Today's education news: FCAT writing, education taxes and more
HILLSBOROUGH'S TOP TEACHER: Megan Allen, a fourth grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary in Tampa, is named Hillsborough's 2009 teacher of the year. (Times photo, Brian Cassella)
HERE THEY GO AGAIN: Hernando embarks on a new superintendent search less than two years after its last effort.
TAXES ON THE TABLE: Plummeting property values create a $1 billion funding hole for Florida education, one that has lawmakers pondering higher taxes, the Palm Beach Post reports.
TO CLOSE SCHOOLS OR NOT TO CLOSE SCHOOLS: Clay leaders decide to keep all their schools open, but some employees won't be around to see the next academic year, the Florida Times-Union reports. // Orange continues to explore the closure of 16 elementary schools, the Orlando Sentinel reports. // Leon seeks parent input on the idea of closing undercapacity schools, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
BUSINESS IN THE SUNSHINE: The Collier School Board and its Teamsters local will continue to battle in court over the 2007 firing of superintendent Ray Baker, which the union contends violated Florida's Sunshine laws, the Naples Daily News reports. // The Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees challenges accusations that it met improperly with former House Speaker Ray Sansom, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.
GO AHEAD AND PRINT: It's okay to skip cursive during the FCAT writing exam as long as students' essays are legible, the Stuart News reports.
SPEAKING OF FCAT: Orlando area school districts scramble to warn parents not to prep their children for FCAT writing topics listed in the Orlando Sentinel, saying the paper's article was misleading, WFTV.com reports. // Palm Beach schools look to a local school's example of how to avoid a state investigation by not teaching too formulaic writing for the exam, the Palm Beach Post reports.
ZERO TOLERANCE MEANS TEACHERS, TOO: An Alachua teacher is arrested for having loaded guns on campus, the Gainesville Sun reports.
AROUND THE NATION: A new report links rising SAT scores to declining levels of lead in children's blood, Gannett News reports. // Texas faces a severe shortage of math and science teachers, the Dallas Morning News reports. // The federal spending package still contains billions of dollars for education, even if it's not as much as originally proposed, the NY Times reports.