Florida roundup: charter school politics, teaching to the test, school safety & more

Teaching to the test. The FEA is rallying members to a petition started by UFS Professor/blogger Sherman Dorn. Gradebook.flroundup2

Charter schools. In a vote along party lines, the House Choice and Innovation Subcommittee approves a bill that would allow charter schools to move into unused district buildings. redefinED. Coverage also from the Palm Beach PostTallahassee Democrat, Gradebook, StateImpact Florida.

Poverty. South Florida Sun Sentinel: “More than half a million kids under 18 in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties live in low-income households that earn up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University reports. For a single mom and child, that translates into an income of $30,260 a year or less.”

School security. A jury orders the Palm Beach County School Board to pay $1.7 million in a case involving a mentally challenged, 3-year-old girl who was sexually attacked by a 15-year-old ninth grader on a school bus in 2007, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. More from the Palm Beach Post. A Hernando County middle school teacher on paid administrative leave since last April is on a keep-off-campus list generated by district officials after the Newtown tragedy, reports Hernando Today. Osceola will beef up police presence at elementary schools, reports SchoolZone. The video of a girl beating another girl on a Pasco school bus gets posted on Facebook; arrests ensue, reports the Tampa Bay Times. An 11-year-old, special needs student in Duval either falls or jumps out of a school bus and sustains life threatening injuries, reports the Florida Times Union.

Teacher evaluations. The Florida Times-Union files suit against the Department of Education to force the release of teacher evaluation data.

Impact fees. The Lee County School Board urges the Lee County Commission not to suspend them, reports the Fort Myers News Press. The Hernando County School Board moves forward with a study to consider them, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Application fees. The Brevard school board is considering a $30 application fee for students who apply to choice schools. Florida Today.

Achievement gaps. A Manatee district official wants more emphasis on early learning. Bradenton Herald.

Rezoning. In Boynton Beach and Lake Worth, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. More from the Palm Beach Post. The Orlando Sentinel has the latest on rezoning in Seminole.

Educator conduct. A Sarasota County teacher who the district unsuccessfully tried to fire three times is back in the classroom, teaching adult education, reports the Sarasota Herald Tribune. A Santa Rosa County principal is reassigned to a temporary administrative position in the wake of an undisclosed, off-campus incident that officials say compromised her leadership abilities, reports the Pensacola News Journal. A Broward County middle school teacher is suspended without pay after allegedly choking one student and  pushing another, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Age appropriate? Some parents are upset by a frank PowerPoint presentation to fifth graders about sexting, cyberbullying and inappropriate touching. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Digital Learning Day. StateImpact Florida.

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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.