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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)
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

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The sides have not set a new date for negotiations.
  2. Tony Pirotta, right, meets with his Armwood High Ought to be a Law student club and state Rep. Susan Valdes to talk strategy for the group's latest legislative proposal. They presented their bill to state senators on Dec. 9. [JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Florida's Baker Act was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, a 65-year-old grandmother and a freshman Florida legislator from Miami-Dade County, seen here in a 1965 photo. [Associated Press]
    The law was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, then a freshman legislator from Miami-Dade County who pushed for the rights of people with mental illness.
  4. Sarah Henderson with her son, Braden, who was committed under the Baker Act after a joking remark at school. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A cop car comes. A child is handcuffed and taken to a mental health facility. The scene is all too frequent at public schools across the state.
  5. Three Armwood High School students testify before the Senate Education Committee on Dec. 9, 2019. Left to right are seniors Maria Medina, Haley Manigold and Madison Harvey. [Emily L. Mahoney | Times]
    “The people who are cynics about politics are also the ones who complain the most,” said one student, who said democracy requires participation.
  6. Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.
    The idea is part of Florida leaders’ pitch to address low teacher pay, though there is still disagreement over how to do so.
  7. The government program provides free lunches in schools that qualify, regardless of a student's family income. The idea is to erase a stigma.
    One manager lost her job, accused of taking advantage of the program she oversaw.
  8. Sally Henderson, a Hillsborough County teacher, is one of the few Florida educators to earn National Board certification since 2015.
    The state still has more teachers in the program than all states except North Carolina.
  9. Staci Plonsky holds art from son A.J., who has autism, that depicts his memory of being taken by the school resource officer to a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act law. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Chanell Newell, a reading teacher at Woodson K-8 School, is a finalist for Hillsborough Teacher of the Year. [HCPS  |  HCPS]
    The winners will be announced on Jan. 23.
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