Federal inquiries: The federal government is launching yet another investigation into the way black students are treated by the Pinellas County School District. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will look into a complaint filed by the Southern Law Poverty Center that contends the district disproportionately disciplines black and disabled students. In April, the Office for Civil Rights began an investigation of the district’s assignment of students by race into gifted programs, and whether black students were given equal access to district resources. Tampa Bay Times. The Office for Civil Rights has also opened an investigation into a claim that the Bay County School District failed to evaluate several students’ eligibility for special education services, The inquiry will be added to an existing one filed in 2012 that accuses the district of disproportionately disciplining minority students. Panama City News Herald.
Funding squeeze: Key state senators say they remain committed to public education, but funding will be tight as resources are stretched. They told the Florida School Boards Association on Thursday that their priorities for this legislative session are higher teacher pay, less testing and added accountability measures for choice programs. Tampa Bay Times. The Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition issues a 10-point legislative agenda. The coalition, which includes school officials from 13 central Florida districts, is asking for more local authority over funding from the state, and to restore state funding to 2007 levels. Bradenton Herald.
Report card fail: Florida grades poorly on how it provides online data to parents, according to the Data Quality Campaign’s Show Me the Data study of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Florida makes its information available in English only, requires parents to make three or more clicks on district websites to view report cards, and doesn’t include all the information required by the federal government. Florida did have the most up-to-date data online. Gradebook.
Bush on reform: At the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s annual conference, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush calls for massive changes in federal education funding and policy. He urged cutting federal requirements on state and local education decisions and allowing increased school choice. redefinED. The 74. Sun-Sentinel.