State of education
Gov. Charlie Crist gave his State of the State address today, and, as expected, education got prominent mention. He called for the hiring of 400 more reading coaches across the state, to continue the focus on getting all children reading at grade level. He repeated his proposal to increase funding for class-size reduction implementation. "Smaller classes provide a better environment for learning and we must fulfill our obligation to provide that funding to reduce class sizes," Crist said, diverting totally from his predecessor, Jeb Bush, who repeatedly pushed to repeal the 2002 amendment. He recommended creation of a "virtual tutor" program, so children can get help on-line when they need it. And Crist said he would create a Children's Cabinet to oversee and coordinate children's issues. "Our children need a voice," he said. "They need to be at the table because soon it will be their table." Democrats quickly rushed out with a statement of praise for the new governor. "We don't agree on everything, but there is more that brings us together than pulls us apart," party chairwoman Karen Thurman said in a prepared statement, listing among the areas of consensus "stronger neighborhood schools with less reliance on the FCAT."