Ask legislators to amend SB 7030 before the 4-24-19 vote.

This is the definition of the third reading and it looks to me there is a
chance for amendments: “Debate on final passage occurs; a two-thirds vote is required to amend at this stage.”

Please ask the legislators to amend SB 7030 so that the taxpayers are NOT giving the charter schools extra taxpayer money to arm their teachers. And please make sure the taxpayers will not be liable for accidents if a charter school decides to arm their teachers. SB 7030 gives the charter schools the option of arming their teachers BUT the taxpayer should not be forced to fund that decision.

Funding for school safety should not be limited to armed personnel. The school district should have more flexibility in deciding how to use funds to secure their schools. Please advocate for amending SB 7030 to allow the school districts to spend the money however they choose to reduce risks.

The GOP dominated legislature wants  the school districts to have the option of letting teachers bring guns into their classrooms. Most school districts are going to choose NOT to let teachers carry guns while they are teaching. Please amend SB 7030 to delete the language that says that the appropriated funding must be used exclusively for weapons to be brought into the classroom.

Panic buttons or metal detectors might be a better use of the funds. Please let each school district decide how to use the money.

guns in schools

Lines 234 to 238 of SB 7030 currently reads as follows:

c. The sheriff conducting the training pursuant to subparagraph 2. will be reimbursed for training-related costs and for providing a one-time stipend of $500 to each school guardian

Please ask the legislators to amend SB 7030 so that the taxpayers are NOT giving the charter schools extra taxpayer money to arm their teachers.

On another note, the per student funding that the legislators are giving to charter schools and private schools should not be more than 70% of what the neighborhood schools get. Neighborhood schools act as hurricane shelters, adult schools, parks for the neighborhood, etc. Plus my belief is that most parents want their kids to go to a school close to their home. Please make all the neighborhood schools GREAT before you subsidize the private schools with my taxpayer money. Also please make all the anti-bullying and anti-discrimination rules that apply to the neighborhood schools also apply to the charter and private schools receiving voucher money.

Does bigoted language increase feelings of hate? Are feelings of hate growing in our country?

A few quotes from an article (Bigotry and the English Language by TA-NEHISI COATES) that explores the definition of bigotry:

Wes Alwan’s definition of a bigot as someone who is wholly unpersuadable, wholly without conflict, and wholly without doubt, is a description of a myth. … Wes Alwan’s understanding of the word “bigot” is ignorant of the word’s current usage, especially its usage by those most affected by bigotry.

Link to the article:
https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/12/bigotry-and-the-english-language/281935/

This is a good time to point out that taxpayers are funding charters and private schools that do not need to follow the rules of the neighborhood schools. How horrible will we feel if a charter school or a school receiving voucher money turns out to be some sort of white nationalist propaganda mill? There is no reason SB 1272 (and the companion bill HB 741) shouldn’t apply to any school receiving public money, either directly or indirectly.

SB 1272 and HB 741 lay out the words of antisemitism. As Coates says in that Atlantic article, words trigger feelings of discrimination. Those not within that minority group may NOT understand how hurtful certain words might feel. When bigoted people use certain words they are signaling those other bigoted people within their bigoted group. I think that is the reason that Representative Fine goes into such detail as to what words signal antisemitism in his bill HB 741. Experts in drafting laws and in Jewish history and current affairs should consider that the law would be more effective if it was drafted in broader terms rather than specific terms. For example, instead of specific language, what about substituting lines 61 to 78 of HB 741 with these broader terms as to what constitutes bigoted language:

(a)
1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of a group of people based on their religion, race or gender.
2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about a group of people based on their religion, race or gender.
3. Accusing a group of similar people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single person from that group.
4. Denying the Holocaust. [Perhaps the narrative could be specific as to exactly what happened during the Holocaust.]
5. Accusing a citizen of being more loyal to another country just because another person of similar ethnicity or religion has demonstrated that proclivity.

Link to the bill:
https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0741c2.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0741&Session=2019

Please write your representatives and ask that SB 1272 (HB 741–the companion bill) be amended. Racial, gender or religious bigotry should NOT be tolerated in any school receiving public funds, either directly or indirectly. The language of the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450) should be included because we want freedom of religion laws to be used as a shield against discrimination and not as a sword to harm others. Require that civility classes be taught. Prevention and education are the keys to reduce bigotry.

