1. Gradebook

Florida education news: Guns, vouchers, classroom changes and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times IB students from Strawberry High School spend the first hour of every Tuesday morning tutoring struggling readers from Bailey Elementary School in Dover, Florida on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Published May 13

GUNS IN SCHOOL: Florida law now allows classroom teachers to carry guns if their districts opt into the state’s armed guardian program, and the teachers qualify. The details of how this would work remain to be ironed out. Still, many teachers say they aren’t interested. Several districts also have no plans to participate, with Leon County being the latest to reiterate its position, WCTV reports. The Osceola County School Board says it will reconsider its stance, the Osceola News-Gazette reports.

VOUCHERS: The lawyer who successfully battled Florida’s voucher program more than a decade ago says the state’s new law provides “fertile ground” for another lawsuit.

CLASSROOM CHANGES: Not everything the Florida Legislature did relating to education policy was about controversial politics. Here are seven ideas lawmakers approved that would affect student learning.

TEACHER PAY: Pasco County teachers overwhelmingly ratify a contract for the year that’s about to end. • Collier County teachers kick off contract talks for 2019-20, the Naples Daily News reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A rejected Polk County charter school applicant prepares to appeal the district’s denial, the Ledger reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: A lawyer for suspended Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson contends Jackson should be commended, not removed from office, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • The Indian River County School Board picks three retired superintendents as finalists to serve as interim superintendent, TC Palm reports.

POST PARKLAND: The principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High will leave the school at the end of the year, the Associated Press reports. Some parents of the 2018 school shooting victims say good riddance, WPLG reports. More from the Miami Herald. • Fifty south Florida school musicians receive specially designed trombones honoring slain MSD High student Alex Schachter, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

TEACHERS NEEDED: The Clay County school district holds a job fair as it seeks more than 100 new teachers, WJAX reports.

SUBBING IN: A Polk County substitute teacher is named Kelly Educational Staffing’s Florida substitute of the year, the Ledger reports.

DRIVERS NEEDED: The St. Johns County school district adopts more aggressive tactics in its effort to fill vacant bus driver jobs, the St. Augustine Record reports.

SCHOOL SECURITY: The Clay County school district and Sheriff’s Office reach an agreement to have schools patrolled around the clock, Clay Today reports.

ATTENDANCE MATTERS: Four Marion County high school seniors will graduate never having missed a day of classes, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

SPECIAL SEND-OFF: A Palm Beach County school for students with special needs celebrates prom as its students prepare to head into the real world, the Palm Beach Post reports. • Some Lake County high school plan graduation bashes aimed at keeping students safe, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

RENOVATION PLANS: Alumni of two rival Duval County high schools keep close watch on the school district’s plans for their schools, which have been mentioned for possible mergers or other changes that would impact their community identity, the Florida Times-Union reports.

SENIOR PRANKS: A series of pranks at some Hendry County schools have caused disruption and irritation, WBBH reports.

BAD ACTS: A Lake County teacher is arrested on accusations he inappropriately touched students, the Daily Commercial reports.


  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.