One Veteran’s Experience – Teaching in Florida Schools

The Florida Education Association (FEA) says more than 450,000 students may head back to school without a full-time teacher in place. 

FEA Vice President Carole Gauronskas says COVID is partially to blame for many teachers retiring early and students not pursuing the field.

“Ask the scientists, ask the doctors, and ask the educators what it is like to be in that classroom with poor ventilation with 26 children or more – many classes will have 30 or more students – and until we’re asked at that table with the legislators, I would say, you do your work, let us do our work. We went to school for four years plus, we know what we’re doing, let us do it.”

She says the other reason is simple: teachers aren’t paid enough or respected enough considering the time they put in.

“Overall, there are approximately 450,000 children who will not have a certified full-time teacher in their classrooms on the first day of school. So that roughly translates into almost 5,000 teaching positions that are open and more than 3,700 support staff positions.”

The State of Florida is now allowing qualified military veterans to obtain 5-year temporary teaching certificates to serve as substitute teachers without having completed a college degree. The move comes as Florida works to find solutions to a statewide teacher shortage.

A recent FEA survey found some 13.5 percent of English classes and 8.1 percent of math classes statewide are taught by teachers who are not certified in those subjects.

On August 18, 2022 – The Biden Administration’s U.S. Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, praised Florida’s plan to encourage veterans to work in the classrooms. Cardona stated, “I don’t have the details of the Florida program specifically. I love anything that’s going to provide opportunities for those who are looking into the teaching profession, ensuring that they’re connected to good teacher preparation programs that teach pedagogy and ensuring that the educators have the skills needed to meet the needs of our students.”

A month later, Cardona expressed this view, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona criticized efforts by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to allow veterans without college degrees to teach in Florida public schools, saying the initiative lowers standards for teachers.

“The moment we start lowering standards to get [into teaching], we’re doubling down on the disrespect to the profession,” Cardona said. “I’m all for veterans becoming teachers … but let’s let’s remember when the nation’s report card is showing that our students have dropped drastically to provide educators who are not qualified or trained in the pedagogy of teaching is a slap in the face to the profession.” Cardona sounds like the FDA – wear a mask, don’t wear a mask indoors, wear a mask in the restaurant – never mind let’s listen to doctors.

Discrimination – the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of ethnicity, age, sex, or disability:

Discrimination in the workplace – The discrimination in favor of or against an employee based on a group, category, or class to which the individual belongs, rather than on individual merit.

According to federal and state laws, it is illegal for an employer to treat a person unequally based on his or her race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandates that no person employed by, or seeking employment with, a company that has 15 or more employees can be discriminated against based on any of these factors. While federal law prohibits discrimination in the workplace, most states have enacted their own laws regarding workplace discrimination.

Discrimination in the workplace covers any work related issues, and it is important for employers to take care that the company handbook, policies, and practices are uniform, regardless of employee race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability. Even a policy that applies to all employees, regardless of these factors may be illegal if it creates a negative impact on the employees. For example, if an employer has a hair style policy that applies to all employees, it may be unlawful if the policy is not job related, and impacts a certain race due to a predisposition of natural hair types.

A veteran posted his story to Facebook:

Discrimination of a disabled veteran, sexism and nepotism by the Palm Beach School District.

Brothers and sisters. I wanted to both inform you and reach out for help about a case of discrimination against me that is in many ways likely to impact our veteran community as they utilize Governor Desantises incentives to hire veterans as teachers.

On Tuesday 09/06 I was told I would be moved to a different school in my district due to low enrollment numbers. I am being replaced by a 24 year old teacher who was hired last year at the same time as me but as a reading teacher.

I have a masters degree in curriculum and instruction, a bachelor’s degree in political science, an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Two deployments, one to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. I broke my back on July 4th 2010 in country. I hold a 5 year professional renewable certification in the state of Florida.

The girl whose mother works at the school has two three year temporary non renewable teaching licenses. She does not have a masters degree, she has no military service yet my principal told me her credentials were more valuable than mine and that she would replace me. I was given no choice. No consideration was made for the fact I am a disabled veteran or that I have a service dog.

