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).


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

Should a gun be required on every K-12 campus? And if yes, carried by whom?

My question for the reasonable reader: Should there be a gun on campus?

  • If you answer yes and a school safety officer shoots someone, will you feel culpable?
  • If you answer no and someone else shoots someone, will you wonder if the armed school safety officer could have stopped it?

Do you agree that people who don’t vote don’t have a right to complain? But how much is required of citizens after we’ve voted? Do we need to keep an eye on what our elected officials are doing?

The state legislators passed a bill that says that there must be a gun on all K-12 public school campuses. It’s 2018 SB 7026. How do you feel about that? Do you see the difference between these two different position statements?
1. Oppose any effort to arm teachers, or anyone who is not a law enforcement officer.
2. Oppose the arming of teachers in public schools.

The difference is that #2 allows for school safety officers (in addition to police officers) to carry a gun on campus. There are rules in place for training these school safety officers. The school district is required to have a gun on campus by state legislators. They have basically three choices as to who can carry that gun
1. A teacher
2. A dedicated school safety officer
3. A police officer

Quote from bill analysis of SB 7026:
[The school safety officer] may carry concealed, approved firearms on campus. Only concealed carry safety holsters and firearms approved by the sheriff may be used under the program. … A school safety officer has the authority to carry weapons when performing his or her official duties.

The Duval school district was sued because they chose to satisfy the state law by arming school safety officers instead of police officers. The school district won the suit. I assume the plaintiffs didn’t want to remain silent. They didn’t want to feel culpable if a school safety officer shot someone. Their conscious is clear?
Link to article about it:
https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/courts/2021/02/19/court-rejects-jacksonville-challenge-armed-school-guardians/4504650001/

School district superintendents walk a thin line. We may or may not learn more later, but for now here’s what we seem to know:

The schools superintendent in Broward County, Fla. had spent years battling accusations tied to his leadership before and after the Parkland school shooting — and the indictment, he claimed, was simply another politically motivated attack tied to the massacre. As parents and officials continue to point fingers over the failures that preceded the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a wide-ranging grand jury investigation has been tasked with probing “possible failures in following school-related safety laws and moving funds solicited for school safety initiatives to other areas of need,” according to Florida state officials.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/04/28/florida-broward-parkland-runcie-resigns/

References

Link to bill 2018 SB 7026:
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/7026

Excerpt from Florida statute 1006.12
Safe-school officers at each public school.—For the protection and safety of school personnel, property, students, and visitors, each district school board and school district superintendent shall partner with law enforcement agencies or security agencies to establish or assign one or more safe-school officers at each school facility within the district, including charter schools. … A school safety officer has the authority to carry weapons when performing his or her official duties.

1006.12 says each school must have one or more safe-school officers but they can be
(1) SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER
(2) SCHOOL SAFETY OFFICER
(3) SCHOOL GUARDIAN.
(4) SCHOOL SECURITY GUARD

I think (1) and (2) are both law enforcement officers.
(3) is defined below and I think Duval is doing (3) (b) ONLY and not (3)(a).

Detailed explanation (3) SCHOOL GUARDIAN:

At the school district’s or the charter school governing board’s discretion, as applicable, pursuant to s. 30.15, a school district or charter school governing board may participate in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program to meet the requirement of establishing a safe-school officer. The following individuals may serve as a school guardian, in support of school-sanctioned activities for purposes of s. 790.115, upon satisfactory completion of the requirements under s. 30.15(1)(k) and certification by a sheriff:(a) A school district employee or personnel, as defined under s. 1012.01, or a charter school employee, as provided under s. 1002.33(12)
(a), who volunteers to serve as a school guardian in addition to his or her official job duties; or
(b) An employee of a school district or a charter school who is hired for the specific purpose of serving as a school guardian.

My understanding is the school district got more money if they agreed to participate in the school guardian program. This article says not every county is participating in the guardian program:
http://www.fldoe.org/safe-schools/guardian-program.stml

Why don’t the state legislators give local school districts more flexibility rather than outsourcing education to charter schools?

