Florida education news: Teacher pensions, gambling funds, cell phone bans and more
GET ME OUT OF HERE: Bills in the Florida Legislature that would alter school teachers' retirement benefits have Pasco County teachers running to their benefits office seeking advice.
GOOD FRIDAY IS NOT A DAY OFF: But Hillsborough school bus drivers act like it is, with nearly half not showing up for work.
ROLLING THE DICE: Florida lawmakers again reach a tentative gambling deal with the Seminole tribe; they've talked about putting the revenue into public education.
NOT EXACTLY: The Florida Education Association claims the Legislature scheduled the final hearing on HB 7189/SB 6 during spring break to avoid teacher attention. PolitiFact says False. In fact, as the Ocala Star-Banner reports, thousands of teachers continue to inundate Florida lawmakers to complain about Senate Bill 6. More from the Palm Beach Post and the Fort Myers News-Press.
EASIER, CHEAPER: A new federal student loan program promises to ease the financial burden on college students, the Naples Daily News reports.
WHAT'S THE MESSAGE? Federal education officials need to make clear to states like Florida what's the right combination of bold reform vs. stakeholder buy-in as the Race to the Top continues, the Washington Post editorializes.
HARDER TO DOUBLE DIP: The Manatee school district adopts new state guidelines barring retired employees from returning to a job in the district for 6 months, the Herald-Tribune reports.
PHONES IN CLASS? Palm Beach school officials reconsider their cell phone ban, noting the devices have practical classroom applications, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Visit the Gradebook at noon for an interview with Florida state Sen. Dennis Jones, one of four Republicans to vote against SB 6.