No flak for 'close to home'
The public reaction has been somewhat muted to Pinellas' new "close to home" school zones. No flood of calls to the School Board, no e-mail chains clamoring to redraw boundaries. But two board members have seen enough to want to change the plan's semantics. Noting that many families will be assigned to schools that aren't particularly "close to home," board member Linda Lerner said: "I think we need another term."
No 'Day of Silence'
Wesley Chapel High principal Andy Frelick says his school is "preaching tolerance all year." But it will not take part in the April 25 "Day of Silence," a symbolic stand against harassment and violence against gay students. The reason? Negative reaction to its involvement a few years back. "Some of the local churches kind of blasted our staff members," Frelick told the Gradebook. "It ended up being a day of intolerance, actually."
A Wise proposal
State Sen. Stephen Wise is working on a far-reaching plan to offer full college scholarships to every sixth-grader in Florida who graduates from high school. It would be funded in part from Florida Lottery and gambling proceeds, and through voluntary donations from utility customers.
For all of you who think Florida kids are up to their eyeballs in standardized tests, here's a bummer: Another test! Don't panic — it's the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which doesn't carry high-stakes consequences and which a sampling of Florida kids already take. Florida has agreed to be part of a pilot project to test a sample of 12th-graders in math and reading, beginning in 2009.
Staff writers Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler, Ron Matus, Jeffrey S. Solochek and Thomas C. Tobin contributed to this report.