Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

Lincoln, FDR and Nixon. Huzzah!

Writer Michael Barone noted that the three most difficult times to become President were…

A. 1860: Abraham Lincoln

B. 1932: Franklin Roosevelt

C. 1968: Richard Nixon

I agree. When Lincoln took the oath, states had already seceded and the Confederate States of America was launched in defense of slavery. It was called “The Secession Winter” and the nation was literally falling apart. FDR inherited a nation in economic chaos with communists threatening to hoist red flags in some American cities. The Great Depression stalked Americans and the Dust Bowl was about to spread darkness over much of the land. Nixon took the oath as 100 cities were on fire due to race and anti-war riots. LBJ had over 550,000 men in Vietnam and the counter-culture was planting bombs, killing officers of the law and lowering US flags at government buildings in order to hoist the flag of the Viet Cong.

All three called for calm and unity. All three called on what Nixon would call “The Silent Majority” to rise up and hold the center. After four years, Lincoln had won the Civil War.  FDR’s New Deal saved millions of lives and with the help of a war economy – banished the Great Depression. Nixon got us out of Vietnam and in 1973 “Operation Homecoming” saw our POWS come home. The draft was ended and peace was at hand.



Reading(sic) Tests are Harmful

“The lady walked past the window that was covered by blue drapes. She was sad all day but it would only get worse.”

Q: What is the symbolism behind the drapes being blue ?

A. It was cold outside

B. The lady was sad

C. The lady felt cold inside

D. The lady was covering up her gloom

A: The testing companies want B

A: Actual answer according to the writer? None of the above. “The drapes are blue because they are freaking blue.”

An Increasingly Unstable Superintendent in Palm Beach?

Very strange things are happening in Florida schools but the events is Palm Beach are remarkable. The Palm Beach Superintendent Robert Avossa (who makes a base salary of $350,000) is showing signs of instability that real leaders do not allow to become habits.

Questions were raised when a school effectiveness survey showed how great teachers, parents and students thought things were in the district. It turned out the results were bogus and had to be revised after an investigation by The Palm Beach Post.

A few months ago, Avossa went on a Twitter rampage in an attack against The Palm Beach Post for reporting simple facts. An angry Avossa got personal in his attacks. It took Board intervention to calm him down and force an apology.

Just this last week- an angry Avossa attacked the local Union President for being “hostile” and “inexperienced.” He sent an angry email that contained allegations that he had to admit were without merit.

Something is wrong.


“Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun…”

Noel Coward

Palm Beach Superintendent says he is stressed and wants to relax during Thanksgiving break

Palm Beach County Superintendent Robert Avossa (who makes a base salary of $350,000) sent a message to his employees today to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. The one minute video spent more time talking about Robert Avossa than his hard working teachers.

Avossa said he wanted to “de-stress.”  Let me tell you what stress is…

*Being a teacher or bus driver and having to work two jobs to survive

*Working 14 hour days to help kids with no extra pay

*Being bullied by administrators and district staff who could not teach their way out of an empty milk carton

*Being told your salary and job depend on test scores but that you have no freedom to teach the way you know will help kids the most

What is stressing Avossa? What to order at the cafeteria?

Veterans Day 1973

This was a special day in our history, but one you will not hear about on any official media. This was the first “Veterans” Day in 32 years that our men were not subject to a draft and the first in 12 years that our men were not in combat in Vietnam.

Thanks to all our men and women who served. And thank you President Nixon.

Wise Move by A Superintendent in Palm Beach.

Palm Beach County Superintendent Robert Avossa recently announced that there would be three makeup days due to a hurricane. Despite promising not to interfere with holiday vacations- one of those days is January 8th- when many students will still be out of state on Christmas break. This announcement is puzzling since the district is still well over the required instructional hours.

Gary Gelo – Superintendent of Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach, announced there was no need to make up the days.

What is the difference? Why opposing decisions? The Diocese usually follows the Public School schedule.

