Thursday, December 14, 2017
Education

Governor's higher education panel discusses reforms

CLEARWATER — Florida's higher education system should be the best value in the nation, contribute to the state's economic success and be governed with a spirit of collaboration between its leaders.

At least, that's the idea.

That somewhat nebulous vision emerged Thursday in a daylong series of workshops put on by the Florida Blue Ribbon Task Force, the panel created by Gov. Rick Scott this year with the charge of reforming the state's colleges and universities.

It marked a critical point for the seven-member panel, which now has to boil down the many thoughts offered by dozens of higher education leaders and deliver a list of recommendations to Scott by October.

It won't be an easy task, given all the different constituencies: students, parents, taxpayers, lawmakers, colleges, universities and the boards that govern them.

"It's like walking into a room full of hornets nests," Dale Brill, president of the Florida Chamber Foundation and the panel's chairman, said between workshops, which took place at St. Petersburg College's Collaborative Labs. "One nest breaks, and you back into a wall and break another one."

Still, Brill is confident the panel will be able to meet its deadline. The hope is to offer Scott at least three succinct goals, with an extensive business-focused case to back them up.

Scott, after all, is a business-minded man. He created the panel to identify ways to make the state's higher education systems more efficient even as he vetoed a bill that would have allowed certain top universities to raise tuition.

If universities want to charge more, they're going to have to show that the extra money would provide students with an extra return on investment, Scott said at the time. That notion was alive Thursday, with discussions about changes to tuition policy focused on tying tuition to outcomes at the state's dozen public universities. One clear opinion: not every university necessarily has to charge the same amount.

Other ideas included allowing the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the university system, to receive a lump sum from the Legislature and decide how to split it among the universities, rather than the schools getting the money directly from the state budget.

There was a lot of pondering about how much Florida's higher education is worth. How much money should be invested in it? How much of a share should students pay? How much should the state pay?

An answer never came.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3337.

Comments
Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

BROOKSVILLE — The new year could bring about new beginnings for at-risk girls in Hernando County.Pending a vote by the School Board next month, PACE Center for Girls, an alternative education program for middle- and high-school students, could open a...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Pasco school district, employees reach contract agreement

The raises for Pasco County school district employees aren’t as high as anyone would like, but they’re now part of a signed tentative contract deal reached just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.If ratified by the staff and the School Board, the agreements ...
Published: 12/13/17
For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

LAND O’LAKES — At Bexley Elementary School in Land O’Lakes, students are throwing paper airplanes — with the help of a high tech computerized launcher. They’re also bowling — with a little aid from computerized drones. And when they get around to it,...
Published: 12/13/17

Proposal to rollback early learning programs could bring Citrus into Pasco-Hernando coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.The state Office of Early Learning has now issued ...
Published: 12/13/17
Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

TAMPA — Elementary school students programmed an electronic mouse to make its way through a maze.Middle school students directed an electronic vehicle to stop on a dime, then use its arms to locate and lift a tiny cube.When the demonstration was done...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Caitlin Gille grew up in a union household in Wisconsin, where her mom was a long-time teacher in the small city of Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee.She was accustomed to seeing educators advocating for their working conditions and pay, having a sea...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Published: 12/12/17
Book tasting event lets Fox Chapel students indulge their love of reading

Book tasting event lets Fox Chapel students indulge their love of reading

SPRING HILL — As she perused the book, something about Night of the Living Worms piqued sixth-grader Inessia Richardson’s interest. So she decided to take it home from the Fox Chapel Middle School library.The opportunity to look at Night of the Livin...
Updated: 7 hours ago
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17