The facts as stated in various articles seem conflicting. BUT let’s suppose they have good ideas to make the neighborhood school better for the neighborhood kids. Why wasn’t the principal allowed more flexibility to do those things as a neighborhood school?

“297 parents voted for the charter, with 51 voting against the measure. A charter would allow us to venture outside the box to give our Hispanic population different resources,” he said. “We have a large Latino population. We need to do things to ensure they are able to acquire the language at a more different pace. We need the autonomy to do things differently.” “It is impossible to expect these students to take a Florida Standards Assessment in English,” she said. By contrast, if the school transitions to a charter, it would give Kaiser the freedom to choose the best learning methods to help her students succeed, she said. Hundley said there would be several changes to the curriculum if the conversion takes place: The school would change the way it teaches history, to better appeal to the students’ heritage; it would extend instructional days by one hour; the school would provide dual-language electives; students would be able to take classes in English and Spanish simultaneously. That’s excerpts from this link:
https://www.redefinedonline.org/2017/07/lincoln-middle/

  • How easy is it for a school district to deny a charter school application?
  • Why would parents vote to convert a neighborhood school to a charter school rather than lobby their elected school board to make changes to the neighborhood school?

Once the neighborhood school was converted to a charter school the kids were rezoned to other neighborhood schools. The kids had the same “choices” that they had previous to the conversion except there was a new charter school choice closer to their home and they’d get automatic admission at the newly assigned neighborhood school. 297 parents voted for the neighborhood school to convert to a charter school and 51 parents voted against the measure.

The Superintendent at the time, Diana Greene, told the board the charter school application met the minimal standards so if the board denied the application, then the state officials would probably override the board and side with the charter. Board member Scott Hopes sharply questioned the school’s finances, curriculum and leadership. The way the state handles conversions is the district retains a small portion of charter school’s per-pupil funding, maintains ownership of the building and is responsible for the maintenance, while the charter school is responsible for day-to-day operating costs. Board member Hopes said that is a raw deal for the district.
Quote from the article (link in button above):

Board member Scott Hopes and board vice chairman John Colon began gathering support for legislation they say would limit charter school leaders’ salaries, make charter leaders disclose their finances and require conversion charters like Lincoln to pay to use district-owned facilities. “There needs to be a level playing field,” Hopes said. “If the school district has to provide a building and maintenance, you should not be collecting the same per-pupil payment as if you were responsible for maintaining that building.”

The new charter school had financial problems as explained in this article:
https://thebradentontimes.com/clients/thebradentontimes/Ken_aff.pdf

In a 95-page ruling, an administrative law judge Friday backed a decision by the Manatee County School Board to terminate a contract with the charter school that he said showed “gross financial mismanagement,” including failing to pay salaries and payroll taxes, getting cut off by food suppliers and facing a shutoff of water service. Among other things, Cohen wrote that the school had more than $1.5 million in outstanding financial liabilities as of Aug. 23, including nearly $374,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service and almost $82,000 owed to the Florida Retirement System. Also, it owed $259,000 in unpaid salaries and $76,000 to Humana for employee health-insurance coverage.

https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/education/2019-09-29/manatee-charter-school-contract-terminated-for-gross-financial-mismanagement

I said in the first line of this blog post that the facts seem inconsistent across the different articles. This January 2021 lawsuit says

The “public interest” component in this case consists of the Defendants [the school board, etc] having deprived the Plaintiffs Lincoln Memorial Academy and Eddie Hundley [the charter school operators] of their contractual right to operate a majority-African-American run private charter school that is specifically designed to improve the provision of public school education to underprivileged, inner-city African American youth,

https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A9d2c021e-0740-4f97-8021-8b3df7d0c5c0&fbclid=IwAR0vxktj4B03R6A_0zV_3JQHv5MhEw24vIUjDt0ubnu9Mf3ualmVAc7uES8#pageNum=10

Questions for the Sales tax Citizen Oversight Committee

Does the school board get the surtax money every month from the state?
How often are they required to give the charter schools their portion?
Can they withhold the charter school portion if the charter school hasn’t submitted the requested information to the Citizen Oversight Committee?

