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Old 03-07-2008, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Riverview
2 posts, read 7,773 times
Reputation: 21

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Hi - new to Florida this year and am quickly finding myself rather disgusted with the NONSENSE in the local school system. I have two children at Summerfield Crossings Elementary and have found that the Florida school system is completely backward in contrast to up north where I'm from. It used to be that the teachers sought to educate the students in ways that would prepare them for their educational journey and beyond; into life. Some may argue the plausibility of learning any of life's lessons in school, but what I'm seeing is exactly the opposite. The children are subjected to adult pressures with a lack of moral guidance.

Florida students are taught for a test. A single test which determines how much money their school gets and as things move down the budgetary food chain, how much each teacher gets paid. The FCAT. You get good grades, your school gets more money and the teachers get more money. You don't do well, you get less money, you lose teachers who want to be able to make enough money to provide for their family, teachers come in who are willing to make less, etc. etc.

And new schools in this area seem to be popping up at the rate of two a year. Summerfield Crossings in a new school.. a school with a principal (a rather pompous and conceited man if I ever met one) who has champagne taste on a spring water budget. Can you believe that the fifth grade graduating class has actually decided that their year end event be a CATERED Dinner with a Oscar's theme AS WELL AS the whole fifth grade going to Adventure Island? That's about 120-130 kids?? Meanwhile, my teachers are begging their parents for supplies for things such as copy paper, crayons and glue sticks because 'there's no money in the budget for supplies.' Priorities: more than a little out of whack.

Granted, the fifth grade is constantly offering things for sale: magnets, where a hat to school for a dollar, etc, even though there's no way they'll come close and they've asked the PTA for a "couple thousand dollars".. to benefit ONE grade for ONE event. School board mandates a limit for a number of school grade specific fundraisers which is consistently breeched. Only the fifth grade benefits, yet the school is asked to participate.. and because of that, the other grades are left having held ZERO fundraisers as they've all been done by grade five. (With one recent exception, the music group sold lollipops.. KUDOS! I'm sure that your budget is as empty as the rest of the grades, except the fifth's.) Now the precedent has been set for the first year in grade five as to what to expect and each year, the students will do the same - why shouldn't the fourth grade have as nice a year end event next year? And on and on it goes... Champagne taste on a springwater budget - great lesson to be teaching our kids. This isn't a high school graduation, here. Just FIFTH GRADE.

On top of this, new schools and handpicked teachers often fall prey to things such as political struggles and cliques which belong in middle school gym locker rooms, not in the staff attempting to educate our children. SCE is certainly no exception. The power struggles, the one-up-edness, purposely making one teacher look bad so that another will look good, holding out on supplies and resources from other teachers in your grade - and in an environment which is fostered by the principal to such an extent that some teachers are afraid to teach unless it is directly related to FCAT.

Posters everywhere, an "FCAT Pep Rally".. posters from lower grades encouraging the FCAT testing grades to "BLOW THE TEST AWAY" (that's the slogan/theme).. isn't that an awful lot of ADULT pressure to be putting on elementary school students?? There's a ban on activities from January to April to ensure that nothing distracts or disrupts the students from learning the FCAT material and test prepping. It sounds more like a bar exam prep than what it should be - a test to measure the student's progress. Instead it is a tool for salary negotiation and grant expectations; the teachers don't care what the students learn as long as they do good on the test and they get a raise. And of course, Dr. Cantrell is leading the way with his young twenty-somethings teachers, all following along like a parade of pathetically eager puppy dogs. He's granted himself rights and priviledges which are not in the best interest of the school. If one were to visit, his office is of course 'the corner office'.. except it was not meant to be an office, it has the exit door that leads to the protected part of campus. Instead, the children were forced to use an external exit door and come back in through an UNLOCKED AND OPEN gate, throughout the entire day, in the back parking lot until he ordered ADDITIONAL construction to allow for the back parkinglot to be partially secured.. rather than give up his comfy office. Don't even ask where the kids have to go even now if they need to use the restroom and are not in their class.

This school has disgusted me beyond all measure. The self-centeredness, the lack of concern for the students' safety and success, the attitude that everything is 'owed to you', the corporate cutthroat behaviour.. it should be an environment where collaboration and growth is fostered, it has proven synergistic effects and success would be even more likely for the students and that horrible test.. but perhaps that is exactly what it has come down to throughout the state with the implementation of the standards for this test and its relation to salary; the sole measure of a student's, a teacher's and a school's success at any cost, no matter who is hurt in the process.

