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Calling out Manny Diaz

I just read a shameful article about Manny Diaz. This legislator made some remarkable comments that show a disconnect between reality and his support for the failed policies of Jeb Bush and the Florida Department of Education (sic). He  also states things that are manifestly false.

Diaz is nothing new. He is part of the same crowd pushing massive testing and the false “choice” that has drained schools and brought Florida near the bottom in graduation rates.  He wants to empower corporate interests-  not students and parents.

Remember, this is a guy who spent a whopping five years in the classroom and then got out.

Diaz supports taking money away from traditional schools and communities. Let’s break down a quote he gave in the article I included above.

Diaz said,  “I support teachers wholeheartedly, but we sometimes have to make the tough decisions, which are what’s best for the kids and making sure that all of our kids – especially those who are low-income and of low socio-economic status – have the same opportunities that all of our other students have across the state.”

Really Manny?

Manny Speak- “I support teachers wholeheartedly…”

Reality: He supports teachers so much he supports taking away due process rights and the ability to create assessments at the end of courses. He support them so much he supports Common Core that imposes another test driven curriculum.

Manny Speak- “…but we sometimes have to make the tough decisions, which are what’s best for the kids…”

Reality: This statement is right out of the Jeb Bush/Michelle Rhee lexicon. It assumes teachers do not want to do what is the best interest of students. His idea of what is best for kids is more testing? (Florida high schools will spend about 80 days testing this year) Mr. Diaz, there is nothing tough about diverting millions out of schools for testing and vouchers. There is nothing tough about your scheme to get around the class size law and shove kids into virtual classes. This is malpractice at best.

Manny Speak- “…especially those who are low-income and of low socio-economic status – have the same opportunities that all of our other students have across the state.”

Reality: This is they guy who wants to end our new health care law that covers these low-income kids? Are you kidding me? So much for same opportunities. If Manny wants all to have the same opportunities he would allow students and parents to opt out of testing. He will never support real choice. His goal is to make public schools so onerous with testing and regulations that parents will take voucher bribe money to leave and go to schools where they trust teachers. Odd use of our money, huh?

Manny claims that “virtual classes” will help poor kids. Florida is a leader in child poverty and homelessness. Mr. Diaz- kids are concerned with eating and staying alive – not buying computers. Diaz is backing the digital learning scam that Lee Fang exposed. Remember, the task force that Rick Scott organized told him to END The online requirement for graduation. Any evidence for digital learning? Nope, but Manny is being bold!

Manny Speak- “The majority of these tests that teachers and students are complaining about are not coming from the state accountability system; most of them are coming from district-required testing from each individual district,”

Reality: I am not sure if I should call this false or a flat-out lie. 99% of the testing being done is mandated by the state. The rest is part of the Florida Cult of Accountability. In order to help school grades- districts are pressured into giving more tests to boost school grades and avoid punishment. This testing is a direct result of the Florida Accountability System. Florida is actually increasing the number of state required tests.  Two examples of this are the mandated PERT testing and mandated EPAT testing. These ridiculous tests take over a week to give since computer labs are needed. The Algebra EOC took two weeks to give last year. Of course the state is now forcing districts to spend millions more on computers to accommodate the  growing (mandated) Common Core  and EOC testing. Do you see how more money is being diverted for testing?

Mr. Diaz- of the 40 days I have lost students to for testing this year (so far) not ONE DAY was for testing from the district. ALL was state mandated. Do you even know what is going on or are you repeating the zombie call of the educational testing complex? Did you know that diagnostic testing is mandated by the state? Maybe not.  Were you aware of state mandated FAIR testing? Were you aware that the legislature gave the College Board over ONE MILLION dollars to force kids to take the PSAT?  Please so not repeat the lie that most testing is district required. It is simply NOT TRUE.  Do you realize that Common Core testing is state mandated?

Manny Speak- “I’m all for local control, and if it works for a district, that’s great; but we need to have districts own up to what they’re doing.”

Reality- Manny is such a supporter of local control he will not let local boards decide on charter schools. He backs letting the unelected DOE have final say. Manny is such a supporter of local control that he will not let elected school boards and local kids opt out of testing they feel is harmful and not needed. Manny is such a supporter of local control that he wants to force districts to use VAM scores and merit pay. Local control? Give me a break Manny.

Jeb Bush recently told his politburo (Florida Legislature) to be bold. I guess this means to keep ignoring evidence, teachers and students. To Bush, the DOE and legislature “being bold” means diverting more money and time to testing as graduation rates are at the bottom of the bucket. Remember not to include ESE students in the graduation rate since they do not have to pass ANY tests to graduate- the soft bigotry of low expectations?

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