Class Warfare, McKeel Academy Edition

You may have read that the priceless Frank O’Reilly, the only card-carrying member of the Polk County elite who ever directly challenges its self-satisifed mediocrity, flat-out accused the McKeel Academy empire of dumping kids it can’t teach back onto the regular public schools from which it poached them in the first place.

Lets Get Out of HereThe principal, the very smug Harold Maready, responded thusly, according to my buddy Merissa Green’s story:

“While charter schools are being singled out, there should be comparable data to analyze the district’s magnet and choice schools, as we all have stricter requirements and laws to follow,” Maready said. “In review of all the data, magnet, choice and charter schools are making a difference, which should be studied and implemented in other schools. Charter schools are not the total answer but are part of the solution.”

Maready said there needs to be drastic changes made in education, just as the MSNBC program pointed out.

“Analysis of the data would allow for an open forum to work together in solving the education issues in Polk County,” he said. “If we do not recognize there is a problem, then there cannot be a solution.”

Let me translate that answer into big boy speak: You’re damn right we dump our difficult kids. In great numbers. And we’ll do it again. That’s our culture of achievement. And then we’ll brag about how different we are from traditional schools. Oh, and the magnet schools do it, so there.

How many dumped kids are we talking about? And who are they? Well, check out this sheet produced by the School District. Pay particular attention to the table at the top outlining transfer figures for the three McKeel schools.

In McKeel Academy, the junior-senior high in Lakeland with 1,042 students, 130 students left for regular Polk School District schools in the 2009-2010 school year. That’s 12.5 percent of its enrollment. South McKeel Academy, a K-7, rid itself of 77 kids, about 7 percent of its enrollment. That’s in a mostly elementary school, where kids are generally easier to deal with and American schools generally do pretty well.

Maybe their parents got a letter like the one Frank read at the School Board Meeting, stating, “Your child does not meet the criteria to be a McKeel student.”

You will notice also that McKeel Academy’s free and reduced lunch percentage is a paltry 21.9 percent. The kid who “withdrew” were 45 percent free and reduced. At McKeel Elementary in central Lakeland, the 15 of 348 who left were 60 percent free and reduced compared to the remarkable 15.5 percent free and reduced overall enrollment.

Excuse me while I retch. This is despicable is its own right. It’s everything that’s wrong with scoreboard education, which provides great incentive for two things:

1) Manipulation of enrollment in the chase for test scores.

2) Teachers who troll for the easiest kids to teach. Believe me, I understand the instinct to take the path of least resistance.

But even worse is the faux meritocratic smack talk from people who lack the courage or patience or persistence or honor to teach all the kids they accept and then dump that solemn responsibility on the teachers who do possess those qualities.

Think I’m overstating it? Here’s Maready after the big dustup over the condo retreat:

“We’ve got to be doing something right,” he said. “If you look at the traditional public schools, that’s not us. We like to do things differently.”

Yeah, you do like to do things differently. How can a human being say that with a straight face knowing he dumps his problems on those same traditional schools at which he sneers? That’s a rhetorical question. But I’d be happy for an answer.

By the way, Maready is absolutely correct in implying that the district’s magnet and special schools do it, too, for the most part. But they all have the good sense not to brag about themselves or spend $70K on the beach. And by all means, let’s make every school keep every kid it enrolls. Stop using regular schools as a safety valve that you can also trash.

I hear now that the McKeel empire is trolling local private schools – perhaps a Catholic school or two – for their best students and jumping them ahead of the large wait list for the plebes. The recruiting pitch, I hear, is hey, you get an exclusive private school for free. Please someone deny this on the record so I can go track it down. Because I’d like to.

This, folks, is what class warfare really looks like. It always flows in this direction, down, not up, and from the people who most complain about it. As if it’s not hard enough to be poor or unsophisticated or not quick on your bureaucratic feet in this society, you get to have your failures – parent and child — rubbed in your face by people like Maready.

I tell you, some of my very few heroes in this country are the men and women teaching their hearts out at Dixieland or Lime Street or Crystal Lake, who work with the shattered egos and troubled attention of students and parents who thought they were signing on to a great education, but didn’t quite meet the criteria.

My heroes are people like my sister and brother-in-law, who both work in standard public schools in Jacksonville, with kids on the margins of society. Or Sue Buckner, the greatest principal who ever lived, and her merry band of missionaries at Inwood Elementary, who built Florida’s best school in the 90s and early 2000s out of the raw material they were dealt and never once bragged about it.

None of these people are looking for the easy kids to teach. And for their efforts, these people who do the work on the ground enjoy a constant, drenching rain of shit from politicians and smug condo-hopping cheaters afraid of actually taking responsibility for a kid who pulls a 1 on the FCAT.

Here’s at least one unimportant person who thanks you and thinks you’re a hell of a lot better than the people who lack the self-knowledge to cop to their advantages. Keep up the good fight.

Disclosure: My three kids have attended some combination of McKeel Academy, Lime Street Elementary, Harrison School of the Arts, Crystal Lake Middle, Rochelle School of the Arts, Lakeland Montessori, and homeschooling. Infer from all that what you will, but I’m not talking any more about the personal education records of my children.

Final note: I am very aware that the McKeel family has suffered a very sad loss during this time. I regret any pain this post may cause. But this post isn’t about them. It’s about management policy of the school system, which I doubt its board and namesake have much role in setting. And this is a very important public issue which goes to the heart of the fairness and decency of our education system.

Ed. Note: Lakeland Local offers equal space and promotion to a response commentary from any member of the McKeel school system. Please contact welch [at] lakelandlocal.com.

Creative Commons License photo credit: LoneGunMan

43 thoughts on “Class Warfare, McKeel Academy Edition

  1. As an aside and to be excruciatingly correct, it is no longer “Lime Street Elementary”. I know; it is hard for me too since my kids also went there.

  2. As an aside and to be excruciatingly correct, it is no longer “Lime Street Elementary”. I know; it is hard for me too since my kids also went there.

  3. no question, just wanted to say thanks for a great read!
    I have two kids in the Hillsborough cty school system and we’ve witnessed some similar stuff.

  4. no question, just wanted to say thanks for a great read!
    I have two kids in the Hillsborough cty school system and we’ve witnessed some similar stuff.

  5. I appreciate the thoughtful op-ed, Billy, but I disagree entirely. McKeel is how school ought to be run. It’s a great school which stresses achievement, good behavior, and hard work. What’s wrong with that? I have all 3 of my kids on the McKeel waiting list because I can’t afford to send them to LCS (my first choice). My wife is also a public educator. Too much responsibility is placed on teachers and not enough on parents.

