Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Freaking Florida

I am really alarmed with Florida recently.

Our governor is a crook. And I don't just mean as a politician, homeboy is a criminal and I'd think the same thing if he was a member of my political party.  He was CEO of a company that was charged with 14 felonies and agreed to a $600 million fine for Medicare fraud. He frequently endorses policies that benefit a $62 million investment he still has (in his wife's name, he claims this makes it not a conflict of interest....). He wants state employees to start being drug tested--fine, but he happens to own a chain of businesses that do drug testing and this would cost tax payers $23.5 million a year. Yet he just made deep cuts to programs that benefit the severely disabled because we can't afford them.

We have legislators that can't bring themselves to say or hear the word "uterus" but feel obliged to make decisions about other people's.

We are trying to base teacher pay on student performance. The same teachers we force to deal with teaching to the FCAT standardized tests. The same teachers who have already had their salaries and budgets cut repeatedly. In theory it's a fine idea, but I'd like to see some of these politicians volunteer in the classroom before making this decision. There are at least 3 kids in Big Kid's class that if my pay was based on their performance, I'd be praying nightly for their disappearance.

The FCAT is destroying education, by the way. Big Kid, who has a deep love of learning and has always loved school, is sick to his stomach every Sunday night because he dreads going to school and doing worksheets all of the time. They are little form-filling factories--it is boring and stupid and I don't blame him for hating it. It's sad. His teacher hates it too and fondly remembers the days they had time for science experiments and projects in class. Big Kid will do great on the FCAT, but he'll probably hate school forever now.

I could go on...and on...and on. I have been seriously considering and researching moving. I just need to figure out if I could live without our beaches (and I need to convince Mr. Ashley, I guess.)

20 comments:

Tara said...

I'm pretty sure public education is like that everywhere in this country, sadly. There's no value in it. Unless you can afford private education or can handle homeschooling your child (I know I can't and I'm a teacher), you're stuck having some idiot's test shoved down your poor child's throat. Sad, sad, sad state of affairs. :( Maybe our kids' generation will be the one to turn things around.

Sasha said...

Move here! We'd have so much fun hanging out, and little kid and WC are destined to be together.

Kathie said...

Yeah, good luck finding somewhere in the US that doesn't have all those issues. For sure don't come to Illinois, things suck ass here too. My backup was Wisconsin but now the governor's a tool and trying to strip bargaining rights (I agree with limiting the union's power a bit, but certainly not taking it away altogether).

I am thinking New Zealand. I watched a video in grad school and in the schools there, the kids can take their shoes off and run around barefoot if it helps them learn better. If a kid does that here you know they get yelled at.

Also, my daughter will be starting kindergarten in the fall. It breaks my heart that she might not get to have any science fairs and that kind of stuff. She is so creative, I fear public school will stifle it, and private isn't an option for us right now.

:(

Anonymous said...

It's the same crap here in texas. I'm a special education teacher with medically fragile children and even they have to take a state mandated test!!! It's awful.

Joy said...

OMG I think Blogger just ate my huge comment I left for you. WHY ME? why must blogger hate my comments?

Ashley said...

Sasha, eliminate winter and I'm there!

I've also seriously considered and researched homeschooling. I think it would be excellent for Big Kid, but I'm not so sure about little kid (or me and little kid). I wish I could pay someone else to homeschool them. Private school is out of the question, it costs as much as some state universities. I think I could do a better job than the worksheet pushing but I don't know if I have the stamina or mental fortitude (99% sure I don't). I'm also not sure I could afford it, since I'd have to continue not to work and would want to spend money on teaching tools and experiences for them.

Joy, yep, I don't see it. Sorry!

Sasha said...

You mean you don't like running your AC and heater, all in the same day? Yes, the weather here is crazy, so I don't blame you a bit for not wanting to move here. Still would be fun for me though!

Getthebubbles said...

Fellow Floridian here, also EXTREMELY CONCERNED!! I have no kids, but my husband is a teacher (2nd year) and stands to lose his job because of funding. He's not sure he even wants to teach anymore after all of the issues due to funding, FCAT, and classroom size amendments. Also, another story to add to the evidence that Rick Scott is a crook that has his hands in the healthcare industry pockets:
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-02-26/health/os-state-ombudsman-firing-20110226_1_ombudsman-nursing-home-kate-ricks
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2011/mar/09/092111/probe-under-way-in-removal-of-state-nursing-home-a/

MTGrace said...

