Patton’s Textbook Committee “Community Member” Previously Showed Disdain for Parent Group

By Steve Bracci:

This post follows up on my April 13 post about Superintendent Patton leaving parents off of textbook committees, and my other April 13 post discussing how the District dubiously stated that there were “parents” on its committees.

Not only were there not any identified parents on the committees that selected textbooks for 13 school subjects, but Patton instead chose her close pal and friend-of-the-left, Theron Trimble, to act as the “community member/parent” for many of these selections.

Patton carefully selected “community” members such as Trimble to serve.  To begin to understand Trimble’s feelings about parents, listen to his own words at the May 12, 2015, school board meeting.  Trimble displays his apparent disdain for local group Parents ROCK by childishly referring to it as “Parents Crock:”

Trimble mentions his multiple degrees in this video.  How lucky we are to have such a studied man selecting our school district’s textbooks.   How highly intelligent of Trimble to figure out that “rock” rhymes with “crock,” and then to resort to name calling rather than presenting a substantive argument against Parents ROCK’s positions.

Did Trimble learn such name-calling  in his formal logic studies?  It seems not, for he would have learned that this is an ad hominem fallacy that is unbecoming of a true scholar.

Perhaps Theron learned how to name-call in a course on Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.”

Rule #5:  “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

Hmmm, that might make a lot of sense.  What an ideal type of “community member” for Patton’s textbook selection committees.

US News & World Report – Plummeting Collier High School Rankings: Superintendent Patton’s Performance Review in Graphics

By David Bolduc:

U.S. News & World Report just released its 2017 high school rankings.  Collier County has plummeted for the second year in a row.  Here’s Superintendent Patton’s performance review in graphic form:

Patton’s Propaganda Machine Springs Into Action!!

By Steve Bracci:

Superintendent Kamela Patton’s massive communications marketing propaganda machine kicked into action on Friday 4/14, shortly after I sent my post about parents being left off of certain of the School District’s review committees.  In apparent response to my post, the District proclaimed in an e-mail blast:

“At the April 11, 2017, School Board Meeting, the recommendation of Instructional Materials Review Committees for Fine Arts, French, HOPE, and Social Studies were approved by the Board.  The committees were comprised of parents, community members, teachers, and school administrators.”

I view the assertion that the committees were “comprised of parents” in one of four ways.

  1. The assertion is false.
  2. The assertion is misleading.
  3. The District is incompetent.
  4. The District simply could not care less about fully informing the public.

Taking these arguments one at a time —

Alternative #1:  The assertion is false.  While the School District says that the committees were comprised of parents, it is undeniable that the committees referenced in my post did not include any members labeled as “parents.”  Rather, the book review committees I mentioned labeled the members only as “community member,” “teacher” or “administrator.”  See here:

By contrast, other book review committees did specifically include a labeled “parent.”  See here:

So based on the information provided by the District, it would appear that the District’s statement that the committees included “parents” is false.

Alternative #2:  The assertion is misleading.  The District’s statement that “the committees were comprised of parents, community members, teachers, and school administrators” could be technically correct, but still be misleading to the public.  Yes, if there were 20 different textbook review committees, and 12 of them had parents but the other 8 did not, it would nevertheless be a technically true statement that the “committees” — collectively — included parents.  But that does not mean that each committee included a parent.   Again, a possible mislead of the public here.

Also, perhaps it’s the case that a “school administrator” or “teacher” may also be a “parent.”  But that’s not indicated on the various committee textbook selection forms.  Is the public supposed to forensically review each named teacher or administrator to determine if they also have children in the school system?

Alternative #3:  The District is Incompetent.  If certain committees included “teachers” or “school administrators” who are also “parents,” then the District staff was apparently too incompetent to think about labeling these individuals as both “teacher” and “parent.”  Would that have been too much to ask, in order for the public to understand this important process — a process in which our legislators in Tallahassee determined a need for at least one parent to be included?

Alternative #4:  The District simply could not care less about fully informing the public.  Same principle here.  If the District truly cared about the public and parent input, they would identify the “parent” on each committee.

Why is this distinction between “parents” vs. “administrators” or “community members” important?  Any teachers or administrators who are also parents are ultimately employed by Superintendent Patton, and receive their paychecks from the Patton administration.  They are therefore beholden (and potentially pressured) by the Patton Administration to choose the “right book” — meaning this whole textbook selection process is just smoke-and-mirrors.  I am not saying that all teachers or administrators cannot act independently, but a truly independent “parent” must be included as a check and balance.  A court opinion dealing with the Sunshine Law is analagous on this point:

“It would be equally ludicrous to hold that a certain committee is governed by the Sunshine Law when it consists of members of the public, who are presumably acting for the public, but hold a committee may escape the Sunshine Law if it consists of individuals who owe their allegiance to, and receive their salaries from, the governing authority.”

