Florida roundup: Testing and vouchers, class size flexibility, fan mail & more

Testing for “voucher” kids. The Orlando Sentinel editorial board concludes tax credit scholarship students should take the same standardized tests as their public school peers: “Comparing apples to apples, scholastically speaking, will enhance transparency and accountability.”

fan mailFrom Florida with love: A Florida education advocate named Lowell Levine gets extended mention in the latest Rick Hess column, a follow-up to a piece about the unfortunate politicization of Newtown. Levine tells Hess, in part: You just do not want to hear the truth —it is writers like you who are in denial and contribute to violence in schools. You are a shame to your profession. Good by and have a great life——A$$@#%&!!!!!… I’m not sure if it’s the same guy, but a Lowell Levine in South Florida applied to be Florida ed commish and, according to the Palm Beach Post, founded an anti-bullying foundation.

Education funding. From a Miami Herald year-end-wrap-up editorial: “Investments in education pay off. That’s a lesson Gov. Rick Scott seems to be learning as he pushed to restore some of the K-12 funding that he previously cut.”

“Lower ed.” Former Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson makes the year-in-review from Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano.

Class size. Do districts need more flexibility? asks Gradebook. SchoolZone looks at compliance in Central Florida districts.

The year’s biggest education stories. According to StateImpact Florida. Amendment 8 is in there.

End of course exams. DOE will study the possibility of concordant scores for the Algebra I test, reports SchoolZone.

More Newtown repercussions. Armed deputies may be patrolling Alachua County elementary schools when students return Jan. 3, reports the Gainesville Sun.

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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.