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Florida education news: Armed teachers, Common Core, teacher tests and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Hillcrest High School junior Bret Gillespie, junior, call for teachers to be armed during a counter-protest as classmates participate in a walkout to protest gun violence, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, Idaho Falls, Idaho, one month after the deadly shooting inside a high school in Parkland, Fla. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)
Published Mar. 20

ARMING TEACHERS: Amid vocal opposition, a Florida Senate committee will debate a bill today that would allow teachers to carry guns in their classrooms as part of the state’s guardian program. The House introduced legislation late Tuesday that would do the same thing. For some perspective on the discussion, check out this review of the guardian program since its inception.

COMMON CORE: An effort to review and revise Florida’s academic standards, which include the Common Core, is on pace to have recommendations available by fall.

TEACHER TESTS: The Florida Board of Education reduces the fees for teacher certification exams.

FUNDING: The Florida Senate calls for $1.1 billion in increased education funding, including the creation of a new voucher program, Associated Press reports. It’s more than the governor has recommended, and more generous than the House is expected to be. • A Florida House committee proposes allowing universities to spend rollover funds in the same way that has landed them in hot water for misspending, the Orlando Sentinel reports. But its overall plan is to cut higher education funding, Florida Politics reports.

AP CLASSES: Pasco County high school students ask district leaders not to cut Advanced Placement courses because of low anticipated enrollment.

VAPING: Hernando County school leaders seek ways to control a rising vaping situation among students.

FRESH FOOD: The Hernando County school district works with area farmers to bring local products to students’ school meals.

HURRICANE RELIEF: Bay County superintendent Bill Husfelt asks the state Board of Education for help as his community bounces back from Hurricane Michael, WJHG reports.

TRAFFICKING EDUCATION: The Florida House advances a bill that would require schools teach students about human trafficking, Associated Press reports.

ED REFORM: Florida has returned to the national limelight with its aggressive push to expand several aspects of the “reform” agenda including vouchers, charter schools and choice, The 74 reports. • A Florida House committee supported two bills that would allow charter school growth, Redefined reports.

MEDICAL WOES: A Broward County family says the school district is preventing their daughter from attending school because it won’t allow the nurse to give the girl medicine she needs if she suffers an epileptic seizure, WSVN reports.

TOP PRINCIPAL: A Broward County principal is named Florida Principal of the Year, WPLG reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel.

GETTING THERE: The Lake County school district purchases 27 new school buses with safety upgrades, the Daily Commercial reports.

TODAY: House PreK-12 Appropriations, 9 a.m. (On the agenda: Proposed budget conforming language) • House Higher Education, 9:30 a.m. • Senate Education Appropriations, 10 a.m. (On the agenda: Budget proposal) • Senate Infrastructure and Security, 4 p.m. (On the agenda: SB 7030, school safety — includes allowing armed teachers)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
    The rule will not change the district’s current approach to the touchy topic.
  2. Shown in 2002, Carolyn Hill, then the principal of Kenly Elementary School in east Tampa, celebrated after 78 of her students improved their state scores and were treated to lunch at The Colonnade Restaurant. Hill, now deceased, might be honored Tuesday as the Hillsborough County School Board considers naming a school for her in the SouthShore area. STAFF  |  Tampa Bay Times
    School Board members will select a name on Tuesday
  3. Alachua County school superintendent Karen Clarke welcomes the crowd at a "listening session" Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 to discuss changes in the Florida's education standards. A similar session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Jefferson High, 4401 W Cypress St. in Tampa. The Florida Channel
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. The Pinellas School Board recognized James Krull as the district's bus Driver of the Year at its meeting Tuesday. From left are board members Bill Dudley, Eileen Long, Carol Cook, Rene Flowers, Krull, and board members Nicole Carr, Joanne Lentino and Lisa Cane. Pinellas County Schools
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  5. In this image from a telecast by The Florida Channel, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks to a Gainesville crowd that came to discuss revisions to the state's education standards this past week. “We’re going to end up with the world’s best standards,” Corcoran said. The Florida Channel
    The effort, ordered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, aims to transform the way students learn in public schools. A “listening session” is set for Tampa’s Jefferson High.
  6. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times  Florida Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr., R- Hialeah; Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, watch the passage of the school voucher bill Tuesday in the Florida House.
    The new program, designed to eliminate waiting lists for tax credit scholarships, is likely to be challenged in court.
  7. A research group has raised concerns that Florida's plan to track student social media usage and collect other data will compromise children's privacy.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. Sigfredo Garcia rubs his eyes as he prepares to hear the closing arguments on Thursday in his trial on charges he killed Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel in 2014. The case went to the jury later in the day, and they will resume deliberations Friday. Tallahassee Democrat
    Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel was killed in 2014. Prosecutors blame his ex-wife, but only the hitman and his girlfriend stand trial.
  9. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Veteran teachers aren’t included. The governor can’t set teacher salaries. And a host of other concerns.
  10. Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is scheduled to lead a listening session on the state's education standards review. CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Watch the discussion on the Florida Channel.