Florida Risks Losing $1.1 Billion in Federal Funds Over ESSA Spat

When the Every Student Succeeds Act was first passed in late 2015, Florida officials pledged that they’ll do everything in their power to keep their long-standing accountability system mostly intact.  That’s despite the fact that the federal law has several new requirements that states must abide by. They include factoring in the test scores of…

Sides battle over ‘high quality’ schools requirement

When Florida voters went to the polls in 1998, more than 70 percent approved a constitutional amendment that required the state to provide an “uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality” system of public schools.But two decades later, the Florida Supreme Court is preparing to wade into a long-running battle about whether the state has…

Rush job on school safety law causes mental-health conundrum for families, no help from state

In the rushed, traumatic days following the February shootings at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, lawmakers scrambled to approve broad gun reforms and new laws to make schools safe.  But quick legislation doesn’t always equate to good legislation, says Kenneth Trump, a well-known school security expert and consultant who has testified before Congress. Read…

At least 920 Florida teachers fired after failing state test, despite ‘effective’ evaluations

How do you tell a teacher who’s got the passion and gets the results, you’re fired?  “I’m getting emotional thinking about it right now,” said Emily Mixon, a drama teacher in Escambia County who just learned she won’t be able to return to the classroom next month. “My purpose is to educate. I can’t believe at…

Gradebook podcast: Fighting Amendment 8, with Florida League of Women Voters president Patricia Brigham

Supporters of Florida Constitution Revision Commission Amendment 8 focus on the part that would create school board term limits, viewing it as a popular idea that could push the proposal to the 60 percent vote needed for passage.  Critics say the measure goes much further, though — with some potentially devastating provisions that could dramatically…

Florida’s newest voucher program to start in fall, as Hope Scholarship rules approved by state board

Florida’s newest voucher program is to begin this fall, with parents who say their children are bullied in public schools able to apply for private-school scholarships that could pay tuition for part of the 2018-19 school year.The State Board of Education on Wednesday approved the rules for the new Hope Scholarship program, which was created…

Lawsuit: Amendment 8 summary ‘misleading’ about control of charter schools

The summary language of a proposed constitutional amendment that would revoke the exclusive authority of school boards to operate public charter schools is “affirmatively misleading” to voters, according to a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Florida against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner. Read More

Thursday Editorial: League of Women Voters is right to sue over deceptive ballot item

The League of Women Voters in Florida was right to challenge a seriously misleading constitutional amendment proposal in court.  Many of the amendments proposed by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission for a November vote have serious flaws, such as lumping four issues into one amendment.  But one of the batched amendments is so deceptive that…

Florida stands alone as sole state without federally approved accountability plan

What to do?  President Donald Trump’s administration has in many ways held up Florida’s education system as a model for the nation. It’s hired many former Florida education officials to top jobs in its own education department.  Yet Florida’s proposed plan to meet federal Every Student Succeeds Act standards is now the only one that remains…