Florida schools roundup: Vouchers, charter schools, career ed & more

Vouchers: Sen. President Don Gaetz says private school scholarship students should be required to take the same state assessments as other public school students, but StateImpact Florida notes the scholarship programs already require students take a national norm-referenced standardized test.

florida-roundup-logoCharter schools: Pasco School Board attorneys craft contract language to satisfy board members who had serious questions about giving Pepin Academies a 15-year charter. Tampa Bay Times.

Private schools: A former Miami Country Day School student, now a sophomore at Barnard College in New York City, is creating an anti-bullying kit for Miami-Dade schools based on a play she wrote in ninth grade. Miami Herald.

Career centers: Students at Hillsborough’s South County Career Center paint murals to help tell their school’s story. The Tampa Tribune. Manatee Technical Institute and Sarasota County Technical Institute are the future of education, supporters say. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Legislators: Expanding pathways out of poverty through education is one of five items Sen. President Don Gaetz and state House Speaker Will Weatherford are emphasizing this session. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Biometrics: A key Senate committee votes to stop public school systems from collecting “biometric” data on students, despite warnings that unplugging the computerized systems will waste money and make it harder to move hundreds of kids through lunchroom lines. The Florida Current.

Common Core: The State Board of Education is expected to approve amendments to Student Performance Standards after reviewing some 19,000 public comments on the standards, known as the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Naples Daily News. More from The Tampa Tribune.

School grades: Education Commissioner Pam Stewart will explain a plan for simplifying Florida’s decade-and-a-half-old system for grading schools. Tallahassee Democrat.

School safety: Broward County schools recently kicked off its Think B4U Post initiative at a local middle school to teach students about online safety. Sun Sentinel.

Textbooks: Lawmakers should think twice before chucking a textbook selection system designed to ensure both intellectual and fiscal integrity, writes the Tampa Bay Times.

Mentoring: Brevard County middle school students focus on mentoring struggling classmates. Florida Today. Girls Inc. Jacksonville offers mentoring, after-school, literacy, summer and outreach programs to elementary school-age girls to help them become more independent. Florida Times-Union.

Literacy: Former educators and other volunteers promote a literacy program for struggling readers. Florida Today.

Teachers: A Duval County elementary schoolteacher makes it cool to study science. Florida Times-Union. A substitute teacher in Pasco County tells the Tampa Bay Times that she’s not in it for the money or great treatment. Some of the most struggling high schools in Pinellas County are facing significant cuts to teaching positions next year. Tampa Bay Times.

Class size: Florida school districts have received a 35 percent reduction in their 2013 class size penalties, after challenging the state’s initial findings of their violations. Tampa Bay Times.