Link to information about the Do No Harm Act:
http://www.protectthyneighbor.org/do-no-harm-act

In addition to describing bigoted language, SB 1272 (HB 741-the companion bill) wants to add religion to this statute. Here is how the statute (before adding religion) reads:

1000.05 (2)(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, ..

SB 1272 goes before the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee on April 8th. Jacksonville Florida Senator Audrey Gibson is on that committee. Please write to the Honorable Audrey Gibson about this issue before April 8th. Feel free to use any of the points I used in my email to the Florida Senator:

To: gibson.audrey@flsenate.gov

Honorable Audrey Gibson,

SB 1272 is on the agenda for the Judiciary committee for April 8th at 4 pm. The bill addresses antisemitism and adds religion to Florida statute 1000.05. PLEASE ask for these amendments to be added to the bill before voting yes:

1. SB 1272 (and the companion bill HB 741) should amend 1000.05 of the Florida statutes so that the statute applies to any school receiving local, state or federal financial assistance. Religious, racial or gender bigotry should NOT be tolerated in any school receiving public money, directly or indirectly. How horrible will we feel if a charter school or a school receiving voucher money turns out to be some sort of white nationalist propaganda mill? Now is the time to make sure that 1000.05 covers all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.

2. In addition to specifically mentioning antisemitism, please also mention anti-atheism and other minority groups that have felt the brunt of religious bigotry.

3. The bill should include a requirement that civility and sensitivity classes be taught in all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance. All school children should learn that religious, racial and gender bigotry isn’t polite. The idea is to address hatred, yes?

4. The language of the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450) should be included. Our First Amendment religious clauses and other religious protection laws should be a shield of protection from discrimination not a sword to do harm to others.

The comments during the House Education and the House Judiciary committee meetings (discussing HB 741) made it clear why we need civility and sensitivity classes in all the schools. People testified in those committee meetings about the discrimination they or their friends have experienced in life.

I am worried that adding religion to the Florida statutes (without safeguards) might cause unintentional consequences (similar to what happened with RFRA). Americans United for Separation of Church and State as well as the ACLU supported RFRA decades ago. They did not predict how it would be used to harm others. They are now promoting the Do No Harm Act to fix the problems caused by RFRA. In my view, the wording of the Do No Harm Act should be included wherever religion is given special protection in state or federal laws. Our First Amendment religious clauses and other religious protection laws should be a shield of protection against discrimination not a sword to do harm to others.

Sincerely yours,
Concerned Jacksonville citizen

How do we reduce hate?

No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry. HB 741 should apply to all schools receiving local, state and federal financial assistance.

HB 741 adds religion to the list in 1000.05 of the Florida statutes.

Please tell the sponsors of the bill to quit imposing regulations on public schools when they aren’t willing to apply the same rules to other schools receiving taxpayer money. IF the bill is a good one, then it should apply to all schools receiving taxpayer assistance. IF it isn’t a good rule, then why should it be imposed on the public schools?

Some people call others “snowflakes” when the so-called snowflake asks people not to use racial slurs or religiously bigoted terms. The legislature is considering a bill (SB 1410) that will give voucher money to anyone claiming to have been bullied. But what happens to the bully and the other kids left in the school with the bully? We need to teach kids NOT to bully whether in the public, charter or private schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.

HB 741 should allocate funding to teach civility and sensitivity so kids learn not to bully and not to be insensitive to others.

I know some viewed the Convington Catholic private school boys in DC and perhaps even the Kavanaugh hearings differently than I did. BUT what I saw was several insensitive white boys. They need civility and sensitivity training as much as anyone in the public school. Did you see the part of the video where the boys *pulled* one of the two black kids to the front of the crowd to show the Black Hebrew Israelites that they had people of color in their group? Did you see the video where the one catholic private school boy said “it’s not rape if you enjoy it”? I am not saying this to condemn them. I have said stupid insensitive stuff in my life also. What I am saying is that we ALL need civility and sensitivity training.

I think it is a good idea to add religion to the list in 1000.05 of the Florida statutes. However, I think HB 741 should be amended in the following ways before it continues to the various committees in Florida’s Congress:

1. HB 741 (and 1000.05 of the Florida statutes) should apply to any school receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.

2. If it is going to point out antisemitism then it should also mention Islamophobia and anti-atheism and perhaps other minority religious groups that have felt the brunt of religious bigotry.

3. It should include funding and requirements that civility and sensitivity classes be taught in all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance. The class must be taught by someone certified in sensitivity training.

