Florida roundup: School funding, creationism, teacher evaluations & more

School funding. Gov. Rick Scott proposes to spend $1.2 billion more on public schools next year. Coverage from Tampa Bay Times, South Florida Sun SentinelPalm Beach Post, Lakeland Ledger, Associated PressNews Service of FloridaNaples Daily News, StateImpact Florida, Panama City News Herald. More money will prove lawmakers care, writes Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano.

flroundup2Teacher evaluations. Senate President Don Gaetz reiterates his concerns about the new system: “We have to be able to win this debate at the PTO meeting and the school advisory council, and we haven’t won the debate.” News Service of Florida. Gaetz is right about taking more time with teacher evals and other reforms, editorializes the Panama City News Herald.

Vouchers and creationism. SchoolZone notes a new website: Say No to Creationist Vouchers.

Jeb conspiracy. Exposed!!! Orlando Sentinel. Gradebook. The Answer Sheet. The Nation.

ALEC. Its latest annual report card gives Florida an education policy grade of B+ and a performance rank of 12. 

Educator conduct. A former Palm Beach County principal gets 10 years in prison for soliciting sex from a minor, reports the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun Sentinel. After a four-year battle, a Palm Beach County teacher accused of harassing and threatening fellow employees may finally be fired, reports the Sun Sentinel.

Charter schools. A charter for 1,100 students is being proposed for Palm Beach Gardens, reports the Palm Beach Post.

Rezoning saga. The latest from Seminole. Orlando Sentinel.

School closings. The latest from Brevard. Florida Today.

Superintendents. The latest on the search in Manatee. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota Herald Tribune.

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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.