News-Press Pub. Co., Inc. v. Carlson, 410 So.2d 546, 548 (Fla. 2d DCA 1982).

So because Patton and her administration have a level of control over the teachers and administrators, it would be disingenuous to say that a teacher or administrator serving on a textbook review committee is acting as a “parent.”  Their independence may be lost.

This harkens me back to my guest appearance on the Joe Whitehead Show in Fall 2015.  A teacher called into the show to express concerns about the Collier County School District.  I asked her why teachers rarely speak publicly at school board meetings — and when they do why they almost never oppose the School District.  Her response was that teachers are “afraid” to speak out, and that they are “being watched” (ie monitored) by the School District.  So what independence does a hybrid teacher/ administrator “parent” reviewer really have?  I would argue potentially very little, without fear of reprisal.

I contend that this textbook review is all just typical District window dressing.  The District will pick whichever book the upper administration wants.

 

 

Collier School District’s Textbook Review Selection Process Violates Sunshine Law

By Steve Bracci:

 

In follow-up to yesterday’s post about the School District leaving parents off of its textbook review committees, it would also appear that the closed-door textbook review selection process violates Florida’s Sunshine Law.  A committee — such as a textbook review committee — cannot meet privately and “eliminate” or “rank” possible choices, even if they only make a “recommendation.”  Even if the school board has the ultimate final decision, the lower committee cannot do this outside of the Sunshine.

Here, the textbook review committees met privately and eliminated textbook choices down to one book per subject.  That one choice was then recommended to the School Board on 4/11/2017.  The School Board — having only one choice per subject to choose from — voted to adopt the recommendations.  A classic “rubber stamp.”

The law is clear, as summarized in a court opinion called  “Silver Express.”  (click case name for link):

Governmental advisory committees which have offered up structured recommendations such as here involved—at least those recommendations which eliminate opportunities for alternative choices by the final authority, or which rank applications for the final authority—have been determined to be agencies governed by the Sunshine Law. . . . .  In Spillis Candela & Partners, Inc. v. Centrust Savings Bank, 535 So.2d 694 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988), we stated:

“The law is quite clear. An ad hoc advisory board, even if its power is limited to making recommendations to a public agency and even if it possesses no authority to bind the agency in any way, is subject to the Sunshine Law. The committee here, made a ruling affecting the decision-making process and it was of significance. As a result, it was improper for the committee to reach its recommendation in private since that constituted a violation of the Sunshine Law.”

This is precisely what happened with these textbook review committees.   The met privately, they eliminated textbook choices and publishers, they made a final recommendation or selection, and they submitted it to the school board for final approval.

I believe this is a Sunshine Law violation, and thus the action of the Board to approve these textbook choices on 4/11/2017 is VOID.

Superintendent Patton Leaves Parents off of Textbook Review Committees in Violation of Florida Law

By Steve Bracci:

Superintendent Kamela Patton has once again proverbially thumbed her nose at Collier County parents, this time leaving them off of textbook review committees in violation of Florida law.

At the School Board meeting on April 11, 2017, Patton presented to the school board the final “selections” of the Superintendent’s textbook review committees.   The board then voted to approve all textbook selections.

Florida Statute 1006.283 states that “If a district school board chooses to implement its own instructional materials program, the school board shall adopt rules…which must include…Selection of reviewers, one or more of whom must be parents with children in public schools.

The textbooks for these 13 subjects were selected by committees with no parent member:

Middle School Civics, United States Government, Constitutional Law Honors, Court Procedures, Legal Systems & Concepts, Law Studies, Comprehensive Law Studies, AP United States Government & Politics, AP Comparative Government & Politics, Sociology, Psychology I & II, AP Psychology, AP Human Geography.

Click on the above links for proof.

These are important courses, and our Florida Legislature believes it is in the best interest of Florida citizens and students that the textbook review committees include at least one parent reviewer.  Apparently Superintendent Patton thinks that she is above the law enacted by our representatives in Tallahassee.

