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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

In Race to the Top, not everything is equal for Florida school districts



We understand that getting buckets of support for Florida's Race to the Top grant application was of primo importance to the state Department of Education. But was it so critical that the department should have treated some districts differently than others?

To wit, the FLDOE rejected Lee's request to have a few extra days to decide whether it would participate. The administration wanted to work out an agreement with its teachers first, a la Hillsborough. But the department declared that a deadline is a deadline. Lee ultimately declined.

Then along came Seminole schools. The district decided not to participate in the grant, letting the deadline pass. Afterward, under pressure from state officials, the superintendent and School Board changed their minds and sent in a late agreement that the DOE touted in a "media memorandum."

Now comes word from the Miami Herald that the DOE offered Broward -- the state's largest non-participating district -- the chance to jump on board after the deadline, too. (The department withdrew the offer before discussion could even ensue, saying there wasn't enough time to crunch the numbers, the Herald reports.)

We're still waiting to hear the rationale employed by the DOE in these matters. But we've already started hearing gripes from other districts where they either rushed to judgment without a chance to work longer on a decision. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:47am]


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