I for one, will be home schooling next year. If you can't home school, use school choice, you don't want to attend this school.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:28 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,183 times
Reputation: 17
Default summerfield Crossings elementary

I wanted to comment on the last persons blog of Summerfield Crossings Elem.
I feel totally the opposite as she does. My daughter goes and I must admit I love this school. The principal has a great vision and the teachers are wonderful. If she wants more and is totally intitled to it then keep your child home schooled.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:51 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,504 times
Reputation: 27
I, as a 20 something teacher, take great offense to your comment. I think you do not have all your facts straight. My salary has nothing to do with how well my students do on the FCAT. (Our salaries are awful and if we were worried about our salaries, we would not be teachers!) It is an expectation that my students are able to pass the test. The test is the curriculum for the grade level. If teachers teach what they are suppose to their student will have gained enough knowledge to pass the test. Perhaps your child's teacher lacks specific teaching skills, but I think perhaps you have generalized a whole school, and states teaching philosophy. Myself and my teaching team share everything! I love them both as educators and as people. We come to work early everyday and stay late to educate your children. I am sorry that you see the teachers at your child's school to as "young twenty-somethings teachers, all following along like a parade of pathetically eager puppy dogs." In the past being eager was a positive attribute. I am eager! Eager to inspire my students everyday, eager to help them be better little people, eager to excite them about academics. Perhaps you as a parent are not eager enough, not involved enough, not willing to put in the time to help your child be successful.
Please homeschool your children so you can see what teachers go through on a daily basis, and while you educate your child try imagining another 25 children sitting beside him/her looking to you to give them same education and same attention.
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:23 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,791 times
Reputation: 10
Default Teacher in Miami-Dade

I don't teach the same county, but regardless, the mom hit the nail on the head when it comes to how schools operate in relation to FCAT preparedness. The amount of pressure is not fair to the teachers or students (and I am for standardized testing when it's implemented correctly). The 20-something teacher is just that: young, still gung-ho and bred into the FCAT system. She is too inexperienced to know how things should be or what they could be, she wants to do a great job and that's fine. I would hope my children have teachers like her and not someone who is embittered by the corruption in the FL Dept. of Education. I give her five more years (less if she takes a department chair position any time in the near future) before her eyes are opened to the truth of what's going on under her nose.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:49 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,217,684 times
Reputation: 14611
Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerfieldXingsMom View Post
Hi - new to Florida this year and am quickly finding myself rather disgusted with the NONSENSE in the local school system. I have two children at Summerfield Crossings Elementary and have found that the Florida school system is completely backward in contrast to up north where I'm from. It used to be that the teachers sought to educate the students in ways that would prepare them for their educational journey and beyond; into life. Some may argue the plausibility of learning any of life's lessons in school, but what I'm seeing is exactly the opposite. The children are subjected to adult pressures with a lack of moral guidance.

Florida students are taught for a test. A single test which determines how much money their school gets and as things move down the budgetary food chain, how much each teacher gets paid. The FCAT. You get good grades, your school gets more money and the teachers get more money. You don't do well, you get less money, you lose teachers who want to be able to make enough money to provide for their family, teachers come in who are willing to make less, etc. etc.

And new schools in this area seem to be popping up at the rate of two a year. Summerfield Crossings in a new school.. a school with a principal (a rather pompous and conceited man if I ever met one) who has champagne taste on a spring water budget. Can you believe that the fifth grade graduating class has actually decided that their year end event be a CATERED Dinner with a Oscar's theme AS WELL AS the whole fifth grade going to Adventure Island? That's about 120-130 kids?? Meanwhile, my teachers are begging their parents for supplies for things such as copy paper, crayons and glue sticks because 'there's no money in the budget for supplies.' Priorities: more than a little out of whack.

Granted, the fifth grade is constantly offering things for sale: magnets, where a hat to school for a dollar, etc, even though there's no way they'll come close and they've asked the PTA for a "couple thousand dollars".. to benefit ONE grade for ONE event. School board mandates a limit for a number of school grade specific fundraisers which is consistently breeched. Only the fifth grade benefits, yet the school is asked to participate.. and because of that, the other grades are left having held ZERO fundraisers as they've all been done by grade five. (With one recent exception, the music group sold lollipops.. KUDOS! I'm sure that your budget is as empty as the rest of the grades, except the fifth's.) Now the precedent has been set for the first year in grade five as to what to expect and each year, the students will do the same - why shouldn't the fourth grade have as nice a year end event next year? And on and on it goes... Champagne taste on a springwater budget - great lesson to be teaching our kids. This isn't a high school graduation, here. Just FIFTH GRADE.