I am not looking for anyone’s pity. I don’t want money or financial assistance. I refuse to take this lying down. What was done to me is bound to happen at an accelerated rate as veterans begin to enter the Florida School system. I want you to know what is in store for us.

I would truly appreciate anyone who could get me an audience with our Governor or other state and federal representatives. If anyone has connections in the media, please send them to me. If you have any experience with discrimination lawsuits yourself, Please let me know how it went for you.

I am not looking for any cheap or free legal assistance. I want to know who the most ruthless discrimination lawyer is in our area. I am looking for that person specifically. Money is not an issue, they will see the major potential of my case. Thank you so much to all of you for taking the time to listen.

Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace

If an employee is dealing with discrimination in the workplace, he should carefully document all instance of the discrimination or harassment. This may be done by writing down the date, time, and details of each discriminatory act, as well as by keeping copies of voicemails, emails, text messages, as well as any physical evidence, which prove the discrimination. Such documentation, as well as a list of other people who may have witnessed the acts, may be important to an investigation.

The employee should report workplace discrimination, in writing, to his employer right away, keeping a copy of the notice. This ensures that, even if the problem has to be reported to a higher authority, the employer cannot claim ignorance of the situation.

While the state in which the victim is employed may have an agency assigned to investigate discrimination in the workplace, the victim can always contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). The EEOC oversees compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Many state employment agencies are able to provide information to both employers and employees, and guide them in reporting workplace discrimination.

Source:

Prieur, D. (2021, August 11). Florida has a critical shortage of teachers. Here’s why. Hint: One of the reasons begins with the letters COVID-19. 90.7 WMFE. https://www.wmfe.org/florida-has-a-critical-shortage-of-teachers-heres-why-hint-one-of-the-reasons-begins-with-with-covid-19/187744

The White House. (2021, July 23). FACT SHEET: How the Biden-Harris administration is advancing educational equity. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/07/23/fact-sheet-how-the-biden-harris-administration-is-advancing-educational-equity/

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/education/cardona-florida-hire-veterans-teachers

Covid – Have We Learned Anything

How Did It Start

Coronaviruses are a big family of different viruses. Some of them cause the common cold in people. Others infect animals, including bats, camels, and cattle. But how did SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, come into being?

Here’s what we know about the virus that was first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and has set off a global pandemic.
Where Did the Coronavirus Come From?

Experts say SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats. That’s also how the coronaviruses behind Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) got started.

SARS-CoV-2 made the jump to humans at one of Wuhan’s open-air “wet markets.” They’re where customers buy fresh meat and fish, including animals that are killed on the spot.

Some wet markets sell wild or banned species like cobras, wild boars, and raccoon dogs. Crowded conditions can let viruses from different animals swap genes. Sometimes the virus changes so much it can start to infect and spread among people.

Still, the Wuhan market didn’t sell bats at the time of the outbreak. That’s why early suspicion also fell on pangolins, also called scaly anteaters, which are sold illegally in some markets in China. Some coronaviruses that infect pangolins are similar to SARS-CoV-2.

Time Line

31 Dec 2019

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.

1 January 2020

WHO had set up the IMST (Incident Management Support Team) across the three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters and country level, putting the organization on an emergency footing for dealing with the outbreak.

4  January 2020

WHO reported on social media that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases – with no deaths – in Wuhan, Hubei province.

5 January 2020

WHO published our first Disease Outbreak News on the new virus. This is a flagship technical publication to the scientific and public health community as well as global media. It contained a risk assessment and advice, and reported on what China had told the organization about the status of patients and the public health response on the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

Masks

The story of mask requirements in the United States has had many twists and turns since the early days of the pandemic, when the U.S. surgeon general urged Americans to “STOP BUYING MASKS!”

Since then, government and public health leaders have urged us to wear face masks even when walking around our neighborhoods alone, and told us to keep wearing them even after receiving the protection of highly effective vaccines.

