Florida roundup: charter schools, dual enrollment, school spending & more

Charter schools. They’re becoming more involved in the political process, reports the Florida Times Union. The Bradenton Herald takes a look at the challenges ahead for Rowlett Elementary, the Bradenton magnet that’s becoming a charter school. So does the Sarasota Herald Tribune. (Sidebar on other charter school conversions here.) The fledgling Ben Gamla charterschool  in Pinellas closes because of a dispute with its national board, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The Lake Wales Charter School system has more than 400 students on a waiting list for its middle school, prompting debate how to expand, reports the Lakeland Ledger.

florida roundup logoDual enrollment. Districts are chafing at having to pick up the tab, reports the Tampa Bay Times. More from the Northwest Florida Daily News.

School choice. The lottery process will be a topic for discussion at a school choice summit in Palm Beach County. Extra Credit.

Common Core. Training helps teachers instill love of math, reports StateImpact Florida. It’s clear, concise and good for kids, says a teacher at a high-poverty school in this column by Karin Choweth at Ed Trust (H/T Tampa Bay Times).

Testing. The Happy Scientist raises questions about the science FCAT. Miami Herald.

Humanities. Don’t forget them amidst the growing emphasis on STEM. Tampa Bay Times.

School technology. Hillsborough teachers like BYOD. Tampa Bay Times.

School spending. For a change, Hernando doesn’t anticipate budget cuts this year, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Lake may cut busing and change schedules to deal with a $16.3 million shortfall, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Volusia gears up to begin discussing a renewal of a voter-approved half-cent sales tax in 2016, reports the Daytona Beach News Journal.

School safety. State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, makes another pitch for arming teachers. Tampa Bay Times.

School days. Parents and principals in Palm Beach County want a 7-period day for middle schools, but it would cost $9 million. Palm Beach Post.

School grades. Here comes the shell game again, writes Shannon Nickinson of the Pensacola News Journal.

Teachers. Hillsborough teachers like the training they’re getting but don’t think they have enough to meet the needs of all students, according to a New Teacher Center survey. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher conduct. Broward is still considering consequences for 13 elementary school teachers who were paid for tutoring and extracurricular activities while they were still on the district clock. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Teacher pay. Many teachers are working summer jobs, reports the Daytona Beach News Journal. Brevard declares an impasse in negotiations with the union because of a divide over raises, reports Florida Today. A special magistrate recommends step increases for teachers in Collier, reports the Naples Daily News. Polk teachers got a raise, but workers represented by AFSCME still haven’t reached an agreement with the district, reports the Lakeland Ledger.

Substitute teachers. Marion plans to use full-time subs to fill many vacant positions. Ocala Star Banner.

Teacher data. DOE says the personal info of some teachers participating in teacher prep programs may have been exposed, reports the Orlando Sentinel. More from the Tallahassee Democrat.

Superintendents. St. Lucie’s outgoing superintendent Michael Lannon says he’s proud to leave a district on the rise, reports TCPalm.com. Lee’s Nancy Graham offers some hints about what’s ahead, report the Fort Myers News Press.

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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.