ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of June 5, 2016
Florida's final few school districts ended classes this week, as the state Department of Education released its spring testing results. Most students went home without report cards, because the results weren't available until Friday. To speed the delivery, at least one district decided to turn to online report cards for the first time. In other news, one central Florida district decided to require daily recess in elementary schools, as many parents have demanded, while a south Florida district turned to investigators to root out families that lie about where they live to get into schools outside their neighborhoods. Visit the Gradebook daily for the latest Florida education news. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top of the Times
Say goodbye: The printed report card is on the way out in some Tampa Bay school districts, Jeffrey S. Solochek
"Starting this month, parents of Hillsborough middle and high school students will have to go online to find their children's quarterly and semester grades. Those wanting the paper version will have to make a special request. Hillsborough is the first district in the area to go paper-free for all secondary report cards. Some Pinellas County high schools use them, while schools in Pasco and Hernando counties continue to print and send out the reports."
In move to reignite school desegregation case, plaintiffs say Pinellas has failed black students, Lisa Gartner and Michael LaForgia
"Despite promises made 16 years ago to settle a Civil Rights-era desegregation lawsuit, the Pinellas County School Board still isn't spending enough money to ensure black children catch up to their peers in reading and math, the plaintiffs said."
As charter schools grow, once-wary Hillsborough officials take a friendlier approach, Marlene Sokol
"In Hillsborough alone, an estimated $125 million in tax dollars will flow this year to more than 40 charter schools, from mom-and-pop operations to mass-produced chain schools. Viewed warily by the old guard, charters now are seen by some as a release valve in high-growth areas where the district cannot afford to build."
Praised for his skill but criticized for his style, controversial Pasco teacher is in trouble again, Jeffrey S. Solochek
"A Pasco County teacher who was suspended in February for insulting students could lose his job after similar complaints surfaced at another school."
FHSAA set to reduce live contact for high school football, Matt Baker
"As concerns about concussions mount, Florida is set to enact its first restrictions on full-contact practices for the state's high school football players."
Around the State
Broward school district to hire private investigators to verify home addresses, Sun-Sentinel, Brittany Shammas
"The Broward County School District has a new weapon against parents who lie about where they live: private investigators. And at least one School Board member thinks the $375 bill for each investigation should go to parents caught committing fraud."
Seminole schools poised to require daily recess, Orlando Sentinel, Leslie Postal
"Seminole County elementary school children are expected to get 20 minutes of daily recess next school year under a new policy celebrated by the ‘recess moms' who have been pushing Florida schools to restore play breaks."
Child porn charges lead to change in school district, Florida Today, John A. Torres
"Brevard Public Schools is changing how it does things when choosing new school principals. At least it will be changing what the superintendent sees. The new changes are in direct response to Friday's arrest of Spessard Holland Elementary School Principal Ricky Sheppard on federal child porn charges one year after taking over at the school."
Volusia teachers file labor charge against district, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Dustin Wyatt
"The Volusia Teachers Organization filed its first unfair labor practice charge against the school district recently, promising more to come."
Standards for 'subs', Herald-Tribune editorial
"One way that Florida could further expand the field of qualified substitutes would be to let teachers perform the part-time work immediately after they retire. Currently, they must wait one year after retirement; the delay most likely increases the chances that retirees, having adjusted to life outside school, won't return to the classroom. Whatever the case, making the change is worth a try, especially in light of the large number of teachers entering retirement."
Academica's Florida Real Estate Operations, In the Public Interest
"The fact that charter management organizations can use real estate companies to capture additional streams of public dollars demonstrates the need for additional regulatory oversight of charter school operations."
State laws on student testing take mystifying and lenient twist, Bradenton Herald editorial
"The DOE's latest judgment of state law appears to validate opting out by allowing portfolios instead of tests to gain promotion. We doubt that was the intent and expect to hear further clarification. But doesn't that confirm ‘tests today are pointless and meaningless'?"
For Students with Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities Third Grade Retention Risks Rise When Student Opts-Out, 3D Learner
"If a parent of a child with learning disabilities, dyslexia or a reading problem opted out of the Third grade reading FSA and alternative assessment or failed these tests -- the best solution is to get reading help ASAP."
Do the right thing on bathroom policies, Tallahassee Democrat guest column, David Poole of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation
"There is no documented evidence to support any perceived danger of transgender individuals violating people's right to privacy in the context of bathroom usage. Supporters of bathroom legislation are succumbing to unfounded paranoia and are seeking a solution in the absence of a problem."
Don't always blame the teachers, Fort Myers News-Press guest column, Lee County teacher Mel Whitlock
"Unfortunately, our ‘blame' culture is the culprit of the situation that occurred on the campus of SFMHS. Not just in Lee County, but nationally, it is time for parental ownership to take hold for the poor decisions made by their children in the schools."
School board violated my right to speak, Florida Today guest column, Brevard School Board candidate Dean Paterakis
"The reason I believe I was cut off is because I am exposing the fact that our schools seem to protect pedophiles. Andy Ziegler knew exactly who I was talking about because the teacher, who allegedly exposed his selfie of his erect penis to minors in a social studies class, is a friend of his. He was moved to another school where he continues to work with students."
Reports of Note
2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), U.S. Department of Education
"Nationwide, 2.8 million K-12 students received one-or-more out of school suspensions: These include approximately 1.1 million black students; 600,000 Latino students; 660,000 students served by IDEA; and 210,000 English learners."
School Vouchers and Students with Disabilities: Examining Impact in the Name of Choice, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
"School voucher programs in their current form are inconsistent in construct and scope, which makes it very difficult to determine successful programs that benefit all students equally. Receipt of public voucher funds should not require students with disabilities to surrender their rights under IDEA."
2016 Florida Standards Assessments results, Florida Department of Education
"Statewide, results show that the percentage of students achieving on mathematics combined (Florida Standards Assessment and End-of-Course assessments) increased overall by one percentage point, with 58 percent of students in grades 3-5 and 56 percent of students in grades 6-8 scoring Level 3 or higher. Results were up 5 percentage points for students younger than high school age taking Algebra with 88 percent scoring Level 3 or higher in 2016. In addition, the percentage of students scoring Level 3 or higher on the Algebra 2 end-of-course assessment increased by four percentage points while English Language Arts remained steady. Student results were up 1 percentage point in Grade 8 Science combined (Statewide Science Assessment and Biology 1)."
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