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Home schooling

Florida roundup: Homeschooling, charters, private schools & more

Homeschooling: A Florida woman who has been homeschooling her children is ordered by a judge to put them in public school after a guardian ad litem says she believes they would benefit from the socialization. Tampa Bay Times. Charter schools: A Palm Beach County senator wants to narrow the mission of charter schools with a bill that would require charters meet “a specific instructional need or a need for additional educational facilities.” The Florida Current. Charter school administrators are now required to post the school’s annual budget and fiscal audit, the state grade and names of governing board members on their websites....

Common Core ruffles homeschoolers

Homeschool pioneer Brenda Dickinson can’t say whether she’s for or against Common Core State Standards. She wants to see the the curriculum first. But she does see reason for worry. How the national benchmarks are taught and measured might shape textbooks and even college entrance exams – and, through those means, spill over into the fiercely independent world of homeschooling. “Our kids have always done well on those tests,’’ said Dickinson, who co-founded a statewide advocacy group for homeschoolers in Florida. “But it depends on how closely it’s tied to what’s being taught. If we don’t know what’s covered or how...

Florida schools roundup: Homeschoolers, private schools, charters & more

Charter schools: Too many charters are failing, pointing to an urgent need for more budget oversight by the state, writes the Sun Sentinel. More students are enrolling in Pinellas County’s charter schools, leaving some school board members to worry it’s at the detriment of public schools. The Tampa Tribune. St. Petersburg's struggling University Prep needs to follow its contract and mend fences with community leaders, who also need to be willing to come back to the table, writes the Tampa Bay Times. A charter school principal embraces the universal truth that students do better academically when their parents are involved in their education, writes Bill...

A math teacher for the 21st Century

Twenty years ago, Dennis DiNoia taught middle school math in typical classrooms, in typical Florida public schools. Now his classroom is a local church, or bookstore, or online. Students come from public schools, private schools, and homeschooling co-ops. Lessons are based on a curriculum he designed and put on video. DiNoia even has a toehold in the growing market of charter school consulting, explaining math and test-taking skills to students and teachers at a conversion charter school in Hawaii. School choice has opened up a whole new career track for DiNoia, allowing the business school graduate to earn enough money to...

Parents should never have the authority to purposely raise an illiterate child

I agree with Utah state Sen. Aaron Osmond’s assertion that over the last 150 years government has used compulsory school attendance laws to inappropriately usurp much of the parents’ responsibility and authority for educating their children. But while I believe this educational responsibility should be restored to parents, I also believe compulsory school attendance laws should be maintained, with some modifications. When mandatory school attendance laws were first passed in the mid-19th and early-20th centuries, brick-and-mortar schools and formal instruction were synonymous. That’s not necessarily the case today. In this new era of digital technology and customized teaching and learning, students...

Enrollment hit to Florida Virtual School drawing lawmakers’ attention

Florida lawmakers are starting to key in on a recent funding change that has put a big dent in enrollment at Florida Virtual School, with one promising the issue will be revisited in coming months and another saying action against school districts may be warranted. When legislative committees meet in Tallahassee in September, “I can guarantee you this is going to be discussed,” said Rep. Carl Zimmermann, a Pinellas Democrat who sits on the House Education Committee. At issue is a change to the state’s education funding formula that lawmakers approved last spring. Under the old method, districts received their full...

No question, parents flock to school choice

  The American Federation of Teachers released a new survey this week, “Public School Parents and the Promise of Public Education,” that claims many things. But most important to school choice supporters, it says the vast majority of parents prefer traditional public schools and are opposed to educational options. The quality of any survey is heavily dependent upon the methodology applied and, of course, the questions asked. AFT and the firm that did its survey, Hart Research Associates, condensed their findings in a short memo that’s worth reading. The memo suggests the survey question about vouchers may be misleading participants by directing...

Florida roundup: School grades, charter schools, Space of Mind & more

Charter schools. What happened to the Ben Gamla charter school in Pinellas is a "study in bad charter school governance." Choice Words. Parents try to figure out what to do now that a struggling charter school in Deland is closing. Daytona Beach News Journal. Ditto for the parents of a charter school in Lutz. Tampa Tribune. After 22 years in traditional public schools, a local principal is hired to lead the city of Cape Coral charter school system. Fort Myers News Press. Homeschooling. The Palm Beach Post takes a look at Space of Mind, a pricey but fascinating home-school school...