Diane Rado

Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

Will controversial education amendment get kicked off the ballot? An answer is coming soon.

By: - July 27, 2018

A Leon County circuit court judge is expected to rule Aug. 17 on whether a controversial education amendment should get kicked off the Nov. 6 ballot. But the stakes are so high that the case likely won’t end that day. “I anticipate that this case will ultimately be decided by the Florida Supreme Court,” said […]

To parents: Is your child’s “A” school really excellent? And why are D and F schools so rare?

By: - July 26, 2018

When the Florida Department of Education last month released A through F grades for public schools, 93 percent got As, Bs and Cs, with about a third of schools posting coveted A grades in 2017-18. Adding in the very few Ds and Fs, Florida’s picture of school performance appears lopsided — not like what parents […]

Cash flows into “8isGreat” as battle over public schools – especially charter schools – continues

By: - July 23, 2018

The Republican Party of Florida, investment companies, education groups and fans of charter schools have so far contributed $167,000 to, a political committee pushing to approve a contentious education amendment to the state’s Constitution. The largest contribution was from the Florida GOP — $100,000 on June 13, according to the state’s Division of Elections. […]

chalkboard with writing

Rush job on school safety law causes mental-health conundrum for families, no help from state

By: - July 20, 2018

In the rushed, traumatic days following the February shootings at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, lawmakers scrambled to approve broad gun reforms and new laws to make schools safe. But quick legislation doesn’t always equate to good legislation, says Kenneth Trump, a well-known school security expert and consultant who has testified before Congress. Case […]

Florida Phoenix

Almost 1 in 5 public school teachers work in jobs outside of school

By: - July 19, 2018

With Florida’s meager public school teacher pay in the news, a national survey has added fuel to the fire: Nearly 1 in 5 public school teachers across the country reported that they work other jobs outside of school to boost their income. Those outside jobs include teaching and tutoring, non-teaching jobs related to the teaching […]

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Even more charter schools in Florida? Fall ballot could be “game changer”

By: - July 18, 2018

Some two decades ago, Florida introduced a new type of public school – the “charter” – designed to be free from bureaucracy and run by private groups. Today, that sprinkling of new schools has grown into one of the largest charter movements in the country, with tens of thousands of Florida students flocking to charters […]

Florida Phoenix

Public schools are now a “brand.” When did that happen?

By: - July 13, 2018

Parents and grandparents may remember when kids came home with backpacks stuffed with books, homework, notes from the teacher, field trip instructions and other info – all on pieces of paper. With the advent of the Internet, schools began posting newsletters, calendars and other paperless updates online. It was all about simple communication – until […]

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Stigmatizing kids? New law forces families to disclose student’s mental health treatment

By: - July 11, 2018

Registering a student for public school involves submitting everything from proof of immunizations, health exams and birth certificates to details about gender, race, emergency contacts and more. But the newest registration requirement this upcoming school year is a little-noticed provision that is now drawing concern, confusion and criticism as administrators grapple with Florida’s new school […]

Shooter Cruz’s mom was an “enabler,” Pinellas sheriff says

By: - July 10, 2018

Accused Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooter Nikolas Cruz had a series of behavioral and anger issues dating back to preschool, and his mother was an “enabler,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission said today. Looking back at Cruz’s behavior, “It is death by a […]

The new school culture in Florida: Armed officers at every elementary school

By: - July 6, 2018

Gay Valimont’s son attended kindergarten at a Panhandle elementary school last year, and he’ll be in first grade at the same school this coming school year. But his school won’t be the same.  Sooner or later, a “safe-school” officer, armed with a gun, will be stationed at the Santa Rosa county school, said Valimont, a […]

A “slap at teachers”

By: - July 5, 2018

The Florida Education Association, local teacher unions and educators filed a lawsuit this week, hoping to block a new law that critics say violates the state Constitution and looks a lot like union busting. The lawsuit filed in Leon County Circuit Court stems from a July 1 law that could ultimately revoke a teacher union’s […]

What does it take to pass Florida’s Algebra 1 exam? A startlingly low score

By: - July 5, 2018

For tens of thousands of public high school students, Florida’s crucial statewide Algebra 1 exam is a pathway – or a roadblock — to graduation. If they want to get their high school diplomas, kids have to pass the test. But the public may not realize that the threshold to pass is startlingly low, state […]