Florida roundup: charter schools, private schools, school choice lotteries & more

Private schools. What happens to private school records when private schools close? Sometimes, they disappear. Palm Beach Post.flroundup2

Charter schools. The Broward school district is taking a closer look at how much it charges charter schools for bus transportation after a citizens task force complains the district is losing money on the deal and subsidizing the competition. Miami Herald. (The district is considering other ways to reduce busing costs, too, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel.) A K-8 charter school that teaches boys and girls separately is proposed for Palm Beach Gardens, reports the Palm Beach Post.

School choice. The Palm Beach district gets 17,500 applications for about 9,000 district choice seats. Palm Beach Post.

Digital education. Florida’s mandates on digital offerings brings opportunities and challenges, editorializes the Palm Beach Post.

Privatization. The Volusia school district is right to consider outsourcing custodial services to save money, editorializes the Daytona Beach News Journal. The move could save about $5 million a year, the News Journal reports.

Florida’s progress. Matt Di Carlo at the Shanker Blog: “Again, Governor Bush and supporters of his reforms have some solid evidence to draw upon when advocating for the Florida reforms, particularly the grade-based accountability system. The modest estimated effects in these high-quality analyses are not as good a talking point as the “we quadrupled the number of A-rated schools in six years” argument, but they are far preferable to claiming credit for what’s on the scoreboard after having changed the rules of the game.”

Pace of change. Sweeping changes to teacher evaluations, academic standards and testing have district officials on edge and lawmakers considering changes. Tallahassee Democrat.

PolitiFact. “Half true,” it rules in a check on Gov. Rick Scott’s claim that his proposed education budget would be “the highest state funding level in history.”

Teacher evaluations. Controversial though it may be, DOE officials say the state’s value-added model for determining teachers contributions to learning gains worked well for teachers in FCAT subjects, reports SchoolZone.

Tutoring oversight. The Tampa Bay Times series exposed some regulatory holes that need to be plugged, writes EdFly Blog.

Learning time. Pinellas Superintendent Mike Grego is pushing a vastly expanded summer school that would serve more than 12,000 students who show signs of struggling, but questions remain about teacher pay. Tampa Bay Times. Two thumbs up from the Times editorial board.

Rick Scott. His move to put more money into education smacks of political expediency, editorializes the Citrus County Chronicle.

School security. Some South Miami teachers get safety training from the local police department, reports the Miami Herald. Interim Polk Superintendent John Stewart talks about beefing up security after a “deranged person” walks into a principal’s office and throws punches, reports the Lakeland Ledger.

School spending.  Broward plans to close two special-needs schools due to low enrollment. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Parent power. Angry Brevard parents are forming a political action committee in advance of today’s decision on whether to close four schools. Florida Today.

Special needs students. Another lawsuit accuses the Hillsborough school district of negligence involving a special needs student, reports the Tampa Tribune. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendents. The six finalists in Manatee are interviewed, reports the Bradenton Herald. More from the 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.