Can the Citizen Oversight Committee require:
1. All financial documents, bond requests, loan requests that were made in anticipation of the sales tax revenue
2. The detail of the owners of the charter school drilled down to the names of the people
3. The detail of the owners of the building (drilled down to the names of the people) that the charter school is leasing with our sales tax money
4. The competitive bids and if the project was awarded to a related party
5. Will this information be on a website for the public to see?

Link to Florida statute 212.055 :
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/STATUTES/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0200-0299/0212/Sections/0212.055.html

Excerpts from 212.055 (6):
(6) SCHOOL CAPITAL OUTLAY SURTAX.—
[this statement was required by HB 7097 passed in early 2020]: 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. …  Surtax revenues shared with charter schools shall be expended by the charter school in a manner consistent with the allowable uses set forth in s. 1013.62(4). All revenues and expenditures shall be accounted for in a charter school’s monthly or quarterly financial statement pursuant to s. 1002.33(9). The eligibility of a charter school to receive funds under this subsection shall be determined in accordance with s. 1013.62(1). If a school’s charter is not renewed or is terminated and the school is dissolved under the provisions of law under which the school was organized, any unencumbered funds received under this subsection shall revert to the sponsor.(d) Surtax revenues collected by the Department of Revenue pursuant to this subsection shall be distributed to the school board imposing the surtax in accordance with law. [But how often? Every month?]

What is this saying? Here’s my guess:

Charter schools will get at least the amount of capital outlay funds per student that was distributed in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
No such guarantee is given to the district owned school buildings.

Excerpt from 1013.62

Beginning in fiscal year 2021-2022, charter school capital outlay funding shall consist of state funds when such funds are appropriated in the General Appropriations Act and revenue resulting from the discretionary millage authorized in s. 1011.71(2) if the amount of state funds appropriated for charter school capital outlay in any fiscal year is less than the average charter school capital outlay funds per unweighted full-time equivalent student for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, multiplied by the estimated number of charter school students for the applicable fiscal year, and adjusted by changes in the Consumer Price Index issued by the United States Department of Labor from the previous fiscal year. Nothing in this subsection prohibits a school district from distributing to charter schools funds resulting from the discretionary millage authorized in s. 1011.71(2).

Amy Coney Barrett and the consequences

Why didn’t Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute invite someone that would be willing to challenge Barrett’s extremist views? I was disappointed in Rick Mullaney’s interview of Amy Coney Barrett. Originalism is an intellectual cloak drummed up to dignify a view of the Constitution as a straitjacket on the ability of the local, state, and federal government to act on behalf of the public. 

Originalists want to do this despite the Constitution’s preamble, which states that one of its basic purposes is to “promote the general welfare.”

 
Mullaney asks if Congress had a right to pass the Affordable Care Act. He uses the phrase “fundamental right to health care.” She doesn’t answer the question about a fundatmental right to health care, but instead starts rambling about the death penalty and abortion. Later in the interview, Barrett says the Supreme Court wrongly decided that the state exchanges could mean the exchanges offered at the federal level. In other words, she would have ruled to deprive citizens of the subsidy the ACA provides. Luckily the Supreme Court (without her) ruled to allow citizens in states that don’t have exchanges to still qualify for the ACA subsidies.


Also in the interview, she claims that trans people aren’t the gender they identify as. She uses the term “physiologically a boy.” Barrett’s unscientific view of gender will hurt real people. Scientific research (specifically through genetics, neurobiology and endocrinology) helps us understand the transgender experience. I wish the Republicans in the Senate had not confirmed her nomination. I fear that she has no empathy for real people.

There are two oaths: constitutional oath and judicial oath. (Reference 11) Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Amy Coney Barrett under a constitutional oath at a White House event Monday evening. (Ref 10) Why did Thomas do it? Why didn’t Chief Justice Roberts do both?

Justice Thomas thinks states should be allowed to establish their own religion. (Ref 7) I fear the White House ceremony that took place Monday evening is signaling how the court will rule concerning government collaboration with religious institutions. What will happen to the wall separating church and state? Will the new Supreme Court give states the power to pass laws preferring one religion over another, or to take taxpayer money and give it to the church preferred by the Governor? 

