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Florida schools roundup: Charter schools, Jeb Bush, Common Core & more

Charter schools: “One size fits all doesn’t work for all children so now it’s about letting parents choose what’s best for their children,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says about a new charter school for children with exceptional needs that her late father helped start. The Tampa Tribune. A new Pasco County charter devoted to serving high-level Title I students, wins preliminary district approval. Tampa Bay Times. Pinellas school officials say a new St. Petersburg charter school has kept key information from the district, jeopardizing student safety. Tampa Bay Times.

florida-roundup-logoPrivate schools: An Episcopal private school in Clearwater celebrates its 45th anniversary. Tampa Bay Times.

Pam Stewart: Florida’s new education chief will have to address Common Core, but she also needs to focus on school funding, a shaky school grading system, teacher evaluations and more, writes the Sun Sentinel. 

Jeb Bush: ProgressNow New Mexico asks the IRS to look into Jeb Bush’s nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education’s spending on travel, hotel and other expenses for government officials. Palm Beach Post.

Common Core: The second public hearing on the new benchmarks pits critics against supporters in another heated showdown. Miami Herald. A little fact-checking and context on the first hearing on the standards from StateImpact Florida. Florida is moving ahead with the Common Core. Florida Times-Union. Leaders in Florida should stand up to misguided and ill-informed political attacks and demand answers from both liberal and conservative critics, writes Michael J. Petrilli and Michael Brickman for the Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher pay: Angry teachers tell Palm Beach County School Board members and the superintendent that the district needs to spend more than $48 per teacher of its own money for raises. Palm Beach Post. Lake County’s 2,800 teachers likely will be getting about 4.75 percent pay raises before schools break for the holidays. Orlando Sentinel.

Education hero: CNN gives a retired Palm Beach County teacher $50,000  and a chance to collect more in a competition that recognizes her as a hero for spending a chunk of her retirement on outfitting a school bus with computers that students access at bus stops and community centers. Palm Beach Post.

Algebra lawsuit: Sanford parents argue to a judge that their ninth-grade son’s school should put him back in an algebra class, where he was getting a D. Orlando Sentinel. 

School boards: A rule-making workshop regarding controversial changes to the Collier County School District’s after-school programs ends much like it began — with unsatisfied parents. Naples Daily News.

School spending: Pasco School Board signs off on a three-year, $194 million construction plan to cope with crowding and growth. Tampa Bay Times.

Impact fees: Hernando County is one step closer to seeing the return of school impact fees. Tampa Bay Times.

Conduct: The Miami-Dade School Board upholds the firing of a dance teacher who rented a penthouse hotel suite for high school students and was accused of giving them condoms and alcohol for a prom after-party. Miami Herald.

Literacy: A 10-pound Chihuahua and Jack Russell terrier mix named Steeler is helping some Brevard County students learn to read. Florida Today.

Scholarship: Hillsborough County middle school students raise money for a scholarship to honor a slain student and his sister. The Tampa 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.