLDOE:  Do related party rules apply so that our sales surtax money can ONLY be used (directly or indirectly via lease payments to a related party) on items mentioned in 1013.62(4)? In other words, can related parties use our sales surtax money to repay loans? It seems that charter schools are setting up related party entities to skirt the rules of 1013.62(4) that bar capital outlay funds from being used to repay loans.  Is that legal?

​They answered:​
Capital outlay may be used to purchase, construct or lease a facility. The sponsor ​[the school district] ​has fiduciary responsibility as it holds the contract with the governing board of the charter school.

Don’t those answers give you the impression that the elected school board and the school district have some ability to deny charter school applications in order to protect our sales surtax money? If you answer yes to that question, please write your elected school board member. Public sentiment might give the school board the courage to act to safeguard our sales surtax money in spite of what the state legislators have done.

Action item:
Write your elected school board member (or maybe all seven school board members) and ask:

What protections are in place to recoup our sales surtax dollars WHEN a charter school closes? Please deny any charter school applications whose charter contract doesn’t clearly lay out the charter school’s plan to allow the school district to recoup the sales surtax dollars and the assets it purchased when the charter school closes.

You might ask how that can be done when the sales surtax money may be used to make lease payments to an organization that is related to the charter school? That raises this question: are charter schools setting up shell companies to skirt the rules? If yes, what can be done about their effort to defraud the taxpayer?

References and other articles of interest

As for a breakdown, Florida schools did earn perfect scores as far as accountability. That’s because the publicly-funded charter schools must abide by Florida’s Sunshine Law with open meetings and records, and the schools are subject to audits. But the state gets slammed for allowing for-profit entities to run charter schools and for allowing charter school boards to contract with private management contractors. NEA leaders, meanwhile, say the poor performance of charters nationwide shows how the concept has ultimately failed to meet expectations.

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/296109-nea-issues-florida-failing/

Governments at all levels have failed to implement systems that proactively monitor charter schools and hold them accountable. A 2016 report from the Center for Popular Democracy documents waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of charter school funds, totaling more than $216 million.

https://www.nea.org/resource-library/state-charter-statutes

For the last two decades, Florida has been a laboratory for school choice policies: alternatives to public education like privately-run charter schools and taxpayer-funded scholarships to private institutions. Diane Ravitch argues that’s not something to celebrate or emulate. Ravitch is a historian, advocate and former assistant education secretary under Republican President George H. W. Bush. She once believed charters, vouchers and standardized testing could improve public school education. “I came to realize that the privatization movement was a continuation of a decades-long campaign by right-wingers who hated public schools, which they derisively called ‘government schools,’” she wrote of her personal evolution in her new book, Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools. “I renounced my own past views and determined to expose the well-funded smear campaign against American public schools and their teachers,” she wrote.

https://www.wlrn.org/education/2020-01-27/in-new-book-national-education-historian-calls-florida-model-of-lawlessness-and-greed