Florida roundup: Teacher pay, Tony Bennett, Marco Rubio & more

Teacher pay. Gov. Rick Scott says he wants to set aside enough money in this year’s budget to give every district teacher a $2,500 raise. Coverage from Tampa Bay Times, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Naples Daily News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Associated Press, Tallahassee Democrat, Pensacola News Journal. Politics and poll numbers are at play, the HT also writes. Teachers “suspicious,” writes the Lakeland Ledger. Teachers “skeptical,” writes the Tampa Tribune. Teachers unions “cautiously optimistic,” writes the Florida Times Union.

flroundup2Marco Rubio. The senator tells an audience at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he’ll be pushing education reform, even if it’s not the sexiest issue: “The good news is it’s not partisan, the good news is it’s something that there’s broad support for,” he said. “The bad news is because it’s not partisan. Because it’s not controversial, it’s not getting nearly enough attention as it needs to be getting.” The Hill.

Tony Bennett and the Legislature. Gov. Scott cancels his appearance before the Senate Education Committee, but Tony Bennett talks to senators about voucher accountability, Common Core, SB 736, etc. Coverage from redefinED, SchoolZone (two posts here and here)  Gradebook (two posts here and here), StateImpact Florida and the Associated Press.

Slow down. Florida superintendents want a longer timeline to implement a suite of changes, including new tests and teacher evaluations, reports the Fort Myers News Press.

Charter schools. A new study based on Florida data suggests charter schools might not be any better than district schools at showing low-performing teachers the door. Shanker Blog.

Teacher preparation. The National Council for Teacher Quality gives Florida a B- (the best grade it gave any state) for its teacher preparation policies. SchoolZone. Sherman Dorn critique here.

Teacher grievances. The administration in Pasco is reviewing complaints about testing and evaluation. Gradebook.

School spending. New schools are on their way in Miami-Dade thanks to the voter-approved, $1.2 billion bond referendum, reports the Miami Herald. The Franklin County School District is in a state of financial emergency, reports the Panama City News Herald. Hundreds of people in St. Lucie County turn out for a school board meeting to hear about proposed budget cuts, reports TCPalm.com.

School boards. Sunshine Law violations in Martin County. TCPalm.com.

Bus driver. Big job. Little pay. StateImpact Florida.

Rezoning. The latest from Seminole. Orlando Sentinel.

Testing. Panelists at a forum in Pinellas discuss the FCAT’s successor, reports the Tampa Tribune. (Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog, is one of the panelists.)

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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.