Today's news -- April 10. 2017




Lawmakers split on how to fix school testing *

Florida lawmakers could overhaul the state’s testing system this year, cutting the number of exams students take and reducing the impact it has on public schools. Or they could tweak it, shifting testing to later in the school year and studying whether national exams — such as the ACT and SAT — could in a few years be used in place of Florida’s current series of two dozen standardized tests. The Senate and House each have proposals, but they are far apart in both scope and details. The two testing bills (SB 926 and HB 773) are among many measures the Legislature will try to hash out before their session ends May 5. The Senate’s measure is more far reaching and has the backing of many school board members, school superintendents, teachers and parent advocacy groups, all of whom think students take too many standardized tests, which eats up too much time during the school year. Florida administered more than 3.6 million exams to students in third grade through high school last year, including the language arts and math tests that make up the Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA, as well as other standardized science and social studies tests. “For the relief of our students … this bill is critical,” said Linda Kobert, an Orange County School Board member who was in Tallahassee last week to lobby for passage of the Senate measure. But whether the House will go along with the other chamber’s suggestions remains uncertain. “Everyone is collectively holding their breath,” she said. Key House leaders say their bill, backed by one of former Gov. Jeb Bush’s influential education foundations, is more prudent, as it avoids major changes until after a study.


Fewer, better tests in Florida schools? Baloney


Beyond “1984”: Orwell’s prophetic take on high-stakes tests


DeVos praises Florida voucher program

Florida has channeled billions of taxpayer dollars into vouchers for poor children to attend private schools over the past 15 years, using tax credits to build a laboratory for school choice that the Trump administration holds up as a model for the nation. The voucher program, the largest of its kind in the country, helps pay tuition for nearly 100,000 students from low-income families. But there is scant evidence that these students fare better academically than their peers in public schools. And there is a perennial debate about whether the state should support private schools that are mostly religious, do not require teachers to hold credentials and are not required to meet minimal performance standards. Florida private schools must administer one of several standardized tests to scholarship recipients, but there are no consequences for consistently poor results. “After the students leave us, the public loses any sense of accountability or scrutiny of the outcomes,” said Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County public schools. He wonders what happens to the 25,000 students from the county who receive the scholarships. “It’s very difficult to gauge whether they’re hitting the mark.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a longtime advocate for school choice, does not seem to be bothered by that complaint. She is driven instead by the faith that children need and deserve alternatives to traditional public schools. At a recent public forum, DeVos said her record in office should be graded on expansion of choice-friendly policies. She did not embrace a suggestion that she be judged on academic outcomes. “I’m not a numbers person,” she said. In a nutshell, that explains how the Trump administration wants to change the terms of the debate over education policy in the United States.


Research shows public schools outperform private schools


“Tax credits,” the voucher as a money laundering scheme


The masquerade of school choice: a parent’s story


DeVos talks up school vouchers for military families. Not everybody is thrilled.


Teacher accountability reforms and the supply of new teachers *

Across models, we find consistent evidence that both repealing tenure and introducing high-stakes evaluation reforms reduced teacher labor supply. We estimate that number of licensures granted in states dropped by approximately 20 percent in states that adopted accountability reforms. In joint models, both tenure and evaluation reforms appear to contribute to this contraction of the labor supply.


Calhoun teachers, School Board negotiate first contract (Russell Baggett quoted),-School-Board-negotiate-first-contract.html


Superintendent scales back evaluations for Brevard teachers (Dan Bennett quoted)


Despite big dollars, House plan not attractive to top national charter school firms


Florida may soon order its children to go outside and play


Let the religious wars in Florida schools begin


Teacher: About that sulky, defiant student who I thought hated me


A former ambassador on teaching civic communication to young people


Trump says DeVos is “highly respected”, U.S. education is “so sad”


DeVos on undocumented students, Jeb Bush, bilingualism and other issues


The cost of DeVos’ security detail — nearly $8 million over nearly 8 months


What vocational education students need -- but aren’t likely to get under Trump


Arizona frees money for private schools, buoyed by Trump’s voucher push


Law professor: Arizona’s new voucher program is a farce


UF GAU rallies against higher health care costs (Charles Shields and Sebastian Sclofsky quoted) (Alec Dinnin, Armand Kapllani and Taylor Polvadore quoted)


State budgets hurt higher education


State’s low-income students could get more aid


Committee to pare list of candidates for Polk State president


Colleges turn “fake news” epidemic into a teachable moment


Loans “designed to fail”: States say Navient preyed on students


State budget plans far apart on health care, education


Tensions reflect a Republican “party in transition”


Want to change the state constitution? South Floridians offer their ideas


Don't rewrite constitution behind closed doors


CRC schedules Tallahassee meeting


Don't undermine judicial independence


Cities must fight back in war on home rule


Lawmakers try to shake the yolk of oversight


Can Florida find right mojo to lure top millennials? One survey doubts it


I think I did more investigating on Bondi-Trump U than state “investigators” did


Gorsuch confirmed by Senate as Supreme Court justice


Gorsuch could begin playing pivotal role on Supreme Court starting this week


McConnell, the man who broke America


Rubio said Senate rules change inevitable


The Gorsuch fight changed the Senate. Will it change the court?


Who needs strong, independent courts? We do.


A polarized Supreme Court, growing more so


The conservative pipeline to the Supreme Court


Conservatives hope that Trump victory on Gorsuch will breed other successes


No “death spiral”: Insurers may soon profit from Obamacare plans, analysis finds


Don't cut health care to give me a tax cut: business owner


Trump’s budget proposal is an attack on the working class


Boom or bust: Stark partisan divide on how consumers view economy


The unions that like Trump (Randi Weingarten quoted and NEA mentioned)


The gig economy’s false promise


South Florida leaders worry Trump cuts will hurt poor, affordable housing efforts


Democrats see opening in tax overhaul fight: Trump’s own deductions


Federal judge approves Baltimore police consent decree


“It did not stick”: The first federal effort to curb police abuse


More than criminals are being deported


Farmers await Trump action on visas for temporary workers


The extreme foolishness in extreme vetting proposals


Trump's rigorous asylum proposals endanger domestic abuse survivors


Up against the wall


Florida’s businesses, economy need H-1B visa workers


Buckhorn, Gillum among 100 mayors calling on Congress to fix immigration system


With a deadline looming, nobody is threatening to shut down the government


Socialize the Internet


Eleven House Republicans sign letter supporting arts endowment


America’s toxic workplace rules


Trump’s EPA shows signs it may not defend Obama-era smog protections


Proposed cuts to Superfund cut affect Florida sites


Trump’s next target is humanitarian aid – a devastating blow for millions


The Trump administration is ill-prepared for a global pandemic


How Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs


The “farcical” stats Republicans use to claim millions voted illegally


With strike aimed at halting more gas attacks, U.S. tries to send Syrians message


Syria strike puts U.S. relationship with Russia at risk


Trump raises the stakes for Russia and Iran


Acting on instinct, Trump upends his own foreign policy


Russia must explain possible role in chemical attack, top Trump adviser says


Tillerson, Haley issue differing statements on future of Assad in Syria


Rubio intensifies criticisms of Tillerson over Syria strategy


War as political weapon


Publicity stunts aren’t policy


Trump makes nice with Koch brothers


Trump fires warning shot in battle between Bannon and Kushner


How Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions


Ros-Lehtinen: Trump should oust Bannon


To charm Trump, Manafort sold himself as an affordable outsider


White House on edge as 100-day judgment nears


Trump's travel in 10 weeks cost taxpayers as much as Obama spent in two years





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