You should look into the "paying someone to homeschool your kid" option. I bet there are people out there who would do it.

I'd beg you to move here, but ND would be a HUGE shock after Florida. And our schools don't have funding for special programs for the smart kids like Big Kid - just for the kids who are struggling. It's frustrating. But the kids don't have a million tests and they do lots of fun things at their school.

Anonymous said...

I would urge you to look into the private school thing. Many do have financial aid. Not a full ride, but some aid can be given. I didn't think that I could afford private school for my son, but it has been the best thing I have ever spent money on. (We do receive financial aid, but it still is expensive.)

Jennifer said...

Sounds like Texas. But then our state board of "education" also likes to rewrite history to fit their point of view.

elizabeth said...

Another FL mom here, who is from VA and knew about Rick Scott long before he came to FL. The guy is scum! Also happens that my husband went to B school with his new son-in-law...

Scott is the first federal criminal to actually buy his way into the Governor's mansion. What he did to Bill McCullom was despicable!

I already have the man looking into jobs out of state!

Kim said...

I have to say that all you have said I have heard before about the Florida school system. It's a shame that the kids like your son, who love school and learning, are the ones who suffer the most. We have our fair share of issues with public education in the Northeast, but overall, our school systems are very good...and we have beautiful beaches here as well...the Cape Cod National Seashore is a little slice of heaven...you wouldn't miss Florida for long! I'm just saying...I think you are onto something with the relocation plan :)

Anonymous said...

Same thing in California, if not worse. So sad. Guess I need to move to New Zealand, or Cape Cod.

Amanda L said...

Same thing in Kentucky. I've looked into homeschooling, but my husband doesn't think it would work out (I work full time, he's a stay at home dad). I'm a college prof, so I do a lot of "mini" homeschooling during breaks and summer vacation.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I grew up in Ft Laudy but now live in Upstate NY (please feel free to move here. I need a snarky friend!). But no one up here understands when I explain that I HAD to go to private schools (jr and sr high) if I wanted a good education. How dumb that in my area it was a matter of paying for schooling or taking your chances with getting stabbed!

Lisa said...

Yep...same testing deal in MN. My 5th grade daughter has FIVE standardized tests to take over the course of four weeks. Two different math tests, two different reading tests, and a science test. My third grader has all of those except the science. The teachers (and I am one of them!) have to spend SO much time simply teaching them the mechanics of taking the test because all but one of them are on the computer. There are two different testing companies each with their own testing method, and different tools to teach the kids like the highlighter and the answer eliminator and the formula sheet and the calculator...the kids are freaked out by all the prep, but then they're hearing, "Don't stress, you know all this, you'll do great." There is nothing fun about school these days because schools and teachers are under so much pressure to perform and produce regardless of individual student circumstances. There is no time for read-alouds, science experiments, bathroom breaks, recess, nature walks, art projects...it sucks!

Auntie A said...

Ashley - If you live near Gainesville, FL there is a school that is the absolute cream of the crop - it is P.K. Young. My husband and I have no children that go to this school and have no friends that go to this school, but every year, twice a year, we go pay actual money to see these kids act in a production. It is the coolest thing ever - top-notch productions that could compete with Broadway. It is a public school so there is no tuition involved but kids do have to be "accepted" to actually go there - which means you get rid of the kids who could care less about school. Just wanted to mention it to you because BK seems so creative, smart and special from your writings. (Also G'ville is close enough to the beaches that you can get there in about 1 1/2 hours.) I love, love, love your blog - pleae never stop :-)!!!

Jen said...

Here in PA there was a group of people that wanted to bring a lawsuit against the Board of Education in regards to the PSSA (PA's version of Achievement Tests). Why don't we teach our kids what they need to know instead of spending weeks preparing for a test that has nothing to do with life or life skills.
It seems like we're doing it everywhere, though ignoring the issues that need to be addressed, the elephant in the room so to speak.

alicorn_28 said...

Are there any charter schools around? They are usually still public schools, but better. Also, you could totally homeschool BK and still send lk to public school. Homeschooling is all about what works best for your family as a whole.