Florida schools roundup: Testing, teacher pay and more

Jim Booth

IMG_0001.JPGSchool testing: A Polk County teacher’s resignation over her frustration with testing is going viral. Wendy Bradshaw wrote, in part, “Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education.” Lakeland Ledger. President Obama’s call to cut back on school testing is not enough to make a difference for Florida, the Sun Sentinel editorializes. And it probably won’t change much. State Impact Florida. Florida’s performance in the most recent round of testing assessments is not as bad as it seems, according to a Sarasota Herald-Tribune editorial. Standardized testing is failing its mission, argues the Ocala Star-Banner in an editorial.

Teacher pay: Volusia County teachers resume bargaining over salaries with the school district today. The teachers are lobbying for a 5 percent boost. Daytona Beach News-Journal. A bill setting a statewide minimum salary for teachers isn’t the best approach, writes Scott Kent, opinion page editor of the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

School district funding: Hillsborough County’s school district is optimistic it can close a funding shortfall of $142 million. Tampa Tribune. Leon County School Board member Alva Striplin is concerned about the school system dipping into reserves. Tallahassee Democrat. St. Johns County voters will decide Tuesday on a half-cent sales tax increase to support school district capital projects. St. Augustine Record. The Manatee County School Board has delayed asking the county to reinstate school impact fees, a decision the superintendent says could cost the system $1 million a month. Bradenton Herald.

Charter school funding: Should five Indian River County charter schools receive the same per-student funding as other district schools get? A mediator is being called in to help resolve the dispute. TCPalm.

Education legislation: Two Republican state senators, Don Gaetz of Niceville and Kelli Stargel of Lakeland, propose a bill that would ease eligibility rules for transferring high school athletes and toughen penalties against recruiting. Florida Politics.

School choice: Black voters want school choice and support testing, vouchers and opportunity scholarships to private schools, according to a new survey by the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Sunshine State News.

Classroom management: Dealing with unruly students takes strategy, skill and support, says a university professor who teaches a course in managing a classroom to prospective teachers. Lakeland Ledger.

Grading: Seminole County is using a new grading system for its middle schoolers, and some parents are unhappy about the change. Orlando Sentinel.

Gates Foundation: Millions from the Gates Foundation brought academic status quo and bureaucratic bloating to Hillsborough schools, says columnist Dan Ruth. Tampa Bay Times.

School appointments: Gov. Rick Scott appoints Tom Grady, a 57-year-old securities dealer from Naples, to the State Board of Education. Miami Herald. Scott also makes a new appointment and two reappointments to the Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees. Florida Politics.

School achievement: What are the ingredients of good schools? Columnist Frank Denton has some ideas. Jacksonville Times-Union. Investing in early education is good for students and society, the Gainesville Sun suggests in an editorial. Teachers should push students to prepare for the new economy. Bridge to Tomorrow.

Age-appropriate reading: Lee County schools are going through their reading lists after a fifth grader checked out a book with profanity, graphic sexual references and violence. Fort Myers News-Press.

Teacher marketplace: Bay County teachers find the website Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) a one-stop shopping site to “share, sell and buy original educational resources.” Panama City News Herald.

Extracurricular problems: A promised first-class trip to Ohio for the Mainland High School football team turned into something less, and the school district is trying to get a refund. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

School construction: Lee County schools will hold public hearings with Bonita Springs residents who oppose the building of a high school adjacent to several gated communities. Naples Daily News.

Student enrichment: A group of Jacksonville students present the U.S. surgeon general with the conclusions of a year’s research in childhood obesity. Jacksonville Times-Union. Guidance counselors at North Fort Myers High School offer tips for college-bound students in a YouTube video. Fort Myers News-Press. Lake Alfred-Addair Middle School students collect paper clips to help them comprehend the toll of the Holocaust. Lakeland Ledger. A “100 Men in Suits” event presents Manatee Elementary School students positive male role models. Bradenton Herald.

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