I also fear that Barrett and the other extremist justices do not recognize reproductive rights.  (Ref 8) Reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly on the number and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of reproductive health. (Ref 9)


There was a time when the Supreme Court ruled that legislators couldn’t pass laws to protect workers. (Ref 5) Will this new Court take us back to the Lochner era? Will the American people hold the senators responsible who confirmed Barrett if Barrett and Thomas and Alito prove to be extremists out of step with most Americans?  (Ref 6)


Judge Barrett has explicitly stated that “adherence to originalism arguably requires … the reversal of Brown v. Board of Education,” the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund wrote, quoting a phrase from another article co-written by Barrett. The LDF report says the discussion of Brown “raises serious questions about her commitment to enforcing core civil rights protections. … Treating Brown as potentially mistaken, even if untouchable, is far different from recognizing that it was correctly decided.” (ref 4)  


Why didn’t Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute invite someone that would be willing to challenge Barrett’s extremist views?  Regarding this article:https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2020/10/27/amy-coney-barretts-2016-lecture-jacksonville-logs-740-000-hits/6035510002/

Barrett is full of malarkey. Around minute 36 (ref 2) in the video, Mullaney asks if Congress had a right to pass the Affordable Care Act. He uses the phrase “fundamental right to health care.” She doesn’t answer the question about a fundatmental right to health care, but instead starts rambling about the death penalty and abortion. Later in the video, she says the Supreme Court wrongly decided that the state exchanges could mean the exchanges offered at the federal level. In other words, she would have ruled to deprive citizens of the subsidy the ACA provides. Luckily the Supreme Court (without her) ruled to allow citizens in states that don’t have exchanges to still qualify for the ACA subsidies.

Around minute 40, she claims that trans people aren’t the gender they identify as. She uses the term “physiologically a boy.” Barrett’s unscientific view of gender will hurt real people. Scientific research (specifically through genetics, neurobiology and endocrinology) helps us understand the transgender experience. (ref 3)

 references
1. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/originalism-barrett/616844/
2.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yjTEdZ81lI
3.  https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/stop-using-phony-science-to-justify-transphobia/https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/10/erase-transgender-definition

4. https://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/2020/10/barrett_says_brown_v_board_of_.html
5.  The Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that the law limiting bakers’ working hours did not constitute a legitimate exercise of state powers and so it was unconstitutional. The Court argued for freedom of contract and that unequal bargaining power was irrelevant. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochner_v._New_York#Judgment
6. …judges like Barrett generally have been willing to strike down laws they don’t like. It is an echo of the so-called Lochner era of the early 20th century, when the Supreme Court threw out laws on the minimum wage, child labor or other business regulation. So get ready for a big, long fight over the American economy, with the Supreme Court at the center of it all. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/briefing/amy-coney-barrett-voting-world-series-your-monday-briefing.html

7. Justice Thomas wrote: “The text and history of the Establishment Clause strongly suggest that it is a federalism provision intended to prevent Congress from interfering with state establishments.”https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-1624.ZC2.html
8. Connecticut law even criminalized the use of contraception altogether. https://fortune.com/2015/06/07/50-years-legal-birth-control-workplace/
9. Link about reproductive rights:  https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/en/
10. The 48-year-old, sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas at the White House in the 9 p.m.hour, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/27/daily-202-voting-wars-flare-up-justice-barrett-joins-supreme-court/
11. https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/oath/oaths_of_the_current_court_10-1-2010.pdf

City Council needs to pass an ordinance requiring a nose/mouth covering

The city council needs to pass an ordinance requiring a nose/mouth covering when entering any enclosed place open to the public similar to what President Trump required of the West Wing White House staff in May after some of the staff tested positive for Covid-19.

The ordinance would make the word “should” mean “must” when it comes to the CDC guidelines for Jacksonville regarding face masks. People are interpreting “should” to mean “not required.” Strong people should care about their neighbors.
CDC guidelines:

  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

“We continue to caution that reducing the likelihood of additional outbreaks will require individuals and business owners to be vigilant with personal protection, wearing masks and practicing proper hygiene, and instituting strong workplace safety measures,” Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at CHOP and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said.

