Education

Statewide science scores in 5th and 8th grades dropped during the pandemic

BY: - August 3, 2021

Statewide science exams covering everything from earth and space science to physical science took a hit during the pandemic, with average passing rates lower than 50 percent for 5th and 8th graders. In 5th grade, 47 percent of students passed the state science exam in 2021, compared to 53 percent in 2019. (Florida didn’t administer […]

DeSantis angrily defends his COVID policies during an impassioned diatribe

BY: - August 3, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis lashed out Tuesday at critics of his COVID policy — especially questions about infections among school-age children. DeSantis last week issued an executive order allowing families to decide whether children should wear masks at school, essentially ignoring local school board decisions. However, most if not all districts across Florida are mask optional […]

Only 37 percent of FL 8th graders passed a crucial statewide math exam

BY: - August 3, 2021

A solid grasp of exponents, functions, properties of geometric shapes and other skills can help set up 8th graders for success in higher-level math, but in 2021, only 37 percent of 8th graders tested in Florida passed the statewide math exam. Those dismal math results — the lowest since at least 2015 — mean 8th […]

DeSantis responds to CDC’s change of mind on masks with mockery

BY: - August 2, 2021

Faced with a record spike in COVID infections, caused by the highly contagious Delta variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Gov. Ron DeSantis have settled on markedly divergent reactions. The federal public health authorities bit the bullet and reversed course, countermanding their earlier advice that vaccinated people need not wear face […]

DeSantis vows to let parents ignore local school board decisions on masks

BY: - July 30, 2021

Update: Around 4:30 p.m., Gov. Ron DeSantis issued the executive order he had described earlier Friday. It threatens to withhold state-controlled funding from school districts that do not comply. The order calls for health and education rules for “controlling the spread of COVID-19 in schools” that maintain Floridians’ constitutional freedoms, maintain parents’ rights under state […]

Discipline of minority schoolchildren in FL and elsewhere can be discriminatory and disturbing

BY: - July 30, 2021

In the fall of 2019, a little Black girl named Kaia Rolle was arrested at her Orlando school, allegedly for throwing a tantrum.  A police officer zip-tied her hands behind her back and placed her in the back of a police car for kicking a school staffer. Rolle was just 6 at the time, and […]

Sales-tax holiday on back-to-school purchases starts Saturday

BY: - July 28, 2021

A Florida sales-tax holiday on back-to-school supplies begins Saturday and ends 10 days later, on Monday, Aug. 9. Consumers will be exempt from paying Florida’s 6 percent sales tax and local-option sales taxes on clothing costing up to $60 per item, school supplies costing up to $15 per item, and up to $1,000 in value […]

Teacher in her classroom

Traditional public school educators left out from DeSantis roundtable on masks at schools

BY: - July 27, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday afternoon held a roundtable discussion about masks at schools, but he didn’t invite or include traditional public school educators, even as the new public school year looms and families and educators face decisions on mask-wearing. In addition to health officials on the roundtable, the participants included two nontraditional public charter […]

5th grade public school teacher Sarah Painter is 2022 Teacher of the Year following tough COVID-19 school year

BY: - July 26, 2021

“Find Joy.” That was the motto for 5th grade teacher Sarah Ann Painter and her students at Clearwater’s Eisenhower Elementary in Pinellas County, to help everyone get through a troublesome school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. She recalled that story in her acceptance speech at an Orlando gala announcing the 2022 Florida Teacher of the […]

The feds earmarked $15 billion for FL schools to help kids in the pandemic, but it’s largely an unused stockpile

BY: - July 26, 2021

By the spring of 2020, reality was setting in that the COVID-19 pandemic would stick around for quite some time, and Florida’s school districts were confronting an unknown education world. Districts started talks about the next school year, considering mask mandates, staggered classroom schedules and other measures to bring struggling students up to par — […]

high school classroom, school, education

White House spokesperson says DeSantis’ opposition to mask mandate in schools is ‘greatly concerning’

BY: - July 23, 2021

Following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ comments that Florida will not require kids to wear face masks in K-12 schools, a White House spokeswoman pushed back against his stance, saying that would put children and families at risk of contracting COVID-19. DeSantis has been against safety measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, such as lockdowns […]

COMMENTARY

Experts? We don’t need no experts!

BY: - July 23, 2021

Thank God our governor doesn’t listen to these quote-unquote experts trying to impose their over-educated, evidence-based, warped world view on decent, horoscope-reading, lucky socks-wearing, lottery ticket-buying, chicken entrails-reading Floridians. We’re not dumb, you know. Take the so-called global pandemic. The quote-unquote data show that Florida’s COVID-19 numbers are up 200 percent over the last two […]