NOT EASIER, JUST BETTER: The new way that's proposed to grade Florida high schools takes the emphasis off the FCAT, but it doesn't necessarily make it easier to get a good grade.
HANDS-ON IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Some Double Branch Elementary fifth graders complete a high-tech scavenger hunt at the Crystal Springs Preserve that began with the high school they'll eventually attend and also involved the middle school they'll go to. (Times photo, Mike Pease)
UF CUTS: Florida's flagship university announces layoffs, enrollment cuts and the elimination of some departments and degrees as it wrangles with a nearly $50-million loss in state funding.
PROM DREAM: Tarpon Springs High senior Stacey Karavokiros longed for a flowing red dress to wear to her prom. The dress is almost ready, but Stacey isn't. Read more here.
VOUCHERS ARE GOOD, OK? Former governor Jeb Bush writes a spirited defense of school choice options in an op-ed piece for the Times.
FCAT ONLINE: State education officials would love to speed the process of getting kids to take the FCAT without paper and pencil. Schools and students are not warming to the idea so quickly, the Sun-Sentinel reports. See also this sidebar.
BUDGET ROUNDUP: Duval plans to eliminate at least 100 district-level jobs as its general revenue shrinks by about $50-million, the Florida Times-Union reports. Lee already has laid off people, canceled field trips and more, but it's still looking for ways to slash another $14.6-million in spending, the Naples Daily News reports. The City of Pembroke Pines could close its charter school system by 2011 to deal with its expected budget shortfalls, the Miami Herald reports. Santa Rosa superintendent John Rogers tells the Pensacola News-Journal he hopes to preserve jobs while scaling back spending.
FLORIDA APPLIES FOR FEDERAL PROGRAM: The Department of Education has formally applied to participate in the USDOE pilot program that would change the way schools' "adequate yearly progress" rankings are set, the AP reports (via Orlando Sentinel).
GO TO A REGULAR HIGH SCHOOL: Sarasota will close its Cyesis program for teen parents, which costs about $23,000 per student, and send the teens to Riverview High instead. The move is as much about expectations as money, the Herald-Tribune reports.
LEARN A WORD, DONATE RICE: Students at Sugg Middle in Bradenton are addicted to the web site where they donate 20 grains of rice for every vocabulary word they can identify. So far, they've contributed nearly 4-million grains, the Bradenton Herald reports.
NO DIRTY DANCING: Brevard officials put out the word - students doing the bump and grind at prom could find themselves suspended if they don't cut it out, Florida Today reports.
PARENTS PEEVED OVER START TIMES: Santa Rosa wants to save $1-million by changing school start times. Parents are not happy, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.