Health professionals, including Dr. Larry Feinman, chief medical officer for 18 HCA hospitals in west Florida, pushed for a mask requirement. Feinman said he is more “terrified” to walk through a Publix grocery store than through any of the 15 COVID-19 units in the chain’s hospitals.

“I’m begging you to mandate masking,” Feinmann said. “It is effective.”

Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health, said recent studies are “showing the masks are effective” in fighting the virus.

Most people (even Mayor Curry) now agree that if everyone wears a mask in public buildings, then the spread of the novel coronavirus will be lowered.

What about this compromise?

Ask the city council to pass an ordinance requiring masks (until a safe and effective vaccine is available) while inside an enclosed building open to the public with the below caveat.

The following establishments could be exempted if they agree to post the following warning at all entrances

“Covid-19 can cause hospitalization and death. It is highly contagious. The CDC has advised that if everyone would wear a mask, then the risk of contracting Covid-19 would be reduced. We do *not* require masks so enter at your own risk. We assume no liability if you contract Covid-19 from being exposed to the virus in our building.”

These types of businesses can be exempt from mandatory masks if they’ll post the sign in huge letters at every entry point:

Restaurants, Bars, Churches, Political Rallies, Concerts, Theaters

Under this compromise, the people who don’t feel they are vulnerable to a severe case can go to restaurants, etc. And those of us who fear having a severe reaction if exposed to the virus can go to grocery stores being assured that everyone will be wearing a mask.

It seems like a great compromise, yes?

Link to article about West Wing requirements in May:https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/vaping/news/20200619/masks-no-longer-required-in-west-wing
Link to article with David Rubin quote:https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-florida-next-epicenter-pandemic/
Link to article with Doctors Feinmann and Choe quotes:
https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/06/18/pinellas-county-inches-closer-to-requiring-face-masks/

Link to CDC : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Please use the term “publicly funded schools” not “public schools” and then add a descriptive adjective such as charter, private, neighborhood, magnet, district-run, or all

It isn’t always clear what legislators mean by “public schools” now that they are funding charter schools and private schools with taxpayer dollars.

Legislators need to contemplate why ALL publicly funded schools aren’t included when the legislature makes rules for the district-run schools. If the rules aren’t necessary, then why make the district-run schools follow them? If the rules are necessary, then ALL schools that receive taxpayer dollars should be required to follow them.  People throw around the terms “choice” and “public” when they are talking about schools. But what do they mean? Legislators need to use the term “publicly funded school” not “public school” so it’s clear what they are talking about.

I wish we’d all want all the publicly funded neighborhood schools to be great. I wish we’d fund each one so they would have adequate staff to serve the community, employ tutors, offer vocational, music, art, debate, lots of choices within the publicly funded neighborhood school.

The majority of the taxpayers should also have a choice about how our tax money (public funds) is being spent. We don’t want our public money funding schools that discriminate or refuse to teach skills that help us to get along with each other.

Last year’s bill HB 463 (implicit bias training) should have been changed so it applied to all publicly funded schools.

There is a reason for Article 1 Section 3 of the Florida Constitution

Religious freedom.—There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

The below was posted in a previous year so these bills aren’t 2021 bill numbers:
Did Kimberly Daniels want her bible study class to be a required elective in all publicly funded schools? My guess is no. Publicly funded schools aren’t the place to teach religion. There is a reason for Article 1 Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Hopefully her bill will die before reaching the full House.

The sponsor of the bill needs to suggest this amendment to HB 463:

***Each charter school governing board shall require charter school instructional personnel to take the training specified at 943.1716 and 1000.05.

***Any private school receiving taxpayer dollars must require members of its instructional personnel to take the training specified at 943.1716 and 1000.05.

Summary of HB 463 which amends 943.1716 and 1000.05:

Implicit Bias Training: Requires Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission to include implicit bias training in instruction dealing with diverse populations; requires SBE to develop requirements for training for all K-12 instructional personnel & administrators in recognizing & overcoming implicit bias; requesting Supreme Court develop training requirements for judges on implicit bias.

