Florida schools roundup: Kiera Wilmot, online classes, school choice & more

Kiera Wilmot. Prosecutors won’t file criminal charges against Kiera Wilmot, the Polk County student who has become a cause celebre after igniting a small chemical explosion on school grounds, reports the Lakeland Ledger. Beth Kassab says the arrest took things way too far. In the aftermath, neighboring Orange will get clarification on its zero tolerance policies, reports SchoolZoneHuffington Post op-ed: “Five ways to stop a black scientist.”

florida roundup logoOnline learning. Privatization, everywhere. Bradenton Herald.

School choice. A private transportation option – at $1,350 annually per student – has emerged for students in Brevard’s district choice schools, reports Florida Today.  The Palm Beach County school board is urged to move ahead with plans to create an all-boys middle school, reports the Palm Beach Post.

School administration. Pinellas Superintendent Mike Grego shuffles the team at the top. Gradebook.

School uniforms. The Volusia school board plans to again discuss the possibility – for students and teachers. Daytona Beach News Journal.

School closures. Brevard school board members reaffirm their decision in the face of continued opposition. Florida Today.

Testing. Superintendent Tony Bennett says the state will decide by the end of June on an FCAT replacement. SchoolZone.

Gay Straight Alliance. After months of hurdles, the group finally holds its first meeting at Carver Middle School in Lake. SchoolZone.

Rick Scott. He’s got key decisions to make on several education bills. News Service of Florida (subscription required).

Tony Bennett. News Service of Florida asks him about Common Core and relations with the FEA. (Subscription required.)

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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.