Florida schools roundup: Rick Scott, Common Core, dual enrollment & more

Rick Scott: The governor struggles to explain to reporters how PARCC is a federal intrusion, and his support of Common Core remains unclear. The Buzz. The Republican Party of Sarasota County leader calls Scott’s move to withdraw Florida from the consortium a conservative victory in education. The Buzz. At last month’s Education Summit, participants had a chance to sign off on a version of Scott’s executive order condemning PARCC and declined. StateImpact Florida. Scott defends his decision to withdraw from PARCC , while a state lawmaker files a bill addressing a common concern about the standards. News Service of Florida.

florida-roundup-logoCommon Core: During a heated discussion about the new standards, Brevard school board member Amy Kneessy calls 911 and tells the operator: “I’m getting scared, so I need somebody here.” Florida Today. Lee County’s assistant superintendent during a workshop on Common Core: “Our curriculum is under local control. Those are our choices and stay here in our district for decisions.” Fort Myers News-Press.

Funding: The growth in the number of children attending Florida public schools appears to be leveling off, meaning if lawmakers want to continue per student funding at the current level they will have to boost spending by at least an additional $113 million. Florida Current.

Career-ready: A two-year culinary program hopes to attract Broward County high school students to create a pipeline of future hospitality workers. Sun Sentinel.

Dual enrollment: Indian River State College offers St. Lucie and Indian River school districts a “one-year cost sharing program” to help comply with a new law that requires them to pay tuition for high school students taking courses at area colleges. TC Palm.

Inequality: A Broward County diversity committee finds the district’s public schools are still divided between the haves and the have nots. Miami Herald.

Raises: Polk County bus drivers, cafeteria staff and other blue-collar workers will see a slight pay increase and their health insurance covered. The Ledger. Pinellas County teachers will receive a 5.6 percent raise, on average, while other groups will get 5 percent raises. Tampa Bay Times.

Charter schools: The Florida House education committee expects to finalize a standard contract for school districts and charter schools during the 2014 legislative session. Florida Current. The proposed Polk Maritime Academy is the only one of four charter applicants received favorably by Polk County’s Charter Review Committee. The Ledger.

No smoking: Starting next school year, the Broward district wants to ban the use of tobacco-related products at bus depots, athletic fields, parking lots and off-campus school-sponsored events. Sun Sentinel.

Head Start: Palm Beach County commissioners agree to hand off operation of the Head Start preschool program for poor children to Lutheran Services of Florida. Sun Sentinel.

Learning issues: With 36,000 children identified as having special needs or disabilities in Miami Dade Public Schools, thousands of parents are seeking or maintaining formal accommodations to meet children’s needs. Miami Herald.

Superintendents: Polk County’s Kathryn LeRoy tells the school board she’s on schedule with her 100-day plan. The Ledger. Despite critics, Hillsborough’s superintendent gets a contract extension. Tampa Bay Times. More from The Tampa Tribune.

Instruction: The Polk County School Board agrees to improve instruction for juveniles at the county jail in response to complaints from a nonprofit civil rights group. The Ledger.

Conduct: A Hernando County exceptional student education teacher is arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old student. The Tampa Tribune. A civil trial is set for November to sort out allegations of negligence lodged by the parents of a former Morningside Elementary student who says she was molested in 2008 by a reading mentor. TC Palm.

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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.