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NCLB Outrages

One Teacher's Testimony

Paul Moore, teacher at Carol
City High School, delivered these remarks at
the Town Hall Meeting, Miami Carol City Senior
High School Auditorium. May they inspire other
teachers to break their silence.


My name is Paul Moore and I have been teaching
social studies here at Carol City High for 26
years. A lot of the students here call me Coach
Moore because I coached the girls' basketball
team for many of those years. Indulge me for a
moment to tell you of past glories. My teams
played for the State Championship twice and won
the title in 1990.

It is wonderful to have our district's esteemed
representative on the Miami-Dade School Board
Mr. Wilbert "Tee" Holloway and the honorable
Mayor of Miami Gardens Shirley Gibson here with
us today--again. These two community leaders
are an enduring part of the Chief's family and
nothing needs be said to them about this good
school. I would however like to address some
remarks to our guest from the Florida
Department of Education Mr. Jeffrey Hernandez.

Even though you are here with bad intentions
and you have come to threaten us, welcome to
our home Mr. Hernandez. You are here today
because you have looked at scores on the
Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and based
on those scores alone, decided that Miami Carol
City High is a failing school. I must tell you
that I could not care less about changing your
mind. But I want to tell you some things about
us and have you take a message to your bosses.

Three of our graduates have died in Iraq. When
Donnie Dixon, Class of '89 was killed he left
behind a wife and four children. Joe Polo,
Class of '95 was younger than Donnie when he
died in combat. Joe didn't have any children
but he was engaged to be married when he
returned to this community after his second
tour of duty in the war zone. Charles Sims,
Class of '03 was the youngest of our lost
warriors. He was a fresh faced 19-year-old,
less than six months out of this school's JROTC
classes when he gave his life for you and me
and this country. How many young men like
Donnie, Joe, and Charles would a school have to
produce to get off your list of failing
schools?

A teacher was shot at Miami Carol City High
last year. In fact we just observed the
anniversary, Nov. 6, 2007, when Sergio Miranda
and Maria Vives went across the street to smoke
a cigarette during their lunch break. Someone
came out of the public housing complex there
and shot Mr. Miranda. The bullet lodged near
his spine and, as you might imagine, the whole
incident severely traumatized Ms. Vives. To
this day our colleague undergoes painful
recuperative therapy several times a week but
has publicly stated he will return to this
school when recovered. When Mr. Miranda comes
back he will be reunited with Ms. Vives who
returned to her students in a matter of days.
How much courage and dedication must teachers
demonstrate to get off your list of failing
schools?

Our cafeteria was closed for a rodent
infestation last year. Carol City High is 45-
years-old and while the school boasts a rich
history and tradition, the physical plant is
worn. Holes in the building and the neglect of
the state allowed students and teachers to be
exposed to filthy and unsanitary conditions for
years--maybe throughout the FCAT era. Are
endemic threats to our test takers health and
safety factored into the scores when you make
up your list of failing schools?

Many of our students live in the 33054. A local
newspaper recently analyzed crime statistics
and made a startling announcement about the
neighborhood adjacent to our school. The 33054
is the most dangerous place to be young in all
of Florida. The Miami Herald found that inside
the boundaries of zip code 33054 the children
and young people live under the most severe
threat of violence to be found anywhere in this
state. Are there any schools in more peaceful
upscale suburban neighborhoods on your list of
failing schools?

Two of my brothers in the teaching fraternity
here at Carol City, Mr. Hafter and Mr. Adler,
joined me to teach two and three social studies
classes at a time in this auditorium in recent
years. All our senior students would pass
through here during the week. A particularly
quiet young man named Evan Page used to come in
here for class. A few days after Thanksgiving
2005 Evan was shot to death outside the
Checkers where he worked after school. Anthony
Elias attended class in this auditorium. The
other students called him "Yellowman" because
of his light complexion. He was quite popular
with the girls. Something about him being fine.
Anthony was shot to death in Miramar. Sherika
Wilson Lynch took a class in this auditorium.
She was a student and the beautiful young
mother of a baby she named Ahmani. Her baby was
16-months-old when she died. Sherika was coming
out of a convenience store in the 33054 when
she was randomly gunned down. A carton of milk
fell to the sidewalk beside her. Brian Dupree
was once a living breathing presence in this
auditorium. His father is a security monitor in
the school. Brian was shot and killed just
outside his father's home.

Then there was Jeffrey Johnson, Jr.. He laughed
at your FCAT. Jeffrey was a brilliant young
man, one of our honor students, headed for a
meaningful education at St. Thomas University
on a full scholarship. An aspiring lawyer, he
wrote, âI have had a lot of exposure to the
legal system and its ramifications. I do not
agree with all of it. But I figure they need
some good guys like me who do it from the
heart, not for the money. I'm so passionate
about my goals because I have a hunch that I
can make a difference.â

Jeffrey Johnson, Jr. perished violently three
days before he was supposed to graduate from
Carol City High. A street outside the school
bears his name now. But as one of his teachers,
there has been no consolation in the tributes
paid Jeffrey since his death. Until something
happened last Tuesday Nov. 4, 2008 at 11:00
p.m. EST that made me think of Jeffrey in a
joyful way. A young man like Jeffrey who did
graduate from high school, a young man like
Jeffrey who did go to law school, a young man
like Jeffrey who did get to live out his
passion to make a difference, a young man like
Jeffrey was elected President of the United
States!

Mr. Hernandez, please take this message back to
Florida's Commissioner of Education Eric J.
Smith and Governor Crist. We the people have
elected Barack Obama president. Any plans you
may have had when George W. Bush was in the
White House and pushing laws like No Child Left
Behind are canceled! Any plans that were drawn
up under Jeb Bush's FCAT system are canceled!
You will never close Miami Carol City Senior
High School! You will never close Edison,
Central, Holmes, Liberty City Elementary,
Norland, North Miami or any of the other
schools on your list!

You will spend more money on schools and less
on prisons!


— Paul A. Moore
speech
2008-11-10


INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES


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