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Florida’s spring testing debate continues

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Florida state testing is scheduled to begin in April. Groups of educators, parents and others have called for a suspension of the high-stakes consequences attached to the results. [Associated Press]
Florida state testing is scheduled to begin in April. Groups of educators, parents and others have called for a suspension of the high-stakes consequences attached to the results. [Associated Press]
Published Mar. 10, 2021|Updated Mar. 10, 2021

Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran has remained coy about the state’s intentions with students’s spring testing results. While dodging the question of whether Florida will seek a federal waiver on the accountability requirements, Corcoran repeatedly has invoked the notion that the state will treat everyone fairly, and employ “compassion and grace.” He’s also steadfastly insisted that Florida will test. It hasn’t stopped parents, teachers and others from pressuring for more. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

Several central Florida education organizations and school board members called on the Legislature to advance a bill canceling the consequences. “We are not afraid of tests. We are afraid of using the tests to punish schools, districts and communities,” one advocate said. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Preliminary progress reports aren’t looking too hot in Hillsborough County. More than a year after a district-wide literacy audit, student results aren’t improving.

Tallahassee action

A bill to revamp student financial aid and the Bright Futures scholarship stalled before its first committee stop. Opposition from several fronts caused the sponsor to reevaluate his approach.

One proposal would expand the ability to carry weapons at schools attached to places of worship. The measure got some serious debate in its second committee stop before passing, Florida Politics reports. The Florida PTA joined other organizations in opposing the bill, Florida Phoenix reports.

Safety first. State lawmakers have proposed installing security cameras in school zones, the News Service of Florida reports.

What’s happening today? The House Secondary Education subcommittee will take up legislation on removing certain materials from schools when it meets at 9:30 a.m. • The House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee will consider a bill allowing colleges and universities to authorize charter schools when it meets at 1:30 p.m. • The House Education and Employment Committee will review a bill mandating daily moments of silence in public schools when it meets at 3:15 p.m. • The Senate Education Appropriations Committee will debate legislation allowing parents to have their children repeat a grade level in school when it meets at 3:15 p.m.

Coronavirus concerns

The Hillsborough County district announced it will hold in-person graduation ceremonies. Each senior will get to bring two guests.

Sarasota County high schools will get proms after all. There won’t be dancing, though, the Herald-Tribune reports.

The state ordered Monroe County to fully open its middle and high schools, which have been running on a hybrid schedule. The district announced it will offer full-time in-person classes beginning March 29, the Miami Herald reports.

It’s been a year since schools closed. Looking back, South Florida’s superintendents said they might have done a few things differently, WTVJ reports.

Is the pandemic affecting teacher availability? Alachua County district officials said teacher retention has remained level with non-pandemic years, the Gainesville Sun reports. Teacher union officials said the impact has been profound.

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Diversity issues

The Brevard County School Board met to discuss its anti-discrimination guidelines relating to LGBTQ students and staff. Several residents came to protest the plan, WKMG reports.

The Indian River County school district plans to hire its first chief equity officer. The concept has sparked angry debate in the community, with some residents in support and others saying they don’t see the need, TC Palm reports.

Schools need more Black male teachers. The University of South Florida’s Call Me MISTER program aims to help, the Oracle reports.

In other school news

Isn’t that the Miami-Dade schools superintendent? A social media site accused Alberto Carvalho of having an extramarital affair, including pictures, the Miami Herald reports.

Alachua County teachers ratified a new pay schedule. Those with eight or fewer years will get a sizable raise, though still not to the level Gov. Ron DeSantis targeted, WUFT reports.

A Duval County charter school abruptly fired its principal after less than a year. Parents said they got no explanation, WJXT reports.

The Broward County school district got hit with a cybersecurity attack. Students quickly regained access to programs, but many operations remained down for two days, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

From the police blotter ... A 12-year-old Walton County boy was arrested on accusations of stealing his schools’s pet guinea pig, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... Is anyone else looking forward to this?


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