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ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Dec. 17, 2017

It's time for winter break! School will be out, and so, too, will our daily and weekly roundups.  We'll return with the new year. Wishing you and yours the best. But before we go, one last set of highlights of the week's Florida education news, views, reports and more. You can keep up with our conversation on Facebook, hear our podcast, and follow our blog to get all the latest Florida education news. All tips, comments and ideas welcome. Know anyone else who'd like to get this weekly roundup or other email updates? Have them send a note to [email protected].

Top of the Times

Florida's accountability plan needs more work, federal government says, Jeffrey S. Solochek
"Florida's plan to change its education accountability and testing system as little as possible, despite changes to federal rules, ran into a roadblock this week. The U.S. Department of Education told the state that it can't simply adopt rules that run counter to the Every Student Succeeds Act, particularly without seeking waivers."
Read the feedback letter for more details.

Interest building for Pasco County’s new technical high school, Jeffrey S. Solochek
“After months of internal conversations, and just days after School Board approval, Dunning and Aguis kicked off a four-week tour during which they will present the new school to all middle and high schools serving students west of U.S. 41. Their goal: To fill the school with teens motivated by the thought of hands-on, high-tech, career-oriented education.”

Florida Supreme Court hands off HB 7069 logrolling complaint, Jeffrey S. Solochek
“An attempt by nine Florida school districts to get the state Supreme Court to knock down HB 7069 on grounds that it violated the constitutional single-subject rule is headed to the Leon County Circuit Court instead.”

Around the State

Drafting their future: Citrus High School needs director to continue school’s program, Citrus County Chronicle, Julie Gorham
“Across Citrus County and the nation, schools have been dealing with a shortage of teachers — simply put, not enough college graduates are entering the teaching field. One difficult-to-fill opening at Citrus High School, however, is for an entirely different reason — subject matter expertise.”

Experts pan School Board over closed-door meetings, Daily Commercial, Carlos E. Medina
“Lake County School’s attorney assured the School Board last week that the current practice of holding private meetings between individual board members and the district’s superintendent and staff were, in his opinion, legal and above board. Others, however, aren’t so sure, citing a long-held court ruling against similar meetings.”

Florida public-school districts bracing for lower graduation rates because of new law, TC Palm, Andrew Atterbury
“One sentence in a new state law could drag down graduation rates across the state.”

Kids, mentors connect over lunch, Gainesville Sun, Deborah Strange
“The Lunch Buddies program is part of Superintendent Karen Clarke’s strategies to bolster student reading and to tighten the achievement gap. Once a week, volunteers spend a lunch with a third-grader at four pilot elementary schools: Terwilliger, Metcalfe, Alachua and Lake Forest.”

Other Views

Equity must be priority of community, Gainesville Sun editorial
“After much talk in 2017 about the problems in our country and community, 2018 needs to be a year of action. The school district’s equity plan should expand efforts that help close Alachua County’s achievement gap, but the involvement and support of the rest of the community are a key part of ensuring that happens.”

Charter schools aren’t the enemy, Ledger guest column, charter school teacher Tegan Bombard
“I am appalled when I read that school boards around Florida, including Polk County, are supporting a lawsuit to kill fairer funding for charter schools. I know what is at stake here.”

Stop private school board meetings, Daily Commercial editorial
“You see, the courts have ruled that board members can’t use go-betweens to communicate either. So a staff member can’t tell board member A what board member B is thinking. Kornegay says that’s not occurring in these meetings. But how do we know? Remember, these meetings are private. There is no transcript of what occurred or what was said. We just have to trust everyone involved that they are not violating the Sunshine Law. Sorry, but that’s not how open, transparent government works.”

Florida’s school accountability system pays off, Tampa Bay Times guest column, Foundation for Excellence in Education CEO Patricia Levesque
“Since 1999, Florida’s K-12 reforms have made the state a national model and, more importantly, prepared more students for success in college, career and life. We cannot stop now.”

Dear Lakeland First (and everybody else), part 2: The Florida model is DEAD. Here’s how we breathe life into something NEW., Polk School Board member Billy Townsend’s blog
“Florida claims to be obsessed with data in education. That’s a lie, of course. The Jeb model has never actually cared about data on its own terms and in good faith. It has always seen data as a manipulatable political weapon to use against teachers and the very idea of egalitarian public education.  The behavior of our educrat leaders demonstrates that endlessly. But Florida claims to care. Data. Data. Data. That’s what it’s all about. Well, look at this data from a Stanford study of growth in test-based effectiveness measures between 3rd grade and 8th grade. Key fact: Purple is bad. And there are plums less purple than Florida. We literally look like a sore thumb.”

Reports of Note

Participation in High School Career and Technical Education and Postsecondary Enrollment, U.S. Department of Education
“Comparing concentrators to the two groups of nonconcentrators shows that both the number of CTE credits earned and concentrating in CTE were associated with lower postsecondary enrollment rates. Enrollment rates were highest (92 percent) for graduates who earned fewer than 3 CTE credits, lower (88 percent) for those who earned at least 3 CTE credits with no concentration, and lowest (82 percent) for concentrators.”

Coming Up

Week of Jan. 9, 2018: Legislative session begins (Senate calendar)

Jan. 17, 2018: Florida Board of Education, Tallahassee

On File

Lawmakers have begun filing education related legislation in advance of the coming session. Some of the latest notable bills are:

SB 1334, Early childhood education
HB 1035, Personalized education
SB 1306, Reading instruction
HB 1023, Public educational facilities

Gradebook: The Podcast

We’re podcasting, with newsmaker interviews and chats about the latest issues to crop up. Please take a listen, and send any thoughts, tips and ideas to [email protected].

The latest: On education foundations and their ties to school districts

Find our past episodes on SoundCloud.

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