Florida schools roundup: Education commissioner, bonuses and more

IMG_0001.JPGElected commissioner: Support is growing among Republican legislators for a bill that would make the education commissioner an elected, Cabinet-level position again. Many of those legislators see an elected education commissioner reversing the state’s adoption of Common Core standards. Naples Daily News.

Teacher bonuses bill: The Florida House education committee is pushing a bill that will continue paying $10,000 bonuses to teachers who are rated “highly effective” and scored in the top 20 percent on either the ACT or the SAT they year they took the exam. Orlando Sentinel.

No Child Left Behind: A rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act will expand federal intrusion into education, claims Florida Parents Against Common Core, which is joining other national groups in lobbying against the bill that Congress is expected to vote on this week. Sunshine State News.

Top Florida high school: Miami’s School for Advanced Studies – South is the best public high school in Florida, according to the latest rankings by Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools. Business Insider.

Ex-superintendent to testify: Wayne Gent, former Palm Beach County schools superintendent, will testify in the extortion trial of Clarence Freeman. Freeman is accused of blackmailing Gent and other school officials for money and favors in exchange for not divulging evidence about misconduct. Palm Beach Post.

System audit: A legislative committee unanimously approves a follow-up audit of the way the Leon County School District has handled past construction projects. Tallahassee Democrat.

School recess push: Polk County parents’ request for recess in elementary school is now in the hands of Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy. Lakeland Ledger. State Impact Florida.

Tuition for undocumented: More than a year after the Legislature approved a bill granting in-state tuition to Florida colleges for undocumented students, not a single college in Northwest Florida has enrolled any such students. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Superintendent scam: A New Jersey school superintendent will be sentenced this week for official misconduct and falsifying documents. James Habel, 58, who lives in Dunedin, Fla., took 105 days of unreported time off in Florida while he was urging teachers and other school officials in Wall Township to cut back on spending. Asbury Park Press.

No school surf club: New Smyrna Beach High School is passing on sanctioning a surf club. Students who recently started the club were hoping a school affiliation would allow them to compete against other surf clubs around the state. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Bus driver honored: Kerra George, the Palm Beach County school bus driver who acted quickly to evacuate 35 students when one of them reported smelling smoke in the bus, is honored by Superintendent Robert Avossa. Palm Beach Post.

School groundbreaking: Lake Worth Christian School students and staff break ground on a $2.1 million expansion of the elementary school in Boynton Beach. Palm Beach Post.

Psychologist penalized: The Department of Education revokes the license of former North Port High School psychologist Harvey Dorey, 45, after he was found guilty of fondling a teenager. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Opinions on schools: Palm Beach County Board member Michael Murgio should acknowledge his role in the school bus crisis at the beginning of the school year. Palm Beach Post.

Student enrichment: More than 1,000 girls are participating in the Girls on the Run of Northeast Florida program, which aims to build self-esteem through running and other after-school activities. Florida Times-Union. Satellite High students place second in the Quaker State Motor Oil national car restoration competition. Florida Today. Students at Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School are designing phone apps and experimenting with wireless electricity to prepare for competitions. Lakeland Ledger. More than 700 Manatee County Technical Student Association members will compete in several events to prepare for the statewide competition. Bradenton Herald. Condiments created by students at Immokalee High School are now being sold at 14 Collier County grocery stores. Naples Daily News.

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BY NextSteps staff