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How Florida’s Failing Charter Schools Exploit Voucher Program To Stay Alive on Public Dime

| September 24, 2017

Charter schools that fail two years in a row should close by law. Instead, they reopen as private schools and use publicly funded vouchers to keep operating, with the state’s blessing.

Flagler’s Elementary Schools Will Accommodate New Requirement
of 20 Minutes of Recess Per Day

| July 20, 2017

A new law requires districts to provide 100 minutes a week of free-play recess, outside of phys-ed classes, in elementary schools. Flagler was already providing close to that.

Appeals Court Skeptical Of Sitting In Judgment Over Florida’s Education Standards

| July 19, 2017

The issue is whether courts can evaluate the state’s obligation under a 1998 constitutional amendment that declares it a “paramount duty of the state” to education all children.

A School Board Will Sue the State Over Charter-Tilted Education Bill Most Districts Opposed

| July 6, 2017

The new law overhauls swaths of state education, dealing with everything from mandatory recess for elementary school students and standardized testing to charter school funding and teacher bonuses.

How the Education Bill Scott Signed Thursday Will Hurt Flagler Schools, Favoring Charters

| June 15, 2017

The Flagler school district is now 64th out of 67 in per-pupil funding, and the bill Gov. Scott signed today will force the district to turn over more money to charter schools.

Both Sides Pressuring Scott on School Bill That Drew Protest Firestorm from Education Leaders

| June 14, 2017

The bill’s passage infuriated school boards, superintendents, the state’s main teachers and other education advocates. Scott hinted that he was considering a veto at the time.

Go Ahead, Gov. Scott, Veto This Bad Education Bill in Good Conscience

| May 23, 2017

Gov. Scott has said he wants to sign only bills that are good for Florida families. This one is not. Its process was particularly dishonest — something even committed conservatives should disown when they look at it up close.

House Bill 7069 Will Change Education in Flagler For Generations, Not For the Better

| May 17, 2017

Flagler County School Board Chairman Trevor Tucker explains his opposition to a massive education bill, focusing on the bill’s preferential treatment of charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools.

Gov. Scott Faces Increasing Pressure to Veto Education Bill, Including From Flagler District

| May 17, 2017

The Flagler County School Board joined its voice to a growing chorus of demands from across the state that Gov. Rick Scott veto a massive education bill opponents consider damaging to school districts.

Critics Urge Gov. Scott to Veto Massive Education Bill as Details of Legislation Emerge

| May 9, 2017

The bill was pushed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who sparred with the governor throughout the session over economic-development incentives and tourism marketing.

Lawmakers Approve Budget With Tax Cuts, Severe Cuts to Medicaid, Minor Increase For Education and Big Boost to Charters

| May 8, 2017

The budget package includes a modest increase in per-student spending through the state’s main education formula, $521 million in Medicaid cuts for hospitals and far-reaching changes to education across the board.

Lawmakers File Bill to Limits Testing Time in Schools and Speed Up Turnaround on Scores

| February 15, 2017

The proposal would require the state’s language arts and math tests to be administered in the last three weeks of a school year, with the exception of the 3rd-grade reading exam.

Public Schools Dealt Blows in Pair of Court Decisions Favoring Vouchers and Charters

| January 20, 2017

One court decision upholds corporate tax vouchers for private schools, another diminishes the role of local school boards in deciding what charter schools may operate.

Why Are Flagler Schools Talking Rezoning Despite 2,000 Empty Seats? One Word: Choice

| January 18, 2017

Old Kings and Belle Terre elementaries are overcapacity because they’ve allowed too many out-of-zone students to enroll. Some Board members want limits on such “choice” enrollments before rezoning takes place.

Lawsuit Challenges Holding back Third Grade Students Over Standardized Tests

| August 10, 2016

At the heart of the lawsuit is a clash over whether students are required to take the Florida Standards Assessments before moving on from third grade. The “opt out” movement is part of a larger backlash against standardized testing, with many parents feeling that the state is subjecting students to too many exams.

