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Florida roundup: Tax credit scholarships, testing, textbooks and more

Tax credit scholarships. The House passes legislation expanding access to the program to students with higher incomes. Associated PressNews Service of Florida. It’s among  a host of issues lawmakers expect to tackle after a week-long holiday break. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The Daytona Beach News-Journal scrutinizes the program in an article that states, incorrectly, that a failed 2012 state constitutional amendment would have “cleared the way” for private school vouchers. A second article also deals with religious schools. The program is administered by Step Up for Students, which co-hosts this blog.


Testing. Parents complain that FCAT conflicts with Passover. Tampa Bay Times. Students prepare to tackle the test one last time in English and math. StateImpactLakeland LedgerDaytona Beach News-Journal. Tampa Tribune. Palm Beach Post. The stakes are high at an F-rated Miami-Dade middle school. Miami Herald. Collier schools are in a race against time to create new end of course exams. Naples Daily News. Lawmakers should get an earful from constituents on testing, including for students on tax-credit scholarships, Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell writes.

Virtual schools. A new blended learning model debuts in West Boynton Beach. Sun-Sentinel.

Magnet schools. A Montessori magnet in Fort Lauderdale marks a milestone. Sun-Sentinel. What was once a last-chance home for struggling students is now a career-education magnet program. Gainesville Sun.

Textbooks. A bill aimed at paring back the state’s role in adopting instructional materials survives a narrow vote in the Senate. Associated PressNews Service of Florida. Gainesville Sun. Gradebook. Scripps/Tribune.

Student Privacy. A bill banning the collection of biometric data and other sensitive information is headed to Gov. Rick Scott. Scripps/Tribune. Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press.

School grades. An A-F overhaul easily passes the Senate. Associated Press. It’s part of a “flurry” of education bills. Times/Herald.

STEM. Space Coast schools add some art to their science. Florida Today.

Teachers. Duval schools try to combat shortages in math and science. Florida Times-Union. Pasco schools revive their teacher recruitment efforts. Tampa Bay Times.

Closures. Under-used and in need of repair, some Hernando schools may be forced to close. Tampa Bay Times. The school board and County Commission end their fight over closures in Brevard. Florida Today.

Transportation. An outgoing director says Hillsborough’s school buses are aging and unreliable. Tampa Bay Times. A school bus catches on fire in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach Post.

Technology. Online gradebooks allow parents to monitor their students’ academic progress 24/7. Orlando Sentinel.

Homelessness. Bay County Schools serve hundreds of homeless students. Panama City News Herald.

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BY Travis Pillow

Travis Pillow is Director of Thought Leadership at Step Up For Students and editor of NextSteps. He lives in Sanford, Fla. with his wife and two children. A former Tallahassee statehouse reporter, he most recently worked at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at Arizona State University, where he studied community-led learning innovation and school systems' responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. He can be reached at tpillow (at)