FEA Weekly News Clips: February 12, 2018

Editorial: Senate Needs to Stand Up to House Bully on Education Bill
(Palm Beach Post)

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is seeking to push through the Florida Legislature an omnibus education bill, and a key component is a voucher-like program for bullied students. How apropos.

Corcoran is on a mission to fundamentally remake Florida’s public education system and he is acting every bit the bully to get his way. This time, the Florida Senate shouldn’t let him — especially not this way.

On Thursday, the House voted mostly along party lines to pass the 198-page HB 7055, a mega-bill that hits on so many different education policy issues that it arguably violates the constitutional mandate that bills be limited to “one subject.”

Editorial: Senate should reject House’s attack on public schools
(Tampa Bay Times)

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, it’s little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded with unacceptable policy changes that further grease the skids for private and charter schools, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran gamed the normal process by tying it all to school funding. The Senate, which has shown some spine in resisting Corcoran’s tactics, should take apart this mess, keep the positive changes and throw the rest out.

Romona: Does anyone have the guts to say no to the state bully?
(Tampa Bay Times)

“The education bill (HB 7055) passed by the House last week is a sham wrapped in a con and rationalized by liars. It takes political ideology and tries to dress it up in sympathetic terms.”

Florida House Passes Major Education Bill, Including Union-Busting Measure for Teachers
(Orlando Weekly)

Florida House lawmakers approved a nearly 200-page omnibus education bill Thursday with a few lines tucked inside that attacks teachers unions.

Teachers’ Unions Threatened by Florida House Bill

House Bill 7055 has been a lightning rod for controversy. The measure is known for a move to offer bullied students scholarships for private or charter schools. But, tucked away in the bill’s 200 pages, one provision threatens teachers’ unions with decertification. (Karla Hernandez-Mats President of the United Teachers of Dade was quoted)

Attack on House Speaker Richard Corcoran, HB 7055 Needs More Context

“The state’s largest teachers’ union released a 30-second ad, saying that the House’s massive education is taking tax dollars and giving them to private schools with no oversight.”

Florida Bill Would Let Bullied Students Attend Private School
(SF Gate, NBC 6)

From third to fifth grade, Alyson Hochstedler says bullies slammed her son into lockers and punched him. One threatened to stab him. The public school’s administration did little to stop his tormentors, she says, so the mother of five transferred her son to private school, using a state grant for low- and middle-income families to pay his tuition.

Hope Scholarship Moves Forward in Florida Legislature

While Florida lawmakers approved funding for the so-called Hope Scholarship program as part of the House budget proposal, bills creating the program are still making their way through the committee process.

Florida Education Targets ‘Bully’ Corcoran, State Reps Over Omnibus Education Bill
(Sunshine State News)

“This...is a clear attempt to destroy our public schools while telling professional educators they simply are not welcome in Florida,” McCall said in a statement. “Today we are asking lawmakers to stand up to Speaker Corcoran and for our children, for our teachers and for our public schools. We are asking them to say ‘enough is enough.'’

Teachers Union Asks if Republicans are ‘Too Cowardly’ to Stand Up to Richard Corcoran
(Florida Politics)

Teachers union Florida Education Association has more than a few gripes with the omnibus education bill being fast tracked by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and it’s going after a long list of Republican representatives to put a stop to it.

Lawmakers Push New Voucher Programs, Tougher Union Rules
(Orlando Sentinel)

The Florida House is pushing to create new school voucher programs and to more closely regulate local teachers unions, moves lawmakers argue will strengthen education in Florida but critics fear will undermine public schools.

Proposed Florida Education Package Would Fund Scholarships for Bullied Students to go to Private Schools
(News Channel 8)

Public school advocates are calling House Speaker Richard Corcoran a bully.

They’re angry he’s holding state funding for public schools hostage unless his controversial education package is approved.

FL House Oks Bill that Includes Naples Legislator’s School Bullying Measure
(Naples Daily News)

The Florida House passed an education bill Thursday with a provision sponsored by a Naples legislator that would allow public school students who say they were bullied to use tax dollars to pay for private school… The House adopted an unprecedented budget tie-in that would make the bulk of next year’s per student public school funding contingent on the passage of the education bill.

Florida House and Senate Pass Similar-Sized Budgets, but Fights are Ahead
(Tampa Bay Times)

Florida's House and Senate both passed competing budgets on Thursday that, while not far apart on the money, are philosophically opposed about how to pay for schools, hospitals and affordable housing.

Florida Senate Advances Bill to Provide More School Bus Rides
(Tampa Bay Times)

Hoping to prevent accidents and injuries, the Florida Senate Education Committee on Monday moved forward a bill to redefine which students qualify for school bus rides.

Florida Board of Education Member Reappointed a Year After his Term Expired
(Tampa Bay Times)

First appointed in 2015, Palm City lawyer and businessman Michael Olenick replaced Miami doctor Ada Armas for the remaining two years of her term on the Florida Board of Education.

Reading, Writing, and Bank Accounts: Should Florida Require a High School Course on Money Matters?
(Tampa Bay Times)

Sophia Lam is not ashamed to admit it.

She and others in her macroeconomics course said they’d welcome a course dedicated to teaching them about personal finances, rather than the couple of lessons they now get. State Sen. Dorothy Hukill would love to help.

Letter to the Editor: Defeat union-busting bill
(St. Augustine Record)

Let’s be clear: St Johns County public schools have been the No. 1 school district for the past several years. Yet, incredibly, our starting salary for teachers is only $38,000 — somewhere around 27th in the state! We need to protect our public school teachers.

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