We are voting for Billy. Let us tell you why.

We are voting for Billy. Let us tell you why.

Teachers, parents, paras, students, grandparents, and business owners support Billy. Hear from them in their own words. Shaundra Ellis provided a video. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO WATCH. As an educator, I appreciate it when someone recognizes the hard work and dedication teachers show every day. Billy Townsend partnered with PEA to lobby for raises in a year everyone else said no. As a parent, I appreciate someone advocating for my child as more than just a test score. Santia Garcia, Polk County Hispanic Education Leader in 2017 I support the re-election of Billy Townsend because he really cares about the wellbeing of special needs children!!! I asked Billy for a yard sign to show my support. We have 2 autistic boys and have a sign on the door asking people not to ring or knock because it can really upset them. He only strengthened my faith in him when I received a text message saying that he had stopped by but didn’t want to ring or knock because of the sign on the door! THAT is the sign of someone who cares about the kids!!!!!! This is why we must Re-elect Billy Townsend! Cheryl Reed Proud Special needs mom and Vice President PTO at Victory Ridge Academy. Billy Townsend realizes that decisions for what’s best for Polk County Schools includes the students, families, educators and staff. Good systems have members who are motivated, satisfied and believe their views and opinions count. Kaila Paige-Culmer, Counselor, Polk County Schools Four years ago we voted for Billy Townsend because we knew he wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. He takes the time to do the research and dig deep, instead of just voting yes and hoping for the best. Billy Townsend asks the questions to make sure we know where our tax money is spent. Vote to re-elect Billy Townsend on August 18. Monica and Brad Fales Seth McGee provided a video. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO WATCH. Thank you Billy for putting Students First. We appreciate your passion and support for ALL students.Thank you for increasing collaboration and being an involved community member. You have always been a voice for parents, students and teachers. On August 18th, I know who to vote for! Tosha Littles Polk County Public School Parent As a newly retired Polk County teacher, I am proud to say that I support Billy Townsend. In my more than...

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How Billy defeated the foolish 2017 impasse and delivered staff raises

On the foolish advice of anti-teacher Tallahassee lawyers, the School District essentially declared impasse against its teachers and unionized staff in 2016 by offering a zero percent raise. It formalized impasse a few months after my election and sought to unilaterally impose a multiple harmful provisions on our staff. I fought the entire School Board and district staff leadership to change this position and provide modest, fiscally responsible raises. It was me against the entire administration building. And I succeeded nonetheless. Working collaboratively with our teachers and staff, I convinced management through that we could lower the fund balance to four percent and force a negotiated settlement in which no one had to win or lose. Today, the union-busting Tallahassee lawyers who helped poison negotiations are gone. And management and labor last year had the most productive negotiation process anyone can remember. Labor relations will always be a challenge while state government starves funding. But I think we are on the cusp of a new, collaborative era with employees and management. I promise you that it’s my priority to continue delivering it. During the campaign, people often asked me how I would build consensus as one board member with a reputation for confrontation. This is how. With confrontation. With patient, relentless arguments that I’m on the right side of. Backed by mobilized stakeholders and a mobilized public....

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A point of information on the word “for.” I am not the incumbent.

Section 106.143 of Florida statutes contains this paragraph. “No political advertisement of a candidate who is not an incumbent of the office for which the candidate is running shall use the word “re-elect.” Additionally, such advertisement must include the word “for” between the candidate’s name and the office for which the candidate is running, in order that incumbency is not implied. This subsection does not apply to bumper stickers or items designed to be worn by a person.” The part in bold is my emphasis. If you look closely at my signs, you will see that we did not include the word “for.” That is my fault alone. This is my first time ever running for office; and I somehow did not process the importance of the word “for” and translate it into my signs. While reviewing election statutes this morning, as I do from time to time, it became clear I had committed this error. I apologize. The irony of this mistake, of course, is that I have no interest whatsoever in implying incumbency. I am not the incumbent. I am running hard against the record and vision of the incumbent. I have contacted the state Division of Elections verbally about this. And I am filing a formal complaint against myself. The criteria concerning complaints emphasizes intent and severity and history in deciding what sanctions to hand down. I am confident that the state will see this as the simple oversight that it is. But I believe in owning up to mistakes forthrightly and trying to correct them. In the meantime, I plan to print labels that we can affix to our signs that say “for.” Or, the state folks tell me, if you have one of my signs you can write in “for” with a Sharpie. Please do that now if you read this. Thanks you all for your support last night, and let’s power on.    ...

