Florida schools roundup: Common core, charter schools, safety nets & more

Charter schools: It’s time to put stricter reins on the nontraditional schools, say leaders from districts and charters. Sun Sentinel. Parents of this Palm  Beach County charter school’s poorest readers are required to come to Saturday school — with their high school students in tow. Palm Beach Post.

Common Core: Florida Department of Education officials tell teachers across the state to stay on course with using the new standards. Tallahassee Democrat. “The fringes of the political world are, once again, running amok,” writes Frank Cerabino for the Palm Beach Post. Common Core may be the most controversial education issue you know nothing about, so checkout these sample questions and answers. Orlando Sentinel. florida-roundup-logoFlorida is listening to folks wearing tinfoil hats – “These people need therapy couches, not seats at the curriculum table,” writes Scott Maxwell for the Orlando Sentinel. This new way of learning has become a politically charged, hot topic in Florida. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the new standards. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Safety net: More than 1 in every 6 Brevard elementary and middle schools would have had lower grades, if not for the state’s grade-protection measure. Florida Today.

Career Ed: Manatee County students take part in National Manufacturing Day, where they learn about robotics and engineering. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

After-school care: Plans to reintroduce a district-run after-school program to Collier County schools has been in the works behind closed doors for more than a year. Naples Daily News.

Security plans: A St. Petersburg private school adds seven armed guards to help keep students and staff safe. Tampa Bay Times.

Mentoring: A Jacksonville tutoring program gives students academic help and hope. Florida Times-Union.

Teachers: A longtime Sarasota educator and community volunteer receives the NAACP’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.  Special Ed: The Tampa Bay Times looks at changes to Hillsborough County’s special education program.

Start time: A Florida lawmaker proposes that high schools start no earlier than 8 a.m. to help ensure the students are getting enough sleep. Tampa Bay Times.

More support: A lawsuit filed in 2009 by a group of parents from Alachua, Duval, Orange and Pasco counties who want the state to spend more on education is finally moving forward. Miami Herald.

Senior class: In their 80s and 90s, these Broward County senior citizens volunteer in classrooms, reading stories, helping with math problems and giving children the extra attention that a teacher in a large classroom can’t offer. Sun Sentinel.

Name change: A move to rename a Duval County high school named for a Confederate soldier and early leader of the Klu Klux Klan continues. StateImpact Florida. “If it were up to me, I’d get around the current district policy that prohibits naming schools after people, rename this one after someone who graduated from it and move on,” writes Mark Woods of the Florida Times-Union.

New way: Five struggling schools in Pinellas County start this school year with a promise that change is on the way — through new programs, new policies and new personnel. The Tampa Tribune.

Garden lessons: A Pasco County elementary school counselor teaches students about gardening, teamwork and much more. Tampa Bay Times.

Homecoming drama: Two Polk County high school seniors running for homecoming king and queen have been banned from the competition after they distribute condoms as campaign props. Associated Press. Now the pair are media sensations. The Ledger.

Scholarships: A Santa Rosa County student sets up a scholarship for the Future Farmers of American in her father’s memory. Pensacola News-Journal.

Busing: Hernando County school administrators re-examine the district’s policy to eliminate busing for students who live within 2 miles of their schools. Tampa Bay Times.

Zero tolerance: An 8-year-old boy’s school suspension prompts Darryl E. Owen of the Orlando Sentinel to call for more scrutiny of zero-tolerance policies.

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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.