School Ties


While in South Florida, public schools fall under the auspices of Miami-Dade County that doesn’t mean that the City of Miami Beach doesn’t want to see improved educational opportunities for the children. Miami Beach Commissioner Ed Tobin has scheduled the city commission to consider just that.

“I have placed a matter on the next City Commission Agenda, February 12 regarding taking the first step in getting our kids the best public middle school in the country,” Tobin wrote in a memo to Nautilus parents. “On Wednesday February 12, the city commission will discuss whether to hire a consultant to advise the City on what criteria makes a middle school the very best and methods for getting us there.

“If the item passes we will be on our way to the best middle school in the country,” Tobin continued. “While you are receiving this email from me this is not my issue alone. The mayor and each of the new commissioners have gone on the record stating they would wade into the public education arena and that’s a big deal.

“As you are probably aware, public schooling for the entire County is the responsibility of the Miami-Dade School system. Cities traditionally accept what the county system gives.

“With city hall committed to really getting involved on the public education issue its time for the parents to band together and let us know you want our help. Miami Beach could and should have the best public education in the Country. Let’s focus on our middle school. We should provide the very best for every level of student in middle school and if the County can’t handle the job we may have to move to a City managed middle school.

“The City has the resources to take over if the school board can’t handle the job. Again the job is best middle school in the country. Nothing less.

“It is simply a matter of the parents letting the City know this is a CRITICAL issue for them. I know the parents at Nautilus want the best. Parents with children in our elementary feeder pattern have their eye on Nautilus and want the best. The parents need to know that this Mayor and this City Commission would be 100% on their side to accomplish this goal and this Commission will make it happen. The parents simply need to ask us for help.

“We need to make Ransom the second choice for children that can’t get into our Miami Beach Middle,” Tobin continued.

At press time, it was unclear what — if any – commission action might have happened.

However, this isn’t the only question left unanswered.

Schools are the responsibility – administratively and financially — of Miami-Dade County. According to one Miami-Dade teacher, speaking on terms of anonymity, ” There really isn’t anything but enhanced services that a city can offer,” he said. “I don’t know what a city can really offer than that, except exposure to particular problems. I am not aware that Nautilus has any specific problems that need that kind of focus. It’s hardly the worst middle school. Sure all schools with students that age have issues, but that is more about maturation than it is anything about the school.”

School Board member Martin Karp seems to believe that the school doesn’t need the focus.

“I am going to continue working with staff to improve Nautilus,” wrote Karp in an email reply to Tobin, an education champion. “Meanwhile, if there is anything specific that you would like me to address then do not hesitate to contact me. Last weekend, a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) team from Nautilus placed first in the District and the South Florida Science Fair.”

Tobin, the commissioner most focused on education in the city, was unimpressed.

“How can you work on Nautilus if you don’t know the issues off the top of your head,” Tobin replied. “Some kids won a contest. I’m sorry, but that is such crap.”

Tobin did not respond to questions in regard to city interference in a county issue, what he hoped to achieve or what precedent might be set, in time for SunPost press time.

About Michael W Sasser

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