Threat assessments: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teachers say they noted alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s aggressive behavior more than a year before 17 people were shot to death at the school a year ago. And Cruz himself told school officials that shooting guns helped relieve his stress. But none of those observations were forwarded to police or to mental health workers who were evaluating him for possible hospitalization. Sun Sentinel.
School choice poll: A survey shows that Florida parents support the state’s steps toward expanding school choice. Seventy-eight percent of those responding to a poll by the pro-choice Foundation for Excellence in Education say they favor “giving parents the opportunity to choose where they send their child to school rather than assigning children to schools based on zip code.” The poll also shows strong support for education savings accounts for parents to use at a school of their choice, voluntary prekindergarten vouchers, and tax credit scholarships for low-income children and Gardiner scholarships for children with disabilities. Gradebook. Florida Politics.
Scholarships waiting list: Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling on the Legislature to provide more funding for state K-12 tax credit scholarships so the wait-list of 13,000 students can be reduced. DeSantis, speaking on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Piney Grove Boys Academy in Lauderdale Lakes, says eliminating the backlog “will be a priority for me in this next legislative session.” About 100,000 low-income students use the scholarships to attend private schools. Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog, helps administer the scholarship. GateHouse. Florida Politics. redefinED. WPLG. Orlando Weekly. Miami Herald. Florida is one of four states making school choice a priority. The 74.
School shooting book: Forty-three students and teachers who survived the massacre last February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School collaborate on a book that shares their experiences and feelings from that day. Sarah Lerner, a journalism teacher, says writing Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories was a way to fight the tragedy with words and activism. Sun Sentinel. Associated Press.
Appointments retracted: Gov. Ron DeSantis has rescinded the appointments of Andrew Pollack and Thomas Grady to the Florida Board of Education. Pollack, whose daughter Meadow and 16 others died in last February’s shooting attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and Grady had been appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott in the final days of his term. Pollack says he thinks DeSantis will reappoint him. DeSantis also canceled 44 other late Scott appointments. WLRN. Sun Sentinel. Gradebook. Fort Myers News-Press.
Audit requested: An audit of the Manatee County School District’s home-school records shows improved accounting of students who withdrew from traditional schools, but no follow-up to see if those students were actually being home-schooled. Another audit to answer that question is being planned. The state Department of Education has accused interim Superintendent Cynthia Saunders of inflating graduation rates by having district employees code students who were dropping out to pursue a GED degree as “withdrawn to home education.” Saunders could be sanctioned by the DOE. Bradenton Herald. Manatee County School Board members say they were not informed by Saunders or by former superintendent Diana Greene that Saunders was under investigation by the state. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.