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Thomas C. Tobin, Times Staff Writer

Thomas C. Tobin

Tom Tobin is Assistant Metro Editor / Education, Health & Medicine at the Tampa Bay Times. He has worked at the Times since 1988, serving much of that time as a government reporter. He also has reported on the Church of Scientology periodically since 1996.

As the Times' state reporter, he covered the 2000 presidential recount in Florida and wrote about subsequent efforts to retool the state's election machinery. From 2003 to 2009, he covered education, focusing on school board issues, school finance, the achievement gap and desegregation.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., he lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Kathleen, and their three children.

Phone: (727) 893-8923


  1. A fight for neighborhood schools, a tobacco ban and more


    CLOSE TO HOME: As many of Pinellas County’s zoned elementary schools lose students to magnet programs, private schools and charters, some parents are trying to revive interest in their neighborhood schools.

    NO-SMOKING ZONE: Effective Jan. 4, the University of South Florida will ban tobacco use on its Tampa campus. That means no e-cigarettes either....

  2. Catching up on cut scores, teacher shortages and more


    MAKING THE CUT: The Palm Beach Post takes a look at the debate over passing scores for the state’s new standardized tests.

    RESHUFFLING: A shortage of 70 teacher positions forces Lee County schools into some post-Thanksgiving staffing changes, the News Press reports....

  3. More on Rick Scott's education budget, an FSU official speaks under oath and more


    PERSPECTIVE: If the Legislature approved the proposed  education budget that Gov. Rick Scott describes as "historic," Florida still would rank among the nation’s lowest on spending per student, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports....

  4. Thank you



    “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

     - Carl Jung


    No news roundup today. Just a dash of inspiration and a heaping plate of gratitude for you, our treasured readers....

  5. 'White student union' Facebook pages surface at universities in Florida, elsewhere


    Some Florida universities are among more than 30 schools across the country that have seen "white student union" Facebook pages appear online in recent days.

    Newspapers in Orlando, Tallahassee and Gainesville report that the pages showed up with alleged affiliations to the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, the University of Florida and Florida International University....

  6. Race surfaces again on college campuses, the feds investigate Duval schools and more


    RACE ON CAMPUS: A Facebook page promoting a “UCF White Student Union” has appeared online, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The paper also references a Washington Post report about more than 30 similar Facebook groups at schools around the country. The Gainesville Sun reports that the University of Florida is working with Facebook to remove a “white student union” page that uses the school’s name and logo without permission. Florida State University deals with a similar issue, the Tallahassee Democrat reports....

  7. The governor's budget, Marco Rubio, suspensions and more


    THAT TIME OF YEAR: Gov. Rick Scott announces his $79.3 billion budget for next year, saying it includes a “historic” increase for education. But critics say 85 percent of the increase comes from property tax increases on homeowners and businesses.

    THE ART OF TEACHING: As a part-time teacher at Florida International University, Marco Rubio drew rave reviews in class but fell short when it came to the educational grunt work of developing reading lists and grading papers and tests....

  8. Marching band, self-driving cars, a big summit and more


    HELP ON THE WAY? The Hillsborough County school system aims to improve its most challenging schools, and troubled Sligh Middle is first on the "priority" list.

    MARCHING AHEAD: With the Paris attacks in mind, the Gulf Coast High School Marcing Band arrives in NYC for the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade with a thorough security plan, the Naples Daily News reports....

  9. Religion, contract talks, charter schools and more


    TOO MUCH? In Tampa, leaders of the Jewish Community Relations Council tell school officials they are concerned that the district's partnership with a Baptist church crosses the line....

  10. Florida House member wants education commissioner to be elected again


    News Service of Florida
    A House Republican on Friday proposed a constitutional amendment that would lead to Florida returning to an elected education commissioner who would be part of the state Cabinet.

    Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, filed the proposal (HJR 767) for consideration during the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January. If passed by the Legislature, the proposal would need to gain approval from 60 percent of Florida voters....

  11. Army vet denied readmission to USF, possible new start times in Manatee and more


    'I DON'T LIKE YOU PEOPLE': A Hillsborough County judge urges the University of South Florida to let a former U.S. Army Green Beret be readmitted to finish his degree, despite his menacing behavior toward a Muslim gas station clerk last year. The school says no to the decorated combat vet, but offers to help him transfer elsewhere....

  12. Third graders and reading, the growth of IB, fighting homlessness and more


    LEARNING TO READ: As Florida's third-grade reading scores staff, the House moves to intervene with struggling readers, get parents more involved and mandate new teaching approaches.

    They're everywhere in Florida, and growing, especially in elementary and middle schools, StateImpact Florida reports.

    A Manatee High School soccer player fights homelessness, the Bradenton Herald reports.

    More girls taking part in competitive weightlifting, the Daily Commercial reports.

    Contract, teacher raises approved by Martin County School Board, TCPalm reports.

    Bonita Springs council widens search for new high school site, the Naples Daily News reports.

    After closing, Medical College moves to sell its assets, the Miami Herald reports.

    Should the Brevard board members get one? One board member says no, Florida Today reports.

    Details emerge after Lee County board fires accused teacher, the News-Press reports.

    Review blames Palm Beach County's school busing problems on "perfect storm" of problems, the Palm Beach Post and the Sun Sentinel report.

    UCF students stage sit-in to show solidarity with protests at University of Missouri, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

    : Escambia County to review school bus hazing incident, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

    Senate panel signs off on a measure that would boost Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts, redefinED reports.

    Flagler College pitches plan today for new dorms, parking garage, the St. Augustine Record reports....

  13. Pinellas education foundation ranks No. 1 in the nation; Hillsborough not far behind


    The Pinellas Education Foundation has been named the nation's top K-12 education foundation for the second straight year in an annual ranking by dewey & associates.

    The Stepping Up study ranks the top 50 foundations in the nation, drawing from a pool of the 200 largest school districts by population. The Hillsborough Education Foundation retained its No. 6 ranking from last year.

    Stepping Up uses eight performance categories in its ranking — total revenues, revenues per student, total assets, assets per student, grant and program expenses, grant and program expenses per student, investment income and volunteers....

  14. Eckerd College rates among the top 10 'most zen schools'


    People have always known about the relaxed vibe at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, but now it's confirmed., which bills itself as “the No. 1 global community for college women,” has ranked Eckerd as one of the nation's 10 “most zen schools.” Eckerd drew the No. 9 spot....

  15. How do you reach across the generational divide and not fall flat?


    As schools opened across Florida this week, I was struck by a certain moment at Greco Middle School in Hillsborough County. Eighth grade history teacher Ryan Lynn was trying to connect with his students -- trying to build that classroom community, create relationships (the “Fourth R” of education) the way so many teachers are trained to do in the opening days of the school year....