Florida schools roundup: School grades, Common Core, charter schools & more

School grades: Florida has a record-high 107 F-rated schools this year. Miami Herald. Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando all earned overall “C” grades. Tampa Bay Times. Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie says the district’s school grade drops mirror declines statewide, but students still performed better or as well as last year. Sun-Sentinel. florida roundup logoFor the first time in nine years, the Palm Beach County School District is not getting an A on its report card. Palm Beach Post. The Polk County School District has six “F” schools and received an overall “C” from the state. The Ledger. Two of Duval County’s “F” schools rose in the state’s ranking system to a “D” while the other two received another failing grade. Florida Times-Union. Brevard elementary schools earned 21 “A” grades, 25 ”B” grades, eight ”C” grades, one ”D” and one ”F” – Endeavour Elementary in Cocoa. Florida Today. Lee, Charlotte, and Glades school districts dropped from a “B” to a “C”; Collier dropped from an “A” to a “B”; and Hendry County dropped from a “C” to a “D.” Fort Myers News-Press.

Tax credit scholarships: The number of students attending private schools on tax-credit scholarships, administered by Step Up For Students, jumped 27 percent last year, reaching a record high of 51,075 kids. Miami Herald.

Disabled students: The Palm Beach County School District plans to spend $18 million during the next 10 years to fix nearly 100,000 disabled access issues. Palm Beach Post.

Recruiting: Despite the lure of extra cash, teachers aren’t fighting to get into some of Pinellas County’s lowest-performing schools. In many cases, they’re trying to get out. Tampa Bay Times.

Common  Core: Sen. Marco Rubio has joined growing criticism of the education standards known as Common Core, putting him at odds with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The Buzz. And Bush, once a strong force in shaping the state’s education policies, is taking some big hits, lately. The Buzz. If Education Commissioner Tony Bennett agrees with legislative leaders that Florida should create its own assessments, his proposal has to be better than PARCC’s. Tampa Bay Times. The standards registered little excitement when Florida adopted them three years ago, but now … . Palm Beach Post. We don’t need to panic about the new national standards, writes columnist Beth Kassab. But we do need patience. Orlando Sentinel.

Charter schools: More students are going charter in Hillsborough County. Tampa Bay Times. Lauderdale Lakes is reconsidering its decision to allow the new Ivy Academies Charter Schools to open in August. Sun Sentinel. Lake Wales Charter Schools has a $700,000 surplus. News Chief. There’s mounting evidence that charter schools aren’t a panacea in public education and are enabling our return to racial segregation, writes columnist Bill Maxwell. Tampa Bay Times.

Budgets: The complicated formula used by the state to match local property tax dollars with state money has required a tax increase for nearly 20 out of the state’s 67 school districts. Associated Press.  Pinellas County School District’s upcoming operating fund reflects an additional $38.2 million – one of the biggest increases in recent years, but that doesn’t mean an easier year for the district. The Tampa Tribune.

IB: Union Academy becomes the second middle school in Polk County to receive International Baccalaureate status. The Ledger.

Advertising: Flagler and Volusia school districts are eyeing advertising at athletic events as a way to raise funds, something that netted Orange County schools $360,000 last year. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Teacher conduct: Manatee High assistant football coach and parent liaison Roderick Frazier resigns from the district a week after being charged with improper conduct. Bradenton Herald.

Open campus: Once dubbed modern in design, some of Central Florida’s older schools are being scrutinized by safety officials in the wake of Sandy Hook. Orlando Sentinel.

Grassroots: The Brevard Parents Action Committee says the school district is misguided in its efforts to make a big software purchase at a time when budget cuts total about $25 million. Florida Today.

Turnaround trial: New Pasco County Principal Latoya Jordan welcomes the challenge of improving the Lacoochee Elementary school she once attended. The Tampa Tribune.

K12: The Broward School Board renewed K12’s one-year contract last week,  saying they’ve never had an issue with the for-profit company that was being investigated. Sun Sentinel.

Model school: The Florida Alliance for Arts Education has named Duval County’s Douglas Anderson School for The Arts one of eight  Arts Achieve Model schools. Florida Times-Union.

New rules: Under the new law, a school district cannot place students in an exceptional student education center, in a separate classroom or in a different curriculum without parents’ consent, reports the Naples News.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.