CHARACTER COUNTS: Following a legislative mandate, Florida schools must teach character building skills in addition to academic ones. Educators at one Pinellas elementary school say it has made a world of difference.
LAWMAKER PUSHES TO ALLOW BOARD RECALLS: Florida statute doesn't provide for voter-driven recalls of school board members. State Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, suggests it should. His motivation? Pasco residents who wanted to recall often-absent board member Cathi Martin, but couldn't.
TEACHER-ACTIVIST COULD LOSE JOB: Charles McKenzie, a Pinellas teacher on annual contract, claims the district wants to get rid of him for his political positions. District records indicate his problems extend beyond his politics.
PINELLAS ELEMENTARY ZONES RELEASED: The plan goes into effect immediately as the district prepares for the 2008-09 school year.
CALL HER DAME DHYANA: FAMU journalism professor Dhyana Ziegler will be knighted a Dame of Justice by the Chivalric Order of the Knights of Justice for her career as a respected scholar, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
MARTIN TEACHERS TO GET THEIR MONEY: The Martin School Board ratifies its contract with teachers, paving the way for all the back pay to be paid out, the Palm Beach Post reports.
KEEP THE MONEY: Sarasota's newly appointed superintendent rejects a pay raise and takes less salary than the board offers, saying she doesn't feel right about cutting budgets and then accepting extra money herself, the Herald-Tribune reports.
TALKING LAYOFFS: Manatee school officials being using the "l-word" when talking about how they intend to keep a balanced budget, the Bradenton Herald reports.
RADIOS DON'T WORK: Police officials worry that officers inside Brevard's Palm Bay schools won't be heard if they call for help, because their radios don't function properly inside the hurricane-hardened buildings, Florida Today reports.
OOPS: More than 200 Volusia parents erroneously receive letters saying they will get to keep sending their kids to a school that the board decided to close, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.
FEWER TRANSFERS: The University of Florida will cut the number of transfer students it accepts by about 30 percent, the Gainesville Sun reports.
HARDER TO FIND A LOAN: College lenders are becoming more choosy in today's economic times, making it more difficult for families to find sources of financing for higher education, the NY Times reports. One example - Sallie Mae announces it will start charging students fees to apply for loans, the Washington Post reports.
Visit the Gradebook at noon for an interview with Karen Dowd, executive director of the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport.