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  1. Gradebook

Gradebook podcast: Vouchers, teachers with guns and other Florida legislative highlights

Lawmakers adopted an aggressive education agenda in 2019.
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

Left to Right: Florida Senator Manny Diaz, Jr., R- Hialeah, Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, watch the passage of a school voucher bill in the Florida House, Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
SCOTT KEELER | Times Left to Right: Florida Senator Manny Diaz, Jr., R- Hialeah, Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, watch the passage of a school voucher bill in the Florida House, Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Published May 9, 2019

With leaders’ attention on issues like immigration and health care, 2019 looked like it might not provide too many education-related fireworks for a change.

But just as in years past, the subject matter elicited some of the most heated and passionate debates of the session, with some of the specific ideas taking lawmakers down to the wire before they could adjourn for the year.

Many of the bills that grabbed the most attention came straight from the conservative playbook, whether they passed or not. Vouchers made it through. A Bible course requirement did not. Teachers carrying guns survived. School Board term limits died.

Tallahassee bureau education reporter Emily Mahoney joins Jeff Solochek for a review of the recently ended session, with some hints too of what might come next with the 2020 session set to begin in less than eight months (with committee weeks sooner than that).

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Addison Davis, the superintendent of Clay County District Schools, was chosen Tuesday as the new Hillsborough County school superintendent. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The School Board’s vote is unanimous for Davis, who calls himself “an accelerator.”
  2. In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File) [MIKE STOCKER  |  AP]
    But this year’s bill may provoke fewer fireworks than the bitter debates seen in the past two sessions.
  3. Rep. Anthony Sabatini presents his bill to create school board term limits to the Florida House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee on Jan. 21, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    The idea would require a three-fifths vote in each chamber before it could appear on the ballot.
  4. Left to Right: Ryan Petty and Andrew Pollack talk about the death of their daughters during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland before a meeting in the Capitol in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times] [Scott Keeler]
    Ryan Petty replaces Andrew Pollack, both Parkland parents. Pollack recently moved to Oregon.
  5. Pat Hall of the League of Women Voters speaks with Addison Davis, a finalist for Hillsborough Schools Superintendent, on Jan. 16 at Rampello K-8 School in Tampa. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff]
    In a last-minute push, members of the League of Women Voters want the School Board to explore Addison Davis’ possible ties to Charter Schools USA.
  6. Michael Maine is the Hernando County School District senior recruiter. [Hernando County School District]
    The district has on average 39 teacher openings.
  7. Carrie Wilson, a counselor at Challenger K-8 school, was named the 2020 teacher of the year for the Hernando County School District. [Hernando County School District]
  8. Children participate in a sorting exercise during activities in a pre-K  class in Tampa.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. A photo of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sits on a pedestal at the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020  in St. Petersburg. Guests enjoyed music, spoken word, dance and musical performances and concluded with a candle light vigil and song.  [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks Tuesday during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
    The Democratic presidential candidate said Florida places too much emphasis on school tests.
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