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Summary of Florida Dept. of Education Meeting in Fernandina Beach Wednesday Jan 18 – CCDFUSA Well Represented

Club 14 Fitness

Press Release

From CCDF– Nassau County Chapter, 1-20-23

This week, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) along with Commissioner Manny Diaz were in Nassau County hosted by our local Nassau School District and Superintendent, Kathy Burns. 

It is not often that I go to a public meeting and feel like smiling. It is happening more lately with the changing of the guard in the City, County and School board. Our new boards and their chairs are more focused on Local Values – that makes me smile. The FDOE started out really strong. They had me smiling. Their Chair Tom Grady is totally focused on the children and teachers. Primarily getting large legislative raises for teachers into teachers hands.

Our FDOE is overtly looking after our children and teachers and supporting recent legislation that strengthens education, protects children and protects parental rights. Here is what made me smile:·       
FDOE approved a failing middle school to move to a private charter school.·       
FDOE approved Tallahassee College to create a Charter School·       
FDOE is aggressively pushing execution of legislation and Gov. DeSantis programs.·      

 They provided an update on the 11th Circuit Ruling in the Adams Case in St John’s county which sought to undermine Title IX allowing biological males in female locker rooms and bathrooms and vise versa. Ruling – NO. Great news! See CCDFUSA – Legal Brief on the case.·       

FSCJ College President Avanade stated that Florida College Presidents reject DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) curriculum manipulation as the abbreviation no longer matches the words. We need to be sure that actions follow those words.·       

Teacher salary increase was a huge issue. Chair, Tom Grady, asked all county superintendents who have not gotten the legislative teacher raises to teachers to speak. All School Districts facing a delay related that the Union negotiations were holding up increasing pay to teachers. Hmmm. The FDOE pushed to ensure that the approved raises be pushed to teachers as quickly as possible – have special approval meetings, focus negotiations, possibly pay non-union teachers if Union is holding up the money. They also asked for more information on the delays. (You may ask why did we just pass a 1 mil tax increase for teacher raises – that’s for another day).

The HOPE Scholarship was renewed. If a student feels bullied or harassed, they can get a scholarship to attend a private school – school choice. 

Then the subject turned to approving training for Media Specialists regarding materials in schools. Dr. Paul Burns of the FDOE presented the material and then the public gave comments. When the presentation was done, my smile started to fade. This is where public speakers come to the podium to speak. The chair limited speaking time to 1 minute (down from 3 minutes previously). Some people drove 6 hours to speak to the FDOE.  Link to full FDOE meeting. (This section starts at Part 1 at the 2:14 mark.)

From Fernandina Beach, Diane Middleton opened with specific comments requesting to stop the woke agenda and graphic materials in classrooms. Slide 10 referenced was a slide that was changed from what the advisory board recommended – to watering down the requirements. 

There were many CCDF speakers (From CCDF-Polk County Robert Goodman & Pam Luce, From CCDF Nassau – James Bruner, Jack Knocke, From CCDF-Duval- Kathleen Murray, Melisa Bernhardt, CCDF-Brevard-Katie Delaney, From CCDF-National – Sarah Calamunci). 

Unfortunately, the reduced speaking time dramatically changed everyone’s comments causing the FDOT to miss key input from constituents.

Jack Knocke speaking at the Florida Department of Education Meeting on January 20, 2023

As Executive Director of CCDF-Nassau, my comments were focused on the arrogance of vendors who are working with the School Districts. Vendors are pushing materials into our schools and laughing at our “rules” to try to keep the materials out. Check out the Project Veritas videos were released late Tuesday and the next days.

Project Veritas Link to School Book Salesman #1Project Veritas Link to School Book Salesman #2Teaching Lab (The Vendor) – To fundamentally shift the paradigm of teacher professional learning for educational equity.
Chair Grady’s final comments are very insightful. You need to listen to this. He gets it. Go to the 39 minute mark of Part 2 of the meeting.

Overall, it was a good experience and confirms that our Florida State Board of Education seeks to reinforce the governor’s initiatives. We need to let them know that we care and that we need them to continue to push aggressively and not cave.

Be sure to also mark your calendars for our January 26th Monthly CCDF-Nassau meeting at the Surf Restaurant.CCDF-Nassau – Island/East Side January meeting

Speaker: John Martin, Nassau County Commissioner.Date: January 26.Location: The Surf Restaurant, 3199 S Fletcher Ave.Time: 5:30-7:00.Subject: Plans for 2023, How you can get involved and make a difference locally.Join our email list by signing up on our NEW CCDFUSA Nassau County webpage at https://ccdfusa.com/fl-nassau/.  

To be a part of our CCDF-Nassau team that is providing oversight, guidance, transparency along with LOCAL LIGHT and LOCAL ACTION in Nassau County, send an email to [email protected].  

I guarantee you will be better informed, energized, and empowered to SHINE LIGHT and TAKE ACTION. You will be glad you did! 
Jack KnockeCounty Citizens Defending Freedom – Nassau CountyExecutive Director

 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”   John 1:4     

CCDFUSA – Nassau | 590 NW 3rd Street, Mulberry, FL 33860
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