Florida roundup: Tax credit scholarships, school spending, teacher evals & more

Tax credit scholarships. The Tampa Tribune comes down in favor of the expansion bill. The testing issue for tax credit scholarships is complicated. Gradebook. As she has many times before, Jacksonville’s Julie Delegal says valid comparisons to public school students can’t be made when tax credit scholarship students take similar but not the same standardized tests. Florida Today. GTN TV does a story on the bill. So does Watchdog.orgNews Service of Florida asks Gov. Rick Scott about what he said last year regarding scholarship students and testing. (The scholarship program is administered by Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog.)

florida-roundup-logoCharter schools. A Q&A with the new principal of the University Prep charter school in St. Petersburg. Tampa Bay Times. WMNF’s “Urban Cafe” show interview the principal of Seminole Heights High School, a charter school for 16- to 21-year-old males who want a “fresh chance” at earning a high school diploma. (Starts about the 8 minute mark.) A Palm Beach County School Board member suggests a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to stem the tide of students leaving for charter schools. Palm Beach Post.

Common Core. Despite claims, many textbooks are NOT aligned to Common Core. Tampa Bay Times. Common Core standards are in use in art classes, too. Tampa Tribune. How the Common Core rollout is going in Florida middle schools. StateImpact Florida.

Pre-K. Kids who participate are more ready for kindergarten than those who don’t. School Zone.

School choice.  Parents, choose carefully. Tampa Bay Times. Probably better, for now, that the Palm Beach County school district expand its existing choice programs rather than go to “full” district choice. Palm Beach Post.

Parents. They must be challenged to help, early and often. Pensacola News Journal.

Accountability. EdWeek logs in Sen. Bill Montford’s “pause” bill.

Teacher evals. VAM scores could lead to unfair ratings. Florida Times Union. The state should chuck its eval system and let districts come up with something better. Tampa Bay Times.

Testing. Some teachers didn’t appreciate the ed commish’s letter on testing for special needs students. Gradebook. Conflict between FCAT and Passover. Gainesville Sun.

School discipline. A faith-based community group is criticizing the Pinellas County School District for arresting too many kids in schools. Gradebook. Pop-Tart bill clears the House Education Committee. StateImpact Florida.

Bullying. The Ledger offers up a three-part series.

School spending. The chair of the Manatee County School Board joins the superintendent in calling for an investigation of financial practices under the former superintendent. Bradenton Herald. Sarasota’s school-tax referendum comes up for renewal votes. Sarasota Herald Tribune.

School grades. Two Duval high schools win their appeals for higher grades. Florida Times Union.

School structure. Two schools are merging to give Hillsborough another K-8. Tampa Bay Times.

Educator conduct. An embattled special education aide is back in the classroom in Hillsborough. Tampa Bay Times.

Student data. Lawmakers consider banning use of biometric info to ID students. Scripps/Tribune.

Goodbye. USF Professor Sherman Dorn, who kept close tabs on Florida education policies, leaves for Arizona State. Tampa Bay Times.