Florida roundup: parent trigger, online learning, privatization fears & more

Parent trigger. The parent trigger bill is amended in the Senate so school boards have the final say. Coverage from redefinED, Associated Press, SchoolZoneThe Buzz. StateImpact Florida talks to Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, about why he’s opposed to parent trigger. The Orlando Sentinel highlights the amendment sponsor, Sen. David Simmons. Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino sees the specter of mass privatization: “The parental trigger bill is designed to lead to the widespread conversion of traditional public schools in Florida to charter schools.”

florida roundup logoOnline education. The bills being considered by this year’s Legislature, including Sen. Jeff Brandes’ course choice bill, are about profits and privatization, not choice and competition, editorializes the Tampa Bay Times.

Data. Lawmakers are dealing with data issues related to teacher evaluations and access to researchers, the latter being complicated by critics raising fears of privatization, reports the Tampa Bay Times. A group called Liberty in Action protests the access bill outside the office of bill sponsor Sen. Bill Galvano, reports the Bradenton Herald.

Remediation. The Senate approves a bill that would end a requirement that college students take remedial courses for no credit. StateImpact Florida.

School spending. The Seminole school is scrambling to explain why it decided to spend $100,000 to send 176 teachers and school administrators to a teacher training program when a cheaper alternative was available. Orlando Sentinel.

Employee conduct. Three staffers at a Collier County school are under investigation for some kind of impropriety with FCAT testing. Naples Daily News.

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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.