As we near the end of 2007, we thought it would be fun to visit the Gradebook's greatest hits of the year - the items that really got you talking. They're not all necessarily the meatiest of topics, but at least these kept fingers wagging. So without further delay ...
To include evolution as a key idea, or to allow for "alternatives"? That is the question that heated up during the end of the year as the State Board of Education neared a decision on how to revise Florida's decade-old science standards. This one could be the gift that keeps on giving, story-wise, for another month or two. Main postings: BOE member: "I want God to be a part of this"; Future speaker, intelligent design believer and In support of intelligent design.
How about those UF sorority girls? The antics of Zeta Tau Alpha members and their dates at Ybor City's Columbia Restaurant drew all the catcalls you'd expect, especially after the post link found its way to FSU sites. UF sorority's raucous night at The Columbia.
FAMU factions kept their fight alive online, with enough blame to spread around on exactly who was responsible for shredding the once-lauded university's reputation. The debate got even hotter as the Rattler Nation blog closed shop. Main postings: FAMU Law 'traumatic and disheartening'; FAMU, public records, patience; FAMU grade changes under investigation.
Pinellas teacher Porsha Call got a one-day suspension plus an assignment to diversity training for calling a n African-American student's hair "nappy." Readers thought she got what she deserved, or that the School Board overreacted. Teacher suspended for remark.
As if teacher merit pay weren't controversial enough, how about naming names? We posted the list of which Hillsborough teachers received performance bonuses, and some folks were not too thrilled about becoming publicized - even though the information was a public record. Who got merit pay in Hillsborough?
Does it matter how teachers look? Apparently so. The Pasco School Board decided to ban visible tattoos and piercings that violate community standards, and readers spoke out - frequently in favor of the change. Is this one OK? and linked story Principals decide: offensive or just artistic?
Figuring every effort might help, Brooksville Elementary principal Mary LeDoux and some of her staff members put some holy oil on students' desks just before the FCAT test. Principal prayed over FCAT testing.
How's that for a busy year? We can only hope for more of the same in 2008. Keep on reading, commenting and sending your ideas our way.