TWO ROLES IN LIFE: In the Army Reserves, he's Master Sgt. Diego Velasquez. But at Tampa Palms Elementary, surrounded by kids, he's Mr. V. And it's teaching that he loves. (Times photo, Carrie Pratt)
GOOD ENOUGH? The state's proposed property tax amendment has lots of negatives, including cuts to education and other local services, but some argue that it's better than nothing. Columnist Howard Troxler ponders whether that's reason enough to vote for it.
THEY WANT TO GO TO CUBA: Florida universities are fighting a state law that bans travel to terrorist states. The Board of Governors argues that the schools should be able to use federal grants and private donations for study in those countries, the Palm Beach Post reports.
TEACH SCIENCE, NOT RELIGION, IN SCIENCE CLASS: Lessons about evolution, not creationism or intelligent design, belong in Florida's science curriculum, the Palm Beach Post editorializes.
CITY PUSHES TO BAN TECH SCHOOLS: The Cooper City commission in Broward is considering the prohibition of tech schools, theaters and indoor recreation centers in part of the city so it doesn't look like it's unfairly discriminating against houses of worship, which are already banned there, the Miami Herald reports.
NOT THEIR FRIEND: The new principal of Manatee High imposes a tough brand of discipline, convinced an orderly school is a better place to learn, the Herald-Tribune reports.
COPS ON CAMPUS: Leaders at George Jenkins High in Lakeland have called in the troops for extra security, skittish about an unproven rumor of pending violence that prompted the district to close the school a day before winter break, the Lakeland Ledger reports. Some accuse the district of overreaction.
OUR NEW READING AMBASSADOR: John Scieszka, author of "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales" and other popular children's books, will become the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, the Washington Post reports. If you haven't read his books, and he gets you to do just that, it's worth the title. They're fun.