  6. I appreciate the thoughtful op-ed, Billy, but I disagree entirely. McKeel is how school ought to be run. It’s a great school which stresses achievement, good behavior, and hard work. What’s wrong with that? I have all 3 of my kids on the McKeel waiting list because I can’t afford to send them to LCS (my first choice). My wife is also a public educator. Too much responsibility is placed on teachers and not enough on parents.

  7. By the way, there are several pending comments pointing out what a lousy jerk I am. I agree, but if you want to actually see them, you need to respond Chuck’s efforts to confirm your email address since several of you don’t want to post yur names. This has been an LL public service announcement.

  8. By the way, there are several pending comments pointing out what a lousy jerk I am. I agree, but if you want to actually see them, you need to respond Chuck’s efforts to confirm your email address since several of you don’t want to post yur names. This has been an LL public service announcement.

  9. Okay, my respone is going to be a long because I’m sick and tired of hard work and personal responsibilty being demonized.

    It seems the older I get, I realize my parents were right. When you have an opinion, all the data will tell you how right you are!

    So Mr. Townsend let me give you some additional data that is my opinion.

    It seems like your gripe is centered on what you’re calling the “dumping” of students. My question to you is…whatever happenend to hard work and personal responsibility? Every student who signs up to attend the Mckeel School system is made aware of the requirements to remain in their system. Not to mention that parents also sign a contract stating that they will stay actively involved in the academic and behavioral standards of their children.

    If I received a letter that says that my child can no longer attend because of(you fill in the blank) I certainly wouldn’t get mad at others, I’d actually take a good long look in the mirror and ask myself why I was not there to support my child’s success as I agreed. And I sure as heck wouldn’t call the Ledger or school board to announce my failure. But it seems like blaming others for our shortcomings in actually in vogue these days.

    Oh yea, about that Hall of Fame list you mentioned about teachers in the public school system…the same kind of teachers exist in the Mckeel System. Have you consider that Mckeel Academy has one of the best ESE (Students with emotional,behavioral,mental disabilities) programs in the county. (Approx 100 students) These students are held to the same standards as other Mckeel Students. And some have worked themselves in out the program through hard work and personal responsibility. (and some are actually on the free lunch program) So there goes your class warfare crap argument.

    Maybe it’s not about stuck-up teachers, free or reduced lunch, a principal who comes across misunderstood, or low test scores. Maybe its about holding someone to standards they agreed to. It’s called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and HARD WORK. Oh yea, one last thing it might be interesting for you to investigate the real issue which is how many of these dumped students are getting the same type of letter from the public schools they now attend.

    Wonder if the Ledger is brave enough to run this respone in the ledger tomorrow, Doubt it!!!!

    …sick and tired of complainers,

  10. Okay, my respone is going to be a long because I’m sick and tired of hard work and personal responsibilty being demonized.

    It seems the older I get, I realize my parents were right. When you have an opinion, all the data will tell you how right you are!

    So Mr. Townsend let me give you some additional data that is my opinion.

    It seems like your gripe is centered on what you’re calling the “dumping” of students. My question to you is…whatever happenend to hard work and personal responsibility? Every student who signs up to attend the Mckeel School system is made aware of the requirements to remain in their system. Not to mention that parents also sign a contract stating that they will stay actively involved in the academic and behavioral standards of their children.

    If I received a letter that says that my child can no longer attend because of(you fill in the blank) I certainly wouldn’t get mad at others, I’d actually take a good long look in the mirror and ask myself why I was not there to support my child’s success as I agreed. And I sure as heck wouldn’t call the Ledger or school board to announce my failure. But it seems like blaming others for our shortcomings in actually in vogue these days.

    Oh yea, about that Hall of Fame list you mentioned about teachers in the public school system…the same kind of teachers exist in the Mckeel System. Have you consider that Mckeel Academy has one of the best ESE (Students with emotional,behavioral,mental disabilities) programs in the county. (Approx 100 students) These students are held to the same standards as other Mckeel Students. And some have worked themselves in out the program through hard work and personal responsibility. (and some are actually on the free lunch program) So there goes your class warfare crap argument.

    Maybe it’s not about stuck-up teachers, free or reduced lunch, a principal who comes across misunderstood, or low test scores. Maybe its about holding someone to standards they agreed to. It’s called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and HARD WORK. Oh yea, one last thing it might be interesting for you to investigate the real issue which is how many of these dumped students are getting the same type of letter from the public schools they now attend.

    Wonder if the Ledger is brave enough to run this respone in the ledger tomorrow, Doubt it!!!!

    …sick and tired of complainers,

  11. Lee, I too am sick of hard work and personal responsibility being demonized. But that’s not entirely what this is about. This is about schools recieving funds based on student performance. If one school can pick and choose their students, and another can’t, that is a flaw in the system.

  12. Lee, I too am sick of hard work and personal responsibility being demonized. But that’s not entirely what this is about. This is about schools recieving funds based on student performance. If one school can pick and choose their students, and another can’t, that is a flaw in the system.

  13. (edit-)
    Your article really hit the nail on the head , Mr. Townsend , judging by the privileged and the elite that got nicked by the point. Lol.

  14. (edit-)
    Your article really hit the nail on the head , Mr. Townsend , judging by the privileged and the elite that got nicked by the point. Lol.

  15. OK, Lee. Let’s see if I can get you to actually say concisely what it is I think you’re saying:

    “I, Lee Thomas, say that McKeel Academy’s teachers fail so badly with 12.5 percent of their students that they push them out to avoid test score responsibility for them. And they dump that responsibility on other teachers at other schools and then sneer at them. And I’m great with that because personal responsibility is important.”

    Please agree to that, or explain why it’s wrong.

    Nothing funnier than incompetent shirkers talking personal responsibility. As far as I’m concerned, you can dump as many kids as you want — just take responsibility for their scores. Don’t dump your failures on someone else. If you can’t reach 12 percent of an “elite” student body, you suck as a school staff. Sorry.

    And Tim, I want to thank you because you’ve hit the nail exactly on the head. What Harold Maready has built is an exclusive, wealthy school that kicks out kids that don’t really fit with its image. It’s school as gated community. But we have a name for for that already: a private school.

    And as you say, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. I’m sorry you can’t afford to pay for private school for your kids. Neither can I. But part of the bargain of letting taxpayers pay for the elite education you want is that riff raff get to participate as well. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, because your comment was nice in tone.

    But I want you, just like Lee, to say:

    “I, Tim, think one publicly-funded school should be allowed to dump responsibility its problems student – all 12 percent of them – on other schools, who then have to be accountable for them while McKeel gets to talk about how wonderful it is. That’s how schools should be run.”

    Can you say that. Because that is, in fact, what you’re saying.

  16. OK, Lee. Let’s see if I can get you to actually say concisely what it is I think you’re saying:

    “I, Lee Thomas, say that McKeel Academy’s teachers fail so badly with 12.5 percent of their students that they push them out to avoid test score responsibility for them. And they dump that responsibility on other teachers at other schools and then sneer at them. And I’m great with that because personal responsibility is important.”

