Florida roundup: FCAT, vouchers, charters, no more Flori-duh & more

On top of the world. Gov. Rick Scott calls the PIRLS results (an international assessment that shows Florida fourth-graders are second only to their peers in Hong Kong in reading) “great news for Florida as our state becomes a hub for global commerce.” Jeb Bush says Florida students are “again busting all the myths.” No more Flori-duh, writes EdFly Blog: “Florida has gone from one of the worst reading states in the nation to one of the top reading nations in the world. And just last month I read a story about Jeb Bush’s education reforms in Reuters, which concluded: ‘But a close examination raises questions about the depth and durability of the (education) gains in Florida.’ Think we’ll see a follow-up?” More from Florida Today, Associated Press, BloombergEduwonk, Jay P. Greene’s Blog. (Image from questprblog.com)

FCAT for voucher kids? Gov. Scott seems to suggest that in comments to reporters Tuesday. Here’s the clip (starts at about the 13-minute mark). Coverage from Gradebook, WTSP, Orlando Sentinel, Associated Press, News Service of Florida. The governor will be speaking in Tampa tonight, at the annual donor dinner for Florida’s tax credit scholarship program (which is sponsored by Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog).

Race to the Top. Miami-Dade wins this round, reports the Miami Herald.

Conversion. The Broward County school board considers creating a countywide K-12 digital arts magnet in an effort to help a low-performing middle school meet accountability standards, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Protection. From the Orlando Sentinel: “After listening to nearly six hours of testimony on both sides of the issue, the Orange County School Board added protections for gay, lesbian and transgender students and staff to the district’s nondiscrimination policy early Wednesday.”

Wait a minute. The Polk County school board and new superintendent John Stewart may delay the opening of six district-run charter schools for at-risk students, reports the Ledger.

School-to-prison pipeline. On the NAACP’s agenda in Duval. Florida Times Union.

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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.