Florida schools roundup: turnarounds, teacher conduct, legislative wrap-ups & more

School turnarounds. Tampa Bay Times education editor Tom Tobin offers his take on what it takes: “a long, slow slog that requires principals and teachers to keep on task, stay inspired and fight through times when things don’t seem to be working.” The Times also offers a statistical snapshot of the five Pinellas schools on the turnaround list.florida roundup logo

Legislature. Fund Education Now co-founder Christine Bramuchi offers her take on what happened in this year’s session in a Q&A with the Orlando Sentinel. John Romano does here. The Palm Beach Post does here. Orlando Sentinel rundown here. Tallahassee Democrat here. Times/Herald here.

Florida’s progress. Accountability through school grades has made a positive difference, writes Matt Ladner at Jay P. Greene Blog.

Teachers unions. The Florida Education Association has been operating without its tax-exempt status since January. Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

Teacher pay. The Broward County School Board agrees to give extra money to high-performing teachers at low-performing schools. Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

Teacher conduct.  A Broward County band teacher is accused of marijuana-fueled, sexual trysts with a student, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. In another teacher conduct case, the Palm Beach Post has the latest on a former private school teacher accused of giving students candy in return for sex acts.

Parent trigger. StateImpact Florida does a Storify on the post-trigger battle over #parentempowerment. Margo Pope from Florida Voices: “Parents already have options in state law that empower them. They don’t need another law. They need to know how to use what is already on the books.”

Charter schools. The Palm Beach Gardens city council gives initial approval to a single-gender, K-8 charter. Palm Beach Post.

Magnet schools. Florida Times Union columnist Mark Woods on Duval’s “Magnet Mania.”

Virtual schools. WFSU writes up coming budget cuts to Florida Virtual School.

Pre-K. The Pensacola News Journal take a look at how well it’s working.

Bullying. Pasco toughens its policies in the wake of a teen’s attempted suicide. Tampa Bay Times.

School spending. South Florida Sun Sentinel: “Broward schools paid more than $1 million toward a construction project that had already been terminated by Superintendent Robert Runcie, according to a new audit report that found the payments were for work never completed.”

School safety. Pepper spray sends dozens of Brando middle school students to the hospital, reports the Tampa Bay Times. More from Associated Press. Deputies handcuff a 12-year-old at an Orlando middle school, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Common Core. Polk puts together a 13-member implementation team. Lakeland Ledger.

Achievement gap. Orange creates a new administrative position to accelerate gap-closing. Orlando Sentinel.

PolitiFact. Gov. Rick Scott’s statement about across-the-board teacher raises gets a Half True.

Technology. BYOD in Collier. 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.