Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Free Shawn Beightol!

It's been 10 days now since the Dade County Schools strong-armed him out of his teaching position as a much loved chemistry teacher at Krop high and "reassigned" him to the "maintenance depot." Mr. Beightol, who is running against the current teachers union president, allegedly made the mistake of using the schools' Internet to post messages to fellow teachers that were considered to be of a "political nature."

Give us a break! MVB thinks Mr. Beightol ought to sue them for infringing on his 1st Amendment rights and defamation of character just for starts. Last week, we caught a TV interview with students outside the high school. Seems the substitute teacher hired to replace him while he wastes away at the "maintenance depot" doesn't do anything except read the newspaper. Parents should be outraged. We urge them to raise holy hell to get this guy back into the classroom before all of their kids fall too far behind.

Readers who feel as outraged as we do, can click here. It will open the Dade County schools website. You can find the School Board button on the left. Dr. Martin Karp reps Mr. Beightol's school, but it probably wouldn't hurt to let all of them know how you feel.

And remember our rallying cry, "Free Shawn Beightol! Free Shawn Beightol!"

UpDate (11/1): Mr. Beightol was "freed" after 17-days from "Guantanamo North" as he called it on Halloween and put back in the classroom where he belongs and should never have been removed in the first place. Unfortunately, in an email from him, the charges brought against him have been taken to the state level. Talk about intimidation tactics. If there is justice in the world, perhaps forcing the issue like this will come back to bite the school board on its collective fat asses when the state orders all school boards to back off and backs Mr. Beightol and all teachers in exercising their First Amendment rights.


Gus said...

"Mr. Beightol, who is running against the current teachers union president, allegedly made the mistake of using the schools' Internet to post messages to fellow teachers that were considered to be of a "political nature."

I'm curious what was it Mr. Beightol was posting. Got a quote, link?

Verticus said...

Gus, the "political nature" of the emails were regarding salary and other teacher related issues. For a more detailed examination, go to the Miami Sun Post web site and bring up the October 19th cover story on Mr. Beightol: http://www.miamisunpost.com/archives/2006/10-19-06/wakefield.htm.

Anonymous said...

Not to be a meanie, but if a company has a clear policy on e-mail use, i.e., http://www2.dadeschools.net/schoolboard/rules/Chapt4/4c-1.064.pdf (it was the e-mail system he was using), then employees are bound to it and whatever the consequences violating that rule brings.

And the messages were deemed political because he discussed UTD elections and his intentions to run for president and such.

Verticus said...

Well, you are being a "meanie" especially if you think handling the rule breaking means strong-arming the guy into a meaningless job instead of allowing Mr. Beightol to do what he does best, teach high school kids chemistry. As far as I know there is a dearth of science and math teachers in this county and you'd think they'd respond in a less knee-jerk reactionary way to allow him to keep teaching. But I guess they have a bigger point to make-- at the expense of the kids.

And don't get me going about "clear policy" and breaking rules. Among other things, I'm part iconoclast. When someone says I can't do something, I want to know why. If I find the reasons are built to restrict my basic freedoms in expressing myself, watch out. Like our Founding Fathers, I have a low tolerance for anything that restricts self-expression-- especially if it isn't harming anybody.

Finally, I have to ask the real question, As long as they are not religious in nature, what's so wrong about a teacher expressing his or her ideas about the teaching profession through the Dade County Schools email system to other teachers? If the County pushes this issue, it probably will lose in court because, to the common man, this looks like an egregious violation of the First Amendment which states "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech...". I think that applies to school boards too.

ShawnBeightol said...

Can't say much...battery very low here at Gitmo North...but anonymous knows not what he/she speaks Yofeelia what I mean?

1. Federal supremacy--holds that the US Constitution, federal laws enacted pursuant to it, and treaties are the supreme law of the land--ie, federal law supercedes state law.
2. Constitutions--supercede other types of law within their domain--ie, state constitutions trump inconsistent state laws and the US Constitution trumps inconsistent federal laws.
3. Conflicts between treaties and federal statutes--dealing with domestic matters are resolved in favor of the most recent law.
4. Statutes--supercede conflicting laws that arise from legislative delegation (eg, administrative regulations).
5. Statutory and administrative law--supercede conflicting common law.