Avossa tests students into a state of numbness while Gelo trusts his teachers. Avossa wants more test prep time. Avosssa was going to try and eliminate mandated physical education around testing time to allow for… more test prep.

Gelo wins.

“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland   



Palm Beach School Chaos

Superintendent Robert ” I love my teachers” Avossa faced blistering attacks at a public meeting this evening. The usually compliant Board rejected Avossa’s scheme to eliminate required daily physical education time around testing season – in order to provide more test preparation time. You can’t make this stuff up.

But there is more…

Avossa refuses to tell principals to cease and desist in their illegal attempts to force teachers to attend PLC meetings and complete assignments. Union president Justin Katz told the public that some principals and assistant principals were threatening teachers with low evaluation scores (which affect pay) if they refuse to attend meetings.

These administrators should all be fired or reassigned to the bus compound to assist drivers.

What to do?

The Union should publish the names of all school administrators engaged in this illegal activity and file an unfair labor practice suit as soon as possible.


How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin!
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!
Lewis Carroll- The Crocodile

Robert Avossa’s Dirty Game

Palm Beach Superintendent Robert Avossa recently tweeted out that he loved his teachers.  His actions tell a different tale.

As teachers sit down with their district for negotiations, Avossa has made a few demands. First, the district wants to require all secondary teachers to teach an extra class. He wants them to have less time to call parents, lesson plan and grade papers. Those in the classroom realize that time for contractual duties is already tight as teachers are often pulled into ESE meetings or PLC meetings during their “planning period.” Oh, did I mention that teachers are often called to proctor local and state tests between 10-15 times a year?

Schools have long tried to get teachers to teach an extra period because it means they might not have to actually hire another teacher. Of course the pay for the extra class is insultingly low.

Secondly, Avossa wants to put PLC meetings into the contract. As I have written about before – these illegal meetings are already being required by many schools and Avossa has done nothing to stop them. The Board knows this and the local union knows this, but sans legal action – they will not act.

Is there an offer for raises? Nope. At the last bargaining meeting the CFO for the district was absent so that topic was conveniently tabled.

As teachers suffer through loss of planning time, illegal duties and massive local testing – those in the district live in a fantasy world of café lunches and bloated salaries. Teachers live in a script written by Dickens. The Super and his minions live in a script written by Robert Owen.


“There is always Joker to see through the delusion. Generation succeeds generation, but there is a fool walking the earth who is never ravaged by time.”
Jostein Gaarder, The Solitaire Mystery

Crime in Progress- Palm Beach Schools 10/11/17

Back in the old days, students who wanted to take the PSAT did so and instruction carried on in a normal school day. This is how it should be. The PSAT – or for that matter the SAT and ACT – was never designed to be forced on students.

Since Robert Avossa took over, things have changed. Avossa has paid (partly out of school budgets) extra money to The College Board to forces students to take the PSAT in grades 8 and 9 in addition to the 10th graders who normally take it.

Students are actually signed up sans consent.

They take the PSAT in grades 8,9 and 10- then the SAT in grade 11. All of this is during school. This bastardization of these tests is troubling- and expensive.

High schools are forced to shut down instruction from 7:30 until at least 12:00. Students are kept in one class for hours. Absentee rates go way up as thousands stay home.  Teachers are not even paid by The College Board for giving the test.

Tomorrow is also a testing day for the FSA- a graduation requirement. I spoke to administrators at two schools who said they lack the staff to give this test, so a day is lost.

Maybe we can break up the coffee klatsches at the central office to get proctors to help.


“When I was a child I caught a fever.
My hands felt like two balloons.
Now I’ve got that feeling once again,
I can’t explain; you would not understand.
This is now who I am.
I, I, I’ve become comfortably numb.”

                                                                      Pink Floyd



Robert Avossa’s Bonfire of the Vanities

The Palm Beach Post reported that Palm Beach Superintendent Robert Avossa deleted tweets he posted as he attacked The Post as “fake news.”

Is this a violation of public records laws?

Is this a violation of the retention rules pertaining to social media- issued by the School Board several months ago?

I hope The Post purses this.



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