It wasn’t until May that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told fully vaccinated Americans that they could be exempt from nearly all mask requirements. The state of California followed suit with rules that went into effect when the economy reopened on June 15.

Now, as the highly transmissible Delta variant causes coronavirus cases to spike across the nation, indoor mask mandates are back in L.A. County regardless of vaccination status, and the CDC has updated its guidance as well. On Tuesday, the agency advised that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the virus is surging.

The question is – Why are waiting for the Delta variant to get worse before EVERY state implements the SAME MANDATE simultaneously?

What’s your response?

Covid by Stats by State

#DistanceLearning #Teachers #Parents #Students

Here we are in the middle of a pandemic and the Federal Government couldn’t put together a detailed plan for re-opening schools nor have they presented any updates since school has re-opened. It appears each state is on their own to devise ways and means to combat education during this time in our lives. While … Continue reading “#DistanceLearning #Teachers #Parents #Students”

Here we are in the middle of a pandemic and the Federal Government couldn’t put together a detailed plan for re-opening schools nor have they presented any updates since school has re-opened. It appears each state is on their own to devise ways and means to combat education during this time in our lives.

While perusing through some social media sites I came across some scared and angry parents and educators – all voicing their concern over returning to school. Some areas of concern were:

Areas of Concern

  1. The pandemic is not over;
  2. We don’t have a vaccine;
  3. Students would have to take a bus;
  4. Lack of information about what and how the districts were going to manage the return to school;
  5. How will the schools be sanitized;
  6. Can children spread the disease;
  7. How will students without wifi or a computer access their classes;
  8. How will students with disabilities be handled;
  9. Betsy DeVos is diverting public school monies to private school;
  10. Social distance how will it be managed in the school;

Children from low-income families who face hunger, possible abuse, mental health difficulties, and other issues have been hit the hardest during this pandemic. Local communities including religious organizations, social workers, and mental health specialists, along with educators and school officials, are needed to continue to help those struggling.

The Darker Side

  1. Students are at home babysitting their younger siblings while trying to engage in classwork;
  2. Breakfast and lunch are not provided;
  3. Students don’t have a quiet place to focus on school;
  4. Students are simply not showing up for either hybrid or distance learning classes;
  5. Students are not submitting their work;
  6. Students are confused about assignment thinking they have homework when actually it’s work for class for the days they attend school from home;
  7. Teacher have no way of managing 46 distance learners in one class;

Your suggestions and comments are welcome.

Here’s What’s Happening With Global Aid For #Covid

New York Times: Despite Big Promises, U.S. Has Delivered Limited Aid in Global Virus Response
“The Trump administration has lauded itself as leading the world in confronting the coronavirus. But it has so far failed to spend more than 75 percent of the American humanitarian aid that Congress provided three months ago to help overseas victims of the virus…” (Jakes, 6/7).

NPR: How Will The U.S. And WHO Fare Without Each Other?
“[On May 29], President Trump declared that he is ‘terminating’ the decades-long U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization over the agency’s relationship with China and withdrawing U.S. funding. But it’s unclear what will happen next — and what the short- and long-term implications will be. … [T]here are direct consequences if the U.S. stops funding and cooperating with the U.N. agency tasked with coordinating global responses to health threats, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what could happen in the short, medium, and long term…” (Huang, 6/5).

DW: Mo Ibrahim: Trump playing ‘blame game’ with WHO, coronavirus (van Eyssen/Micah, 6/7).

New York Times: Has ‘America First’ Become ‘Trump First’? Germans Wonder (Bennhold et al., 6/6).

New York Times: How Global Cooperation Could Be Key to Containing the Coronavirus (Gupta, 6/5).

POLITICO: Trump hails ‘tremendous progress’ on Covid-19 vaccine (Ollstein, 6/5).

Washington Post: Pentagon’s coronavirus plan includes millions for missile tubes and body armor (Gregg/Warner, 6/4).

%d bloggers like this: