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Florida education news: State board appointments, turnaround efforts, security plans and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Andrew Pollack, father of Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting victim Meadow Pollack. [Carolyn Kaster Associated Press]
Andrew Pollack, father of Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting victim Meadow Pollack. [Carolyn Kaster Associated Press]
Published Jan. 7, 2019

STATE BOARD: On his way out the door, Gov. Rick Scott makes 76 appointments to several Florida agencies including the State Board of Education. His choices for the board are Andrew Pollack, parent of a Parkland school shooting victim, and close ally former Rep. Tom Grady, already on the board.

TURNAROUNDS: As Volusia County school leaders seek a state A rating, they find obstacles — many self-inflicted — that more successful school districts avoid, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. One of those could be its decision not to use elementary-level math and reading textbooks, the News-Journal reports.

SCHOOL SECURITY: Some civil liberties advocates say Florida's efforts to amp up school security come at the expense of students' privacy, WFTV reports. • Mental health services get limited attention in the state's latest recommendations for improving school safety, WLRN reports. • Four Volusia County schools prepare to replace resource officers with school guards, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Several Broward County schools will begin using surveillance cameras with facial recognition software, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

ARMING TEACHERS: A Parkland parent blasts two prominent Florida sheriffs for going on NRA TV to push their agenda to allow school teachers to carry weapons in classrooms, the Miami Herald reports.

SAT DISPUTE: The College Board explains its stance in challenging the improved results of a Miami-Dade County teen, who has been accused of cheating, Black Enterprise reports.

GRADUATION RATES: Florida's high school graduation rates continue to rise even as other state measures of success remain flat. One of the key reasons is the options students have to earn a diploma outside of the state measures, the Palm Beach Post reports.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: A newly elected Polk County School Board member brings added attention to the district's exceptional education programs, the Ledger reports.

CROWDING: Marion County school district officials look into redrawing school attendance zones to ease crowding at some campuses, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP: The Florida House announces the ranking Democrats on education-related and other committees, Florida Politics reports.

FLDOE LAYOFFS: The Florida Department of Education releases 20 employees because of budget cuts, WXTL reports.

VIRTUAL SCHOOL SPAT: Florida Virtual School documents reveal the extent of the agency's former lawyer's overlapping personal, school and outside business activities, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

IN COURT: A Miami parent sues the Miami-Dade school district for negligence in allowing a teacher to remain in school despite multiple allegations of sexually harassing students, the Miami Herald reports.

BAD ACTS: A Liberty County school custodian is arrested on allegations of soliciting sex from a minor, WCTV reports. • A Miami-Dade County teacher is arrested on accusations of having sex with a student, the Miami Herald reports. • A Volusia County high school is vandalized with about $10,000 in damages, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.