4. The bill should have pro-active prevention and course correction ideas MORE than punishment.

5. None of the language in HB 741 should imply that one can’t make valid criticisms of a religion. The goal should NOT be to curtail freedom of speech in such a way that valid criticisms can’t be expressed in a civil and productive manner. The spirit of the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450) should also be included because we don’t want freedom of religion to be used as a sword to harm others.

6. Where possible the language of what religious bigotry means should be worded in broader terms. For example re-word lines 51 to 77 of the original version of HB 741 to read

(7) A K-20 educational institution that has received local, state or federal financial assistance must treat religious discrimination by students or employees in an identical manner to discrimination based on race. For purposes of this section, the term religious discrimination includes expressions of hatred toward the religious minority, rhetorical and physical manifestations of that bigotry directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward the community institutions or religious facilities.

(a) Examples of religious bigotry include:

1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of a group of people based on their religion.

2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about a group of people based on their religion.

3. Accusing a group of similar people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single person from that group.

4. Denying the Holocaust. Perhaps the narrative could be specific as to exactly what happened during the Holocaust.

5. Accusing a citizen of being more loyal to another country just because another person of similar ethnicity or religion has demonstrated that proclivity.

The focus of the bill should be to reduce and maybe eliminate bullying and religiously bigoted language. All school children should learn that religious bigotry isn’t polite. The idea is to address hatred based on religion, yes? With the recent shootings at the synagogue and the mosque, we continue to wonder what we can do to prevent these tragedies. Can we teach people not to hate? Shouldn’t we try? Discrimination against atheists is also part of religious bigotry.

It shouldn’t be about punishment. It should be about course correction. That is why it is vital that the bill provide funding for a required course which will teach sensitivity and civility. The course should be required to be taught every year in any school receiving local, state or federal assistance. The teacher of the civility course should be certified in the field of civility and their salaries should be paid from the state treasury.

1000.05 and bill HB 741 should cover charter schools and private schools that receive voucher money.   HB 741 will add “religion” to the list in 1000.05 (2)(a). This is how 1000.05(2)(a) reads now:

1000.05 (2)(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, or in any employment conditions or practices, conducted by a public educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state financial assistance.

Sponsors and co-sponsors of HB 741:

Representatives Fine, Caruso, Donalds, Fischer, Killebrew, LaMarca and Roach

Link to bill: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/00741
Amendment to HB 741 was proposed and adopted on March 21st in the Education Committee.  It removed lines 95-99 and inserted:

(c) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the State Constitution. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to conflict with federal or state discrimination laws.

Please tell the committee members to vote no on SB 7070

You can send this email in a minute or two! 
We need YOU!
Here is the link to SB 7070:  https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/07070

Quotes from this ARTICLE:

Does the state have so much money that it can fully fund our public education system, meet our other needs and then throw some money at those wanting to send their children to private schools using tax dollars? The answer is no. … Why would legislators, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, think the new program could pass constitutional scrutiny with tax dollars going directly to religious, private or for-profit schools? Perhaps it’s because the governor replaced three state Supreme Court justices who reached the mandatory retirement age. His conservative nominees are likely to view vouchers and separation of church and state differently than the more moderate or liberal justices they replaced.

Quotes from this ARTICLE:
[This might be the ONLY good part of the bill]:

SPB 7070 TRAIN: Enhance Support for Community Wrap-Around Services – Senate Priorities The legislation will also stabilize state support of neighborhood public schools with unique community needs.  Leveraging the successful leadership of the Center for Community Schools, legislation will promote the expansion of, and encourage funding for, new Community Schools. Additionally, the legislation will secure Florida’s investment in the success of public schools in, or exiting, district-managed turnaround status through sustained support for wrap-around services such as after-school programs, extended school day or school year, counseling, or other support services.

SB 7070 passed one committee on March 6.  HERE is the list of how the committee members voted. Lauren Book, Anitere Flores, and Jason Pizzo weren’t on the committee  that voted March 6th but they are on the committee voting March 19th,

Suggested email:
To: diaz.manny@flsenate.gov, baxley.dennis@flsenate.gov, book.lauren@flsenate.gov, flores.anitere@flsenate.gov, montford.bill@flsenate.gov, pizzo.jason@flsenate.gov, simmons.david@flsenate.gov, stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov
Subject: Please vote no on SB 7070
Dear Members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education,

Please vote no on SB 7070 when it reaches the committee on March 19th. 

