The state has no “plan” but more testing for reopening schools; so we have to ask and answer foundational questions ourselves

Your child’s humanity; your child’s suffering over the last few months; you child’s development could not be more irrelevant to the current discussion of reopening schools in Florida. Nor could the well-being of health-vulnerable adults in a confined space with circulating air. Three basic tenets are driving the state’s non-plan for reopening that Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard…

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What can Lakeland/Polk do? Single-member districts and geographic school choice would be a start.

How does our community harness the historic intensity of the Black Lives Matter protests to make structural changes that improve the real world life experience for Black citizens and for all citizens? As a Lakeland citizen and Polk County School Board member, I see two unfair and harmful local realities that lay within government’s power to address quickly. And I’m…

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Lying won’t help anybody’s life; and it won’t beat us. Try having some ideas instead.

Take a look at this short video from 17-year-veteran Polk County public school teacher Amanda Russell. It’s extremely humbling and gratifying. Key quote: “I voted for Billy Townsend in 2016 because I was looking for a School Board candidate that was driven and honest and not afraid to tell the truth. And that’s exactly what I got.” About the same…

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Melony Bell’s give-back-half position on the FRS heist hints at a veto. Now ask her if she wants a veto.

Now this is how civics is supposed to work. Two polite, intrepid citizens got Rep. Melony Bell, R-Fort Meade, on the record about the $9 million FRS heist from the people of Polk County and her vote to support it. I’ll reprint the entire statement in a moment. Full background on the FRS Heist here. But, at a high level,…

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Will the board chair/superintendent allow your elected school board to vote to demand a veto of Melony Bell’s $9 million FRS heist

I am working very hard, politically, to try to save public education as a whole and the human capacity of the Polk County School District, specifically, from the impacts of the COVID depression. I may absolutely fail. But I’m going to try. The existential problems posed by the COVID depression are almost entirely political. And they are vastly more pressing…

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The euthanasia archipelago and the graduations: I will proudly wear a mandatory mask for the sake of both

I will absolutely and without complaint wear a mandatory mask and submit to a mandatory temperature check at the two Polk County graduation ceremonies (Lakeland High and Harrison) I plan to attend at this time. Here is a cold, bloodless graphic image that tells you why: This is the “curve” of COVID-19 infection rates for skilled nursing homes and assisted living…

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Rescind the FRS heist: Rep. Bell/Gov. DeSantis, give back the $9 million you took from Polk’s children, paras, bus drivers, nutrition workers, custodians, and experienced teachers

Before COVID, while you were distracted by talk of increasing minimum teacher salary during this Legislative Session, Rep. Melony Bell, R-Fort Meade, (and all the other legislators and governor) voted to take $9 million per year right out of the pockets of Polk County’s children, paras, bus drivers, and experienced teachers. Rep. Bell and the governor and the rest of…

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The FSBA rises: a strong, important document on re-opening schools shows it can be a force for advocacy

I’ve been loudly and publicly critical of the Florida School Board Association’s (FSBA) public advocacy on behalf of public schools. So I want to be equally public and loud in praising the FSBA’s “Recommendations for Re-opening Florida’s Public Schools 2020-2021 School Year” document released this week. It’s long (5 pages), detailed, and assertive. It appears designed to create important moral…

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Governing by dominance ritual: we’re all Richard Corcoran’s kid; and we can’t afford to forget it

Whatever dominance rituals Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran wants to indulge with his kids inside his household are his business — and his family’s. If someone had secretly taped Corcoran wrestling his oldest kid into his pool and bouncing him against one side, I would condemn the invasion of privacy. Moreover, I’m not a judgmental parent. I screw up all the…

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The expendable soldiers of the 1918 pandemic call out to the expendable soldiers of 2020

One of the important subplots of my book Age of Barbarity: the Forgotten Fight for the Soul of Florida is the story of black soldiers in World War I, specifically from Palatka, Florida. Their experience intersected crucially with the earliest moments of the deadliest outbreak of the 1918 flu pandemic. They almost certainly helped spread the so-called “second wave” through…

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