    Please agree to that, or explain why it’s wrong.

    Nothing funnier than incompetent shirkers talking personal responsibility. As far as I’m concerned, you can dump as many kids as you want — just take responsibility for their scores. Don’t dump your failures on someone else. If you can’t reach 12 percent of an “elite” student body, you suck as a school staff. Sorry.

    And Tim, I want to thank you because you’ve hit the nail exactly on the head. What Harold Maready has built is an exclusive, wealthy school that kicks out kids that don’t really fit with its image. It’s school as gated community. But we have a name for for that already: a private school.

    And as you say, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. I’m sorry you can’t afford to pay for private school for your kids. Neither can I. But part of the bargain of letting taxpayers pay for the elite education you want is that riff raff get to participate as well. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, because your comment was nice in tone.

    But I want you, just like Lee, to say:

    “I, Tim, think one publicly-funded school should be allowed to dump responsibility its problems student – all 12 percent of them – on other schools, who then have to be accountable for them while McKeel gets to talk about how wonderful it is. That’s how schools should be run.”

    Can you say that. Because that is, in fact, what you’re saying.

  17. Mr. Townsend,

    I am glad to see you are responding to some of the critics to your article. I was hoping to have you respond to a few questions of mine. I see that you supply a document provided by the PCSB that references the number of students who were withdrawn from the McKeel schools last school year. 130 students from McKeel Academy alone, 12% of the total population. Those are very large numbers, indeed.

    But it does make me wonder, did you happen to clarify whether the term withdrawn meant students that were removed by the administration of McKeel Academy, or whether the students were taken out of the school at the parents request, for the myriad of reasons that a student might choose to leave a school of choice. I have heard that McKeel Academy offers a rigorous curriculum. Perhaps, some students and parents decide on their own, that this school is not right for them and withdraw them to another school, whether it be a regular public school, another school of choice or magnet school, private school, virtual school, or even the home schooling option. I’d like to know how many of these 130 students left of their own free will and how many were dismissed by the school. Interestingly, I have a friend involved in coaching with a local high school football team who reminds me that McKeel doesn’t have a football team and every year, 10-15 kids enter his high school as ninth graders trying out for football. They left McKeel to play the sport they love, since they can’t play it there. That is just for one of the 5 high schools in the area served by McKeel. I don’t think they were all dismissed to do so.

    Another question I had was how do the county’s magnet, choice schools, and career academies handle students who enter their more challenging programs and fall short of expectations? Do they keep those students and have them fail advanced courses, or do they send them to a regular school in the district, where they might be more successful. I would think even an average student from a regular public school, let alone a struggling student, might find themselves struggling mightily at one of PCSB’s International Baccalaureate(IB) programs. What becomes of these kids? As a matter of fact, can an average student even get into an IB program?

    What about the student that just loves music or art and goes to Harrison School of the Arts, only to find out after trying their best, that they just aren’t very musically or artistically talented. Do they get the boot? Or is it the job of those teachers to somehow teach even these students how to be musicians and artists, without any god-given talent?

    And finally, what exactly is the Bill Duncan Opportunity Center? I’ve heard it is a specialized school to help students who are disruptive to the educational process. How do students get there? What schools do they come from? I am under the assumption it is from the regular public school system, but I thought they couldn’t/didn’t dismiss their students. I thought they dealt with all the student’s that god sends them and teaches them all?

    I am confused, because all of the things that McKeel seems to be guilty of seem to also happen in the Polk County School system, in some fashion. I noticed that in the document you referenced in your article, none of the PCSB schools listed to compare free/reduced lunches were the magnet, choice, or career academy schools. I wonder how they compare. I have a suspicion that they may also have a very low percentage of students who are on free/reduced lunch.

    I am also disappointed because there seems to be a quick jump to act upon unverified data that certainly seems like it needs further explanation. From the original accusations from Frank O’Reilly to journalists such as yourself and Mr. Chambliss from the Ledger finding it so easy to cast stones without checking the facts and hearing all sides of the argument. I look forward to your response and challenge you to do more than cast stones, but find true indisputable facts, listen to all sides, and then publish a product that can be more beneficial to all of Polk County’s parents and students.

    Sincerely,
    Nick Kapotas

  18. Mr. Townsend,

    I am glad to see you are responding to some of the critics to your article. I was hoping to have you respond to a few questions of mine. I see that you supply a document provided by the PCSB that references the number of students who were withdrawn from the McKeel schools last school year. 130 students from McKeel Academy alone, 12% of the total population. Those are very large numbers, indeed.

    But it does make me wonder, did you happen to clarify whether the term withdrawn meant students that were removed by the administration of McKeel Academy, or whether the students were taken out of the school at the parents request, for the myriad of reasons that a student might choose to leave a school of choice. I have heard that McKeel Academy offers a rigorous curriculum. Perhaps, some students and parents decide on their own, that this school is not right for them and withdraw them to another school, whether it be a regular public school, another school of choice or magnet school, private school, virtual school, or even the home schooling option. I’d like to know how many of these 130 students left of their own free will and how many were dismissed by the school. Interestingly, I have a friend involved in coaching with a local high school football team who reminds me that McKeel doesn’t have a football team and every year, 10-15 kids enter his high school as ninth graders trying out for football. They left McKeel to play the sport they love, since they can’t play it there. That is just for one of the 5 high schools in the area served by McKeel. I don’t think they were all dismissed to do so.

    Another question I had was how do the county’s magnet, choice schools, and career academies handle students who enter their more challenging programs and fall short of expectations? Do they keep those students and have them fail advanced courses, or do they send them to a regular school in the district, where they might be more successful. I would think even an average student from a regular public school, let alone a struggling student, might find themselves struggling mightily at one of PCSB’s International Baccalaureate(IB) programs. What becomes of these kids? As a matter of fact, can an average student even get into an IB program?

    What about the student that just loves music or art and goes to Harrison School of the Arts, only to find out after trying their best, that they just aren’t very musically or artistically talented. Do they get the boot? Or is it the job of those teachers to somehow teach even these students how to be musicians and artists, without any god-given talent?

    And finally, what exactly is the Bill Duncan Opportunity Center? I’ve heard it is a specialized school to help students who are disruptive to the educational process. How do students get there? What schools do they come from? I am under the assumption it is from the regular public school system, but I thought they couldn’t/didn’t dismiss their students. I thought they dealt with all the student’s that god sends them and teaches them all?

    I am confused, because all of the things that McKeel seems to be guilty of seem to also happen in the Polk County School system, in some fashion. I noticed that in the document you referenced in your article, none of the PCSB schools listed to compare free/reduced lunches were the magnet, choice, or career academy schools. I wonder how they compare. I have a suspicion that they may also have a very low percentage of students who are on free/reduced lunch.

