Graduation paths: Florida’s high schools are graduating more seniors than ever, but some legislators want to find even more alternative paths to a diploma. “It’s still a big goal of mine,” says state Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, the chair of the House PreK-12 Innovation committee. Several bills have already been filed. One would allow students to graduate even if they can’t pass the required tests as long as they meet other criteria. Another would focus on subject mastery in middle and high schools as ways to assign grades and credits, and another would require all high schools to have advisers to counsel students with a grade point average under 2.0 about alternative graduation pathways and technical training. Gradebook.
Teaching religion: A bill is introduced into the Legislature that would require all high schools to offer students an “objective study of religion.” State Rep. Kim Daniels, D-Jacksonville, who filed the bill, said examples are courses on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament, the New Testament or a combination of all three. Florida Politics. Daniels also said Wednesday she is willing to agree that she broke state law by filing false financial disclosures if the Florida Commission on Ethics turns the case over to House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, to decide if further action is necessary. Florida Times-Union.
Scholarship fund empty: The state’s Gardiner scholarship, which is awarded to students with special needs, has exhausted all its available funding for the first time since it began in 2014. About 10,500 students are receiving the scholarship this year, and another 1,270 have been approved but are on a waiting list. “We have definitely exhausted every last dollar, every last penny,” says Gina Lynch, vice president of operations for Step Up For Students, which helps administer the program and hosts this blog. “There is healthy demand for the program.The program allows families to pay for a wide range of education-related expenses, from therapy and homeschool curriculum to public school courses and private school tuition, for qualifying children with special needs.” redefinED.
Schools and Scientology: Several Florida private schools participating in school choice scholarship programs use learning concepts developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, reports the Huffington Post.
Sales tax squabble: Members of the Manatee County School Board still can’t agree on a date for an election asking voters to increase property taxes for schools, how to sell the referendum or even how much to assess voters. The squabbling has led board member Dave Miner to call for the removal of Scott Hopes as board chairman. Miner says Hopes misled the board about his support for the special election when he was chosen as chairman just two weeks ago. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.