ICARE has been advocating for EDUCATION & ECONOMIC JUSTICE since the proposed effort in 2007 to close both Miami Edison and Miami Central High Schools, due to the failure of the MiamiDade County school district to provide state mandated Highly Qualified Leadership and Highly Qualified Instruction to students attending poor and underperforming schools in the Urban Core. We have had over 76 meetings, spent over 300 hours volunteering to bring about changes in the Urban
Core Schools, and met with over six (6) different MDCPS administrators
that were tasked with addressing the neglect and disparity issues in Education and Economic Opportunity for the BLACK community. Those individuals were: Alberto Cavalho, Dr. Geneva Woodard, Dr. Essie Pace, Dr. Nikolai Viti, Dr. Pablo Ortiz, Ms. Valentena Brown; and now we’re meeting with Lisa Martinez. Superintendent Carvalho even promised to meet quarterly to monitor and provide updates. A promise made and a promise BROKEN!
The Superintendent does not care about Black or poor children. Mr. Cavalho will go before the mainstream media or a Black church and announce that MDCPS is doing well with technology in schools, innovation, career training and education, magnet, and choice options. What he cannot report is that he has NOT delivered those same opportunities to Black businesses, the Black community, and those that live in MiamiDade’s poorest neighborhoods and zip codes. If he did, he would be lying AGAIN! His track record for those living in our poorest zip codes speak for itself. For years, the superintendent would point blame to Dr. Rudy Crew’s administration and leadership for his failure in delivering many of the solutions that ICARE has been advocating for. We know now just look at the facts and the superintendent’s track record over the last seven (7) years.
ICARE has reached out to the Department of Education to bring about an investigation, and audit for the distribution of Title I funds, Magnet & Choice Options, and Career & Technical training for
MiamiDade’s poorest communities. We are also asking that everyone vote in the upcoming election to elect new board members that are not willing to just rubberstamp this atrocity that has existed for years. Board members who are fair, equitable to all communities, and ready to start a national search for the next superintendent and administrative team for MDCPS. We need accountability we need answers and results, not more speeches and sound bites. The broken promises, the lies and racism MUST STOP!
TITLE I (Robin “The” Hood)
Since 2010, members of ICARE have had over 76 meetings with the superintendent and his administrative teams. The superintendent’s creative track record, sophisticated use, abuse and redistribution of Title I funds which were put into law in 1965 for poor communities is appalling. These funds were designated to fight the war on poverty, close the achievement gap and provide the families with fair and equal educational opportunities. The Title I funds were mandated to provide professional development for teachers working in poor communities, provide for instructional materials, and any required resources or equipment that would improve educational programs. That includes magnet and choice options as well. Under Mr. Cavalho’s leadership, millions of these funds that were targeted for poor communities, have become a slush fund for the MDCPS district as he has implemented his ROBIN “THE” HOOD strategy by stealing from the poor communities and giving it to the rich. Requests from ICARE to have an outside auditor look into some of the fraudulent funding of some of MiamiDade’s most affluent communities, such as Aventura, Doral, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Pinecrest that are receiving Title I funding, has been met with an excuse of “they are already audited”. We now know that the current audit process consists of a review of just a handful of
examples of no more than 10 applications. This joke of an audit with schools that have student populations in affluent communities ranging from 300 to 1800, is criminal and rampant throughout the district. They know exactly which applications to review for the audit, and want us to believe that it is an audit. Mr. Cavalho has proven time after time that he is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Under Cavalho’s creative guidance, millions of funds and academic programs designated to help the poor, have been almost nonexistent in the Black communities for the last six (6) years. The continued redirection of educational dollars intended for the poor needs to stop now. Black and poor students must catch buses at 4:00am daily to attend schools miles away from their own community because the funding has been sent to the affluent communities listed above. A review of Title I dollar allocations and educational Choice Programming for MiamiDade’s poorest communities since Mr. Cavalho became superintendent, will reveal a bait and switch strategy with huge redirections in the allocation of Title I funds. It will also reveal almost no magnet or school Choice options for the poor communities.