    I am also disappointed because there seems to be a quick jump to act upon unverified data that certainly seems like it needs further explanation. From the original accusations from Frank O’Reilly to journalists such as yourself and Mr. Chambliss from the Ledger finding it so easy to cast stones without checking the facts and hearing all sides of the argument. I look forward to your response and challenge you to do more than cast stones, but find true indisputable facts, listen to all sides, and then publish a product that can be more beneficial to all of Polk County’s parents and students.

    Sincerely,
    Nick Kapotas

  19. I appreciate your response to my comment, Billy, harsh or not. I think a huge difference between McKeel (and other charter schools/academies) and typical public schools is the level of parental involvement. As I mentioned, my wife teaches in a public elementary school. During her 10+ year tenure, the worst students (academically and behaviorally) are typically those whose parents show little or no interest in what is going on at their child’s school. With McKeel, etc., it’s obvious that those parents have expectations for their children and for their schools. It’s historically clear that parental involvement far, far outweighs funding as a factor in academic quality and achievement. As an aside, I think it’s time we started grouping children according to ability rather than age, and eliminate the class-size amendment. These two actions would solve a whole host of problems.

  20. I appreciate your response to my comment, Billy, harsh or not. I think a huge difference between McKeel (and other charter schools/academies) and typical public schools is the level of parental involvement. As I mentioned, my wife teaches in a public elementary school. During her 10+ year tenure, the worst students (academically and behaviorally) are typically those whose parents show little or no interest in what is going on at their child’s school. With McKeel, etc., it’s obvious that those parents have expectations for their children and for their schools. It’s historically clear that parental involvement far, far outweighs funding as a factor in academic quality and achievement. As an aside, I think it’s time we started grouping children according to ability rather than age, and eliminate the class-size amendment. These two actions would solve a whole host of problems.

  21. Lee,
    Are you going to answer?
    As of now you’ve had 18 hours to do so.
    And we get…crickets.

    It is absolutely despicable that the kids get dumped then the dumper can crow about how good he is.

    Great story Bill, keep the elitists snobs nose in the crap they so cheerfully spew.

    Dave.

  22. Lee,
    Are you going to answer?
    As of now you’ve had 18 hours to do so.
    And we get…crickets.

    It is absolutely despicable that the kids get dumped then the dumper can crow about how good he is.

    Great story Bill, keep the elitists snobs nose in the crap they so cheerfully spew.

    Dave.

  23. Mr. Townsend,
    I am glad to see you are responding to some of the critics to your article. I was hoping to have you respond to a few questions of mine. I see that you supply a document provided by the PCSB that references the number of students who were withdrawn from the McKeel schools last school year. 130 students from McKeel Academy alone, 12% of the total population. Those are very large numbers, indeed.
    But it does make me wonder, did you happen to clarify whether the term withdrawn meant students that were removed by the administration of McKeel Academy, or whether the students were taken out of the school at the parents request, for the myriad of reasons that a student might choose to leave a school of choice. I have heard that McKeel Academy offers a rigorous curriculum. Perhaps, some students and parents decide on their own, that this school is not right for them and withdraw them to another school, whether it be a regular public school, another school of choice or magnet school, private school, virtual school, or even the home schooling option. I’d like to know how many of these 130 students left of their own free will and how many were dismissed by the school. Interestingly, I have a friend involved in coaching with a local high school football team who reminds me that McKeel doesn’t have a football team and every year, 10-15 kids enter his high school as ninth graders trying out for football. They left McKeel to play the sport they love, since they can’t play it there. That is just for one of the 5 high schools in the area served by McKeel. I don’t think they were all dismissed to do so.
    Another question I had was how do the county’s magnet, choice schools, and career academies handle students who enter their more challenging programs and fall short of expectations? Do they keep those students and have them fail advanced courses, or do they send them to a regular school in the district, where they might be more successful. I would think even an average student from a regular public school, let alone a struggling student, might find themselves struggling mightily at one of PCSB’s International Baccalaureate(IB) programs. What becomes of these kids? As a matter of fact, can an average student even get into an IB program?
    What about the student that just loves music or art and goes to Harrison School of the Arts, only to find out after trying their best, that they just aren’t very musically or artistically talented. Do they get the boot? Or is it the job of those teachers to somehow teach even these students how to be musicians and artists, without any god-given talent?
    And finally, what exactly is the Bill Duncan Opportunity Center? I’ve heard it is a specialized school to help students who are disruptive to the educational process. How do students get there? What schools do they come from? I am under the assumption it is from the regular public school system, but I thought they couldn’t/didn’t dismiss their students. I thought they dealt with all the student’s that god sends them and teaches them all?
    I am confused, because all of the things that McKeel seems to be guilty of seem to also happen in the Polk County School system, in some fashion. I noticed that in the document you referenced in your article, none of the PCSB schools listed to compare free/reduced lunches were the magnet, choice, or career academy schools. I wonder how they compare. I have a suspicion that they may also have a very low percentage of students who are on free/reduced lunch.
    I am also disappointed because there seems to be a quick jump to act upon unverified data that certainly seems like it needs further explanation. From the original accusations from Frank O’Reilly to journalists such as yourself and Mr. Chambliss from the Ledger finding it so easy to cast stones without checking the facts and hearing all sides of the argument. I look forward to your response and challenge you to do more than cast stones, but find true indisputable facts, listen to all sides, and then publish a product that can be more beneficial to all of Polk County’s parents and students.
    Sincerely,
    Nick Kapotas
    by Nick Kapotas

