Expand school choice now! Sort of. The Tampa Bay Times means options under district control: “The broader answer to improving public education in Pinellas is not a massive expansion of fundamental schools. It’s raising the quality of all schools. But increasing the seats for fundamental schools and popular magnet programs to more closely match demand is a discussion district leaders should begin. Otherwise, they risk losing more families to charter schools and private schools — and further undermining broad support for public education.”
Slow down on charter schools. The Palm Beach Post says in one editorial that the Legislature should prioritize traditional public schools over charters. It says in another that the Palm Beach County district’s decision to transfer a troubled principal into administration will give lawmakers an excuse to continue favoring charters.
Checking out choice. In Alachua County, 600 middle school students turn out to see career academy options, reports the Gainesville Sun. In Duval, magnet students spread the word about their programs to prospective students, reports the Florida Times Union. In Miami-Dade, tens of thousands of parents are expected to apply for hundreds of magnet programs, reports the Miami-Herald. In Manatee, the Rock Your Robot Fair lets parents know about STEM options in public and private schools, reports the Bradenton Herald. (In Collier County, businesses urge students to explore STEM, reports the Naples Daily News.) The Tampa Bay Times annual school search section for Pinellas includes information about public and private options, including tax credit scholarships.
Amendment 8. The ACLU saw the proposed amendment, which despite perception had little to do with private school vouchers, as part of a “wide-ranging assault” on Floridians’ rights last year by Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature, reports the Florida Current.
“Sagging schools.” Tampa Bay Times business columnist Robert Trigaux: “Beneath the top tier of students, our schools at all levels are struggling to educate our kids. Businesses need to help more. And the state needs to spend less time bragging about the educational system and admit it needs assistance.”