I have many questions. One of my questions is about lines 455 and 456:

(d) Any student participating in the program must remain in
  455  attendance throughout the school year unless excused by the
  456  school for illness or other good cause.

Here are my questions about that section.  If the student doesn’t stay in the private school all year, will a public school be required to enroll the student? Will the public school be given the funds that would have been allocated to it if the student had originally enrolled in the public rather than the private school? Does the private school have to give the tuition back to the state?

One part of the bill I do like (and I hope you’ll include it in another bill after you vote NO on SB 7070) is the part that will increase funding for Community Schools.  It is lines 630 to 725:

Section 4. Part VII of chapter 1003, Florida Statutes,
  631  consisting of s. 1003.64, Florida Statutes, is created and
  632  entitled “Public School Innovation.”
  633         1003.64Community School Grant Program.—It is the intent of
  634  the Legislature to improve student success and well-being by
  635  engaging and supporting parents and community organizations in
  636  their efforts to positively impact student learning and
  637  development.
  638         (1) PURPOSE.—The Community School Grant Program is
  639  established within the Department of Education to fund and
  640  support the planning and implementation of community school
  641  programs, subject to legislative appropriation.
  642         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  643         (a)“Center for Community Schools” means the center
  644  established within the University of Central Florida.
  645         (b) “Community organization” means a nonprofit organization
  646  that has been in existence for at least 3 years and serves
  647  individuals within the county in which a community school is
  648  located.
  649         (3) COMMUNITY SCHOOL.—
  650         (a) A community school is a public school that receives a
  651  grant under this section and partners with a community
  652  organization, a university or college, and a health care
  653  provider to implement programs beyond the standard hours of
  654  instruction which may include, but are not limited to, student
  655  enrichment activities such as job training, internship
  656  opportunities, and career counseling services; wellness
  657  services; and family engagement programs.
  658         (b) Each community school must designate a person of its
  659  choosing as the community school program director. A community
  660  school program director shall coordinate with the partners
  661  specified under paragraph (a) to:
  662         1. Facilitate the implementation of a community school
  663  program.
  664         2. Comply with the reporting requirements under paragraph
  665  (5)(a).
  666         (4) CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SCHOOLS.—The Center for Community
  667  Schools is established within the University of Central Florida.
  668  A center director shall head the Center for Community Schools.
  669  At a minimum, the center director shall:
  670         (a) Disseminate information about community schools to
  671  community organizations; district school boards; state
  672  universities and Florida College System institutions; and
  673  independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities located
  674  and chartered in this state which are accredited by the
  675  Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges
  676  and Schools and are eligible to participate in the William L.
  677  Boyd, IV, Effective Access to Student Education Grant Program.
  678         (b) Coordinate, facilitate, and oversee the implementation
  679  of community schools that receive a grant under this section,
  680  and submit an annual report to the commissioner pursuant to
  681  paragraph (5)(b).
  682         (c)Publish on the center’s website the application form
  683  for:
  684         1. Implementing a community school program.
  685         2. Certification by the center as a community school.
  686         (d)Publish on the center’s website the process and
  687  criteria for:
  688         1. Approving the application for implementing a community
  689  school program under subparagraph (c)1.
  690         2. Awarding the certification under subparagraph (c)2.
  691         (e) Establish a process to administer grant funds awarded
  692  under this section.
  693         (f)Promote best practices and provide technical assistance
  694  about community schools to community school program directors.
  695         (5) REPORTS.—
  696         (a) By July 1 of each year, each community school program
  697  director shall submit to the center a report that includes, at a
  698  minimum, the following information:
  699         1. An assessment of the effectiveness of the community
  700  school program in improving student success outcomes;
  701         2.Any issues encountered in the design and execution of
  702  the community school program;
  703         3. Recommendations for improving the delivery of services
  704  to students, families, and community members under the program;
  705         4.The number of students, families, and community members
  706  served under the program; and
  707         5. Any other information requested by the center director.
  708         (b) The center director shall review the reports submitted
  709  under paragraph (a) and, by August 15 of each year, shall
  710  provide to the commissioner:
  711         1. A summary of the information reported by each community
  712  school that receives a grant under this section; and
  713         2. Recommendations for policy and funding investments to
  714  improve the implementation and oversight of community school
  715  programs and to remove any barriers to the expansion of
  716  community schools.
  717         (c) The commissioner shall review the summary and
  718  recommendations submitted by the center director under paragraph
  719  (b) and, by September 30 of each year, shall submit a report to
  720  the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
  721  the House of Representatives. The annual report submitted by the
  722  commissioner must, at a minimum, include information on the
  723  status of community schools and his or her recommendations for
  724  policy and funding investments to improve and expand community
  725  schools.