2020 SB 184 and SB 56 aim to make non-discrimination laws apply to all publicly funded schools.

2020 SB 154 (Human trafficking) and HB 463 (implicit bias training) need to be changed so they apply to all publicly funded schools.

I spoke about SB 184, SB 56, and SB 154 when I spoke to the Duval Legislative Delegation. I had not yet read HB 463 at that time. Here is the link to my two minutes:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDSB9ICU7hI

Here is the link to my two minutes when I spoke during the public comment period at the FLDOE meeting making a similar point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwZUQZdx5SM

HB 463 is an important bill. The Nickel Boys by Colton Whitehead was based on a true story.  It should make all of us wonder how to prevent the cruel incidents (on which the story was based) from happening again.

A quote from an interview that Colette Bancroft had with the author of The Nickel Boys :

In 2014, they were exhuming the grave sites in Tallahassee, Florida. … When I found Ben Montgomery’s reporting, it was the summer of Ferguson, of Michael Brown being shot, of Eric Garner being killed in Staten Island. It was the same indifference to black lives, to the poor, to people with no power who cannot defend themselves. … That kind of brutality occurs whenever powerless children are failed by the system that’s supposed to protect them.

Link to article: https://www.tampabay.com/books/colson-whiteheads-novel-the-nickel-boys-draws-power-from-a-real-florida-story-20190718/

Link to article about the incident on which the novel was based:   https://www.tampabay.com/investigations/2019/08/18/they-went-to-the-dozier-school-for-boys-damaged-they-came-out-destroyed/  

Any school receiving taxpayer dollars needs to follow at least some of the same rules that the publicly funded neighborhood schools must follow. They certainly should have to follow the rules mentioned in SB 184, SB 56, SB 154 and HB 463.

Should the city council fire Jason Gabriel?

Currently the way our (Jacksonville) charter is written, the general counsel is hired and fired by the mayor. The hired attorney (the general counsel) is supposed to represent all of the constitutional officers of the local government. He has a staff of 40 attorneys. I posit that he is not fairly representing all of the constitutional officers.

How does the current general counsel interpret “any activity” as used in 21.04? JEA is not keeping the city council informed about activity related to the sale of JEA which seems to me is a violation of our city’s charter. Quote from 21.04:

“ provided, however, that JEA will not enter into any activity … without first providing written notice of such activities to the council auditor no less than 30 days before the commencement of such activity.”

The city council and the school board (not the mayor) should hire and fire the general counsel. According to 3.01 of our city’s charter, the voters would have to approve the change. Please ask the city council to put that option on our March 2020 ballot, i.e. the sooner the better before the general counsel does further damage to our city by blocking the elected city council and the elected school board from carrying out their duties.

Our current mayor was elected by 14% of the registered voters. We have seven school board members each elected by a school board district and each tasked with following Florida’s Constitution Article IX which calls for a quality free public education system. We have 14 city council members each elected by voters in his or her particular district. And we have five at large city council members elected by all of Jacksonville. The general counsel is supposed to represent all of them but appears to favor the mayor. The general counsel needs to be hired by the city council and the school board not the mayor.

Let’s posit the following:
1. The mayor wants to sell JEA (the city owned utility) to the highest bidder but the majority of the city council does not.
2. The mayor wants control of the school board’s budget but that is the responsibility of the elected school board per Florida’s Constitution.

What harm has the general counsel done regarding the sale of JEA (the city owned utility)?

If the city council had its own attorney, what advice would the attorney have offered when JEA started taking steps to sell? At the beginning of this fiscal year, the mayor and the JEA board—appointed by the mayor— aggressively started spending money to sell JEA. Consultants were hired. Agreements were made guaranteeing executive bonuses and the city absorb the pension debt if the sale should take place. Bid requirements were drafted without the city council’s knowledge. The city council has now hired its own attorneys, but is it too late? How much money has been wasted if the voters ultimately don’t approve the sale? Or worse, what if the mayor with the help of the general counsel finds a way to say the voters don’t have to approve the sale? In other words, will the mayor sell JEA whether the voters want it or not?

What harm has the general counsel done to the elected school board?