  24. Mr. Townsend,
    I am glad to see you are responding to some of the critics to your article. I was hoping to have you respond to a few questions of mine. I see that you supply a document provided by the PCSB that references the number of students who were withdrawn from the McKeel schools last school year. 130 students from McKeel Academy alone, 12% of the total population. Those are very large numbers, indeed.
    But it does make me wonder, did you happen to clarify whether the term withdrawn meant students that were removed by the administration of McKeel Academy, or whether the students were taken out of the school at the parents request, for the myriad of reasons that a student might choose to leave a school of choice. I have heard that McKeel Academy offers a rigorous curriculum. Perhaps, some students and parents decide on their own, that this school is not right for them and withdraw them to another school, whether it be a regular public school, another school of choice or magnet school, private school, virtual school, or even the home schooling option. I’d like to know how many of these 130 students left of their own free will and how many were dismissed by the school. Interestingly, I have a friend involved in coaching with a local high school football team who reminds me that McKeel doesn’t have a football team and every year, 10-15 kids enter his high school as ninth graders trying out for football. They left McKeel to play the sport they love, since they can’t play it there. That is just for one of the 5 high schools in the area served by McKeel. I don’t think they were all dismissed to do so.
    Another question I had was how do the county’s magnet, choice schools, and career academies handle students who enter their more challenging programs and fall short of expectations? Do they keep those students and have them fail advanced courses, or do they send them to a regular school in the district, where they might be more successful. I would think even an average student from a regular public school, let alone a struggling student, might find themselves struggling mightily at one of PCSB’s International Baccalaureate(IB) programs. What becomes of these kids? As a matter of fact, can an average student even get into an IB program?
    What about the student that just loves music or art and goes to Harrison School of the Arts, only to find out after trying their best, that they just aren’t very musically or artistically talented. Do they get the boot? Or is it the job of those teachers to somehow teach even these students how to be musicians and artists, without any god-given talent?
    And finally, what exactly is the Bill Duncan Opportunity Center? I’ve heard it is a specialized school to help students who are disruptive to the educational process. How do students get there? What schools do they come from? I am under the assumption it is from the regular public school system, but I thought they couldn’t/didn’t dismiss their students. I thought they dealt with all the student’s that god sends them and teaches them all?
    I am confused, because all of the things that McKeel seems to be guilty of seem to also happen in the Polk County School system, in some fashion. I noticed that in the document you referenced in your article, none of the PCSB schools listed to compare free/reduced lunches were the magnet, choice, or career academy schools. I wonder how they compare. I have a suspicion that they may also have a very low percentage of students who are on free/reduced lunch.
    I am also disappointed because there seems to be a quick jump to act upon unverified data that certainly seems like it needs further explanation. From the original accusations from Frank O’Reilly to journalists such as yourself and Mr. Chambliss from the Ledger finding it so easy to cast stones without checking the facts and hearing all sides of the argument. I look forward to your response and challenge you to do more than cast stones, but find true indisputable facts, listen to all sides, and then publish a product that can be more beneficial to all of Polk County’s parents and students.
    Sincerely,
    Nick Kapotas
    by Nick Kapotas

  25. Tim: I don’t necessarily disagree with any of your assessments of what ails education writ large. And I’m willing to have any discussion about any tactic — charter, homeschool, traditional school, merit pay, and especially increased pressure for administrators, really anything — if it that discussion is based in honesty and not simply a way to score political or cultural points and justify pre-existing feelings about the way students learn and mix.

    I’m focused on McKeel, specifically, to the exclusion of other selective schools, because of its triumphalism, the aggression and volume of its weeding out, and the fact that the very model that appeals to you cannot exist without a regular public school system in which to dump kids. McKeel can only be McKeel because of everybody else. It refuses – refuses – to acknowledge that and then sneers at everybody else, when its own performance on the scoreboard isn’t even all that great, considering its advantages. See my subsequent post.

    Also, folks, there remain a number of pending comments we’d love to put up, but you have to respond when Chuck emails you to verify your email address is real. His site. His policy.

  26. Tim: I don’t necessarily disagree with any of your assessments of what ails education writ large. And I’m willing to have any discussion about any tactic — charter, homeschool, traditional school, merit pay, and especially increased pressure for administrators, really anything — if it that discussion is based in honesty and not simply a way to score political or cultural points and justify pre-existing feelings about the way students learn and mix.

    I’m focused on McKeel, specifically, to the exclusion of other selective schools, because of its triumphalism, the aggression and volume of its weeding out, and the fact that the very model that appeals to you cannot exist without a regular public school system in which to dump kids. McKeel can only be McKeel because of everybody else. It refuses – refuses – to acknowledge that and then sneers at everybody else, when its own performance on the scoreboard isn’t even all that great, considering its advantages. See my subsequent post.

    Also, folks, there remain a number of pending comments we’d love to put up, but you have to respond when Chuck emails you to verify your email address is real. His site. His policy.

  27. Yeah Billy, I’ve never thought about it that way. I’ll certainly be pondering this one for awhile. Keep up the good work!

  28. Yeah Billy, I’ve never thought about it that way. I’ll certainly be pondering this one for awhile. Keep up the good work!

  29. Tim: Thanks for engaging in a good faith with my arguments, particularly when I make them somewhat snottily. That’s all a guy like me can ask.

  30. Tim: Thanks for engaging in a good faith with my arguments, particularly when I make them somewhat snottily. That’s all a guy like me can ask.

  31. From reading your material, I would have to say if you want to see arrogant, then look into the mirror. Your comments are no less arrogant than McKeel’s superintendent because you’re not seeking to discover the facts on both sides.

    Even though you made fun of his comment regarding magnet schools, my question is why don’t you look into the number of dismissals from magnet and choice schools? And while you’re at it, look at their free and reduced numbers as well. I would think someone with your background would have a better understanding of public education works in Florida. Not every school is expected to be everything for every student. Each district is charged with making sure that every student’s needs are met. That doesn’t mean that each and every school will have a program that meets the needs of any and all students.

    Something else you apparently don’t know. All charter schools are required by state law to compare themselves annually with like-population schools within the district. This means that charter schools must compare themselves with magnet schools, choice schools, and regular schools that have the same demographics, such as free/reduced lunch, minority population, # of ESOL students, etc. So when a charter school claims that it has outperformed a district school, well it has and it has on a fair comparison. Not even the district makes a comparison of its own schools on a level playing ground.

    Bottom line is that if you want to criticize the expectations and policies of McKeel, then you MUST do the same for Lincoln Avenue Academy, Bartow Elementary Academy, etc. Those schools have the same entrance requirements and they have the same dismissal policies.

  32. From reading your material, I would have to say if you want to see arrogant, then look into the mirror. Your comments are no less arrogant than McKeel’s superintendent because you’re not seeking to discover the facts on both sides.

    Even though you made fun of his comment regarding magnet schools, my question is why don’t you look into the number of dismissals from magnet and choice schools? And while you’re at it, look at their free and reduced numbers as well. I would think someone with your background would have a better understanding of public education works in Florida. Not every school is expected to be everything for every student. Each district is charged with making sure that every student’s needs are met. That doesn’t mean that each and every school will have a program that meets the needs of any and all students.

    Something else you apparently don’t know. All charter schools are required by state law to compare themselves annually with like-population schools within the district. This means that charter schools must compare themselves with magnet schools, choice schools, and regular schools that have the same demographics, such as free/reduced lunch, minority population, # of ESOL students, etc. So when a charter school claims that it has outperformed a district school, well it has and it has on a fair comparison. Not even the district makes a comparison of its own schools on a level playing ground.

    Bottom line is that if you want to criticize the expectations and policies of McKeel, then you MUST do the same for Lincoln Avenue Academy, Bartow Elementary Academy, etc. Those schools have the same entrance requirements and they have the same dismissal policies.

