Florida schools roundup: Charter schools, testing and more

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IMG_0001.JPGCharter schools: K12 Inc., a company that operates two charter schools in South Florida, accuses the board chairman of those schools of possibly breaking ethics laws by writing checks to a nonprofit organization he runs and its chief administrative officer. Sun-Sentinel. The Washington Post recounts the story of the relationship between Jeb Bush and an African-American charter school he helped start in Miami in 1996.

Testing optional: Even though a majority of respondents in Florida and nationally support regular school testing, a growing number of parents think they should be able to opt out, according to a St. Leo University Polling Institute survey. Gradebook. The Pasco County school system is asking teachers and principals for their thoughts on quarterly tests. Gradebook.

School recess: Osceola County parents are petitioning to require daily recess for elementary students. News13.

Teacher shortage: Lee County schools have a shortage of teachers and qualified substitutes, and teachers are no longer permitted to take off work for professional training. Fort Myers News-Press.

Administrators retiring: Two top administrators in the Marion County school system are retiring. Ocala Star-Banner.

Gates partnership: The partnership between Hillsborough schools and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was buried by spiraling costs and bureaucracy, the Tampa Bay Times editorializes.

Meningitis kills student: Five-year-old kindergartner Kamar Davin died of bacterial meningitis last week, and health officials are closely monitoring his school, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School in Riviera Beach. Palm Beach Post.

Pornography in class: A Polk County teacher is arrested after four students say they saw pornography on his cell phone during his ninth grade reading class. Lakeland Ledger.

Bus driver fired: A bus driver for the Palm Beach County school district has been fired after forcing a teenage girl to hug him while they were alone in his bus. Palm Beach Post.

School construction: Osceola County school officials and county commissioners meet today to discuss the requirements for building schools. Orlando Sentinel. In a public hearing, Bonita Springs residents say a new high school adjacent to several gated subdivisions would bring noise, safety and traffic problems. Naples Daily News.

Guns in schools: Michigan is considering a bill that will allow concealed weapons at schools, but not openly carried ones. The debate has created some odd coalitions. New York Times.

Student enrichment: Kindergartners at the Growing Place in Coral Gables learn about nature at their butterfly and vegetable garden. Miami Herald. A Bradenton Southeast High School students organizes a walkathon to bring clean water to Haiti. Bradenton Herald.