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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Today's news



TEST MESS: Florida education officials are battling with the federal government over how best to test the skills of severely disabled students. The state wants to allow an evaluation based on the children's abilities and improvements. The feds contend the assessment isn't linked to grade-level content and has threatened penalties.

Afterschool2 NO SWEAT: With their mandate of 150 minutes of weekly P.E., lawmakers intended to get elementary school kids "used to being outside and used to getting their heart rate up." In many instances, though, the new law allows enough "flexibility" that schools need to do almost nothing new to meet it.

LONG OVERDUE: The cost of college has skyrocketed, and lenders have made a killing on the backs of students. The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 would make things right, the Times editorial board says.

'THIN' POOL: The search for a new education commissioner ends today (purportedly). Some of the applicants have what the Palm Beach Post calls "colorful" candidates, including a former Osceola School Board member who called the board attorney a "dirty Jew" and a woman who served as a principal in Alabama without certification, because she couldn't pass the math competency exam.

REZONING EFFECT: To keep students closer to home, the St. Lucie School Board redrew attendance boundaries that concentrated poor and minority students in Fort Pierce. The upshot: some schools' academic performance plummeted, the Palm Beach Post reports.

INCENTIVE TO READ: Gadsen County, which often struggles academically, offers $100 to the student at each of its schools who reads the most books from a recommended reading list over the summer, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

The Florida state university system wants to expand its "distance learning" programs as it seeks ways to improve efficiency in financially strapped times, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The Palm Beach Post tells of one type of online course that's gaining popularity already.

UNFAIR? Miami-Dade superintendent Rudy Crew proposes that athletes at the district's F-rated high schools must maintain a 2.5 GPA rather than the standard 2.0. They also must sign a pledge saying they respect women, the Miami Herald reports. Crew says it's to eliminate academic apathy. Critics say it will punish poor students, all because of problems at one school.

TEXTBOOK TALES: Israel's Education Ministry will allow books for Arab third-graders to say that the creation of the Jewish state was a "tragedy" for some Palestinians, the LA Times reports. Like they didn't know that already.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:20am]


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