Monday, December 11, 2017
Education

Educators want more specifics from Gov. Rick Scott

“Education changed my life," Gov. Rick Scott said Monday.

His young life, yes. His political life? Not yet.

Two years in junior college led Scott to the Navy, then a four-year degree on the GI Bill and a law degree led to success in business.

"Education was the ticket," Scott told 200 members of the Florida Association of School Administrators at their annual legislative conference.

They included principals, assistant principals, curriculum directors and deputy school superintendents.

After the tragedy in Connecticut last month, they want safer schools.

They also want teachers to be evaluated fairly and they want more money for schools.

"Look, I support education," Scott said.

But these middle-aged educators from all over the state are not easily impressed.

"I love measurement," Scott said, and you could see his listeners taking the measure of a man trying to prove how committed he is to a better public education system.

They are waiting for Scott to put our money where his mouth is.

But he gave too few specifics, some said.

He agreed that a flawed teacher evaluation system needs to be reviewed "to make sure that it's done right."

Grady Cannon, assistant principal of Pace High near Pensacola, asked if the state will find the money to put resource officers in every school. Scott said it's a local decision because each school district is different and flexibility is important.

"I didn't really hear what I wanted to hear, but it wasn't a no," said Cannon, who wrote the governor a letter pleading that he reinstitute resource officers in all schools and add security cameras and two-way radios for support staff.

"We've got to have a legitimate conversation about school safety. What's the right way of doing it?" Scott told the group without offering his vision of what that means.

Scott also touted his plan to give $250 debit cards to teachers so they don't have to buy classroom items, and one educator asked if this were new money or would "supplant" existing funds.

Scott deferred to his education adviser, Kim McDougal, who said it's a rebranding of a program called Teacher Lead that gives teachers on average $180 for those expenses.

"Unfortunately the Legislature and governors have gotten no credit for it," McDougal said, "so we're going to rebrand to call it the Teacher Award Supply Fund."

A long, slow murmur swept through the crowd, and it didn't sound like approval.

"Look," Scott said as the murmuring subsided. "The way I look at it is, whatever we do, it's not going to be enough."

Principal Susan Keller of Tarpon Springs Middle School was not very impressed.

"It's just being called something different," Keller said of the classroom supply program. "It's not anything different. They've been getting that money for a long time."

Contact Steve Bousquet at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
‘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...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
‘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 is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

News stories about campus sexual assault often get the question, "Why do schools handle these cases, anyway?"Readers often wonder how universities got tasked with handling these convoluted cases in the first place. Where, they ask, do the police come...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Finalists were announced Tuesday for Hillsborough County Teacher of the year and other honors.Winners will be announced at a banquet on Jan. 16.The finalists for teacher of the year are: Jennifer Jackson, seventh grade science, Stewart Middle; Alexa ...
Published: 12/05/17