Don’t be bamboozled or hoodwinked again when Mr. Cavalho provides you with a sermon about a disgraceful Choice option that he has put in a poor school or zip code. Just ask him if he has provided a trained qualified teacher in the subject area. Ask if he’s provided funding to hire and pay a highly qualified trained teacher. Ask if he’s provided the sufficient number of computers and student stations to operate the program. Ask if the students will be displaced for over a month during the high stakes testing period because the school doesn’t have sufficient computers. Ask if he was providing just a computer lab or a real Choice program. Ask if there is any marketing associated with informing the feeder pattern schools that they destroyed through the grade labeling of schools The Zone and The Educational Transformation Office (ETO). Ask if transportation is being provided just as they do in the affluent communities mentioned above. And finally, ask if the parents and students in the surrounding community are even aware that the program exists. Promises made promises broken. Where is the accountability? The data doesn’t lie, but the lies continue.
The Bond (Lies & Deceit)
ICARE stood steadfast against the General Obligation Bond because we knew that everything coming from the mouth of the SILK TONGUE’d superintendent was nothing but a lie! The $400,00 Disparity Study that was commissioned, was one of a series of lies promised to the Black community. The study was done as promised after the passing of the bond, but their lies and strategic efforts to dilute and fudge the data was uncovered and revealed by ICARE and several other stakeholder groups, which included NAACP, Urban League, Miami Dade Chamber, and BAC Funding. The superintendent’s Disparity Study results would not have provided for many opportunities promises and lies that were sold to the Black community. This deceit involved many Black churches and their pastors, that still continue to open their doors and allow him to lie to their members with no accountability and commitment to this game that they call EDUCATION. We now know many of the pastors and churches are compensated financially with the lining of their pockets or their church programs. Just say “Quid Pro Quo” throughout the Black church community for many pastors. THIS IS ATROCIOUS!
MDCPS hired another vendor to verify our findings and agreed to implement twelve (12) recommendations from the “leveling the playing field” group document. The concerns of transparency and mistrust have continued even with the validation of their flawed study. The hiring of the OEO Director whom ICARE identified as not being qualified or committed to deliver on the promises (lies) made to the community, was shared with the superintendent, but alas, it fell on deaf ears. Our years of working with the OEO Director as the school board attorney on MWBE/SBE issues, confirmed that the superintendent had no intentions on delivering on any of the bond promises to the Black community, With more than half of the bond money spent, and the mission accomplished of NOT delivering sufficient business opportunities again to Black businesses the OEO Director resigned. His side business as a Small Business Consultant, while being the OEO Director, was more important than our community. The true, unpublished OEO participation and spending data with female and Black owned firms, will confirm another promise made is another promise broken. For those who call him friend, please be aware that the data put in the latest OEO Marketing “Dog and Phony Show” report, is just as false as the Disparity Study results that were presented.
Even when Black firms in our community are qualified, identified, and are capable of performing on contracts, a known racist staff member Nazira Abdo in the MDCPS district leadership team utilizes her bonding information to punish and strategically eliminate those firms from bidding and participating on contracts. Many of the administrators in the district are aware of her racist comments and acts of deceit in contract preparation and awards. Yet, the superintendent hasn’t moved her from the contracting process. Another BROKEN PROMISE that the superintendent made to the Black community was to utilize Black firms and help grow their bonding capacity through GOB contracting opportunities. The data doesn’t lie Black and female owned businesses still get far less than 2%. Six (6) years under his leadership and the spending with Blacks and females have decreased in construction and procurement of goods and services. This is a travesty!
