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Will Florida drop the high stakes attached to testing this spring?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Legislation before the Florida Senate would cancel the rule that ties third grade promotion to reading test results. The bill got a boost with the support of the Senate Education Committee chairman.
Legislation before the Florida Senate would cancel the rule that ties third grade promotion to reading test results. The bill got a boost with the support of the Senate Education Committee chairman.
Published Feb. 25
Updated Feb. 25

Ever since education commissioner Richard Corcoran announced Florida would resume student testing this spring, the pushback has taken two forms — those who want all tests canceled, and those who see the exams as a valuable tool but don’t want anyone to suffer the high-stakes consequences usually associated with the results. One of those stances got a boost this week with the support of a high-profile Republican lawmaker. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

Democrats filed legislation calling for the state to hold students, teachers and schools harmless for their test scores. Senate Education Committee chairman Joe Gruters said he supports the bill and will promote it.

The concern is that students have missed out on learning over the past year, and might have fallen behind. Marion County schools have seen that trend in its progress monitoring data, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

The call keeps growing for the state to skip the testing altogether. Leon County school district officials said they’ll discuss choices and options for families seeking relief, WTXL reports.

Tallahassee action

A Hernando County lawmaker wants his local school district to return to electing superintendents. The School Board doesn’t like that idea much.

“It’s the move from ‘school choice’ to ‘education choice.’” Florida lawmakers continue to push the creation of education savings accounts, the News Service of Florida reports.

Need a primer on what, and who, to watch during session? Read this.

Charter schools

Charter schools are public schools. A divided appellate court ruled that a Palm Beach County charter school is entitled to a share of the school district’s local option property tax revenue, the News Service of Florida reports.

Nassau County has no charter schools operating there. A new applicant aims to change that trend, the Fernandina Beach News Leader reports.

A dual-language charter school has tried to open in Sarasota County for four years. It’s about to become a reality, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Florida communities with persistently low test scores can find Schools of Hope charter schools coming to town. One of those providers, IDEA, is on its way to Polk County, the Ledger reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Which teachers will get a vaccine? The answer isn’t clear, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Here’s what south Florida educators between 50 and 64 can do to get theirs, the Miami Herald reports. • One key question: Who’s a classroom teacher? WOFL reports.

The pandemic closed down schools and universities. A Jacksonville University student has sued the institution seeking a refund of fees, room and board and other payments made for services not provided in the aftermath, WJXT reports.

The CDC recommends social distancing of six feet. Bay County school district officials issued new guidelines setting a three-foot rule in its classrooms, the Panama City News Herald reports.

“She is the antithesis of what public health is all about at this very critical moment.” A Flagler County School Board member has come under criticism from local health officials for her false statements about the coronavirus during a public meeting, Flagler Live reports.

School safety

Most Florida school districts have improved their security since the 2018 Parkland school shooting. But the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission says work still remains, the Capitol News Service reports.

The state created a threat-reporting app to help identify potential problems. It has been swamped with spam, the News Service of Florida reports.

What to do about police in schools? An Osceola County school district task force is working with state Rep. Rene Plasencia to explore possible state-level changes, Spectrum 13 reports.

Other school news

Activists got the name of a Confederate soldier removed from one Alachua County school. They want more school name changes, WUFT reports.

The captain of St. Augustine High’s girls basketball team has worn a Black Lives Matter warmup shirt all season. Her principal told her not to wear it during state playoffs, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Try, try again. The Seminole County School Board plans to meet next week to reconsider its choice for its next superintendent, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

People have been talking for years about letting Orange County high school students start classes later in the morning. Next fall, three schools will run a pilot program of later start times and flexible schedules, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... “We found what was in common as opposed to focusing on what was different.” That’s just one message from the University of Miami’s trailblazing Black students and the white friends they made along the way.