Florida roundup: charter schools, course choice, Common Core & more

florida roundup logoCharter schools. Both sides postpone the sale of a former Pinellas middle school to a charter school operator that plans to serve black students in south St. Petersburg, reports Gradebook. A Miami charter school is looking for a new home because its landlord, the Archdiocese of Miami, abruptly ended its lease, reports the Miami Herald. South Tech Academy, the biggest charter school in Palm Beach County, is adding a middle school this fall, which will essentially make it a school district unto itself and eligible for more federal funding, reports the Palm Beach Post.

Parent trigger. The Tampa Tribune editorializes against it.

Course choice. The Tallahassee Democrat writes up Sen. Jeff Brandes’ course choice bill, now headed to the Senate floor.

Rick Scott. Education excerpts from his interview with the Palm Beach Post editorial board. He doesn’t say much beyond talking points on teacher pay, the Post editorializes.

Common Core. Tony Bennett says he will have more information next week about implementation plans. StateImpact Florida.

Employee conduct. A Broward bus driver who said she was only using cell phone while driving because her son, a U.S. Marine, was calling from Iraq now says she made it all up, reports the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun Sentinel. From the Sarasota Herald Tribune: “The Manatee County School District has hired a private investigator to look into whether Palmetto High Principal Willie Clark knew of an alleged sexual assault of a student last year and did not report it to law enforcement, as required by law.”  More from the Bradenton HeraldTampa Bay Times columnist Dan Dewitt says of a guidance counselor who was suspended for not diligently reporting a case of suspected child abuse: “If they can’t make protecting children their top job, they shouldn’t have a job at all.”

School closings. The Broward school board votes to shut down a special-needs school despite last-ditch pleas from parents. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

School spending. Polk backs away from some proposed class schedule changes but will have to cut elsewhere to make up for it. Lakeland Ledger.

School prayer. Citing the potential cost, St. Johns district officials not to be the first to test a new law allowing school prayer back in graduation ceremonies. St. Augustine Record.

Early learning. Bills to make the programs more accountable are moving through the Florida Legislature, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Parents in Volusia are concerned about cuts to Head Start, reports the Daytona Beach News Journal.

Private support. Orange County School District leaders ask the business community to contribute to an ambitious private fundraising effort. Orlando Sentinel.

Privatization. In the wake of Volusia’s decision to outsource custodial jobs, absenteeism among custodians has spiked – and so has unsatisfactory health inspections. Daytona Beach News Journal.

Parent power. Parents come to the defense of a Pasco principal who has been recommended for firing for insubordination. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher evaluations. Miami-Dade teachers will soon get theirs – for last year’s performance. Miami Herald.