Today's news -- May 5, 2014

 

Voucher expansion doubles down on separate but unequal schools

There are common hypocrites. There are spectacular hypocrites. And then there are Florida legislators. A more shameless group of panderers, fabricators and deceivers the world may never know. Just when you think they might be developing a collective conscience, they do something so indefensible it is practically breathtaking. Behold the case of private school vouchers. Never mind that the state Supreme Court ruled vouchers unconstitutional eight years ago, and the Legislature later concocted a back-door method to fund them. Forget about the implications of tax dollars going to private schools where teachers do not have to be certified and religious instruction can trump scientific fact. Ignore all the other disturbing details and focus on one remarkable inconsistency: Lawmakers are obsessively fanatical about accountability in public schools, and yet disturbingly unconcerned about accountability in private schools. Ain't that a kick in the class? Students, teachers and administrators are seemingly held captive by standardized tests in public schools, and yet tax revenues flow into private schools with few checks and balances and virtually no oversight. Vouchers were sold as a way for poverty-level students to attend private schools with public funds, but legislation passed Friday will dramatically expand the program into middle-class territory. "This is a sad day for public education,'' said Mindy Gould, the Florida PTA legislative chair. "This is just part of a much larger plan to privatize public education in Florida.'' Let me pause for this obligatory disclaimer: There is absolutely nothing wrong with private schools. A lot of private schools provide an educational experience that is far and away better than many public schools. So what's the problem? Just fairness. And consistency. And the safeguarding of public money. You cannot have over-the-top dependency on standardized tests in public schools, and under-the-rug disregard when it comes to private schools. Not if you plan on funneling more and more taxpayer funds toward those private schools. Look at it this way: Florida has micromanaged public education to the point of absurdity. The state's entire educational experience, including curriculum, revolves around the results of a handful of standardized tests that are far from infallible. These exams are so danged important, legislators even insist that profoundly disabled children are not always exempt. This testing devotion is so disheartening to so many parents, they are seeking any type of alternative for their child's education. And … surprise! That plays right into the Jeb Bush-mindset of creating a separate-but-unequal educational choice system that the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. And do not buy the Legislature's cockamamie argument that it has introduced accountability to the voucher system. Students will not be taking the same Common Core-inspired test given in public schools, and there will be no state ramifications for students, teachers or school funding for low scores. That's not accountability, it's a ruse. Lawmakers keep talking about parental choice, and yet they have over-legislated public schools to the point that there is no room for choice, variance or innovation in classrooms. There is one overzealous, state-mandated way to learn in public schools, and it is being pushed by the same people crying crocodile tears about parental choice. The bottom line is public schools in Florida will suffer. This continued obsession with state-mandated testing will lead to more students fleeing, and that will lead to more tax dollars flowing into private pockets. If that seems disturbing, you might want to tell your legislator: Either stop micromanaging public schools, or hold private schools to the same standards.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/legislature/romano-voucher-expansion-doubles-down-on-separate-but-unequal-schools/2178185

http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/jeb-bushs-seperate-but-unequal-educational-choice-system/

 

Did Step Up For Students buy voucher expansion?
http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/did-step-up-for-students-buy-florida-voucher-expansion/

 

Upgrade public schools

http://www.theledger.com/article/20140504/EDIT01/140509785/1036/edit?Title=School-Funding-in-Florida-Upgrade-Public-Schools

 

Education policy plays central role in 2014 session

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/schools-emerge-as-big-winner-from-florida-legislatures-session/2178202

 

Charter schools need more accountability

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/fl-mycol-oped0504-20140504,0,1157743.story

 

Charter schools have little viability

http://members.jacksonville.com/opinion/letters-readers/2014-05-02/story/sundays-lead-letter-charter-schools-have-little-visibility#.U2ZhkcuLThw.twitter

 

Charter school “waitlist” numbers call for skepticism

http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2014/05/charter-waitlists

 

Fix Florida's public schools; quit funding vouchers, charters

http://www.bradenton.com/2014/05/04/5133898/fix-floridas-public-schools-quit.html?sp=/99/196/

 

FCAT is no more; a replacement is in the works (Karen McCann quoted)
http://www.gainesville.com/article/20140504/ARTICLES/140509844/1002/news01?Title=The-FCAT-is-no-more-a-replacement-is-in-the-works

 

What do some students do during FCAT testing? Watch movies and play board games

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/04/4097348/what-do-some-students-do-during.html

 

Monroe School Board likely to impose contract on union (Holly Hummell-Gorman quoted)
http://www.keysnet.com/2014/05/03/496556/school-board-likely-to-impose.html?sp=/99/106/

http://secure.keysnews.com/enews/citizenpdf/Citizen050514-E4910B37-E259-435D-ADD6-CE741798DA69.pdf?CFID=17564685&CFTOKEN=92895027

 

State grants testing leniency to school districts impacted by flooding

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/local/state-grants-testing-leniency-to-regional-school-districts-1.314367

 

Schools seek changes to healthier lunch rules

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/schools-seek-changes-healthier-lunch-rules

 

Whose responsibility is education?

http://www.geauxteacher.net/2014/05/whose-responsibility-is-education.html

 

When did teaching lose luster?