Judge Rejects Sweeping Challenge to School System, But case May Head for Supreme Court

| May 25, 2016

A Leon County judge said lawmakers met their constitutional obligation to provide free, quality public education for Florida students, but advocates plan to appeal, laying the groundwork for a landmark opinion by the Florida Supreme Court.

Lawmakers Are Reducing Florida’s Public Schools To Factories of Failure and Inequity

| April 28, 2016

Time to take a good look at whether the changes we’ve endured — mass privatization, real-dollar funding decreases, high-stakes testing, and loss of local school board authority — gets us closer to carrying out our constitutional duty to our children.

Homeschooling: Not So Eccentric Anymore

| April 26, 2016

The number of American K–12 children educated at home increased from 1.09 million in 2003 to 1.77 million in 2012. That means they make up 3.4 percent of the nation’s school population.

Zone-Busting School Bill That Allows Student Transfers Anywhere in the State Is Now Law

| April 18, 2016

The measure would allow parents to transfer their children to any public school in the state that isn’t at capacity through an “open enrollment” process, among many other provisions in the 160-page bill.

Gov. Scott Sought $1 Billion in Tax Cuts. Senate Cuts It Down to $129 Million.

| March 3, 2016

The new tax-cut package will combine with about $290 million earmarked to hold down local property taxes that would otherwise go into the state’s school-funding formula.

Proposal Would End Local Districts’ Oversight of Charter Schools in Favor Of State Power

| February 11, 2016

The proposed constitutional amendment would set up a statewide entity with the power to approve charter schools anywhere in Florida, bypassing local school districts. The Legislature is expected to approve sending the proposal to the ballot.

Senate Looks to Boost Education Funding Beyond Scott Request, But Tax Burden Looms

| January 27, 2016

The Senate is proposing spending $7,249 a student, against Scott’s $7,220, but the increase relies on rising local property taxes, which are part of the state funding formula.

City School Districts? Lawmaker Mulling Proposed Constitutional Amendment

| January 21, 2016

The measure (HJR 539) would mark a dramatic change in how school districts are organized in Florida. The Constitution requires all districts to be made up of whole counties, though a handful of public schools are stand-alone.

Public School Testing Could Move Away From Statewide Exams as Lawmakers Study Fix

| December 10, 2015

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, is working on legislation that would allow schools to use tests other than the statewide standardized exams, which are used in some graduation and promotion decisions, teacher evaluations and school grades.

Proposal Would Allow Students to Sub Computer Coding for Foreign Language Classes

| December 4, 2015

Bill sponsor Jeremy Ring, a Margate Democrat who is a former Yahoo executive, said the proposal would give Florida students a “true leg up” in the increasingly tech-driven world.

Superintendent Apologizes Over Gender-Neutral 8th Grader Sanctioned for Wearing a Dress

| October 17, 2015

Leon County School Superintendent Jackie Pons apologized to the family of an 8th grader who identifies as neither boy nor girl, but who was accused of violating the dress code for wearing a dress on Tuesday. The violation was, in fact, committed by the school principal.

School Superintendents Have “Lost Confidence” in Florida’s Student Accountability System

| September 27, 2015

The rebuke comes after months of controversy about the new Florida Standards Assessment, which was plagued by technical problems this spring, including computer glitches and a cyberattack.

Worrisome Study in Hand, Lawmakers Question Tying Teacher Salaries to Test Scores

| September 20, 2015

The study supported the use of the Florida Standards Assessment for school grades and teacher evaluations but said that “the FSA scores for some students will be suspect” because of the computer glitches.

Everybody Likes Pre-K. Defining It Is Another Matter.

| September 12, 2015

While there’s a growing consensus on the value of preschool, states disagree on where the programs should be based, who should run them, or how the government should support them.

Getting Past Cheap Praise: Superintendent Challenges Teachers to Adopt More Perceptive Mindsets

| August 17, 2015

Speaking to 1,000 faculty members in a packed Flagler Auditorium this morning, Superintendent Jacob Oliva outlined the coming year’s objective the way savvy tech companies roll out new products.

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