Culture & Society

Elementary school class

Should teachers stay in the classroom if they can’t pass the state’s General Knowledge Test?

BY: - March 15, 2019

Hundreds of would-be and new teachers have been failing state exams in fundamental subjects and skills, raising concerns about how to maintain a quality teaching force in Florida and fill positions in areas short of teachers. The required General Knowledge Test covers math, writing, reading, vocabulary, grammar and spelling – essentials needed to lead a […]


State lawmakers moving to kill off the venerable Florida Constitution Revision Commission

BY: - March 14, 2019

Saying it isn’t representing Florida citizens the way it should, a committee in the Republican-controlled state House voted unanimously on Thursday to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), the state panel that’s supposed to review and propose changes to the Florida Constitution every twenty years. Last year’s CRC placed eight proposed constitutional amendments on the […]

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz does a little procedural protest against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

BY: - March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives voted 420-0 to approve a resolution to make Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s forthcoming report on Russian election meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election public. But two Florida Congressmen’s votes were absent. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a vociferous backer of President Trump,  was one of four Republicans who voted “present” […]

picture of doors and ceiling

Vouchers for FL middle class families may be on the horizon

BY: - March 14, 2019

The most expansive voucher proposal yet in the state capital would allow kids in Florida’s middle class families to get “scholarships” for private schools, pushing the parameters of voucher programs that have historically served low-income students. The new “Family Empowerment Scholarship Program” proposed by the House Education Committee would allow students, at first, to be […]

Lawmakers proposing changes to Bright Future scholarships

BY: - March 14, 2019

If past is prologue, a move by the Florida Legislature to raise qualifying test scores for high school graduates seeking the popular Bright Futures college scholarships will hurt minority students. Lawmakers in the state  Senate are considering  a bill (SB 190) that would require high school students to lift their scores by the spring of […]

Fl House votes to let sick people smoke weed – Gov. DeSantis approval is next

BY: - March 13, 2019

The years-long effort to give sick people the right to smoke marijuana is near the finish line. With no debate on Wednesday, the Florida House voted 101-11 for a bill (SB 182) that will let doctors prescribe smokeable marijuana. Now, it’s up to Gov. Ron DeSantis to approve it. DeSantis has already said he supports […]

Neil Volz and Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition on March 12

We voted to give felons voting rights – now the Legislature is involved, so advocates are at the Capitol, keeping watch

BY: - March 13, 2019

Hundreds of advocates for felon voting rights have been meeting with state lawmakers this week in the state Capitol. They have three major concerns: – First and foremost, they want the Legislature to fully implement Amendment 4, the state Constitutional Amendment that more than 64 percent of Floridians supported last November. The measure restored voting […]

ACT and SAT exams show up in nationwide college admissions scandal

BY: - March 13, 2019

Thousands of students will take college entrance exams this spring — the crucial ACT and SAT tests used for college admissions. But a massive college admissions scandal made public on Tuesday has given rise to concerns about cheating and security on the exams that are supposed to be sacrosanct. Federal prosecutors have ensnared dozens of […]


The public’s right to know is threatened in the Florida Legislature

BY: - March 13, 2019

Sometimes I wonder if the Florida Legislature lives to please the National Rifle Association. One potential gift for the NRA and its gun toting supporters in this year’s legislative session includes a little bill that would make photographs, video or audio recordings that depict the scene of a mass killing exempt from the public records law. […]

Gov. DeSantis’ ride on a billionaire’s plane: Legal and ethical or questionable?

BY: - March 12, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis today defended hitching a ride on a billionaire’s plane late last month to pitch Florida to New York business leaders. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported the Republican governor made the Feb. 28 trip on a chartered jet owned by Jeffrey Soffer, who accompanied the governor. Soffer is the owner of the […]

Hydraulic fracking ban moves along in Florida Senate, despite critics

BY: - March 12, 2019

For the past couple of years in Tallahassee, state lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have supported banning the oil and gas-drilling process known as fracking — yet they haven’t gotten a bill passed into law. Lawmakers are trying again, though the anti-fracking bills this legislative session are not all the same. Take […]

An unequal criminal justice system hurts minorities: There may be one way to fix the inequities

BY: - March 12, 2019

Legal experts, political groupies and citizens following the news were surprised and even outraged last week when a federal judge sentenced former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to less than four years in prison for committing multiple felonies. Critics say the sentence exposed the vast disparities in how people of privilege fare in the […]