Florida roundup: Crist on vouchers, second to Hong Kong, school funding for poverty & more

More Crist on vouchers: Charlie Crist on “Hardball” last night: MSNBC host Chris Matthews warned Crist that there was a “blue plate special aspect” now that he’s changed parties, and that he’d have to buy into Democratic mainstream arguments: opposing vouchers, supporting the public school teachers union. “I’m fine with that,” Crist insisted, to which Matthews replied that it’s “quite a switch.”

Jeb Bush on poverty and education. From an interview with Andy Rotherham in Time: “I would reverse the question: education impacts poverty, not the other way around. If we don’t empower families to be able to have a quality education, then their children for the first time in American history, truly the first time, will not have the same economic opportunities. That’s not speculation. The evidence is in.”

Poverty categorical. From the News Service of Florida: “School districts with a higher percentage of low income students would receive additional funding from the state, under a bill filed Monday by Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami. The bill (HB 31) would authorize state education officials to create another special category of funding to address districts with higher percentages of low income students. … The bill would leave up to school districts how to divvy up the money, but the funding must be used for class size reduction, reading initiatives and intervention programs targeting students in kindergarten through third grade.”

Florida readers second in the world. In fourth grade, only students in Hong Kong did better on an international test, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The results were solid but not as impressive in math and science.

Imagine troubles. The Imagine charter school in St. Petersburg is recommended for closure, again, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Charter school debate. The Florida Times Union offers pro and con.

More on remediation. StateImpact Florida.

More on teacher evals. Palm Beach Post.

Special education changes. A district task force in Hillsborough recommends many in a report following the deaths of two special need students, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at facebook.com/redefinedonline.