Florida roundup: Teacher absences, tattoo artists, superintendent turnover and more

Teacher absences. Twenty-nine percent of Florida teachers were absent more than 10 days in the 2009-10 school year, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. High as that sounds, it actually puts Florida below the national average of 36 percent and among the states with the lowest rates of high teacher absences. The report isn’t Florida specific, but it raises issues that don’t get much attention here. Here’s another eye-catching finding: “Teachers are absent from traditional public schools more than 10 times per year at a rate that is 15.2 percentage points higher than in charter schools.” More from Huffington Post.

A lot of new superintendents. From Gradebook.

Amendment 8 lives on. Former state Sen. Dan Gelber in a Florida Voices piece: “So now, how exactly does the Legislature and Scott expect to argue for their ideas when Floridians have rejected them in a statewide ballot? … How does the Legislature pursue its expansion of school vouchers when Floridians defeated Amendment 8 so overwhelmingly?” The Washington Post offered its post-election assessment here: “In Florida, unions knocked down a ballot measure that would have changed the state’s constitution to allow public dollars to go to religious institutions, which would have cleared the way for school vouchers.” (Of course, we already have school vouchers.)

Parent protests. Over the deaths of special needs students in Hillsborough. From ABC Action News. From Tampa Bay Times.

No tattoo artists allowed. A Pinellas school bars a tattoo artist from speaking at this year’s Great American Teach-in, reports ABC Action News (and other outlets all over the place). A similar controversy erupted in Pinellas last year when a Hooter’s waitress spoke at a school for disabled students. (I should know; I had to write about it.)

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at facebook.com/redefinedonline.

One Comment

I think there are many teachers who are taking excessive amounts of time off. One would think since that they only work about 180 days a year that they could find the time to get to work.

Imagine if these people ever worked a regular job in which they only get 2 weeks vacation, a few holidays and some sick days. I think most of them would faint from overwork. Imagine how much we could save by not paying for substitutes teachers. There is a joke going around that we should home school the kids because that’s where the teachers are anyway.

There are a few teachers where I live that really abuse the system with their constant time off. In fact they are home again sick just having Thankgiving break. I guess they ate too much. Would you like their names??

Rich Cosola

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