Florida locals taxing themselves to cover shortfalls from state cuts in education and transportation funding
For years, Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee have boasted about Florida’s charms as a low-tax state, and according to a recent report, Sunshine State residents do have the lowest tax burden in the continental United States (trailing only Alaska nationwide.) But with more than 21 million people in the state and hundreds more coming by the day, […]
Could a tragedy have been thwarted? Nikolas Cruz’s safety net had holes
Accused shooter Nikolas Cruz went without school counseling and special education services in the 14 months leading up to the Feb. 14 killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – in part because of school district errors, according to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel story. The newspaper account this past weekend was based on a heavily-redacted […]
Florida’s state retirement system isn’t exactly lucrative for women retirees
So much has been written and said about unequal pay between men and women that one financial piece of the pie can get overlooked: government pensions. Salaries are a key part in calculating pensions that state and local employees receive. That means lower pay for women, compared to men, will lead to lower pensions for […]
Will controversial education amendment get kicked off the ballot? An answer is coming soon.
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 […]
Florida adjunct professors to kick off five-city tour to promote tuition-free college, student-loan forgiveness and the need for a union
Fresh off their efforts to organize as a union call for union certification at two more colleges this month, a group of adjunct professors, students and community members are set to kick off a state-wide tour through five different cities in Florida this week. They will advocate for tuition-free college, student loan forgiveness, a minimum […]
To parents: Is your child’s “A” school really excellent? And why are D and F schools so rare?
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 […]
Conservative student group that hosted AG Jeff Sessions, chanting ‘Lock her up,’ has 23 Florida chapters
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed a crowd at a high school leadership summit Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C., when the audience began chanting the phrase “lock her up.” Sessions laughed and joined in once. He was there to speak to Turning Point USA, a national student-centric conservative group that’s growing in Florida. The group […]
Rush job on school safety law causes mental-health conundrum for families, no help from state
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 […]
Even more charter schools in Florida? Fall ballot could be “game changer”
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 […]
Public schools are now a “brand.” When did that happen?
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 […]
Stigmatizing kids? New law forces families to disclose student’s mental health treatment
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
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 […]