Gotta go, the guard is coming...

ShawnBeightol said...

Can't help it...gotta write more:
I wrote this in response to seeing AFT take control of our stewards' meeting last week, throw out a motion I made to ensure vote integrity in the upcoming election, AND seeing AFT put Pamela in a bad light for her blowing the whistle on Karen circumventing the Constitution and By-Laws in order to GIVE UP $900000 in interest owed TO UTD.

What are we going to do? Roll over because (AFT Lawyer) Mark (Richard) makes another eloquent speech in Karen's stead (again?)?

People said I acted crazy when I turned to the stewards this last meeting and pumped my fist and yelled "you have to fight for your union" as my motion to introduce vote count accountability by polling site was twisted and recaste as Shawn Beightol trying to open the door to Fraud, first by silver-tongued Mark and then by Karen's supporters who literally hissed at me.

A simple motion to put the language "votes will be counted at and posted on the web by polling site and verified at the ballot count site" would have allowed each school site to verify that their votes were counted and tallied correctly. I shared that this was the federal law for state and federal union elections - this is how they do it nationally and statewide and the membership mustit requires

4 suits from AFT, NEA, and FEA rushed the stage and pulled Karen from the mike long enough to get her to say "you're out of order, shawn" before the nervous glances were shot back and forth from me at the mike to her puppeteers.

Who are these people? What are they doing in our building, on our platform, taking our debate/discussion time?

Where are the patriots?

Where are the heroes?

Where are the men? The women?

This is your union, this is your profession.

If you haven't gotten the message yet from the board who roll their eyes and call their friends on their cell phones when your best and brightest colleagues BEG them for a salary that will cover the cost of living.

If you haven't gotten the message yet from the board who lie to you about "no money" and "no chance for money."

If you haven't gotten the message yet from a superintendent whose bonus this year will be almost twice your salary and who says on national radio (yep, it's on the web too http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/18227/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/18227/podcast/MIAMI-FL/WINZ-AM/10-20%20rudy%20crew.mp3 ) essentially that it's your fault for having chosen to be a teacher if you don't like the money. That a better choice would be to get out of the classroom.

If you haven't gotten the message from a district that is recruiting to replace you with Indian and Filipino H2B visa recruits that will be, as Ana Rivas Logan said at the Robert Morgan Townhall meeting last week, happy to work for the current low salary.

If you haven't gotten the message from "education" "leaders" that think its ok to put an award winning chemistry teacher out of a classroom while his students stare a blank chalkboard because he had the cajones to write about what the H#LL is going on.

If you haven't gotten the message from a school district that commissioned a study published in March 2004 that tells the leadership when they can stop keeping you current with cost of living because you will be too invested to leave.

If you haven't gotten the message from a district that publishes $40k on its website and then offers $36.

If you haven't gotten the message from a district that suggests a replacement salary structure that is ALREADY below cost of living based on the 2003 starting salaries (if you adjust step 1 from 2003 forward to the 2007, the average employee will lose $3000 per year this contract to inflation (conservatively calc'd on 3.5%, actual 2 year avg 3.7% per SSA Chief Actuary tables) - see my data tables at http://shawnbeightol.com/MDCPScheats06.htm

Karen's $37k is not much better, analyzed in the same fashion shows that the average employee will lose $1400 per year per step each of the 3 years it lasts. .

If you haven't got the message, let me state it CLEARLY: In our system no one really cares about you or the children the way you try to.

Those who should care are scrambling for their own gain.

What can we do?

Quit? Transfer North (like Karen suggested a year ago)? Sit around and moan?

Or rise up, and banding together, let's take back first our union and then, with the staff and resources of the union, we'll take the district and reform it with the voice and understanding of experts.

You can sit home. You can sit in your chair.

Or you can go to meetings to plan action or events. You can attend those actions and events. You can look for speaking engagements.

