Education budget: Leaders in the Florida Senate and House agree over the weekend to an increase of about 1.2 percent in K-12 per-student funding, from $7,196 to $7,220. They also agreed to provide $200 million to recruit charter school networks – the “schools of hope” plan – and $214 million for the teacher bonuses program. Legislators are expected to decide today what schools will get for construction projects. A tentative agreement would give about $69 million each to traditional public schools and charters for construction and maintenance. Universities would get $116.6 million for construction projects. Naples Daily News. Politico Florida. News Service of Florida. Associated Press. Miami Herald. Florida Politics. Legislators are considering adding money for social services at struggling traditional public schools to the “schools of hope” bill. Politico Florida. The Legislature begins its final week with such high-profile education issues as mandatory daily recess and standardized testing still on the list of things to do. Orlando Sentinel. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The Miami arts high school that produced the creators of the Oscar-winning movie Moonlight and the Broadway hit Hamilton gets a reprieve when the Legislature reverses a decision to withhold state grant money. Originally, funding for the New World School of the Arts was slashed from the budget. After news of the cut was made public, $500,000 for the school was put back into the budget. That’s still $150,000 less than the school received this year. Miami Herald. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, tweets that the problem getting mandatory daily recess in the state’s elementary schools rests with Gov. Rick Scott, not the Legislature. He did not elaborate, and a spokeswoman for Scott said she has “no idea what that tweet means. We have continued to say that we will review it if it passes.” Miami Herald.
Drug-testing students: The Monroe County School Board agrees to drug-test athletes and other students involved in extracurricular activities for a year. After the test, results will be reported to the board, which will decide if it wants to continue. Drug-testing of athletes was halted in 2014 after a parent complained that her daughter was pulled from class, taken to a drug-court facility and tested without her knowledge. Keynoter.
K-12 sexual assaults: There were about 17,000 reports of sexual assault in K-12 schools in the United States between 2011 and 2015, according to state education records and federal crime data. And that number is considered low because many students don’t report sexual assaults and some states don’t track them. Associated Press.
Teaching acceptance: Chris Ulmer, a special education teacher at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, is traveling the country filming interviews with children who have conditions such as autism and Down syndrome. He says each interview teaches an appreciation and acceptance for the differences in people. “No matter their level of communication, some are verbal, some are nonverbal, that doesn’t matter,” Ulmer says. “That’s not indicative of intelligence. Everybody is understanding the world in their own way and through these videos … You can see that in each one.” ABC News. Continue Reading →