Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Don't let failing schools off the hook

The argument that Imagine Charter School in St. Petersburg should not be closed for poor student performance because other failing public schools are doing even worse is not persuasive. The performance at all of those schools, including Imagine, is not acceptable. The Pinellas School Board was right to shut down Imagine's elementary program, and the board members and superintendent Mike Grego should be just as aggressive in their efforts to improve the other schools.

Charter schools are about offering parents options. The schools run by private groups — some for-profit, some not — collect per-student funding just like public schools but are freed from many of the requirements placed on traditional public schools. Charter schools, for example, have looser requirements for complying with the state's class-size limits. Their students still take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and are assessed under the state's accountability system. And that has been the downfall of Imagine Charter's K-5 program. (The school's grade 6-8 program is not closing.)

Since opening in 2008, the K-5 program has collected just one grade above an F, a D in 2011. Performance on this year's FCAT suggests its 2013 grade will be just as abysmal. There also have been other concerns about Imagine, including the high rent it pays its parent company for its facility in St. Petersburg.

Most concerning for parents, of course, is that the majority of the 243 children affected by the Imagine closure are zoned for similarly failing public schools, including two under state supervision, as a Tampa Bay Times article detailed Thursday. But keeping one more poor-performing provider in the mix isn't a solution. Grego, still shy of his first anniversary as superintendent, has begun marshaling forces in hopes of turning those schools around, including switching out teachers and principals, launching an innovative summer school that has attracted several thousand students, and after-school programs for struggling students. But the district should be on notice. Poor performance that is not acceptable at a charter school is just as unacceptable at other public schools.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18