Plan to Revise the Constitution: Take the Public Out of Public Education

Can you imagine that the Florida House and Senate would support the repeal of the Fair Districting amendments, making the redistricting process secret, as well as rescinding constitutional bans on state support for private, religious schools?   The Miami Herald reports that these are the major goals of the legislative leaders. Florida’s constitution would have to be changed, and the process is now in place.  We need to know about this; it is real.

 

 

 

 

 

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Is a war brewing over education? Be there!!

The Tampa Bay Times reported that a bi-partisan panel of legislators voiced support for teacher pay raises and less testing in schools.  Even  more surprising was the opinion that all there should be more equity in school accountability for public schools, charter schools and private schools.  This has been a major issue in the League of Women Voters  arguments that all schools that receive state funding directly or indirectly through tax credit vouchers should meet the same testing and accountability standards.

Who is supporting public schools?  Is there a war brewing?

 

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Evil Afoot? Who is the devil?

man-1776934_640The Tampa Bay Times says yes, indeed there is evil afoot in Tallahassee.  Daniel Ruth calls on his creative writing skills to explain incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s comment that the Florida Education Association (and I suppose the League) is evil for opposing Florida tax credit vouchers for private schools.  He calls Corcoran ‘a cunning chap’ for running on a platform emphasizing the need for civility and responsible government.  Maybe Corcoran just meant for other people, not himself.  Corcoran’s message is anything but civil or responsible.

Ruth says, “Alas, this is Tallahassee where sober judgment goes to die.”

He continues with a quote from Corcoran about a group of professional educators who were trying to protect funding for public schools and opposed Corcoran’s plan to slash the education budget.

Corcoran referred to the educators as ‘the ISIS of the three Rs’.

This is not the rhetoric that leads to constructive approaches to improve student learning.  In fact, Corcoran has no apparent interest in negotiating with anyone including fellow Republican Senate President Joe  Negron.  He was quoted in the Miami Herald : “We are going to govern unabashedly principled and unabashedly conservative….That creates tensions, that creates internal strife.”

Put on your armor; you will need it.

 

 

 

 

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Florida Senate Education Leaders Provide a Balance?

legislation1Senate President Joe Negron has announced his Education Committee members.  They appear to share a broader spectrum of interests than those in the Florida House.  The Senate Education Committee Chair will be Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Republican from Volusia County.  Volusia supports public schools and has relatively few charter schools.

 

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Federal Education Policy Changes Afoot?

creature-1529281_640I have avoided posting all of the speculation about possible changes in education leadership and policy in the new administration.  It is just plain hard on my peace of mind, especially when most of it will not happen.  I firmly believe that the real changes will be through the change in leadership in the Florida legislature.  As you know, I am not sanguine on those.   You can see previous posts.

This morning, however, I ran across an article that helps us think more realistically about what change at the federal level would take.  This Ed Week article reviews legislation that would have to be amended to redirect funding.  It also points toward a likely push for school choice funding in the Congress.  It is worth a read.

 

The Silly Season Has Overtaken Us?

american-flag-1109393_640In today’s Tallahassee Democrat, Leon County Schools have been chided.  It seems the state legislature passed a measure allowing students to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance.  The Department of Education said the district went too far by creating a form to do so and putting it in the Student Handbook.  The State is involved in a lawsuit over parent’s rights to opt their children out of tests, but it is OK to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance as long as you do not tell parents?

What is that Shakespearian line:  Something is rotten in Denmark?  Should we be thinking about other things to improve our educational system?

Testing Reform to Rise Again

IMG_0471Is there hope for a rational testing system?  Senator Don Gaetz has been a moderating voice on Florida’s overwrought testing and accountability system.  He called for the reduction of the weight from 50% to 30% of the student gain scores that are counted in teacher evaluations.  Then, in the 2015 session, he proposed substituting national tests like the SAT and ACT for the FSA.  Since college bound students must take these tests anyway, it is redundant to have them sit for state assessments as well.

 

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Budget Talks on Education Break Down

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Representative Fresen refused to accept most parts of Senator Gaetz’s education funding plan.  Now, the talks will escalate to the House and Senate Appropriations committees.  It will be up to Chairmen Lee and Corcoran to hammer out a deal.  According to news reports, the only agreement between the two was to avoid increasing local property taxes to support new education funding.

 

 

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