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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

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TOP TEACHERS? When Florida teachers start getting bonus pay for their students' performance, will you want to know who got the dough? Will it make you request those teachers for your kids? Heck, don’t many of us have ways to rate the best teachers and then fight for them now, anyway? It's an issue bubbling up as lawmakers continue to look for ways to pay teachers for the way their students do, rather than for the degrees they happen to have.

TOP TEACHERS? PART 2: Speaking of the value of a teacher's education, more and more Florida teachers are pursuing certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The state now has more teachers with this credential than all others but North Carolina. One of the big attractions: up to $8,300 a year in pay from the state. But as part of the performance pay debate, lawmakers say they’ll look at whether they’re getting a bang for their buck with this program, too.

WHAT TO DO FOR SCHOOL CHOICE: Just getting approved to switch schools in Pinellas County isn’t always enough. The follow-up is crucial. Here's some practical advice.

A HELPING HAND: As Citrus County's immigrant population grows, the school district works to make them feel more at home in the community. Weekly English classes at local schools help build the bridge.

MAGNET SCHOOL DEBATE: Do magnet schools cater to the elite? Should they reflect a community's diversity or simply accept those who apply? Hernando County school officials have launched this debate after looking at numbers that show black children aren’t enrolling.

TOUGHER TEST: The FCAT writing test takes place this week, and for the first time it will include multiple choice questions. The Palm Beach Post reports that many educators expect the new section to throw students for a loop on the test, where scores have consistently been on the rise.

VIRTUALLY LEARNING: The realities of life – work, family and the like – sometimes make getting to school tough to do. They don't negate the importance of education for the nearly million youngsters who enroll in on-line courses, though. Florida has one of the two largest virtual schools in the country. The Los Angeles Times explores the phenomenon.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:14am]


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