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Florida schools roundup: Common Core ending, parents meet with Runcie and more

Common Core: Gov. Ron DeSantis says he will sign an executive order “eliminating Common Core and the vestiges of Common Core” in Florida schools. DeSantis made that promise during his 2018 campaign, saying he had heard complaints from many people about the national academic standards for math and language arts that were adopted in 2010. The state adapted the standards with about 100 changes in 2014 and renamed them the Florida Standards. DeSantis says he’s instructed Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to develop new state curriculum standards over the next year that will then be presented to the 2020 Legislature. News Service of Florida. Associated PressOrlando SentinelTampa Bay Times. GateHouse. Florida PoliticsPolitico Florida. Fort Myers News-PressOrlando Weekly. WFTX. WKMG. Some reaction from parents and educators around the state. WPTV. WCTV. WEAR.

Parents, Runcie meet: Parents of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School unload on Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie at their first face-to-face meeting Thursday. Parents wanted to know why there were no metal detectors at the school, who would respond in the next emergency, how district officials can assure them no student with a gun will get on campus again, and more. Several called on Runcie to resign. Runcie spoke little, and apologized for not meeting with them earlier. The next meeting, with 10th-grade parents, is Monday, followed by meetings with parents of juniors Tuesday and seniors Feb. 11. Sun Sentinel. A Broward County task force reviewing the shootings at Stoneman Douglas reviews a report that urges an upgrade to the county’s radio communication system. Sun Sentinel.

Teachers honored: Oliver Diez, a music teacher at Palmetto Elementary School in Pinecrest, is named the Miami-Dade County School District’s teacher of the year. Laura Haim, a math and science at Pinecrest Elementary, is named rookie teacher of the year. Miami Herald. Five finalists are chosen for the Broward County School District’s teacher of the year award. They are: Satoko Fisher, who teaches Japanese language and culture for Broward Virtual School; Sheldon Jordan, who coaches teachers at Village Elementary; Catherine Lozada, autism coach at Wilton Manors Elementary; Lise Clara Mabour, a biology and global perspectives teacher at Northeast High; and Kristin Murphy, who teaches world history and pre-law at Nova Middle. The winner will be announced Feb. 21. Westside Gazette.

New schools: Ground will be broken today for the Parrish Charter School in Manatee County, years after it filed its first application to open. The Manatee County School Board turned down the operators seven times before an agreement was reached. The school, which will stress “learning by doing,” will start as a K-3 school with a child development center for 3- and 4-year-olds, and eventually expand to K-8. It could open in August. Bradenton Herald. A new early-college high school, the Max Planck Academy, will open in 2020 with 35 to 50 students as part of Florida Atlantic University’s dual enrollment programs. In their final two years of high school, students will work with neuroscientists to learn how to interpret brain images. When they graduate they’ll have a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. Hechinger Report.

Superintendent’s contract: The Sarasota County teachers union is calling a proposed extension of Superintendent Todd Bowden’s contract a step toward stripping employee rights and job protection in the upcoming bargaining on a new contract. Union president Barry Durbin says it’s possible a job-protected Bowden and the school board could impose contract terms on teachers this year. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

School calendars: The Leon County School District has two options for its 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year calendars, and is asking parents, students and teachers to vote on them. Option 1 is similar to this year’s: students would start school the third week in August, have a week for Thanksgiving and get out just after Memorial Day. Option 2 would start at the same time, but school would be in session Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week and would end just before Memorial Day Tallahassee Democrat.

Education podcasts: Kenneth Trump, president of the Ohio-based National School Safety and Security Services, says the Florida law on school security passed last year contains “unrealistic and potentially dangerous mandates.” He talks about how to fix it. Gradebook. Rebecca Friedrichs, a California public school teacher who was the lead plaintiff in a case that sought to end the union practice of collecting fees from nonunion members, talks about school choice and why all teachers should support it. redefinED.

Bus driver thinks fast: A Broward County school bus driver calmly pulled over and safely escorted 16 elementary school students off his bus after it caught fire Thursday in Tamarac. No one was injured. The students are from Nova Blanche Forman Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale. WTVJMiami Herald.

School evacuation: Sugarloaf Elementary School in the Lower Florida Keys is partially evacuated after high levels of carbon monoxide are discovered coming from the kitchen. A Monroe County School District spokeswoman blamed “improper use of kitchen ventilation equipment.” A few cafeteria workers were treated at the scene, but no children were injured. Keynoter. Key West Citizen.

Video message about threats: The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has made 11 arrests for threats to schools since November, so officials have made a 60-second educational video to remind students of the consequences of such threats, even if they are just intended as jokes. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Student arrested: Leon County deputies say they’ve arrested a 14-year-old student after he carried a pellet gun onto his school bus. He told deputies he brought the gun to scare a classmate at Fairview Middle School in Tallahassee. Tallahassee Democrat.

Opinions on schools: Public education is complicated. It’s impossible to say for sure which factors spurred Florida’s performance gains on the most recent scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. But given the rising trend lines, it’s flat-out absurd to suggest “school choice” has hurt district schools. Ron Matus, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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BY NextSteps staff