One Community, One Goal (Doesn’t include the Black or poor communities)
The purpose of One Community, One Goal is to provide MiamiDade County with a roadmap for its future economic development success. It offers strategic recommendations aimed at creating an environment where significant job creation occurs with a focus on new higherpaying jobs in target industries. It is a communitywide effort that provides a unified vision for longterm economic growth in MiamiDade County. Education has been identified as the foundation of One Community, One Goal, and is the key driver of the seven (7) target industries: Aviation, Banking & Finance, Creative Design, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, Life Science & Health Care, and Trade & Logistics.
Four years ago, under the State of Florida Chamber leadership, these 7 industries were identified and they have aligned the future growth throughout the state in these areas (Florida 2030). This is where all of the highpaying jobs and business opportunities will be derived from. The number one priority for all of these industries and careers was Talent Supply and Education. Early exposure and training of students to the various careers and opportunities is paramount to meet the needs of the employers seeking to call South Florida home. Members of ICARE purchased a table and invited Mr. Cavalho and Dr. Viti to attend the Airport & Seaport Logistics luncheon. Mr. Viti attended, but the superintendent bragged about his involvement with the Beacon Council and assured ICARE members that he would be a CHAMPION for the urban core schools in these endeavors. Well before the underwater port tunnel was started, and the formation of OCOG, the superintendent promised ICARE that he would make sure our students and community would be included in the educational rollout of
these innovative and creative job opportunities. Another promise made and promise broken. A review of the MDCPS Magnet and Choice Options programs that align with the 7 targeted industries, is nonexistent in the urban core.
Miami Central High School was given a Finance Academy in name and was supposed to operate as a Trade and Logistics Academy without funding for a logistics teacher, and is now being taught by an Information & Technology Academy teacher DISGUSTING! Even the promised computer student stations lost due to the emergency installation of the IPREP computer lab, have not been provided. These ongoing failures continue to deprive the school and students of 25 computer units that are needed during state testing. The Black community, once again, has been deprived of the information, equipment, and exposure to the future jobs and career opportunities because of the lies and lack of commitment to issues that impact our students and community. We have been advocating to align our community too, just as the superintendent has done with the affluent communities. Just take a quick review of the last two (2) years budget allocations for Choice Options in the urban core. The evidence of his continuous lies and lack of commitment in addressing the educational needs of the poor is obvious. Many of these jobs are bluecollar that require training, and we have not been afforded those opportunities. Opportunities for most of the 7 targeted industries will require job training. The achievement gap has gotten wider and future job opportunities for the poor will cease to exist because of the superintendent’s failure and neglect to connect and prepare poor communities to the State of Florida’s master plan.
Finally, consider this:
Black Males, 2530% Dropout Rate
Black Males, 2530% Unemployment Rate
Resulting in GENOCIDE OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY!
In the final analysis, our kids, community and future are dying in part due to the lack of opportunities afforded us by MDCPS. If you combine the fact that the District spends less than 2% of their Procurement budget with Black businesses, place very few Magnets in the Urban Core, gives most of its Schools of Choice to more affluent communities and do not connect the Urban Core to the 7 Targeted Industries sponsored by the Beacon Council, then what you have is imminent death. While Superintendent Carvalho is known to pay for various funerals in the Urban Core, it is ironic that the lack of opportunities afforded by the District may have caused some of that blood flowing in the streets.
Black communities are dying across the country. And in several cases the School Districts are tied to its death. Funds earmarked for the Urban Core are often diverted to other projects, while Black students continue to struggle. Our children are required to wake up at ungodly hours just to chase a dream deferred. This while indolent Board Members and ADMINISTRATORS that look like us do nothing but rubber stamp the Superintendent’s agenda, which rarily have our best interest at heart. So we ask everyone from the Department of Education, to our Elected Officials, to our Community Leaders, to our Parents and Friends to join ICARE and fight against the genocide by exclusion that is occurring daily in MDCPS. Together we can put a stop to this debilitating trend of reverse Robinhood, where the Superintendent takes from the poor and gives to the rich. Our students and community are dying a slow death and we must stop it by Any Means Necessary.
Larry T. Williams, Chairperson William “DC” Clark, President