State law that targets teachers unions appears to be increasing membership

A new state law that sets a minimum membership level for teachers’ unions appears to be increasing enrollment in unions around the state.  Participation in Miami-Dade’s teacher’s union jumped from 44 percent last year to about 50 percent now, spokeswoman Sonia Diaz said. Broward’s membership has hit 65 percent, union president Anna Fusco said. And…

Parkland Panel Examines Florida Mental Health Challenges

A school-safety commission examining the mass shooting at a Parkland high school heard testimony Thursday about Florida’s fractured and overwhelmed mental health system.  As part of a three-day hearing in Broward County, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission turned its focus to the role the mental health system may have played in…

Lawsuit challenges education amendment, seeks to remove it from Florida’s ballot

A constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow charter school organizers to bypass local school boards to get approval is “intentionally misleading” because it doesn’t directly explain to voters that the amendment is designed to circumvent local control and intentionally leaves out the word “charter,’‘ a lawsuit filed Thursday in Leon County Circuit…

Counseling, Mental Health Access Dominate Federal School Safety Meeting

Students—especially those from vulnerable populations and children in remote areas—aren’t getting nearly enough access to mental health services.   That’s according to a slew of experts who testified before the federal school safety commission Wednesday. The panel has been charged with making recommendations for combatting mass school shootings in the wake of the February 14 massacre at Marjory…

Charter schools back amendment effort

Companies with ties to charter schools and a controversial federal visa program are providing the bulk of contributions to an effort to pass a constitutional amendment that would impose an eight-year term limit on school board members.  Through June, the 8isGreat.org political committee has raised $54,532 in support of Amendment 8, state election records show.…

Stigmatizing kids? New law forces families to disclose student’s mental health treatment

Registering a student for public school involves submitting everything from proof of immunizations, health exams and birth certificates to details about gender, race, emergency contacts and more. But the newest registration requirement this upcoming school year is a little-noticed provision that is now drawing concern, confusion and criticism as administrators grapple with Florida’s new school…

Hope scholarships begin with funding delay

The Florida Board of Education next week is expected to approve a rule outlining how a new scholarship program for bullied students will work.  But while the Hope Scholarship program, approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year, begins with the new school year, there will not be…

Parkland commission recommending changes, better coordination of alternative-discipline programs

Alternative student-discipline programs in Florida need an overhaul, according to the commission investigating the Parkland shooting.  Commission members, meeting Tuesday in Sunrise, recommended reforms to school-diversion programs, created to shield students who commit low-risk, non-violent offenses from legal consequences. Read More

Teaching gap narrows as Florida certifies more instructors

The teaching gap is narrowing as Florida is issuing more teaching certificates and the number of active professionals is increasing. Instructors are also finding better workplace options, with “D” and “F” rated schools on the decline across the county and the state.  The Florida Department of Education has observed an uptick in issued and active…

Editorial: End the double standard for Florida schools educating students with public dollars

For years, education leaders in Florida have been ratcheting up standards and expectations for students in public schools. Policymakers have increased the passing scores on the state-mandated tests that determine whether students can graduate and the grades their schools receive. Just last month, they voted to hike the required scores for graduation for public school…