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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

PR battle heats up as Florida races to the top



So here's the bottom line. As Florida's teacher unions mount their opposition to the state's Race to the Top grant, other organizations are bending over backward to convince the fed that Florida does, indeed, have support for the proposed reforms — not to mention the $700 million that could come the state's way.

On Friday alone:

  • The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a survey indicating that two-thirds of Floridians back the goals of the Race to the Top effort. 
  • The Florida PTA issued a letter suggesting that letting the opportunity pass "may translate into child abuse for our children."
  • The Florida Association of District School Superintendents sent a letter to education commissioner Eric J. Smith saying the funds will benefit Florida children and offering any assistance the Department of Education requires.
  • ENLACE Florida, a USF-based nonprofit that seeks to improve access to college, called upon Floridians to join the effort to secure the grant. "Our students and our state deserve nothing less," assistant director Braulio Colon wrote.

Meanwhile, just a handful of school districts — Clay, Calhoun, Hendry, Franklin, Dixie and Sumter — have sent in their memorandums of understanding in advance of the Tuesday deadline. None of their teacher unions have signed the documents.

Will this hurt or help Florida's application? Wait until April to find out.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:46am]


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