Florida roundup: FCAT, private schools, charter school funding & more

Private schools and FCAT testing. So far, two schools that accept tax credit scholarships have signed up, reports SchoolZone. The deadline is March 1.

FloridaRoundUpCharter schools. A bill to be considered by the House Education Committee this week would require school districts to turn over empty buildings to charter schools for free and pay to maintain them. SchoolZone.

Teacher conduct. Two more girls are suing the Palm Beach County School Board, claiming they were sexually assaulted by a former middle school band teacher; the board has already agreed to pay two other girls $150,000 each to settle. Palm Beach Post.

Teacher evaluations. Tampa Bay Times raises questions about the new system with an analysis of schoolwide VAM scores in Pinellas.

Rick Scott. To get re-elected, he’s “throwing money at schools.” Palm Beach Post.

School grades. Focus is what led to improvements at two Polk schools. Lakeland Ledger.

School poverty. Percentage of students eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch is rising in Volusia and Flagler. Daytona Beach News Journal.

School spending. The Palm Beach County district wants the Legislature to restore districts’ previous taxing authority for capital needs, so it can avoid a capital budget deficit that could top $50 million. Palm Beach Post.

School security. More than 50 Pinellas teachers sign up for free gun training. Tampa Bay Times.

Hidden faces. Non-instructional workers in Palm Beach County rally for fair treatment. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

ALEC’s report card. StateImpact Florida.

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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.