Friday, December 15, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Board keeps focus on standards, schoolchildren

Thank goodness for the Florida Board of Education, whose members are among the few state leaders more interested in improving public schools and following state law than pandering to a vocal and uninformed minority. The board's unanimous vote Tuesday to reaffirm support for the Common Core State Standards is in sharp contrast to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders, whose mixed signals have fueled the backlash against the standards set to take effect in 2014-15.

By next September, Florida is supposed to have overhauled how it assesses student performance to align with the internationally referenced Common Core standards. The state should finish implementing its curriculum and select appropriate standardized tests, finally reducing its reliance on the problem-riddled Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test. Such a transition is a huge undertaking even without the political circus state Republican leaders have allowed to fester.

Just this week, the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee — the hometown group of Common Core supporter and former Gov. Jeb Bush — voted to oppose the standards, erroneously calling them an unconstitutional "inappropriate overreach" of federal government. The standards are actually a product of a multistate alliance started by the bipartisan National Governors Association. What's more, the standards are a list of goals of what students should learn. It is up to each state to decide how to implement those standards, including which tests and curriculum to use.

Six weeks ago, after another education commissioner departed under a cloud, it appeared the governor was finally getting the message he needed to advocate for better public schools. Then he didn't show up for the three-day education summit he called, and now he's rumored to be considering issuing an executive order related to Common Core. There's just one problem: State law gives the Board of Education the oversight of public schools. This week, the board demonstrated it is still doing its job of looking out for schoolchildren. Now if the rest of Florida's political leadership could only do the same.

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Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Florida’s juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was defensive and obtuse. So it’s welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week won’t make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, it’s obvious that Jeff Vinik’s plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17