Make speaking engagements happen.

You can write letters. Stand at Open mikes until they open the floor for your questions.

These things aren't comfortable or fun for anyone. We all shake with nervousness and feel out of place. We all feel "unworthy."

We just believe that no one else is going to take care of us.

Join us. go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mdpublicschoolteachers/ to register and enjoy the discussion. Go to "files" for the calendar of activisim. For those of you unsure about the "wisdom" of pursuing $40k, what is the alternative? Another compromised contract that will shortly result in another $7000 deficit.

Stop making excuses and start enacting change.

Shawn Beightol beights@yahoo.com


Millage Answers and how to get the $40k and $7k increase to bring all current!

Pass this on to 10 people... (see below for weekly schedule of actions - I will be posting the schedule in the files section of the group) Stewards who attended Thursday's UTD steward meeting saw me question

Senator Villalobos from the floor re: the assertion that the millage rate HAD to be lowered (as claimed by a particular board member at the October 11th meeting). One particular board member said that we would lose state funding if we didn't. I asked Villalobos about this and he said that this just wasn't true. He said that unless the supplemental discretionary millage rate was "capped" (max'd out at 0.25 mills), this wasn't the case.

Our supplemental discretionary millage rate has been lowered again (as it has annually since at least 2002) to 0.175 mills. This is a loss of $16 million dollars (based on a total taxable property value of $213825364300 - data from http://pdfs.dadeschools.net/Bdarch/2006/Bd080206/agenda/e13.pdf ),

Why are we dropping the millage rate? Because property values are going up and certain board members wish to be seen as lowering taxes. Now, lowering taxes is a noble pursuit, but when you negotiate a salary for teachers that is persistently UNDER the cost of living while providing tax relief to the general public, you essentially are taxing teachers to be teachers, to run the school district on teachers' backs!

What's $16 million? another $800 per year it costs you to be a teacher in Dade. Additional monies can be raised by presenting to voters the possibility of a local referendum for teachers/support staff - an additional 0.25 mill local referendum would produce $53 million, or an additional $2673 each, which, along with the $800 each from the 0.25 supplemental discretionary being utilized, would put starting salaries at $39723, pretty D%@! close to the $40k that Rudy and the rest of us have been calling for.

Don't discount this referendum. The district is already talking about doing it for building new schools. So, now we will have shiny new schools with shiny new technology, but few teachers, and certainly fewer with time or motivation, to utilize the technology...

Now, how does the school board get this for you when they've already passed the millage rate and the local referendum doesn't exist?

Utilize FL 1011.12-1011.16, which says a district can borrow money from the future when necessary in anticipation of funds reasonably to be expected during the year as shown by the budget. Basis for reasonable expectations?

1)Recaptured property taxes, new income through 0.25 mill referendum

2) extrapolated $800 million in MGT audit savings* (we have many teachers who can share over media instances of inefficiencies)

3) DCD reversal and

4) the safety valve of being able to suspend technology expenditures 1 year "Smart Teachers before Smart Boards"

*please see MGT's latest BIG school district audit of Clark CountySchool District in Nevada. The report shows it in comparison to MDCPS. MDCPS and MGT identified $452 MILLION in savings over the next 5

years. MGT is not just any audit company, they specialize in school systems so that services are protected.



Shawn Beightol

Keep Fighting for what is Right!


Folks, the energy is here. The need for change has never been so apparent, and that’s all I’m going to say about that now. Fight the good fight. Seek opportunities to speak out, to communicate the reality of our situation. It

seems that those whose salaries rise over some magic number ($100k?) soon forget our desperation.

1) Hold at least 1 parent/community protest each week outside your school

with flyers that discuss "working to the contract." Get flyer from


2) November Rally – November 18th – Ceresta Smith is working on this march/parade to

draw attention to needs of educators for professional, living wages. She needs help. Her email is Cerestas@yahoo.com

3) November 21 – School Board Rally – people are faxing in their requests to

speak (don’t use your school fax!). More to follow as we develop the agenda

for the day.