Rather than ​increasing the funding for ​vouchers to subsidize private tuition, please use the public money to fund more Community schools. The majority of Florida students attend the free neighborhood and magnet schools. Let’s make those schools great! IF parents choose to send their kids to private schools, then please let them seek scholarships from private donors if they can’t afford the tuition.

If you’re going to continue to give tax credits to various corporations and individuals, then the recipient should be any 501(c)(3) that is doing charitable work that is believed to save the state government money.  I hope you’ll consider making the credit only 30% of the donation.  The current $ for $ credit means the corporation is NOT making a donation.  They are simply giving their tax dollars to Step Up For Students.  They haven’t actually made a donation, i.e. they just funneled the tax payment to Step Up For Students.

Sincerely,
(Your Name)

HB 741 should apply to all schools receiving local, state and federal tax money. No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry.

Sponsors and co-sponsors of HB 741:

Representatives Fine, Caruso, Donalds, Fischer, Killebrew, LaMarca and Roach

HB 741 adds religion to the list in 1000.05 of the Florida statutes.

Please offer feedback if  there is something that I’m missing.

Jason Fischer is one of the sponsors of HB 741 and he is my representative. I feel passionate that I need to tell him he needs to quit imposing regulations on public schools that he isn’t going to apply to other schools receiving taxpayer money. IF the bill is a good one, then it should apply to all schools receiving taxpayer assistance. IF it isn’t a good one, then why should it be imposed on the public school? I also wish all the schools receiving local, state and federal financial assistance would teach sensitivity training. It seems absurd to me that SB 1410 wants to give a voucher to someone that claims to have been bullied BUT makes no recommendation for the bully or the other kids left in the school with the bully.

I have been thinking and asking people about HB 741. The sponsors I know about are BIG proponents of charters and vouchers. I fear this bill is just another regulation to harm public schools. IF their goal was to decrease discrimination then it seems to me the bill should apply to all schools receiving taxpayer money.

I know some viewed the Catholic private school boys in DC and perhaps even the Kavanaugh hearings differently than I did. BUT what I saw was several insensitive white boys. They need civility and sensitivity training as much as anyone in the public school. Did you see the part of the video where the boys *pulled* one of the two black kids to the front of the crowd to show the Black Hebrew Israelites that they had blacks in their group? Did you see the video where the one catholic private school boy said “it’s not rape if you like it”? I am not saying this to condemn them. I have said stupid insensitive stuff in my life also. What I am saying is that we ALL need civility and sensitivity training.

That said, I still want to write the sponsors of HB 741 to express my desire that this bill should be fixed in this way.  I encourage you to write the sponsors also. See list at top.

Unless I hear feedback soon, this is what I am sending to my rep who is one of the sponsors:

Honorable Representative Jason Fischer,

Since you’re one of the co-sponsors of HB 741, I am asking you to please amend HB 741 so it applies to all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.  No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry.

1. HB 741 (and 1000.05 of the Florida statutes) should apply to any school receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.
2. If it is going to point out antisemitism then it should also mention Islamophobia and anti-atheism and perhaps other minority religious groups that have felt the brunt of religious bigotry.
3. It should include funding and requirements that civility and sensitivity classes be taught in all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance. The class must be taught by someone certified in sensitivity training.
4. The bill should have pro-active prevention and course correction ideas MORE than punishment. Punishment should ONLY be after course correction techniques have been employed.
5. None of the language in HB 741 should be interpreted to imply that one can’t make valid criticisms of a religion.  The goal should NOT be to curtail freedom of speech in such a way that valid criticisms can’t be expressed in a civil and productive manner
6. Where possible the language of what religious bigotry means should be worded in broader terms. For example re-word lines 51 to 77 of HB 741 to read

(7) A K-20 educational institution that has received local, state or federal financial assistance must treat religious discrimination by students or employees in an identical manner to discrimination based on race. For purposes of this section, the term religious discrimination includes expressions of hatred toward the religious minority, rhetorical and physical manifestations of that bigotry directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward the community institutions or religious facilities.
(a) Examples of religious bigotry include:
1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of a group of people based on their religion.
2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about a group of people based on their religion.
3. Accusing a group of similar people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single person from that group.
4. Denying the Holocaust. Perhaps the narrative could be specific as to exactly what happened during the Holocaust.
5. Accusing a citizen of being more loyal to another country just because another person of similar ethnicity or religion has demonstrated that proclivity.

