Florida schools roundup: Common Core, SAT scores, teacher raises & more

Common Core: Gov. Rick Scott should have stood up and said that Florida won’t back away from Common Core because it’s the right thing for students, writes Beth Kassab for the Orlando Sentinel. The push is on from opponents aiming to halt Florida’s implementation of the new standards. Ledger Media Group. Jeb Bush has dismissed those who protest Common Core’s increasing federalization of local control over schools as conspiracy-mongers, writes Michelle Malkin. Despite Scott’s efforts to assuage concerns, opposition to the new education standards isn’t dying down. Miami Herald.

florida-roundup-logoEd chief: StateImpact Florida talks to former Florida education commissioners about the pressures of serving as the state’s top schools chief.

SATs: Florida’s students continue to perform below the national average on the SAT college entrance exam, mirroring results from the ACT test. Orlando Sentinel.

Race To The Top: Manatee County schools is hoping to win a $28.7 million grant through Race to The Top to expand the Manatee Technical Institute and add more STEM to elementary schools. Bradenton Herald.

Late enrollments: In Orange County, public-school enrollment has jumped by more than 18,000 since the first day of school, putting new students instantly behind in academics. Orlando Sentinel.

Charter schools: Three of six charter school applicants are still vying for approval to open schools in the 2014-15 school year. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Pay raises: Escambia County school leaders and union officials agree to a possible 4.92 percent raise for teachers, and a 4.2 percent raise for support personnel. Pensacola News-Journal.

Superintendents: Pinellas County schools Superintendent Mike Grego marks one year on the job with a talk at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. The Tampa Tribune. And Grego tells the Tiger Bay audience that students need more time in school. Tampa Bay Times.

Principal coaches: Hillsborough County offers mentoring to help put more principals in the pipeline to lead district schools. The Tampa Tribune.

Feeder schools: Pinellas school board members allow Jamerson Elementary fifth-graders to get a guaranteed seat at a coveted A-rated middle school next school year. After that, however, the feeder pattern will be eliminated. The Tampa Tribune.

Norovirus: Health officials blame norovirus, a very contagious stomach bug, for making more than 300 Broward County elementary students sick last week. Sun Sentinel.

Youth watch: Palm Beach County school officials look for ways to boost grad rates and cut absenteeism. Palm Beach Post.

Food pantry: A Sarasota County middle school opens a food pantry to help struggling parents and students. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

School names: The next elementary schools in Hillsborough County will be named for former administrators Vince Thompson and Jack Lamb. Tampa Bay Times.

Reading: Pasco County schools try a reading program that pairs younger students with older ones to boost skills and confidence. Tampa Bay Times.

Conduct: Five Manatee school administrators have received notice that the district intends to fire them based on findings in an investigation of a former assistant football coach. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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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.