  33. I forgot to mention that you, like Mr. O’Reilly, are interpreting the withdrawal numbers in your own way. The district reported the number of students withdrawn from the McKeel schools FOR ANY REASON. This could be the parents moved out of county, out of state, to another area within the county, etc. But just like Mr. O’Reilly, you try to manipulate the data to your advantage. McKeel even provided the accurate number of dismissals, yet you still used the incorrect numbers for your statistics.

  34. I forgot to mention that you, like Mr. O’Reilly, are interpreting the withdrawal numbers in your own way. The district reported the number of students withdrawn from the McKeel schools FOR ANY REASON. This could be the parents moved out of county, out of state, to another area within the county, etc. But just like Mr. O’Reilly, you try to manipulate the data to your advantage. McKeel even provided the accurate number of dismissals, yet you still used the incorrect numbers for your statistics.

  35. Those numbers you’re quoting are not accurate to your point. Many of those, as pointed out in the Ledger article by Harold, left by their own will. Some students leave as they move, some as they want to go where their friends go, some as they realize their parents will let them go to an easier school, some as they realize they want to pursue a specialization not offered at McKeel, and so on. So your argument is weakened on the volume point.

    Additionally, you make some assumptive points that don’t take into account the whole picture. If the elite are jumping line somehow, it is by an individual or two fixing the system. It is not a top down philosophy. If there is an established pattern, prove it, name names. That person or persons giving them preference should be fired. It is against state law, they don’t do it.

    On the point of “teachers trolling”…the teachers at McKeel work very hard with every student. They work even harder with those who need it. This accusation is out of line. If they don’t, they get fired. Do not read that “if they don’t get their kids to perform they get fired”, I mean if they don’t do their best for the students they get fired. (this is an advantage as a standard public school cannot have this high of a standard due to tenure) They love their students and every effort is made to help, teach, tutor, mentor, give second chances, give third chances, etc. The teachers do not kick students out, the administrators do. The accusation that any of the teachers at McKeel are the lazy ones (i.e. the ones looking for the easiest to teach) is a misunderstanding of what it is like to work at McKeel. The staff is like a family and the students and parents are a part of it.

    As for the beach, it is paid for with the same money that is wasted “training” teachers in a typical public school in Polk County. McKeel takes the money used for usual training, that every school in the county uses and combines it all in to one week of (usually) best practices peer based teaching. Or they bring in a specialist. They are then held to the standard of those best practices. By held to them, I mean they are rewarded for excelling in them and penalized for not. These practices do not rely on the student’s FCAT score.

    Finally, you say McKeel “refuses” to acknowledge that they can exist because everyone else does. I doubt that. They (read McKeel or the Ledger) are just not going to print it in the Ledger. The idea in an ideal charter system for those kicked out would be a specialized school for accelerated remediation. This would be a school within the school to assist them in overcoming their failure in the standardized testing. Public schools kick kids to these types of schools, and probably on a much larger scale than McKeel. We just don’t see these as headlines as it IS the status quo.

    I say “would be” and “ideal” because Mr. O’Reilly so hates Mr. Maready and so loves the Polk County School Board’s self-satisfied mediocrity, he would have such a school damned and closed down even if it had an above average success rate of turning those failures around. This is true as charters are only renewed to successes, by the numbers – which is why you’re complaining to begin with.

    Localized control is not just good, it is better. More of your taxes paid goes to educating McKeel students than ever would trickle down at the other schools. The same and MORE elitism and trolling go on in the general PCSB system.

  36. Those numbers you’re quoting are not accurate to your point. Many of those, as pointed out in the Ledger article by Harold, left by their own will. Some students leave as they move, some as they want to go where their friends go, some as they realize their parents will let them go to an easier school, some as they realize they want to pursue a specialization not offered at McKeel, and so on. So your argument is weakened on the volume point.

    Additionally, you make some assumptive points that don’t take into account the whole picture. If the elite are jumping line somehow, it is by an individual or two fixing the system. It is not a top down philosophy. If there is an established pattern, prove it, name names. That person or persons giving them preference should be fired. It is against state law, they don’t do it.

    On the point of “teachers trolling”…the teachers at McKeel work very hard with every student. They work even harder with those who need it. This accusation is out of line. If they don’t, they get fired. Do not read that “if they don’t get their kids to perform they get fired”, I mean if they don’t do their best for the students they get fired. (this is an advantage as a standard public school cannot have this high of a standard due to tenure) They love their students and every effort is made to help, teach, tutor, mentor, give second chances, give third chances, etc. The teachers do not kick students out, the administrators do. The accusation that any of the teachers at McKeel are the lazy ones (i.e. the ones looking for the easiest to teach) is a misunderstanding of what it is like to work at McKeel. The staff is like a family and the students and parents are a part of it.

    As for the beach, it is paid for with the same money that is wasted “training” teachers in a typical public school in Polk County. McKeel takes the money used for usual training, that every school in the county uses and combines it all in to one week of (usually) best practices peer based teaching. Or they bring in a specialist. They are then held to the standard of those best practices. By held to them, I mean they are rewarded for excelling in them and penalized for not. These practices do not rely on the student’s FCAT score.

    Finally, you say McKeel “refuses” to acknowledge that they can exist because everyone else does. I doubt that. They (read McKeel or the Ledger) are just not going to print it in the Ledger. The idea in an ideal charter system for those kicked out would be a specialized school for accelerated remediation. This would be a school within the school to assist them in overcoming their failure in the standardized testing. Public schools kick kids to these types of schools, and probably on a much larger scale than McKeel. We just don’t see these as headlines as it IS the status quo.

    I say “would be” and “ideal” because Mr. O’Reilly so hates Mr. Maready and so loves the Polk County School Board’s self-satisfied mediocrity, he would have such a school damned and closed down even if it had an above average success rate of turning those failures around. This is true as charters are only renewed to successes, by the numbers – which is why you’re complaining to begin with.

    Localized control is not just good, it is better. More of your taxes paid goes to educating McKeel students than ever would trickle down at the other schools. The same and MORE elitism and trolling go on in the general PCSB system.

  37. Frank: As I did with Tim, I want to see if I can get you to say this: “I, Frank McCaulley, think publicly-funded schools should be allowed to transfer/export its responsibility for its problems student – all 12 percent of them – on other schools, who then have to be accountable for them while McKeel gets to talk about how wonderful it is. That’s what local control means.”

    We can have a very long discussion – about many unfairnesses and inequities in the school system – when you’ll actually cop to that simple paragraph.

    And Leesa, you didn’t read very closely. You make a big point about how I must criticize the other magnet, et. al schools for doing the same thing the McKeel does, as if I don’t. Well, here’s what I wrote:

    “By the way, Maready is absolutely correct in implying that the district’s magnet and special schools do it, too, for the most part. But they all have the good sense not to brag about themselves or spend $70K on the beach. And by all means, let’s make every school keep every kid it enrolls. Stop using regular schools as a safety valve that you can also trash.”