In May of 2019 the OGC (Office of the General Counsel) interpreted “shall” to mean “doesn’t have to” thereby stopping the school board from getting a dedicated revenue stream to repair the neighborhood schools. Florida Statute 212.055 (6)(b) reads as follows:

The statement shall conform to the requirements of s. 101.161 and shall be placed on the ballot by the governing body of the county.

Parents of kids in crumbling school buildings are suing to say that “shall” means “must.” Hopefully the courts will agree and the school board’s referendum will be on our November 2020 ballot. However, the delay will be a huge cost to the school board’s budget. The delay was caused by the general counsel advising the city council that they didn’t have to put the school board’s referendum on our November 2019 ballot.

Another example of how the general counsel is harming the elected school board is the two versions of State Representative Jason Fischer’s J-1 bills. They were both written by the general counsel’s office and they appear to be another attempt by the mayor to take over the school board’s budget. The first version suggested a change to our (Jacksonville’s) charter that would allow the mayor to appoint the school board. I assume that was withdrawn because of the outcry that it violated Florida’s Constitution Article IX Section 4. The second version of the J-1 bill made the suggestion that the city’s charter be changed to take away the ability of the seven elected school board members to hire and fire the main administrator that runs the school district. The city council wouldn’t make that change for the mayor so he asked Jason Fischer to do it via a local bill called a J bill. The problem is that J bills are a way to ask the state legislature to exempt Jacksonville from certain state laws. They are not a way to change our city’s charter, which is up to the city council, citizen initiatives, and to a limited extent the elected school board. Jason Fischer has been saying it is Florida’s Constitution Article VIII Section 9 that gives his J bill authority. The general counsel drafted a memo offering the same opinion.

However, Article VIII Section 6(e) clearly states Section 9 is no longer valid once Jacksonville has a charter, which we do. I hope someone sues to make that clear, i.e. Representative Fischer’s J-1 bill has no authority since Section 9 is no longer valid.

Our (Jacksonville) city council can put a referendum on our ballot to ask the voters to change our charter. It is time for a change in the way the general counsel is hired. When someone abuses power and reveals a weakness in the rules, it is time for a change.
I asked the city council not to confirm Gabriel back in July as did the second speaker in this clip:

https://youtu.be/hoVv4-ZtNbY
Article about the general counsel and the sale of JEA:

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20191106/city-council-hears-it-canrsquot-rsquopull-plugrsquo-on-jea-sale-negotiations

Screen shot of our charter

PHOTO OF CHARTER-7.02

 

Fischer’s J-1 bill has no authority

 

I summarized this blog post during the public comment period of the November 1st Duval Legislative meeting. Audience members were limited to two minutes. I included Ms. Smith’s two minute talk in the below clip, i.e. I am the second speaker in this clip:

 

Here is the two minutes of the leader of the local Women’s March chapter also asking the Duval Delegation to vote no:

 


Many people spoke during the comment period asking the Duval Delegation to vote no.  But Fischer, Bean, Daniels, Wyman, Byrd, Daniels voted yes on Fischer’s J-1 bill.  Please consider voting those 6 out when they run for re-election. Fischer’s J-1 proposes putting something that will change our city’s charter on the November 2020 city ballot. The thing he wants on our ballot: change the Superintendent from appointed by the 7 elected school board members to elected by the voters who show up at the polls.

  • In most major cities the elected school board appoints the superintendent similar to the way other administrators are appointed by elected officials. The elected officials are able to do a nationwide search for the most qualified person.
  • We don’t need Fischer’s proposal on our November 2020 ballot. Voters will have enough other things to be considering.
  • Placing items on our city ballot or changing our city’s charter is the job of the city council, citizen initiatives, and to a limited capacity the elected school board. Certainly the state legislature can pass laws that may make parts of our charter inconsistent with state law, but it is up to the city council to fix the charter when that happens.

Below are quotes from various places that make it clear that the Duval Delegation isn’t supposed to usurp home rule by suggesting changes to our charter as Jason Fischer has done with his J-1 bills–version 1 and 2. Yet he did it anyway.  And 6 of the 8 Duval Delegation voted to let his suggestion move to the House of Representatives. If the city council wants to put the option mentioned in the second version of the J-1 bill on our ballot, they have the authority within our Charter to do that but the Duval Delegation does not.

