TAMPA — Hillsborough teachers are sharply divided about the district's nationally watched experiment with the Gates Foundation to boost teacher performance and toughen up how they are evaluated and rewarded.
In a survey conducted last month, fewer than 35 percent of teachers thought the $100 million grant has had a positive impact on the district, had seen positive results firsthand or believed it will be a good thing for them or their school....
TAMPA — Despite generally tougher tests put in place this year, Florida school grades remained relatively stable statewide for middle and elementary schools, according to results released Thursday.
More than three-quarters of schools received an A or B, with the number of A-rated elementary schools growing by 82 and the number of F schools dropping from 44 to 31.
In Hillsborough, all three of the district's traditional elementary schools with F grades last year — Miles, Just and B.T. Washington — improved their ranking, earning a D and two C's respectively....
Despite generally tougher tests put in place this year, school grades remained relatively stable statewide for middle and elementary schools, according to results released Thursday.
More than three-quarters of schools received an A or B, with the number of A-rated elementary schools growing by 82 and the number of F-rated schools dropping from 44 to 31.
The vast majority of schools in Tampa Bay also earned A's and B's....
Despite generally tougher tests put in place this year, grades remained relatively stable statewide for middle and elementary schools, according to results released today by the Florida Department of Education.
More than three-quarters of schools received an A or B, with the number of A-rated elementary schools growing by 82 and the number of F-schools dropping from 44 to 31.
Woodlawn in St. Petersburg climbed to a C. ...
TAMPA — Exotic smells wafted from the kitchens at Freedom High School. Eighteen dishes, from Thai curry chicken and breakfast pizza to sweet potato casserole, had been prepared for a group of visiting food critics, and everything had to be just right.
The chefs had every reason to be nervous, because these weren't your run-of-the-mill fussy eaters. These judges were kids.
On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County school district asked students to sample potential additions to cafeteria menus at its second annual Fresh Flavors food-tasting expo. About 200 students, wearing "Official Taste Tester" buttons, filled out scorecards on each dish....
TAMPA — There was one thing school district and teachers union negotiators could agree on Tuesday as annual contract talks got under way in Hillsborough County: It could be worse.
While neighboring districts are facing teacher layoffs and furloughs amid historic state funding cuts, officials here have narrowed their own shortfall to just $4.4 million in the $1.7 billion operating budget. For now, at least, everyone's job is safe....
TAMPA -- As we reported Sunday, many Hillsborough teachers were shocked by the new evaluation system rolled out this year with $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Teachers who had been rated as virtually perfect in previous years learned that they needed to improve under the new system -- and fast....
TAMPA — Some teachers thrived. Others gritted their teeth and managed, while a few walked out the door.
It's been a trying year for Hillsborough teachers, as the district tried out a tough new teacher evaluation system with $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Most teachers got extra advice and support from peer evaluators or mentors. But officials expect many scores will drop compared with recent years, when 99.5 percent of teachers were rated satisfactory or better and one-third were called perfect....
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley has written a provocative essay in Education Week on the "skyboxing of education."
In it, the former Clinton Administration official takes America to task for creating a public education system that depends so completely on local property taxes and charitable donations. The result, he says, is a society in which the quality of education depends on where you live....
Now comes a report from the federal Department of Education that makes the case in detail. The study -- written by Jonathan Eckert, an assistant professor of education at Wheaton College, along with members of the federal Teaching Ambassador Fellows program -- highlights Hillsborough among a dozen school districts that presented at a national conference on labor relations last winter....
As we've previously reported, Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek has gotten a lot of mileage out of his argument that America could vault into the league of high-performing nations like Finland and Singapore if it did just one thing: get rid of the least-effective 5 to 10 percent of teachers, as measured on standardized tests, and replace them with average performers....
The days of droopy pants – or clothing that reveals underwear or skin – are numbered for Florida students.
State legislators passed a law this year banning saggy clothing in schools starting in the 2011-12 school year, and those found in violation could miss extracurricular activities or face in-school suspension.
The new requirements will be added to Pinellas schools’ code of student conduct, which went through a first revision at Tuesday's School Board meeting. Included in the proposal are the consequences of such violations, and some board members were quick to point out that these are not their idea.
“Those are state consequences, not this board’s policies,” said Robin Wikle, school board vice-chairwoman.
Chairwoman Carol Cook noted that the list of punishments overlooks a simpler, more immediate solution: by asking offending students to change.
“It doesn’t say clothing violation can be rectified, that they can change their clothes, change their shirts, or turn it inside or out whatever they want to do,” she said.
The code revision is expected to be discussed at a board workshop next month.
- Sylvia Lim, Times correspondent...
It's official: history is American students' worst subject.
That's the bottom line in the latest of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, otherwise known as the nation's report card.
Just 12 percent of seniors scored at proficient levels on the U.S. history test, with eighth graders at 17 percent and fourth graders at 20 percent, reports the New York Times. Most fourth graders struggled to recall anything important about Abraham Lincoln, and seniors mostly dropped the ball on the significance of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education....
Say what you will about teachers unions. But over in the United Kingdom the labor movement appears to be alive and kicking.
Two of Britain's largest teachers unions facing virtually the same dilemma as their counterparts in Florida -- a change in pension plans that would amount to a 3 percent pay cut -- have voted to go on strike beginning June 30. The move would affect millions of schoolchildren according to the Guardian newspaper....
It's not just teachers who could lose some social media freedom at today's Pinellas School Board meeting. Students are facing some new restrictions, too.
Under proposed revisions to the code of student conduct, both the iPad and Kindle would be added to the list of devices that are not allowed to be used in school. (See item 1 under the Non-Consent agenda. We're going to assume that the more than 2,000 Kindles purchased this year at Clearwater High as an alternative to textbooks would be exempted from this rule.)...