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The Stigmatized 5, part 2: Community, death, and life

By my count, the four stigmatized Winter Haven schools, plus McLaughlin in Lake Wales, have had a total of 18 principals since 2012, when my incumbent opponent took office. Feel free to count for yourself if you want to verify. I’ve posted below the report the district sent me. It’s what death looks like for learning community leadership. It’s what happens when your state Department of Education and Legislature fancy themselves executioners, not partners. It’s what happens when your local School Board imports a band of incompetent mercenaries chased out of Jacksonville to carry out the state’s sentences — and then fails to pay any attention at all to what they were doing. But let me tell you something else. Below the high paid failure of leadership, there is life at these schools. There is human commitment. I’m going to get to it in a second. The vital importance of community and belief But first, please read this excerpt from a recent article in The Atlantic. The article itself boils down the findings of a book called Helping Children Succeed by Paul Tough. I urge you to read the full article if you can. It focuses, with admirable honesty, on the difficulties of teaching non-affluent children, particularly those suffering from the stresses that come with non-affluence. It’s a complex series of research findings and arguments. But this is a key point: What makes a student persevere in any given classroom on any given day? Farrington’s answer is that it depends on his academic mind-set: the attitudes and self-perceptions and mental representations that are bouncing around inside his head. That mind-set is the product of countless environmental forces, but research done by Carol S. Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, and others has shown that teachers can have an enormous impact on their students’ mind-sets, often without knowing it. Messages that teachers convey—large and small, explicit and implicit—affect the way students feel in the classroom, and thus the way they behave there. Farrington has distilled this voluminous mind-set research into four key beliefs that, when embraced by students, seem to contribute most significantly to their tendency to persevere in the classroom: 1. I belong in this academic community. 2. My ability and competence grow with my effort. 3. I can succeed at this. 4. This work has value for me. If students hold these beliefs in mind as they are sitting in math class,...

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My opponent is wrong: Jacque Bowen won’t be missed

Jacque Bowen was not an asset to this school system. I have discussed the performance of Polk’s outgoing Chief Academic Officer with in an incredibly diverse array of local stakeholder and activist groups, teachers, principals, and parents. Not one person openly praised her. They were and are numbingly consistent in their critique of her. All one needs to do is ask them. To outside stakeholders/parents etc., Bowen was good at saying what they wanted to hear and being encouraging. And then nothing would happen. Inside stakeholders described her academic leadership approach as a combination of conflicting mandates, inflexibility, vindictiveness, and scattershot communication. The absurd and punishing testing and assessment regime in Polk County, which even Hunt Berryman now officially recognizes as a problem, was ultimately her responsibility. Heather Wright answered to Jacque Bowen, as near as I can tell. However, Hunt Berryman apparently hasn’t talked to any of the hundreds of people I’ve talked to who have interests in the School District he oversees. Because he had this to say about Bowen: “Jacque, in my opinion, is one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve run across in the field of academics,” Board member Hunt Berryman said. “She understands the mechanics of education and what we need to improve. “Any time you lose a key person like that, it’s a hole to fill,” he added. “It’s hard to lose good people.” I disagree — because I know the consensus of the people who really had to work with her and for her. She won’t be missed. In fact, I don’t know that we need fill that $130K job at all. (I’ll follow up on that at a different time.) Let’s talk about consensus I bring up this word “consensus” for a reason. I’ll come to it in just a second. But first, as I told you would happen, the Lakeland Chamber’s Business Voice PAC endorsed my incumbent opponent. They knew it when I walked in. I knew it when I walked in. It was even funnier than I expected. I think there were seven interviewers. Of those, at least three had personally written 3-digit checks with squiggly numbers in front to my opponent. And as I wrote earlier: And Bank of Central Florida, which Berryman helped create, is one of five “major investors” in the Lakeland Chamber. Business Voice is not ever going to choose my campaign over one of [the Chamber’s]...

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