Florida schools roundup: school grades, Common Core, Trayvon Martin & more

School grades. The Board of Education’s decision “reeks,” writes Beth KassabSherman Dorn’s take (which includes a pitch for grading private schools with large numbers of voucher students). “Politically manipulated scam,” says Bob Schaeffer at FairTest. Diane Ravitch’s blog.

florida roundup logoSchool districts. Hillsborough, its superintendent MaryEllen Elia and its highly publicized teacher evaluation system all get a plug from Tom Vander Ark. Education Week.

Standardized testing. Drop the Common Core-linked PARCC, Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford tell Tony Bennett. Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Tallahasssee DemocratEducation Week, Associated PressGradebook. The costs, post-FCAT. StateImpact Florida

Common Core. Raising the bar worked in the Olympics. It’ll work in classrooms too. EdFly Blog. Bay educators prepare. Panama City News Herald.

Superintendents. Liberty Superintendent Gloria Gay Uzzell is arrested “on charges she used a school board credit card for the purchase of lingerie, alcohol, hotel rooms, clothing and jewelry” and is suspended from her post by Gov. Rick Scott. Tallahassee Democrat, Gradebook, The Buzz. New Polk Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy says she plans to expand the district’s pockets of excellence. Lakeland Ledger.

Charter schools. The Palm Beach County School Board votes to allow a charter with an Afro-centric curriculum to stay in a building badly in need of renovations. Palm Beach Post. The Sarasota Military Academy charter wants to open a middle school. Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Virtual schools. Clay Today writes up the Clay Virtual Academy.

Trayvon Martin. School discipline policies in the Miami-Dade School District contributed to Martin’s death? American Spectator.

School spending. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho moves to lower the district’s tax rate below last year’s. Miami Herald, CBS Miami.

School dinners. Pinellas is partnering with the YMCA to provide school dinners to thousands of students in a phased-in program beginning this fall. Tampa Bay Times.

Teacher evaluations. The 1st District Court of Appeals hears the Florida Times Union’s case for why it should have access to teacher eval data. Florida Times Union.

Teacher conduct. South Florida Sun Sentinel: “A Davie teacher accused of lying on an 8-year-old boy, force-feeding another student and making a third child eat chips from the garbage will likely lose her job on Tuesday.” Orlando Sentinel: “The Winter Park High School coach arrested last month on charges of molesting a teenage student has resigned.”

STEM. A new Okaloosa summer program aims to inspire a love for math and science in minority middle schoolers. Northwest Florida Daily News.

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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.