The snubbing of parents has been a theme with Superintendent Patton for years now, dating back to her planned 2013 closed door takeover of after school programs.  Back then the district announced the takeover a day before the end of the school year, and followed through with the takeover despite 700+ parents who signed a petition protesting the Patton Administration.  This episode ultimately led to the formation of the Parents ROCK organization (“Parents Rights of Choice for Kids”).

Four years later — and Patton is still disrespecting parents.

Folks, you should e-mail your school board members and the Superintendent, and demand that the school board’s approval of these 13 course textbooks must be rescinded since they are void ab initio in violation of Florida law.

A complete do-over is required — WITH PARENT REPRESENTATION!

Send your emails to:

Lichter, Kelly <lichteke@collierschools.com>; Donalds, Erika <donale@collierschools.com>; Carter, Erick <cartee1@collierschools.com>; Lucarelli, Stephanie <lucars@collierschools.com>; Terry, Roy <TerryRo@collierschools.com>; Patton, Kamela <patton@collierschools.com>

 

 

“RED FLAG!” – Why Is Superintendent Patton Resisting an independent audit??

By Steve Bracci:

At the April 11, 2017, school board meeting in Everglades City, Collier County School Superintendent Kamela Patton practically commandeered the meeting in order to fight tooth-and-nail against having an independent auditor review the school district’s financial and operational practices.  Patton has been successful in fending off such an independent audit since the beginning of her reign in 2011.

Patton’s filibustering resistance was so strong that board member Erika Donalds — herself a CPA and CFO of a large financial services company — told the board that in the private world, if a CEO such as Patton so strongly resisted an independent audit, it would be a major “RED FLAG.”

Board member Kelly Lichter joined in calling out the “RED FLAG.”

District General Counsel Jon Fishbane — who may be retained or fired by the Superintendent and therefore serves at her will rather than the board’s — went beyond simply providing legal guidance and seemingly advocated a position against an audit, steering the conversation in other directions.  Fishbane has served alongside Patton since the beginning of her reign in 2011.

Remember back in January how Obama bragged that his administration was “scandal free?”  They thought that Trump would never beat Hillary, and therefore the skeletons would never be revealed.  Look how much has now turned up in a couple months’ time under the eyes of Trump and his new administrators.

Could it be that Superintendent Patton does not want an independent auditor looking under the hood?  It sure seems that way.

And oh, by the way, Patton sure seems comfortable with that Gallagher company that she hand-picked to conduct a lesser review.

I will link to the school board video once it is posted.

Blue Zones, Sunshine, and the Naples Daily News

By Steve Bracci:

“Kicks” to the Naples Daily News editorial board for its April 1 print edition piece supporting the Blue Zones Project® by stating that “Government should be in the Sunshine ……unless perhaps that shade is blue.”  This is hypocrisy, or perhaps the editors are just April fools.

Taken literally, the NDN editorial board is saying that it is just fine that our various local governments’ participation in Blue Zones occurs behind closed doors and outside of public view.   Why not, since the Naples Daily News’  paw prints are all over it?

In June 2015, the Blue Zones Project manager e-mailed the Blueprint to the steering committee, instructing that “this document shall not be public record or shared until after you have signed and approved it in July.”  Naples Daily News President Barker – with first-hand knowledge of this instruction to conceal a public record – apparently went along.

The NDN’s three-person editorial board includes its president, William “Bill” Barker.  In 2015, Barker joined the “Blue Zones Project Steering Committee” that met behind closed doors alongside 6 local government officials including Superintendent Kamela Patton and County Commissioner Penny Taylor.  Their purpose:  to orchestrate the for-profit Blue Zones Project’s® infiltration into our local governments and other elite local establishments.   It was all described in a Blue Zones Blueprint developed by Barker and his fellow steering committee members.  In June 2015, the Blue Zones Project manager e-mailed the Blueprint to the steering committee, instructing that “this document shall not be public record or shared until after you have signed and approved it in July.”

Naples Daily News President Barker – with first-hand knowledge of this instruction to conceal a public record – apparently went along.  Barker’s NDN newspaper never reported on the contents of the Blueprint, nor on the fact that our public officials were about to sign it.  Worse yet, Superintendent Patton kept that document from the public until a school board member forced her to produce it.  Despite the public not having seen the Blueprint, Barker ran an editorial two days before the school district’s final 9/8/2015 vote, telling readers that “the debate is over” and that the school district should adopt the very Blueprint that Barker helped to conceal.

This is what our local newspaper of record calls “Blue Zones in the Sunshine.”

Click here for the Naples Daily News editorial.