    Not sure how much clearer I can make it than that. And I sincerely hope that the Ledger is working on a transfer comparison for all those schools. I don’t have time, because, as people are fond of pointing out, I am not a professional journalist.

    We have a two-track school system. I agree. We should do something about it. I have a very simple idea for combating this: If a kid leaves or is expelled from a special/charter/magnet school, make that school responsible for that kid’s tests scores in the next year. And give the school he goes to the option if using the score if it wants. So if a kid left McKeel in say November of 2009 – after FTE, before FCAT – a convenient time, and arrived at Dixieland, Dixieland would get to count his test score only if it wanted to in 2009 and 2010. McKeel would be forced to count his test score in 2009 and 2010 against its record. That would give special schools a lot more incentive to keep their kids and reach them. What do you think?

    And finally, Leesa, I want to thank you because you’re probably not a regular reader, and you give me a chance to make one of my periodic stipulations. From time to time, various commenters, like you, will suggest that I am an arrogant jerk who doesn’t behave like a professional journalist. And my response is always: Yes.

    I am not a professional journalist. I’m not paid a dime for anything I write here. And I am an arrogant bully; but I don’t bully the bullied. I try to aim my arrogance at the arrogant.

    And when you are aggressively weeding out kids from your school and making other schools responsible for them, you really ought not to say this:

    “We’ve got to be doing something right,” he said. “If you look at the traditional public schools, that’s not us. We like to do things differently.”

    No one, at any other magnet or charter school in this county, runs that kind of smack. If I don’t read that line in The Ledger, I probably don’t write anything. So if you’re angry about the special attention I’m paying to your school – I assume you have a tie to it – blame your big-mouthed principal, who couldn’t resist a jab at the plebes even when he knew people were starting to look at McKeel’s practices. From a purely P.R. point-of-view, that was inexcusably dumb. And if I were on that board, I would be communicating how dumb it was to him.

    Of course, I’m completely unimportant, but I’m not going to let that smugness stand. I’m trying to impose a little bit of humility. By pointing out that the hippies at Lakeland Montessori demolished your finely-honed, enrollment-tailored, kid weeding-out best practices models on the test score scoreboard, I’m trying to show you a little bit of how it feels to have your nose rubbed in supposed shortcomings. It doesn’t feel good, does it? The teachers and students at regular schools live with the Mareadys of the world shaking their heads at them every day and saying things “i guess we’re just different.” Just listen to the way people talk about education. Listen honestly to the arrogance in the way they talk about kids who don’t go to elite schools.

    Any education system needs to start with honesty and humility.

  38. Frank: As I did with Tim, I want to see if I can get you to say this: “I, Frank McCaulley, think publicly-funded schools should be allowed to transfer/export its responsibility for its problems student – all 12 percent of them – on other schools, who then have to be accountable for them while McKeel gets to talk about how wonderful it is. That’s what local control means.”

    We can have a very long discussion – about many unfairnesses and inequities in the school system – when you’ll actually cop to that simple paragraph.

    And Leesa, you didn’t read very closely. You make a big point about how I must criticize the other magnet, et. al schools for doing the same thing the McKeel does, as if I don’t. Well, here’s what I wrote:

    “By the way, Maready is absolutely correct in implying that the district’s magnet and special schools do it, too, for the most part. But they all have the good sense not to brag about themselves or spend $70K on the beach. And by all means, let’s make every school keep every kid it enrolls. Stop using regular schools as a safety valve that you can also trash.”

    Not sure how much clearer I can make it than that. And I sincerely hope that the Ledger is working on a transfer comparison for all those schools. I don’t have time, because, as people are fond of pointing out, I am not a professional journalist.

    We have a two-track school system. I agree. We should do something about it. I have a very simple idea for combating this: If a kid leaves or is expelled from a special/charter/magnet school, make that school responsible for that kid’s tests scores in the next year. And give the school he goes to the option if using the score if it wants. So if a kid left McKeel in say November of 2009 – after FTE, before FCAT – a convenient time, and arrived at Dixieland, Dixieland would get to count his test score only if it wanted to in 2009 and 2010. McKeel would be forced to count his test score in 2009 and 2010 against its record. That would give special schools a lot more incentive to keep their kids and reach them. What do you think?

    And finally, Leesa, I want to thank you because you’re probably not a regular reader, and you give me a chance to make one of my periodic stipulations. From time to time, various commenters, like you, will suggest that I am an arrogant jerk who doesn’t behave like a professional journalist. And my response is always: Yes.

    I am not a professional journalist. I’m not paid a dime for anything I write here. And I am an arrogant bully; but I don’t bully the bullied. I try to aim my arrogance at the arrogant.

    And when you are aggressively weeding out kids from your school and making other schools responsible for them, you really ought not to say this:

    “We’ve got to be doing something right,” he said. “If you look at the traditional public schools, that’s not us. We like to do things differently.”

    No one, at any other magnet or charter school in this county, runs that kind of smack. If I don’t read that line in The Ledger, I probably don’t write anything. So if you’re angry about the special attention I’m paying to your school – I assume you have a tie to it – blame your big-mouthed principal, who couldn’t resist a jab at the plebes even when he knew people were starting to look at McKeel’s practices. From a purely P.R. point-of-view, that was inexcusably dumb. And if I were on that board, I would be communicating how dumb it was to him.

    Of course, I’m completely unimportant, but I’m not going to let that smugness stand. I’m trying to impose a little bit of humility. By pointing out that the hippies at Lakeland Montessori demolished your finely-honed, enrollment-tailored, kid weeding-out best practices models on the test score scoreboard, I’m trying to show you a little bit of how it feels to have your nose rubbed in supposed shortcomings. It doesn’t feel good, does it? The teachers and students at regular schools live with the Mareadys of the world shaking their heads at them every day and saying things “i guess we’re just different.” Just listen to the way people talk about education. Listen honestly to the arrogance in the way they talk about kids who don’t go to elite schools.

    Any education system needs to start with honesty and humility.

  39. Billy,

    You are correct. I did miss some of your comments. Actually I think use read some of your statements that actually contradict each other. I also knew you weren’t a professional journalist. That had nothing to do with my comment about the mirror actually. But sine you realize your own arrogance, there’s no sense in discussing it.

    You did however fail to address your in correct usage of the withdrawal data except maybe with the comment about not being a professional. Either way, it really doesn’t help your case when you falsify the truth.

    As far as the beach trip, well again your ignorance shines through clearly. Why does it matter where they do the training? The goal is to get out Polk County and assist the teachers with good training. You assume the district doesn’t do this. Check I to all of the recruiting trips PCSB members used to take. That will open your eyes. They also have sent teachers to Colorado and other places in the past. Also check the travel records of the Magnet, Choice, and Charter Office. There’s a complete waste of tax payer dollars.

