Florida schools roundup: Education bill, impact for charters, reaction and more

H.B. 7069 signed: Gov. Rick Scott signs H.B. 7069, the Legislature’s massive $419 million public education bill, at the private Morning Star Catholic School in Orlando. The bill provides $140 million to recruit high-profile charter schools into areas with persistently low-performing schools, requires 20 minutes of recess every day in public elementary schools, sets aside more than $200 million for teacher and principal bonuses, moves standardized state testing to the end of the school year, and expands the Gardiner scholarship program for special-needs students, among other things. Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog, helps administer the Gardiner program. Orlando Sentinel. redefinED. Miami Herald. Palm Beach Post. Florida Times-Union. Sarasota Herald-TribuneNaples Daily News. Gradebook. Lakeland LedgerAssociated Press. News Service of FloridaSunshine State News. Florida Politics. Politico FloridaWashington Post. More reaction to the signing of the bill and how its components could affect some school districts. Tampa Bay TimesFlagler Live. Bradenton Herald. Gainesville Sun. Miami Herald. WOKV. Cape Coral Daily Breeze. WJAX. WJHG. WTVT. Why would Scott sign the controversial H.B. 7069 and veto S.B. 374, the higher education bill? Many think it’s political payback to Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, for the Senate’s attempts to override Scott’s vetoes. Politico Florida.

Bill’s impact: Charter schools are the big winners in the education bill. Sun Sentinel. Here are some details of other things that will change with the bill’s signing. Palm Beach Post. Florida districts are starting to look into how to fit 20 minutes of recess into their school days. Gradebook.

Union appeals: The Santa Rosa Professional Educators union is appealing a ruling that it didn’t provide access to union financial records in a timely manner to three teachers, who then said the union retaliated against them for asking for the information. The Public Employees Relations Commission ruled in April that the union violated state law by failing to turn over the information, but did not retaliate against the teachers. The matter now goes to the First District Court of Appeals. Pensacola News Journal.

Holocaust lessons: Holocaust survivors are aging and their ability to tell their stories to students is diminishing, prompting teachers to look for new ways to present those stories to their students. Increasingly, videos, PowerPoint presentations and phone apps are being used to reach those students in a way that engages them. Sun Sentinel.

New school site: Lee County school officials say their discussions with the Hawthorne Community Association are going well over a small piece of property the district wants to buy for the proposed Bonita Springs High School. The association, which opposed the location of the school, owns a tenth of an acre the school would like to use as a bus entrance. Fort Myers News-Press.

Opinions on schools: Republican House members celebrated with Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Thursday as they proclaimed their support for a “world-class” education for all students. It is a phony pitch that masks their hostile private takeover of public education, and it insults thousands of principals and teachers working every day in public schools without the resources and support Tallahassee should provide. Tampa Bay Times.

Student enrichment: A 56-inch fiberglass sailboat launched in 2012 by fifth-graders from Summit Questa Montessori School in Davie is found in a thrift store in Charleston, S.C. A harbor captain will relaunch the SS Upper in the next few days. Sun Sentinel.

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