Florida roundup: parent trigger, teacher pay, district charter schools & more

Charter schools. Some big ideas on tap for today’s discussion in the Senate Education Committee, including a proposal to let school districts start their own charter schools. Tampa Bay Times.

florida roundup logoTax credit scholarships. Jewish groups let lawmakers know much they value them. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Parent trigger. Senate sponsor Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, crafts an amendment that would leave the final parent trigger decision to school boards, not the state Board of Education, reports the Tallahassee DemocratCreative Loafing notes the parent trigger origins on the political left, but inaccurately writes that unlike California, “troubled schools singled out in the Sunshine State would be taken over by a for-profit corporation.” Fund Education Now’s Kathleen Oropeza pens an anti- parent trigger op-ed for the Gainesville Sun. Former state Sen. Paula Dockery pens one for the Miami Herald.

Virtual schools. SchoolZone writes up the proposed funding cut to Florida Virtual School.

Magnet schools. The proposed Senate budget includes $1.5 million for a proposed STEM magnet in Pasco. Tampa Bay Times.

Career and technical education. The culinary arts program at Northeast High in St. Petersburg is getting a $1.6 million upgrade, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The proposed House budget includes $1.5 million for a proposed adult technical ed center in Hernando, reports the Times.

Diplomas. Lawmakers are headed in the right direction with changes to graduation requirements, writes Orlando Sentinel columnist Beth Kassab.

Special needs students. Says one former student in Hillsborough: “I think the real issue is a complete lack of expectation for the disabled.” Tampa Bay Times. A school bus aide in St. Lucie County is charged after cameras capture her harassing a 5-year-old with disabilities, reports TCPalm.com.

School choice rally. In Tallahassee on Wednesday. Sunshine State News.

Teachers unions. The Orange County union is decertified after it files an error-filled registration petition. Orlando Sentinel.

Teacher pay. There’s a big gap between the proposed House budget and proposed Senate budget are setting aside for teacher pay raises, reports Gradebook. More from the Associated Press, The Florida Current, Naples Daily News, News Service of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott’s plan for across-the-board raises is based on a faulty rationale and it’s “real iffy” that it’ll help him win teacher votes, editorializes the Palm Beach Post.

Teacher evaluations. The New York Times uses Florida to anchor a national story about how new teacher evaluations don’t make sense – in part because so few teachers get low marks. In Tallahassee, teachers unions and school boards are urging lawmakers to halt the statewide changes and try a pilot program instead, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Testing. The Tampa Bay Times writes up coming changes to the GED.

School funding. Lawmakers need to adjust the DCD funding formula that hurts counties like Volusia and Flagler. Daytona Beach News Journal.

School security. Arming teachers isn’t worth the unknowns, writes Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano. The Tallahassee Democrat agrees. The Palm Beach County school district is looking to add 24 officers to elementary schools, reports the Palm Beach Post. Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies participate in a mock school shooting, reports KeysNet.com.

School zoning. The Broward school board is set to okay “boundary changes” this week, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Thousands of Seminole parents will find out this week where their kids will go to school next year, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Superintendents. Six months into his tenure, Pinellas’ Mike Grego has been quietly effective. Tampa Bay Times.

Class size. Broward faces a $1.3 million fine for exceeding mandated limits. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

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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.

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