Florida schools roundup: parent trigger, private tutors, drug testing & more

Parent trigger. Citing anonymous sources, Sunshine State News says Gov. Rick Scott helped kill parent trigger. Five GOP senators tell The Buzz he had nothing to do with it. Arne Duncan sorta kinda maybe a wee little bit endorses the concept of parent trigger, notes This Week In Education. Parents would have been at the mercy of for-profit charters because “parents of students in failing schools don’t necessarily have the skill sets to develop corrective plans,” writes Florida Voices columnist Rick Outzen.

florida roundup logoTutoring. Lawmakers, including Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, try but fail to keep the mandated program for low-income kids after all. Tampa Bay Times.

Virtual schools. Florida Virtual School doesn’t get as much as it expected due to funding changes. Times/Herald.

Turnaround schools. An attempt to restaff a struggling Pasco elementary school doesn’t draw many applicants beyond existing teachers. Tampa Bay Times.

Private schools. A Christian school in Orlando plans to begin drug testing students. Orlando Sentinel.

Charter schools. The City of Cape Coral Charter School System has a new superintendent. Fort Myers News Press.

Teacher pay. Teachers won’t have to wait for raises, reports the Tampa Bay Times and Tallahassee Democrat. Lawmakers ultimately do the right thing, writes the Tallahassee Democrat.

School funding. The Florida Times Union cheers private sector plans to raise money for Duval’s public schools.

School closings. The Brevard County Commission pays tribute to a Merritt Island magnet school that’s closing. Florida Today.

Gays and lesbians. The ACLU files suit against the Lake County School Board over a student’s unsuccessful attempt to start a Gay-Straight Alliance at a middle school. Orlando Sentinel.

Superintendents. Florida Times Union: “Clay superintendent hires consultant to improve communications; doesn’t tell School Board.”

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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.