The path to sustainable in-person schooling runs through slow, careful build up — not a Big Bang

Part 1 of this is linked here and below: “The Townsend Position: Start with e-learning; and use the first quarter to carefully, slowly provide in-person services to the neediest kids” This is a follow-up, aimed largely at parents who want in-person schooling to be a realistic option this year, as I do. —————————————————————- The surest way to kill the possibilities of…

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The Townsend position: offer e-learning to everyone; stagger in-person start to carefully, slowly provide in-person services to the neediest kids

Polk County schools should not attempt a mass re-enrollment of physical schools on Aug. 24. Instead, the district should start in e-learning mode for the first nine weeks. And we should use that 9-week period to gradually enroll specific high-need groups of children as staffing and demand allows. We should use the first nine weeks period to responsibly test the…

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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…

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Billy’s powerful record and vision for racial justice, peace, and empowerment

On issues that many individual black voters prioritize in their discussions with me, I have the strongest 4-year record and clearest lifelong vision — not just of any School Board member, but of any elected official in recent Polk County history. Line up the records and vision; and let’s compare. We’re going to do that in just a second. But…

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Health officials cannot be less courageous than school workers, who cannot be less protected than health care workers

I’m receiving an overwhelming volume of feedback from parents and school staff alike about the entirely political and coercive push to drive kids and teachers back into physical schools at the worst moment in Florida’s horribly mismanaged pandemic response. This feedback ranges from deep unease and fear to “I’m sorry, but I have to retire. I can’t risk my life…

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Share the School Board debate, Will Harrell, Chairman of Lakeland First and founder of Citizens for Polk Education

I’d like to challenge Will Harrell, Jack Harrell, and Jeff Chamberlain to spend their $11,000 or more in dark campaign money sharing the recent School Board debate between me and their candidate. If they believe at all in the public good; if they care at all about your children or reopening schools safely; if they have any confidence in their…

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Watch the debate with my opponent; and let’s give a Civics lesson to Jack Harrell and Jeff Chamberlain

Here is the excellent and clarifying Lakeland Kiwanis School Board Debate that occurred today at noon. I’d urge you to watch it and read the essay that follows. The debate actually starts at about 10:00. Click the picture below to access. Everyone has a place in our Civics Just days after the 2016 election, I wrote an article called “The wages of…

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Dominance ritual: the state government’s insane political gambit has handed school staff great power — if they use it.

Florida’s education employees, in all their forms, union and non-union, could simply ignore Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s stupid, malicious, and toothless executive order. They could say: “Um, no, Commissioner. Here are the conditions under which we will voluntarily fill the schools you hate and want to destroy for money, but are also desperate to open for the short-term political and economic…

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We are the shoe: the strange referendum on what political business always said it wanted

There’s a very strange high level conversation playing out in my School Board election between me and some elements of what I call “political business.” It goes something like this: Political business: Education is super important infrastructure; and we need to change how the Polk County School Board has always done business. Why won’t somebody do that?! We’ve been begging…

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Transparency and trust matter more than ever in the COVID era, especially for schools

Since the postponement yesterday of June 30’s strange in-person public School Board meeting, I have heard and seen this question posed repeatedly: if it’s not safe for the public to attend a public School Board meeting, how is it safe to open schools?  There’s a simple answer to that question: it’s not “safe.” It won’t be “safe.” But that’s not…

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