Florida roundup: Education rankings, teacher evaluations, National School Choice Week & more

It’s National School Choice Week. SchoolZone and StateImpact Florida.

flroundup2Grade inflation? The Palm Beach Post writes there is less to Florida’s No. 6 ranking in the latest Education Week Quality Counts report than education reform supporters suggest, and encourages teachers and politicians “to dig into the details.”

Teacher evals. Despite concerns raised by Senate President Don Gaetz, the Shanker Blog says it wouldn’t make sense if school grades and the new teacher ratings were too closely associated. The Tampa Bay Times interviews David Steele, who’s in charge of the Gates-funded teacher evaluation project in Hillsborough.

Teacher pay. More on Democratic bills to raise teacher pay to the national average. Palm Beach Post.

School security. Bills are filed to use taxes from gun sales for guidance services, and to expand gun-free zones around schools, reports SchoolZone. The superintendents association releases a district-by-district SRO survey, reports the Northwest Florida Daily News.

Technology. StateImpact Florida writes up what to expect at the Florida Educational Technology Conference, where 10,000 educators will gather. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg says he’s putting together a proposal that aggressively invests in new technology, reports Gradebook.

$10,000 degrees. All 23 state colleges accept Gov. Scott’s challenge, reports the Associated Press. More from Miami Herald, Lakeland Ledger, Pensacola News Journal, Bradenton Herald, Sarasota Herald TribuneGradebook.

Life skills. Students need that too, writes Tampa Tribune columnist Joe Henderson.

Literacy. The Pinellas school board is set to approve a partnership with St. Petersburg College to improve reading at a struggling elementary school. Tampa Tribune.

School spending. The Manatee school board wants its forensic audit firm to speed up the release of thousands of pages of documents tied to an investigation into overspending. Bradenton Herald.

FCAT Writing. Nothing like flatulence and drug dealing to spice up those stale old writing formulas.  FlaglerLive.com (Hat tip: Gradebook).

Rezoning. In Seminole, the saga continues. Orlando Sentinel.

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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.