Mental health, health insurance, parent power and more

Evolution and science: Florida Board of Education Chairman Andy Tuck was recently criticized by education science bloggers for opposing evolution only education in Highlands County in 2008. Tampa Bay Times. Project Lead the Way awarded $125,000 in STEM grants to eight Duval County schools. The grants will pay for cyber-security enhancements, new technology and more. Florida Times-Union.

Gun threats: A parent makes a gun threat in an attempt to motivate employees at Samuel S. Gaines Academy K-8 to work faster on enrolling his child, gets arrested. TC Palm.

License revoked: A Clay County schools teacher had his license permanently revoked for making rude and crude comments to students. Florida Times-Union.

Health insurance: Marion County’s health insurance costs are rising $5.1 million this year, but that is down $2.4 million from earlier projections. Ocala Star Banner. Orange County schools will extend its health coverage for teachers, at a cost of $1.6 million per month, while teacher salary negotiations continue with the teacher union. Orlando Sentinel.

Military school: Military moms and dads at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa met with their child’s teacher at Tinker K-8 school this week. Tampa Bay Times.

Mental health: When schools open in the Panhandle next week, students tramautized from Hurricane Michael will have access to  63 “telemental” health portals. “Think of FaceTime with a mental health provider,” says First Lady Casey DeSantis. WFSU, Florida Phoenix. The Florida Department of Education proposes rule changes as schools struggle to fill positions for mental health professionals. WFOR, News Service of Florida.

Shooting drill: Acting students at G-Star Academy of the Arts simulated a school shooting with medical students to conduct a mass-casualty drill. Palm Beach Post.

Summer school: What does it take to get a school ready for the new school year? It’s no summer break for district admins, school security or maintenance. Jeffrey Solochek sits down with Betsy Kuhn, the Pasco County school district’s assistant superintendent for operations, to discuss. Tampa Bay Times.

School boards: A Jacksonville city council member files a resolution opposing the creation of a Mayor appointed school board. Says that decision should be left to the voters. Florida Times-Union.

By appointment only: Marion County, with more than 40,000 students, is the second largest school district in the nation with an elected school superintendent. But as the district switches to an appointed superintendent, the school board unanimously decides not to retain the current elected superintendent. Ocala Star-Banner.

School busing: Leon County Schools finally overcome a glitch to post bus routes just four days before the start of the new school year. Tallahassee Democrat.

School opening: Dr. Mona Jain Middle School, named after a human rights activist and educator, opens in Manatee County on Monday. Bradenton Herald and Bradenton Herald.

Vaccinations: The number of vaccinated students in Collier, Lee County, and more drops as religious exemptions rise. Naples Daily News, Florida Today. Escambia and Santa Rosa county fell below the 95 percent “herd immunity” threshold for student vaccinations this year. Pensacola News-Journal.

Opinions on schools: Let’s hope for a good, safe new school year. Joe Henderson, Tampa Bay Times. Duval County schools does not need a Mayor appointed school board. Editorial, Florida Times-Union. As the listed of required school supplies gets longer, the out-of-pocket cost to parents starts to add up. Editorial Board, TC Palm. Florida’s top-down regulations of public schools impose more than 400 mandates on school districts. This squeezes budgets and makes the districts mission to educate students impossible. Editorial, Citrus County Chronicle. No one knows their child better than their parents. That’s why school choice programs balance top-down regulations with empowering parents to choose the best school for their child. Catherine Durkin Robinson, Daytona Beach News-Journal. Florida voices for choices gives socioeconomically disadvantaged parents a voice to fight for their child’s education. Lorraine McBride, redefinED.