On top of this, new schools and handpicked teachers often fall prey to things such as political struggles and cliques which belong in middle school gym locker rooms, not in the staff attempting to educate our children. SCE is certainly no exception. The power struggles, the one-up-edness, purposely making one teacher look bad so that another will look good, holding out on supplies and resources from other teachers in your grade - and in an environment which is fostered by the principal to such an extent that some teachers are afraid to teach unless it is directly related to FCAT.

Posters everywhere, an "FCAT Pep Rally".. posters from lower grades encouraging the FCAT testing grades to "BLOW THE TEST AWAY" (that's the slogan/theme).. isn't that an awful lot of ADULT pressure to be putting on elementary school students?? There's a ban on activities from January to April to ensure that nothing distracts or disrupts the students from learning the FCAT material and test prepping. It sounds more like a bar exam prep than what it should be - a test to measure the student's progress. Instead it is a tool for salary negotiation and grant expectations; the teachers don't care what the students learn as long as they do good on the test and they get a raise. And of course, Dr. Cantrell is leading the way with his young twenty-somethings teachers, all following along like a parade of pathetically eager puppy dogs. He's granted himself rights and priviledges which are not in the best interest of the school. If one were to visit, his office is of course 'the corner office'.. except it was not meant to be an office, it has the exit door that leads to the protected part of campus. Instead, the children were forced to use an external exit door and come back in through an UNLOCKED AND OPEN gate, throughout the entire day, in the back parking lot until he ordered ADDITIONAL construction to allow for the back parkinglot to be partially secured.. rather than give up his comfy office. Don't even ask where the kids have to go even now if they need to use the restroom and are not in their class.

This school has disgusted me beyond all measure. The self-centeredness, the lack of concern for the students' safety and success, the attitude that everything is 'owed to you', the corporate cutthroat behaviour.. it should be an environment where collaboration and growth is fostered, it has proven synergistic effects and success would be even more likely for the students and that horrible test.. but perhaps that is exactly what it has come down to throughout the state with the implementation of the standards for this test and its relation to salary; the sole measure of a student's, a teacher's and a school's success at any cost, no matter who is hurt in the process.

I for one, will be home schooling next year. If you can't home school, use school choice, you don't want to attend this school.

Why not compose this post into a letter to your state and US senators/congressman/governor/Sec of Education?

Then find the best private school that you can afford to enroll your children into.
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:00 AM
 
1,024 posts, read 1,488,454 times
Reputation: 969
Wow. You sound pretty disgruntled.

I am a teacher. I taught for 3 years in the public system, then home schooled my children for several years, and am now teaching in a private school. While I agree with most of what you said about the FCAT, I take offense to the remarks about the teachers.

ALL of my friends who teach in the public school system are incredible individuals. You wouldn't believe the junk they have to put up with, and yet they still come to school day after day to educate your children. They do an excellent job with what they are given considering the amount of pressure they are under the make every child an academic success.

What you really should be doing is writing the government and airing your complaints there because FCAT and No Child Left Behind is what is killing our schools. That and the fact that teachers' hands are tied when it comes to discipline. When parents don't do their job and teach their children how to behave, those kids come to school and disrupt the entire class and the teachers can do very little about it. Compound that with the ridiculous notion that EVERY child can be an academic success and go off to college and succeed. Not every child is wired for academics, and it's ludicrous to expect every student to fit that mold. What about the artistically gifted child? Or the mechanically minded child? How is the FCAT helping these kids develop to their fullest potential? What happened to the technical programs that were around years ago? I've watched our local tech school go from a place where kids could learn an excellent trade, graduate, and get a good job to a place that is just like the other schools an FCAT wonderland where academia trumps all else.

One of the reasons I left the public system to go into the private system is because of the FCAT. I ache for my friends whose teaching skills have been reduced to reading from a script and pushing the FCAT. And on top that, many have had to take a pay cut or a cut in their benefits! But please don't blame them for the way the system is they are doing what they are told in order to keep their jobs. The principal is in the same boat. This won't change, however, until the legislation does.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:50 AM
 
203 posts, read 871,239 times
Reputation: 74
I know this is an old post, but we're trying to let everyone know there is a great homeschooling group in Apollo Beach.

SouthShore Homeschool Group
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