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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. Jan. 21• The Education Gradebook
    State Rep. Joe Harding, R-Williston, introduces a bill to extend parental rights in public schools to the Florida House Education & Employment Committee on Jan. 20, 2022.
  2. Gov. Ron DeSantis has supported increasing parents' rights in schools, including at this July news conference regarding school masks. Florida lawmakers have focused on the issue with several bills in the first weeks of their 2022 legislative session.
  3. Pasco County schools have worked to operate normally in the face of the coronavirus. Some students have called for a return to more contact tracing as virus cases rise.
  4. Teens move between classes on the first day of school at Sunlake High in August 2021. Sunlake students are among those asking Pasco County officials to resume the practice of calling families with information on COVID-19 cases in schools.
  5. Florida Sen. Tina Polsky is among lawmakers raising concerns about legislation to restrict discussions about race in schools and businesses.
  6. Activist Ben Frazier, left, is asks to leave after shouting chants of "Allow teachers to teach the truth" during a Board of Education meeting where members banned critical race theory. The debate next heads to the Florida Legislature.
  7. Dunedin High School teacher Brandt Robinson says American history must be "taught in its entirety.” A parent recently alleged Robinson is part of an effort to indoctrinate students with leftist ideas.
  8. The Miami-Dade County School Board is seeking a replacement for superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who's headed to Los Angeles. Its search process has raised a lot of criticism.
  9. The entrance to Lealman Innovation Academy, where a substitute teacher repeatedly used a racial slur on Wednesday, according to Pinellas school officials.
  10. Jan. 13• The Education Gradebook
    A GoFundMe page features a photo of Joe Musselman, left, and his wife, Rebecca, who are seeking donations to cover legal fees for a legal challenge to Musselman’s demotion from his post as a principal for Pasco County Schools.
  11. A Motorist waits in line to be tested for COVID-19 at a new Hillsborough County testing site on Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon campus on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.
  12. Somerset Academy Jefferson County in Monticello, about 25 miles east of Tallahassee, has been Florida’s first all-charter school district. There's a debate over who should lead the district going forward. [Jessica Bakeman | WLRN News]
  13. A smiling Brittany DuQuaine, a kindergarten teacher at Lakewood Elementary in St. Petersburg, stands in the House gallery after being recognized during Gov. Ron DeSantis' State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Lakewood received an F grade from the state in 2019 but improved that to an A grade in 2021.
  14. Jan. 11• The Education Gradebook
    Florida's debate over whether to allow school mask mandates has continued for more than a year. Here Kelly Rouse, of St. Petersburg, left, Atticus Westmoreland, 8, of St. Petersburg, and Zohayra Westmoreland, 10, of St. Petersburg, stand outside the Pinellas County School Board building on in August to rally for a mask mandate.
  15. Illnesses have worsened the Pasco County school district's bus driver shortage, which prompted the School Board to alter bell schedules for the second semester. The district continues to advertise for more bus drivers.
  16. A student holds onto her mask outside Burnett Middle School in Seffner. The state's ban on mask mandates applies to some schools but not others. Private schools aren't required to comply, though many of them receive public funds through the state's voucher programs.
  17. Florida's annual sixty day legislative session begins Tuesday.
  18. Pinellas County school superintendent Mike Grego
  19. Pinellas County school superintendent Mike Grego speaks moments after being introduced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference on March 31, 2021, at Palm Harbor University High, where DeSantis announced his proposal to give $1,000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida.
  20. In this image from a University of Florida video, school president Kent Fuchs is seen with one of the many students he photobombed during a recent commencement day.
  21. A school bus travels the early morning streets of Pasco County on the way to the first day of classes in 2017. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
  22. Work was recently completed on an expansion and renovation of the Pepin Academies Pasco campus in New Port Richey.
  23. El cirujano general de Florida, Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, a la izquierda, habla en una conferencia de prensa con el gobernador de Florida, Ron DeSantis, a la derecha, el lunes 3 de enero de 2022, en el Broward Health Medical Center en Fort Lauderdale, Florida.