    Oh and the lack of knowledge continues. If a student withdraws from ANY school after FTE in October, they do not count towards the new schools grade. In order to count, the student has to be enrolled in the same school in October and February. So there goes another one of your arguments. You really should learn more about what you choice to discuss publicly.

    And then there’s the smack talk. Seriously? Frank O’Reilly started the smack talk with his childish temper tantrum at board work session. Also, I don’t consider it smack talk when the data supports him. Charter schools are doing well and in many cases out performing the district. Now as I pointed out in your other post, you obviously were not aware that charter schools are required bylaw to compare themselves with similar district schools. The comparison must be made with schools that have a similar population, such as free/reduced lunch numbers, ESOL numbers, minority numbers, etc. So the comparison is fair. It also includes a comparison with magnet and choice schools, which also kick students out and send them to other schools who already have enough to deal with.

    My point is that Maready is right. The district does need to look at other educational models and see why they may be working better than what they currently have.

    One last point. Charter schools don’t offer teacher tenure. If they are not successful educators, then they are let go. The district doesn’t have this luxury. If you want better quality in the classroom, then get rid of tenure.

  40. Billy,

    You are correct. I did miss some of your comments. Actually I think use read some of your statements that actually contradict each other. I also knew you weren’t a professional journalist. That had nothing to do with my comment about the mirror actually. But sine you realize your own arrogance, there’s no sense in discussing it.

    You did however fail to address your in correct usage of the withdrawal data except maybe with the comment about not being a professional. Either way, it really doesn’t help your case when you falsify the truth.

    As far as the beach trip, well again your ignorance shines through clearly. Why does it matter where they do the training? The goal is to get out Polk County and assist the teachers with good training. You assume the district doesn’t do this. Check I to all of the recruiting trips PCSB members used to take. That will open your eyes. They also have sent teachers to Colorado and other places in the past. Also check the travel records of the Magnet, Choice, and Charter Office. There’s a complete waste of tax payer dollars.

    Oh and the lack of knowledge continues. If a student withdraws from ANY school after FTE in October, they do not count towards the new schools grade. In order to count, the student has to be enrolled in the same school in October and February. So there goes another one of your arguments. You really should learn more about what you choice to discuss publicly.

    And then there’s the smack talk. Seriously? Frank O’Reilly started the smack talk with his childish temper tantrum at board work session. Also, I don’t consider it smack talk when the data supports him. Charter schools are doing well and in many cases out performing the district. Now as I pointed out in your other post, you obviously were not aware that charter schools are required bylaw to compare themselves with similar district schools. The comparison must be made with schools that have a similar population, such as free/reduced lunch numbers, ESOL numbers, minority numbers, etc. So the comparison is fair. It also includes a comparison with magnet and choice schools, which also kick students out and send them to other schools who already have enough to deal with.

    My point is that Maready is right. The district does need to look at other educational models and see why they may be working better than what they currently have.

    One last point. Charter schools don’t offer teacher tenure. If they are not successful educators, then they are let go. The district doesn’t have this luxury. If you want better quality in the classroom, then get rid of tenure.

  41. “Oh and the lack of knowledge continues. If a student withdraws from ANY school after FTE in October, they do not count towards the new schools grade. In order to count, the student has to be enrolled in the same school in October and February. So there goes another one of your arguments. You really should learn more about what you choice to discuss publicly.”

    Sigh. I was speaking in what is called the subjunctive voice because I was suggesting a potential solution to the problems you discuss. When a person starts as sentence, “So, if…”, as I did, he or she is talking about a situation that does not currently exist. I’m well aware of the mobility rules. I was talking about adjusting them.

    And, of course, in all your rage, you couldn’t actually bring yourself to address my suggestion. Which is a shame.

    Also, not to go petty, but I did address the transfer v. expulsion issue when I wrote this:

    “And yes, I’m including voluntary withdrawals in talking about this. Anyone who’s ever been in a workplace, which I understand McKeel models itself after, knows that when management wants to get rid of someone, it tends to apply the screws in ways that lead to voluntary withdrawal.”

    That may not satisfy you, but you really should read more closely.

    Anyway, you have now commented three times, at some length, about the ramblings of an unpaid hack with no credibility. I find that sort of amusing. I’m curious as to why you care what I think at all. Anyway, by all means, continue to pat yourself on the back for your affiliation with an elite school, with 20 percent free and reduced lunch enrollment, whose teachers and program weed out 12.5 percent of enrollment, that still can’t place itself at the top of Polk’s educational mountain, and then brags about its performance.

    Worship the Great Maready and the empire if if makes you happy. The rest of us are not required to.

  42. “Oh and the lack of knowledge continues. If a student withdraws from ANY school after FTE in October, they do not count towards the new schools grade. In order to count, the student has to be enrolled in the same school in October and February. So there goes another one of your arguments. You really should learn more about what you choice to discuss publicly.”

    Sigh. I was speaking in what is called the subjunctive voice because I was suggesting a potential solution to the problems you discuss. When a person starts as sentence, “So, if…”, as I did, he or she is talking about a situation that does not currently exist. I’m well aware of the mobility rules. I was talking about adjusting them.

    And, of course, in all your rage, you couldn’t actually bring yourself to address my suggestion. Which is a shame.

    Also, not to go petty, but I did address the transfer v. expulsion issue when I wrote this:

    “And yes, I’m including voluntary withdrawals in talking about this. Anyone who’s ever been in a workplace, which I understand McKeel models itself after, knows that when management wants to get rid of someone, it tends to apply the screws in ways that lead to voluntary withdrawal.”

    That may not satisfy you, but you really should read more closely.

    Anyway, you have now commented three times, at some length, about the ramblings of an unpaid hack with no credibility. I find that sort of amusing. I’m curious as to why you care what I think at all. Anyway, by all means, continue to pat yourself on the back for your affiliation with an elite school, with 20 percent free and reduced lunch enrollment, whose teachers and program weed out 12.5 percent of enrollment, that still can’t place itself at the top of Polk’s educational mountain, and then brags about its performance.

    Worship the Great Maready and the empire if if makes you happy. The rest of us are not required to.

  43. I happen to go to McKeel Academy. I love Mr. Maready and so do the other million-or-so students in the McKeel system. This is an extremely excellent school. It is the only school that I have every attended that actually challenged me. Mr. Maready isn’t “dumping” students. He dismisses them from our school because their grades aren’t high enough, or for behavioral problems. He is not judging students by their grades or their behavior. He simply believes that only students that are smart enough to attend our school should attend. (FWI: Our desks don’t look like that…..)

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