Jeffrey S. Solochek - Education reporter

Education reporter

I've been an education reporter for more than 25 years, in Illinois, Texas and Florida. Why stick with it? Because I see education as key to our community, whether it's about children learning, teachers and staff working, or residents seeking the best for their tax dollars. Our school systems are critical to our society, and I strive to tell you what's going on there. I've worked at the Tampa Bay Times since 2000, covering statewide education issues as well as the districts in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Think I've missed something? Send your ideas my way. I read all my emails.

  1. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis removes his mask to speak during a news conference at Cristo Rey Tampa Salesian High School in Tampa on Thursday, June 25, 2020.  Just over a year later, the governor made clear his opposition to any further mask mandates in Florida schools.
  2. Activist Ben Frazier, left, is asks to leave after shouting chants of "Allow teachers to teach the truth" during a June 10 State Board of Education meeting, where members banned critical race theory from Florida schools.
  3. Jul. 22• The Education Gradebook
    Opponents to mandatory school masking rules demonstrate before the Hillsborough County School Board meeting on May 18, 2021. Parents across Florida continue the mask debate as the delta variant of the virus has some school officials considering a new mask rule.
  4. Robert Blount, a member of the K.C.C. High School governing board, addresses the Hillsborough County School Board on July 20, 2021, with red-shirted supporters of Woodmont and SouthShore charter schools in the audience.
  5. Jul. 20• The Education Gradebook
  6. Academy of the Holy Names Catholic School pictured on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Tampa.
  7. Jul. 2• The Education Gradebook
    Classroom teachers at Florida public district and charter schools are supposed to get $1,000 bonuses for their work during the pandemic. The state appears to be excluding some of them with new eligibility rules.
  8. Florida lawmakers set aside millions of dollars to give public school classroom teachers and principals a bonus for their hard work during the pandemic. But the eligibility criteria the state sent to school districts suggests the teachers who retired at the end of the year might not get a $1,000 check.
  9. A group of attendees listen to a speaker during the# ProtectTransKids rally outside Orlando City Hall on June 1, 2021. Several dozen supporters and activists turned out in protest of SB 1028, sweeping legislation signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier that day banning transgender youth from participating in Florida school athletics.
  10. Teacher Jen Bryant, 47, works with students Theo Leitmeyer, 5, left, Luke Gonyea, 5, center and Edg (cq) Esche, 5, right Thursday, June 24, 2021 in Largo. Seventeen students are taking part in a Rising K program that lasts four-weeks during the summer.
  11. Jun. 29• The Education Gradebook
    Hillsborough County superintendent Addison Davis announced five new school principals for the 2021-22 school year at a June 29 meeting.
  12. Teacher Jen Bryant, 47, top left, works with students Theo Leitmeyer, 5, top right, Luke Gonyea, 5, bottom right, and Edg Esche, 5, right Thursday, June 24, 2021 in Largo. Seventeen students are taking part in a Rising K program that lasts four-weeks during the summer.
  13. Kids Community College fifth grader Thaddeus Jackson, middle, rallies with his mom, guidance counselor and dozens of other charter school supporters outside the Hillsborough County School Board's June 29 special meeting. The board was scheduled to discuss its recent vote to close several charter schools.
  14. An IDEA School of Hope is seen under construction at 5050 E 10th Avenue, on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Tampa.
  15. Howard W. Blake High School on Monday, June 21, 2021 in Tampa.
  16. Students work on book cover designs using Mac desktop computers in the Commercial Academy at Tampa Bay Tech High in Tampa. Florida is expanding post-high school options for students who prefer career training over college. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  17. In this April 4, 2021, file photo provided by the American Civil Liberties Union, Brandi Levy wears her cheerleading outfit as she looks at her mobile phone outside Mahanoy Area High School in Mahanoy City, Pa. The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, June 23, 2021, that the public school wrongly suspended Levy from cheerleading over a vulgar social media post she made after she didn't qualify for the varsity team.
  18. The Pasco County school district has rules regulating off-campus speech of students in team or club uniform. District officials said they will revisit the rules in light of Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Manahoy School District vs. B.L.
  19. Florida Republican leaders say the state's university campuses need to become more welcoming to a broader range of ideas and viewpoints.
  20. Jun. 22• The Education Gradebook
    Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport will get a new principal for the first time since 2010.
  21. Joyce Vitraelli, teacher at Paul B. Stephens Exceptional Student Education Center in Clearwater, center, shares stories of her classroom experiences during the pandemic moments after being introduced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at right, during a press conference on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Palm Harbor University High School. DeSantis held the press conference to announce his proposal to give $1000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida.
  22. Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking at Palm Harbor University High in March, announces his proposal to give $1,000 bonuses to school principals and teachers as a reward for their work during the pandemic.
  23. Matanzas High School principal Jeff Reaves hand wrote and personalized notes for each of the 459 graduates and left them on their seats to read before they received their diploma.