Stories to watch?
It's always fun to make predictions about what will keep our attention in the months to come. So as we embark upon the new year - and of course schools are closed, so we have time to muse - let's consider what lies ahead.
Career education - State Sen. Don Gaetz found success with career academies while superintendent of Okaloosa County schools. So naturally, he decided the concept would work everywhere, and he pushed a bill through that requires Florida districts to create 5-year plans to establish such centers. Pasco, striving to get ahead of the curve, opens one next week. Will the push work?
Neighborhood schools in Pinellas - Choice is dead. Long live neighborhood schools. But will concerns that the schools will resegregate - along with all the bad results that accompany high poverty, high minority schools - come true?
Tax reform - State revenue is down. School leaders are looking for ways to cut. On Jan. 29, voters will decide whether to change the tax system, perhaps further decreasing the amount of money for schools. Then there are the efforts afoot in the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. Will the demand for tax relief trump the demand for better quality education? And if so, how will educators respond?
Evolution - It's science. But is it the only alternative? School board members in Pinellas and Hillsborough, not to mention some State Board of Education members, have said they want to offer kids choices on the subject and then let them decide what's right. As the State Board decides on its proposed standards, will Florida become the next Kansas?
Class size - School averages give way to classroom counts, and school districts worry about how to deal with the kid who pushes the room over the top. Lawmakers have started talking about ways to get around the "crisis" without asking for another vote. But they've failed to reach consensus on changing the voter-approved rule since it passed in 2002.
Those are a couple of the biggies. Fellow blogger and USF education prof Sherman Dorn has offered his top eight for '08, too. Topping his list - science standards, tax politics and the budget.
What about you? Which stories do you think will dominate Florida education news for the coming year?