IF this is a good bill then it needs to apply to all schools that receive taxpayer money.  I worry that the legislature is burdening the neighborhood and magnet schools with excess regulations.   IF you truly feel this is worthwhile legislation then it needs to apply to all schools that receive local, state and federal financial assistance.

The focus of the bill should be to reduce and maybe eliminate bullying and religiously bigoted language.  All school children should learn that religious bigotry isn’t polite.  The idea is to address hatred based on religion, yes?  With the recent shootings at the synagogue and the mosque, we continue to wonder what we can do to prevent these tragedies.  Can we teach people not to hate?  Shouldn’t we try?  

Some people call others “snowflakes” when the so-called snowflake asks people not to use racial slurs or religiously bigoted terms. The legislature is considering a bill (SB 1410) that will give voucher money to anyone claiming to have been bullied.  But what happens to the bully and the other kids left in the school?  We need to teach kids NOT to bully whether in the public, charter or private schools receiving voucher money.

In addition to making this bill apply to ALL schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance, please also allocate funding to teach civility and sensitivity so kids learn not to bully and not to be insensitive to others.

It shouldn’t be about punishment. It should be about course correction. Please provide funding for a required course which will teach sensitivity and civility.  The course should be required to be taught every year in any school receiving local, state or federal assistance.  The teacher of the civility course should be certified in the field of civility and their salaries should be paid from the state treasury.

Also please change the summary (and related parts of the bill) from

A bill to be entitled: An act relating to anti-Semitism; amending s. 1000.05; prohibiting discrimination in the Florida K-20 4 public education system based on religion; requiring a public K-20 educational institution to take into consideration anti-Semitism under certain instances of discrimination

to

A bill to be entitled:​ An act relating to ​the prevention of bullying​; amending s. 1000.05; ​​prohibiting discrimination based on religion in Florida K-​​20 schools that receive local, state or federal financial assistance

HB 741 should apply to all schools receiving local, state and federal tax money. No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry.

As part of HB 741  please change 1000.05 to be clearer. Delete the word “public” so that it reads:

conducted by an educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state or local financial assistance

Change “in the state system of public K-20 education”
to

“while in an educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state or local financial assistance”

Then 1000.05 and your bill HB 741 would be sure to also cover charter schools and private schools that receive voucher money.  HB 741 will add “religion” to the list in 1000.05 (2)(a).  This is how it reads now before you add the word religion and hopefully make it cover all schools receiving tax money:

1000.05 (2)(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, or in any employment conditions or practices, conducted by a public educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state financial assistance.

SB 7030

Indivisible-Mandarin met with Senator Bean on February 28, 2019 in Senator’s Bean’s Fernandina office.   Richard and Nancy wrote the one page summary and spoke asking Senator Bean to please vote NO on SB 7030.  Richard and Nancy had many reasons why we should NOT be arming teachers.  Link to Richard and Nancy’s summary: Indivisible-Mandarin met with our representative for our district

My position (as well as everyone in our group) is that we do NOT want teachers and other school personnel carrying guns into schools.   My view IF we’re going to lose that battle, then (as Senator Bean said) it should only be an option if the teacher wants to do it and will undergo extensive training.

BUT please don’t just give funds to schools that agree to arm teachers.   Give the funds for school safety equally per pupil.  I am specifically addressing this part of the SB 7030:

Any additional funds appropriated to this allocation

772  in the 2018-2019 fiscal year must to the school resource officer

773  program established pursuant to s. 1006.12 shall be used

774  exclusively for employing or contracting for safe-school

775  resource officers

Schools should have flexibility in deciding how they think their school can best use the money to be safe. There is research available that prevention is a better path.

