Florida schools roundup: Discrimination suit, testing and more

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IMG_0001.JPGSchool settlement: Miami-Dade County Public Schools settles with the U.S. Department of Justice over a claim that the system discriminated against job applicants who were immigrants. The county does not admit to any wrongdoing, though it has paid a $90,000 civil citation. Miami Herald.

School testing: State Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, is confident the Legislature will consider reforms to school assessment testing in the next session. Daily Commercial. Highlands County teachers complain to the school board that there’s a mismatch between reading curriculum and testing. Highlands Today.

Instructional coaches: Are Florida schools getting their money’s worth for the increasingly popular practice of having district instructional coaches? A legislative committee wonders. Gradebook.

Principal legislation: A Florida House committee has approved a bill for a three-county pilot program that would give principals of underperforming schools greater autonomy to hire and fire teachers. Bay News 9.

Transfers for sports: Too many Polk County high school students are switching schools for athletics, a practice that doesn’t always work out for the students, county school officials say. Lakeland Ledger.

STEM classes in jeopardy: Four teacher training classes – middle grades and secondary math, middle grades science and secondary biology – are suspending enrollment at Florida SouthWestern State College due to a lack of interest. Fort Myers News-Press.

Charter schools investigation: The flexibility given to charter schools across the United States “has allowed an epidemic of fraud, waste, and mismanagement that would not be tolerated in public schools,” according to a year-long investigation into charter school spending by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy organization based in Madison, Wis. The study concludes Florida has one of the worst records in the country for charter school oversight and fraud. The full report can be accessed here.

Bus driver murdered: A popular Palm Beach County school bus driver is murdered on her lunch break. Her ex-boyfriend is arrested. Palm Beach Post.

Employee discipline: A Lakewood Ranch High School science teacher is placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into her arrest on drug charges. Bradenton Herald.

School lockdown: Threats on social media prompt a modified lockdown at Cypress Creek High School. Orlando Sentinel.

EMS services: A football player recently had to be taken to a hospital by helicopter, but Pasco County schools are standing by a decision to have trainers, not EMS services, on the sidelines at games. Gradebook.

Team logo makeovers: Adidas is offering free design help to any high school wanting to switch from mascots and team logos that are offensive to native Americans. CNN.

Student enrichment: A University of Central Florida student announces he and a team of engineering students will use 3-D printers to make artificial limbs for children born without. Orlando Sentinel. Tomoka Elementary fifth graders shoot plastic rocket bottles into the sky in a science experiment aided by students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Daytona Beach News-Journal. A blind sports journalist urges students at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to “reach for the stars.” St. Augustine Record. Save the Manatee Club is offering online classes to schools worldwide. Lakeland Ledger. Fifth-graders at four Lee County schools are receiving 10 weeks of instruction in ballroom dancing. North Fort Myers Neighbor. The PACE Center for Girls of Manatee is honored for helping at-risk middle- and high-schools girls. Bradenton Herald. The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival is offering classes for middle-schoolers at Episcopal Day School. Pensacola News Journal.