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/education/2014/05/03/front-classroom-teaching-lose-luster/8665153/

 

Teaching is harder than working in high tech -- by a teacher who worked in high tech

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/03/teaching-is-harder-than-working-in-high-tech-by-a-teacher-who-worked-in-high-tech/

 

Pearson wins PARCC contract

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/05/03/schneider-big-surprise-not-pearson-wins-parcc-contract/

 

Do our kids get off too easy?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/opinion/sunday/do-our-kids-get-off-too-easy.html

 

Actually, Louis C.K. was right about Common Core http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/03/actually-louis-c-k-was-right-about-common-core-ravitch/

 

Houston teachers sue over controversial teacher evaluation method

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/04/30/houston-teachers-sue-over-controversial-teacher-evaluation-method/

 

Washington school board member: Duncan can keep his cynical NCLB waiver
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/04/arne-duncan-can-keep-his-cynical-nclb-waiver-washington-school-board-member/

 

Obama selects early proponent of VAM for Department of Education post

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/05/05/obama-selects-robert-gordon-early-proponent-of-vam-for-top-policy-post-in-department-of-education/

 

This is what is wrong with American education

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/05/04/this-is-what-is-wrong-with-american-education/

 

Revamped SAT won't lessen test stress, experts warn

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-sat-revisions-students-reaction-20140503,0,7980495.story

 

New state budget gives FSU, FAMU a financial boost

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20140504/POLITICSPOLICY08/305040024

 

UF students want early voting site on campus

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140505/APN/305059962

 

Dreamers thrilled about in-state tuition in Florida

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-education/dreamers-thrilled-about-in-state-tuition/nfnrc/

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/04/4097536/marc-caputo-how-house-speaker.html

 

Women are making smart decisions about paying for their college education

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/05/02/women-are-making-smart-decisions-about-paying-for-their-college-education/

 

Fight against sexual assaults holds colleges to account

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/us/fight-against-sex-crimes-holds-colleges-to-account.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/02/why-sexual-assault-cases-on-campus-are-often-investigated-by-school-not-police/

 

Legislative session ends with bipartisan spirit

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/os-florida-legislature-session-wrap-20140503-19,0,947296.story

http://staugustine.com/news/florida-news/2014-05-04/legislative-session-ends-bipartisan-spirit#.U2ZJv1e8pvE

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/floridas-gop-led-legislature-delivers-mix-of-tax-c/nfn6t/?icmp=pbp_internallink_textlink_apr2013_pbpstubtomypbp_launch

http://tbo.com/news/politics/lawmakers-show-libertarian-bent-in-election-year-session-20140503/

 

2014 session held some surprises

http://www.theledger.com/article/20140504/COLUMNISTS03/140509786/-1/APP?Title=2014-Session-Held-Some-Surprises

 

Legislature 2014: What passed and what failed

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/03/4096737/florida-legislature-2014-what.html

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=ceMdqsGZ

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/florida-legislature-winners-and-losers/nfn7h/

 

FRS change fails despite the right friends

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20140504/POLITICSPOLICY/305040029/Bill-Cotterell-FRS-change-fails-despite-right-friends

 

Sales tax holidays, discounts cap Scott’s $500 million tax cut plan

http://tbo.com/news/politics/sales-tax-holidays-discounts-cap-scotts-500m-tax-cut-plan-20140503/

 

Analysis: Working poor mothers with young children a common demographic in Florida

http://members.jacksonville.com/news/metro/2014-05-04/story/working-poor-mothers-young-children-common-demographic-florida-analysis

 

A lopsided comeback: How the housing recovery favors the rich

http://www.miamiherald.com/projects/2014/zipcode/stories/overview/

 

Doc stamp loophole keeps millions in taxes from state's coffers

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140503/ARTICLE/140509886/2416/NEWS?Title=Doc-stamp-loophole-keeps-millions-in-taxes-from-state-s-coffers

 

For Florida grapefruit, one blow after another

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/us/for-florida-grapefruit-one-blow-after-another.html

 

How the rich stole our money — and made us think they were doing us a favor

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/04/how_the_rich_stole_our_money_and_made_us_think_they_were_doing_us_a_favor/

http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/23443-the-divide-american-injustice-in-the-age-of-the-wealth-gap

 

Gallup: Number of uninsured lowest we've ever recorded

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117644/gallup-says-uninsured-down-134-percent-lowest-theyve-recorded

 

Inventing a failure

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/05/opinion/krugman-inventing-a-failure.html

 

Is net neutrality dead?

http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-is-net-neutrality-dead/

 

Federal judges aren’t supposed to hear cases in which they have a financial stake. Dozens do it anyway.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/28/law-breaking-judges-took-cases-that-could-make-them-even-richer.html

 

Vermont calls for constitutional convention to limit money in politics

http://www.vox.com/2014/5/3/5678112/vermont-calls-for-constitutional-convention-to-get-money-out-of

 

Embrace primaries to restore the sensible center

http://www.brennancenter.org/blog/embrace-primaries-restore-sensible-center

 

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