  1. House Rules for local bills
  2. Article VIII Section 6(e)
  3. Duval Delegation Rules

1. Quote from the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 2019 – 2020 LOCAL BILL CERTIFICATION FORM:

(1) The members of the local legislative delegation must certify that the purpose of the bill cannot be accomplished at the local level;

The form can be found at the website for the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. What J-1 proposes can be done at the local level. The city council can propose ordinances to put things on our city’s ballot. Therefore, I don’t see how the Duval Delegation is going to be able to answer yes to question #1 on the local bill certification form. Below is the link to the committee’s website where you can find the link to the form:

https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?CommitteeId=3025

2.  Florida Constitution Article VIII Section 6(e) CONSOLIDATION AND HOME RULE:

… Sections 9 (FN 1)… of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, shall remain in full force and effect as to each county affected, as if this article had not been adopted, until that county shall expressly adopt a charter or home rule plan

The authority that Jason Fischer has given for local bill J-1 is Article VIII Section 9 but Article VIII Section 6(e) says Section 9 is no longer valid once Jacksonville has a charter which we do.

3.  Delegation Rules of Procedure:

 It shall be the policy of the Delegation *not* to consider any matter which is within the authority granted by the Charter of the Consolidated City of Jacksonville.

Putting things on our ballot is within the authority granted by our charter to the city council and to a limited degree to the school board so even the Duval Delegation’s own rules should have told Fischer not to propose J-1.

https://www.coj.net/departments/duval-legislative-delegation/docs/11-30-16-delegation-rules-of-procedure-(1).aspx

Below are other items related to this issue


As an addendum, I feel I must also say that version 1 of Jason Fischer’s J-1 bill was particularly outrageous as he tried to say that a J bill could exempt Jacksonville from Florida’ Constitution. Article IX Section 4 of Florida’s Constitution says that the school board must be elected. Fischer’s first version of his J-1 bill suggested the Mayor appoint the school board rather than allowing the voters to elect a school board member for their school district.


ARTICLE IX

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:

 SECTION 4.School districts; school boards.

(a) Each county shall constitute a school district; provided, two or more contiguous counties, upon vote of the electors of each county pursuant to law, may be combined into one school district. In each school district there shall be a school board composed of five or more members chosen by vote of the electors in a nonpartisan election for appropriately staggered terms of four years, as provided by law.

(b) The school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein. Two or more school districts may operate and finance joint educational programs.


The attorney for Jason Gabriel’s Office of the General Counsel didn’t answer the question (in the below email) in this memo which is dated October 30th:
screen shot of CRC web page for OGC memo
Note it says that it is dated 9/17/2019 but the memo was updated from its original form and is now dated  October 30th. You can find it at this link:
https://www.coj.net/city-council/charter-revision-commission

———- Forwarded message ———
Date: Fri, Oct 18, 2019 at 3:38 PM
To: <PJohnston@coj.net>
Ms. Johnston,
Does Article VIII Section 6(e) say that Section 9 is no longer valid since we have a charter?


Local bills are used to ask the state legislature to exempt a city from a state statute. However, neither one of Jason’s J-1 bills aim to do that.
Even though the 1968 amendments to the state constitution were passed in November 1968 and the voters voted in August 1967 to consolidate as of October 1, 1968; that doesn’t negate the fact that Section 6(e) says Section 9 will no longer be valid once we have a charter.

This is how 6(e) reads now:

(e) CONSOLIDATION AND HOME RULE. Article VIII, Section 9 (footnote 1) … of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, shall remain in full force and effect as to each county affected, as if this article had not been adopted, until that county shall expressly adopt a charter
Please ask an attorney available to you about 6(e) and if it says Section 9 is no longer valid once we have a charter. Jason Fischer needs to quit saying Section 9 is still valid and gives him the authority to suggest things similar to his J-1 bills.
link to 1968 changes:

https://fall.fsulawrc.com/crc/conhist/1968amen-nov.html