Recruiting teachers: Hillsborough County school officials will attack their teacher shortage by offering bonuses ranging from $3,600 to $7,500 to teachers who take jobs at 50 low-performing schools next fall. The bonuses also could be boosted by another $4,500 for teachers who are nationally certified. Each of the low-performing schools — called Achievement Schools — will get a full time psychologist, social worker, guidance counselor and nurse, and get help from subject area specialists and coaches. The $17 million plan was approved by the school board, and Superintendent Jeff Eakins says negotiations are ongoing with the teachers union. Gradebook. WUSF.
New scholarship: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed Equal Opportunity Scholarship would be open to a broader category of students than the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship is, according to details of the plan recently released. The maximum household income of eligible families would be 265 percent of the federal poverty level, compared with 200 percent for the FTC. Money for the new scholarship for students to attend private schools would come from general state revenues, and could grow annually. The proposal would also require private schools to test students in grades 3-10 and report the results. Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog, helps administer the tax credit scholarship program Florida Phoenix.
Corcoran as commissioner? Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis is reportedly considering appointing former House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, to be the next commissioner of education. The staunch school choice advocate would replace Pam Stewart, who had planned on retiring when Gov. Rick Scott left office in January but in October accepted a request by the Florida Board of Education to stay on another year. It’s unknown what effect the potential appointment of Corcoran would have on Stewart continuing another year. Politico Florida.
Teachers and guns: The argument for arming teachers and school employees gained credence when the chairman of the panel investigating the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School suggested it should be reconsidered. Despite that, many teachers and school board members remain opposed and say only trained law enforcement officers should be carrying guns in schools. Tampa Bay Times. Some school safety experts question whether the recommendations of a federal commission looking into the school shooting will carry any more weight than they have in the past. Education Dive.
Stoneman officials reassigned: Four administrators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been reassigned in connection with the school shooting Feb. 14 in which 17 people died and 17 others were wounded. Security specialist Kelvin Greenleaf and assistant principals Jeff Morford, Winfred Porter and Denise Reed are being reassigned to other, undisclosed Broward County School District administrative locations, according to district officials. Sun-Sentinel. Miami Herald. WLRN. A long-awaited FBI report to the panel investigating the shooting doesn’t mention what the agency did after receiving tips about suspect Nikolas Cruz before the massacre. Instead, it focuses on improvements to its public hotline. Sun-Sentinel. Politico Florida. WLRN.
Senate education leaders: Two longtime legislators with educational backgrounds and interests are appointed as leaders of the Florida Senate Education Policy Committee. Newly elected Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, will chair the committee, and Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, will be the vice chair. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, is named chair of the Senate subcommittee on education appropriations, with Diaz as the vice chair. Gradebook. News Service of Florida. WFSU.