Who are Florida Teacher Bonuses Really For?

money packs-163497_1280Why would the Florida legislature appropriate over $44 million to give $10,000 bonuses to teachers who had  high ACT/SAT test scores when they were in high school?  Some teachers took the tests years ago, and verifying their scores is next to impossible.

Encouraging young, bright people to seek careers in education is a good thing.  Awarding a bonus might tempt some to teach for a year or two, but teacher turnover is high.  A one time bonus would not help much.  There may be another reason.

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Florida LWV Legislative Priorities Due

legislation1The Florida LWV legislative priorities are coming due.  Please make your voices heard within your local leagues.  In order to be able to advocate for our Education Team issues, we have to make it into the top priorities statewide.

Make education tops for your local league.  Here is a list of topics we expect to come up in the legislative session.  Remember that committee meetings start in September.

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Florida Leads the Nation in Corrupt Officials

jail-429633__180Some people like rules. They keep life simple. Others think rules just get in the way of getting things done.  Floridians have a reputation for avoiding as many rules as possible except for their traditional public schools.  They are rule bound, and some parents rebel. There is an escape clause called ‘school choice’.  For charters and private schools the rules are bent or removed.

Charters are supposed to save money, and theyprovide a way for private businesses to make money, lots of it.  The money comes from the state or from corporate tax rebates.  It is big money, about half of the State’s general fund.

One wonders if controls on ethics and conflict of interest are sufficiently strong to protect the public interest in education?  The buzz about Florida is that there is more self-interest than public interest than in any other state.  Are such allegations warranted?

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Charter Schools: Climate of Corruption?

dirt-59785_640In 2012, Florida received an ‘F’ on Ethics Enforcement agencies from the Center for Public Integrity.  On the overall corruption index, Florida received a C-.

Governor Scott issued an executive order to strengthen the process.  The Florida Senate changed the conflict of interest rules for legislators in 2013-14. Bad things keep happening.  Is there a legislative cabal, or are some simply insensitive to the public interest?  There are stories to tell. Continue reading

Charter School Facilities: Your Money, Their Property

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by Sue Legg, Pat Drago, and Ruth Melton

Charter schools are public schools, right?  Well  yes, but they are owned and managed by private companies.  Most of their facilities are privately owned.  If they close, the private company retains the buildings.

Charter schools should receive the same amount of money as district schools, right?  Seems fair until you think about it.

Let’s think about it.  We need to, there is a bill in the legislature.

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Florida Legislators Hear Testing Uproar

The Florida Legislature is listening.

 

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The Tampa Bay Times reported today that some testing reform is likely in the next legislative session. The article School testing poised to get scaled back by Florida lawmakers’ cites several tentative proposals for reforming assessment practices in Florida.  Senator John Legg acknowledges that testing has grown for many well intentioned reasons, but ” …one question got waylaid: How is it affecting the students?”

Proposals are surfacing, Continue reading

Brevard Schools Proactive on Informing Public about Impact of Testing

by Maria Seemer

The announcement for the Brevard School Board’s legislative platform comes with a series of public information events to explain the need for revisions to K-12 legislation in the upcoming session of the Florida Legislature.  The School Board of Brevard County Legislative Platform details changes in procedures and funding to make a more equitable educational system.  Continue reading