U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. Announces Expansion of School Ambassador Fellows Program to Include School Counselors

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. announced today that school counselors will have the opportunity to apply for the School Ambassador Fellows program starting with the 2017-18 cohort of ambassadors. The program currently includes the Teaching Ambassador Fellows (TAF) and Principal Ambassador Fellows (PAF). Including the voices of teachers, principals, counselors and other…

State Chiefs Pitch ESSA Spending Rules With Less Bean Counting

The Council of Chief State School Officers has proposed its own plan for ensuring that federal funds supplement and do not supplant state and local education spending, a plan that differs in a few key respects from the U.S. Department of Education’s own proposed rules.  Under the proposal that CCSSO is submitting as a formal public comment…

Associated Industries seeks public comment on workers’ comp rates

Associated Industries of Florida moved Tuesday to build public support behind a fix for rising workers’ compensation insurance rates that business interests see as a threat to the state’s economy.  The lobby solicited comments from the public “on how Florida can restore a stable, self-executing, and affordable workers’ compensation system as the Florida Legislature intended,”…

How the political clout of a charter school mega-company could be at risk in Florida

One of Florida’s largest for-profit charter school management companies, Academica, has long enjoyed considerable influence in the state Legislature. Until last year, two Academica employees served as state lawmakers — and the brother-in-law of the company’s founder also held the education purse strings in the House. Read full article

Minorities, poor hit hardest by stricter Bright Futures requirements

Tens of thousands of Florida’s poorest students are finding it harder to afford college because of tougher qualifications for the state’s Bright Futures scholarship.  The academic scholarship was created in 1997 to keep the state’s top students in Florida schools. But the legislature voted in 2011 to increase the required scores on ACT and SAT…

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Supporting Early Learning through the Every Student Succeeds Act

The U.S. Department of Education released today non-regulatory guidance to help ensure young children from birth through third-grade get the strong start they need to achieve success in school and in life. This is the Department’s first comprehensive look at how the nation’s new education law supports our youngest learners. Read full article

More out, less in: Altered assumptions push Florida’s pension debt up $2.6 billion

In a small, unassuming Capitol conference room last week, state pension officials made multi-billion-dollar tweaks to the Florida Retirement System’s 1.1 million-member pension plan.  The two-day conference concluded with revisions to key assumptions used to determine the value of the state pension fund. The result: another $2.6 billion in public debt. Read full article