Quote from below link:

 “School shootings are rare events that mobilize people to take action. Our research suggests it is time to focus on prevention and mental well-being.”

https://theconversation.com/school-shooters-usually-show-these-signs-of-distress-long-before-they-open-fire-our-database-shows-111242

Please write postcards opposing SB 1410, SB 330, SB 7030, SB 1028 and supporting SB 584

Link to UU Justice speadsheet of bills they are following

Table of a couple of bills that specifically have the result of cutting funding for neighborhood and magnet schools when there is a limited education budget:

NUMBER TITLE Purpose
SB 1410 Hope Scholarship Program Takes money from neighborhood and magnet schools and sends the funding to private schools instead of funding programs to combat bullying. Please oppose

https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/2019/03/02/please-ask-your-florida-senator-to-oppose-sb-1410/

SB 330 Educational Standards for K-12 Public Schools Allows a backdoor for the possibility of requiring  the teaching of nonscientific principles to be taught in science class. Please oppose.

https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/2019/02/24/please-tell-the-members-on-the-committees-to-oppose-sb-330/

SB 7030 School Safety and Security Directs funding to arm teachers and school personnel rather than allowing each school the flexibility on how to spend state money to make their schools safe. Please oppose.

“School shootings are rare events that mobilize people to take action. Our research suggests it is time to focus on prevention and mental well-being.” Quote from this link:

https://theconversation.com/school-shooters-usually-show-these-signs-of-distress-long-before-they-open-fire-our-database-shows-111242

SB 1028 School Funding SB 1028 will take money local voters approved for their neighborhood and magnet school facilities and divert it to privately owned charter schools. Please oppose.
http://lwveducation.com/unfair-school-funding-bill-filed/
SB 584 Charter Schools This is a step in the right direction trying to stop the financial abuses of taxpayer money by privately owned private charters.  Please Support.
https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/2019/02/26/please-ask-your-rep-to-support-sb-584/

 

post card suggestions

Please ask your Florida Senator to oppose SB 1410

The problem with SB 1410 is not the problem of substantiation.  The problem with SB 1410 is this:  It funnels taxpayer money away from neighborhood and magnet schools and towards private schools.

Link to what Sue Legg says about the bill:
https://lwveducation.com/new-voucher-bully-bill-filed/

If the #metoo movement is teaching us anything, then it should be teaching us to believe victims.  Making it harder for a victim to get help is NOT helpful.  It isn’t helpful to the victim.  It isn’t even helpful to the harasser because that person has missed an opportunity to find a way to make a course correction in their habits.  And it is certainly NOT helpful to society.   Society has condoned awful behavior for far too long. My comments are a reaction to people that say things such as this:

Pasco district officials say a substantiated allegation is part of the definition of bullying. So they have put forth a policy recommendation that would offer the voucher only “upon conclusion of the investigation and a finding that the student was subjected to any of the incidents” listed in the law creating the program.

That’s a quote from article at this link:  https://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/2019/02/26/pasco-schools-want-to-verify-bullying-claims-before-offering-state-scholarship/

I don’t have the answer to bullying.  BUT I certainly don’t think the solution is to offer a voucher to be used to reduce private tuition.  That solution MIGHT possibly help one victim.  But what about the bully?  What about the future potential victims?

It seems odd to me that some that support people like Trump call us snowflakes when we advocate for people to be nice.  BUT now DeSantis and other Florida GOP legislators want to give vouchers to people that say they are bullied. Are those people snowflakes according to DeSantis and the other GOP legislators?

I am glad that the GOP sees that bullying is a problem. I think we do have a culture of bullying. And I think we should work to change it. BUT this bill SB 1410 is NOT the way to change that culture. What we need is more social workers and mental health counselors that can attempt to change the culture of bullying.

Part of the solution is teaching kids ways to respond to teasing, to not take things personally AND to teach kids NOT to bully others.

There are a number of bills in the Florida Congress that are trying to solve various problems by robbing the neighborhood and magnet schools of funding.  Please let us urge them to STOP doing that.   We need social workers,  mental health counselors, tutors and teacher’s aids.  We need to beautify the buildings and grounds so our neighborhoods will be proud of their neighborhood schools. Please stop the legislators from robbing our neighborhood schools of funding.

This article points out problems with SB 7030 which aims to arm teachers:
https://theconversation.com/school-shooters-usually-show-these-signs-of-distress-long-before-they-open-fire-our-database-shows-111242
Quote from article:

Instead, our data show that threats of school violence should be seen as a plea for help. These threats are a critical moment for a student to be connected with high-quality resources, such as mental health treatment, social services or substance use treatment.

SB 7030 is another drain on the funding of education.  Arming teachers is NOT a good solution as that Conversation.com article points out.  SB 1410 is not a good solution for school bullying.  The answer to safety is high-quality resources, such as mental health treatment, social services or substance use treatment.

Please ask your rep to support SB 584

SB 584: Charter Schools sponsored by Senator Janet Cruz

It was referred to the following committees:  Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations.  The companion bill is H 1089.

