Retention appeal: At least two judges on the three-member First District Court of Appeal seem skeptical of a Leon County judge’s decision against the state and several school districts over retention and promotion policies for third-graders, and of the actions of parents whose children opt out of testing. That judge, Karen Gievers, ruled that students could not be retained solely on the basis of standardized test scores and should have options for earning promotion, The state and districts appealed. Tampa Bay Times. News Service of Florida. Politico Florida.
DeVos confirmation: School choice advocate Betsy DeVos is confirmed as U.S. education secretary on a 51-50 vote. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says DeVos will transfer power from the federal government and teachers unions and give it to states and parents. redefinED. Tampa Bay Times. Politico Florida. Sunshine State News.
Weapons at schools: The Duval County School District is setting up a dedicated hotline to report weapons or violence at schools. Officials will also increase random searches at schools, and talk more to students about guns and violence. There have been 10 incidents of weapons found at the district’s public and charter schools this school year. Florida Times-Union.
Adoption help: A bill is being drafted that would extend state adoption benefits to charter school employees. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, is working on a bill that would amend the law and give the benefit – up to $10,000 for special needs children or those from a racially mixed family – to charter and virtual schools workers. Lakeland Ledger.
Marijuana meeting: South Florida law enforcement and school officials meet to discuss what kind of medical marijuana rules are needed to protect students and still give people the access they need to the drug. Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho wants no medical marijuana dispensaries within 2,500 feet of schools, and said packaging must not look like candy or soda. WTVJ.