Florida roundup: Rising grad rates, zoning angst, charter school shenanigans & more

Grad rates rising: Florida’s grad rate jumped nearly 4 percentage points in 2012, to 74.5 percent, the biggest one-year jump since 2003, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Full DOE report for districts and individual schools here. The DOE press release announcing the news was sent out at 5:42 p.m. Friday and that, unfortunately, may have limited coverage. Coverage from Gradebook here and here. Sherman Dorn’s take here.

College remediation rates still too high. StateImpact Florida, first in a series.

That charter school again. NorthStar High School, the same failing Orange County charter school that gave its principal more than $500,000 as it was closing its doors, also paid her husband more than $460,000 over a five-year period, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Praise for Florida’s reforms. And bipartisanship. Julia Johnson, a former state Board of Education member, writes on both in USA Today.

Zoning woes in Palm Beach. One parent upset about proposed boundary changes for a popular elementary schools tells the Palm Beach Post: “We moved specifically to put our daughter into a better school.” A school board member who represents the school, meanwhile, says dozens of parents are “faking” their addresses so their children can attend.

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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.