HB 7069 changed the law so that charter schools get a share of school district construction money. The change means more public money going to charters whose facilities are privately owned.  If those schools close, Robert Avossa points out, the facilities that the charters built, renovated or leased typically remain in private hands.  (ref 6).   This bill SB 584 aims to prevent for-profit companies from profiting in this way.

We have to manage charter schools so that resources are not dissipated through short-term profit-oriented schemes.  Educational needs are expensive, but state resources are limited.  (ref 5)

For years, Florida has had one of the highest annual charter school closure rates in the country, involving schools that were closed after financial and other scandals.  (ref 2)

A 2018 poll by an independent group offered two statements relating to helping children in under-performing schools — invest in public schools or give parents more choice — and asked respondents to pick the one that represented their views. The majority in that poll selected investment in the neighborhood and magnet schools. (ref 3)

Charter schools were originally proposed as teacher-run schools that would use innovative techniques to be shared with traditional schools.  Lax regulation of charter schools has created opportunities for financial mismanagement and criminal corruption. (ref 4) This bill is a welcome addition to the call for transparency in the operation of charter schools.

There have been many news stories about the problems with some charter schools. Protect taxpayer money and pass SB 584. Some charter schools are excellent but some provide taxpayer money to corporations which are not operated in the students’ interests.  Currently, most for-profit firms have shadow boards appointed by the for-profit companies. Their for-profit status allows them to operate out of the public view. (ref 1)

This blog entry was updated 3/14/2019.

Links in case you want to do further reading:

  1. http://lwveducation.com/new-bill-to-ban-for-profit-charter-management-firms/
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2018/12/18/rest-peace-public-education-florida-newspaper/
  3. https://www.tampabay.com/blogs/2019/02/25/critics-question-value-of-foundations-school-choice-survey/
  4. http://www.integrityflorida.org/the-hidden-costs-of-charter-school-choice-privatizing-public-education-in-florida/
  5. http://files.ctctcdn.com/9e023c2e001/312a667d-ca9e-4dc6-be72-3eb1d9d47c25.pdf
  6.  http://extracredit.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/06/15/fla-educators-are-flipping-out-over-hb-7069-heres-what-it-does/

Link to bill: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/00584

 

Please tell the members on the committees to oppose SB 330

SB 330: Educational Standards for K-12 Public Schools ( Senator Dennis Baxley –District 12)

We do not want to undermine sound STEM education in Florida schools.  Past governors and legislators have given lip service to strengthening STEM teaching and trying to attract STEM related jobs to Florida.  Opening a backdoor that would allow unscientific principles such as intelligent design or climate change denial into the classroom does not promote STEM education in Florida public schools.

Currently (as of the last update of this blog on 3/14/2019)  the bill does not have a companion bill in the House and we hope SB 330 will die in committee.  SB 330 will diminish the standards of our education curriculum.  We want our students of our state to receive a GREAT education.

SB 330 could affect how science and other subjects are taught; well-established scientific concepts like evolution and human-caused climate change might have to be “balanced” with ideas that haven’t withstood scientific scrutiny if this bill passes. 1   We need to cease embracing debunked ideas in the name of balance.3  The National Center for Science was among the first to lodge an objection to the bill. 4

In addition to worries about what the bill would do to science classes, we are also concerned about other parts of the bill.  IF you want to promote the teaching of financial literacy, then you should introduce a separate bill using the phrase “economic theories that have reliably predicted observed outcomes” but not reference any specific theories.  It is not objectionable to teach the 100 year old Keynesian and Hayekian economic theories but they should not be singled out in legislation.  5

Some say that parts of SB 330 have the goal of teaching religion in science class.2

References :
1. https://www.wmnf.org/florida-bill-nonscientific-theories-taught-science-classes/

2. http://lwveducation.com/assault-on-separation-of-church-and-state/ 

3.  http://floridapolitics.com/archives/287288-joe-henderson-balance-are-you-kidding-florida-sb-330-is-educational-quackery

4. https://www.watchdog.org/florida/bill-wants-climate-change-evolution-alternate-theories-taught-in-public/article_bafc7d84-24e1-11e9-9c1f-1f5dde344a2d.html

5. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-21/modern-monetary-theory-is-not-a-recipe-for-doom. This article isn’t specifically about SB 330. I put the link here to demonstrate that mentioning Keynesian and Hayekian economic theories in the bill might limit the economic teacher in -her/his discussion about the current economic theories.

Here is the link to the bill: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/00330