Florida schools roundup: Financial literacy, STEM, texting & more

Money 101: The state Department of Education is currently drafting recommendations to create a course that will teach public high school students about financial literacy. The Buzz.

florida-roundup-logoMagnet schools: Four lower-income elementary schools in Broward are about to open new magnet programs next year, thanks to a federal three-year, $11.9 million grant. Sun Sentinel.

Charter schools: A West Palm Beach charter school, Leadership Academy West, is being monitored by the district for “having great difficulty holding onto staff and students.” Palm Beach Post. Charter Schools USA founder and CEO Jon Hage operates 58 schools in seven states, making public education his business. Sun Sentinel.

Private schools: A private Brevard County Catholic school incorporates STEM projects into weekly lessons. Florida Today.

Common Core: Gov. Rick Scott blew a big kiss to the tea party by calling for a review of the Common Core education standards and railing against federal “intrusion” into Florida education policy, writes Adam Smith in The Buzz.

Teacher evals: PolitiFact Florida takes a look at former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s comments that teachers are at risk of having their pay impacted by the performance of children who are not even in their classrooms or subject areas.

Success: “We often hear that public schools in America are failing, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated,” writes Sarasota County schools Superintendent Lori White. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.  Schools today are doing a better job educating the nation’s youth than they did decades ago, writes Robyn Blumner for the Tampa Bay Times.

STEM: An intense new curriculum in science, technology, engineering and math is being implemented at selected Polk County schools thanks to a $11 million state grant. The Ledger. The Hillsborough County school district plans to roll out a new video simulation program that teaches high school students about the complex science behind global climate change. The Tampa Tribune.

Gap plan: Pinellas County schools Superintendent Mike Grego’s plan to close the achievement gap for black students has the potential to provide more focus and commitment to this historic problem than the district has had in years, writes the Tampa Bay Times.

Name debate: Duval County school board members and citizens continue to debate whether to change a high school name that honors a Confederate war general and grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan. Florida Times-Union.

Extra help: Some Lee County teachers get bonus checks worth about $260 to help with the purchase of classroom supplies. Fort Myers News-Press.

Texting: Florida schools play a key role in raising awareness among teens about the state’s new texting-while-driving law. Tampa Bay Times.

Solar power: Collier County schools plan to add solar panels at a handful of campuses by the spring to power classrooms and more. Naples Daily News.

Faith & football: The Pasco County School District is exploring prayer’s place in high school sports. Tampa Bay Times.

Car pool: Palm Beach County school officials try to get parents to car pool to help offset school-related traffic clogs. Sun Sentinel.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.