FEA President Andy Ford slams parent trigger bill, ALEC and 401k’s

A Tampa Bay-area radio interview featuring Andy Ford.



House sets up "parent trigger" for passage

The Florida House on Tuesday debated a bill that will give parents a vote in turnaround options for failing public schools, as the measure continued to be assailed as a way to ease takeovers of public schools by for-profit companies. The "parent trigger" bill (HB 867) likely will be passed by the full House later this week. It would give parents a say on how to deal with a failing school through a signature drive. A companion bill (SB 862) is also moving in the Senate. Democrats, though, attempted one last push against the measure that's a favorite of former Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future. "What's preventing (parents) from having a seat at the table now?" asked Rep. Shev Jones, a West Park Democrat. Rep. Carlos Trujillo, the Miami Republican carrying the bill, answered: "This gives them a formal structure and increases democracy." Public school districts and teachers' unions -- including the Florida Education Association -- have fought against the bill for weeks, often passionately so.



This is Parent Revolution


Smearing, belittling and besmirching the PTA in Florida



Moraitis says he'll amend charter schools bill

Rep. George Moraitis plans to remove the most controversial provision from his sweeping charter schools bill, he said Tuesday. Moraitis, a Fort Lauderdale Republican, is planning to amend the proposal so that traditional public schools won't have to share unused space with charter schools, he said. The bill, HB 7009, would still give additional flexibility to high-performing charter schools, and put some new accountability measures in place. One example: school employees could no longer serve on the governing board. "There are some great things in the bill having to do with accountability and transparency," Moraitis said. "Those are the most important provisions." Moraitis said the Senate wants to take a different approach to sharing unused space in public facilities, and that he's willing to listen. The charter schools bill will likely be up for a final vote in the House this week. Its companion in the Senate, which does not include the space-sharing provision, is moving more slowly.





Florida’s school choice crowd buses in kids on a school day for political rally



Will charter schools survive the confusing charter movement?



Legislators, teachers show uncertainty of new law evaluating educators (Mark Pudlow quoted)



Broward schools debate class-size strategies




Brevard school-closure lawsuits delayed until April 15



Sarasota school media specialists battle proposed cuts


Scandal in Atlanta reignites debate over tests’ role

There are few more contentious issues in public education than the increased reliance on standardized testing. In the context of a fiery debate, the Atlanta school cheating scandal, the largest in recent history, detonates like a bomb, fueling critics who say that standardized testing as a way to measure student achievement should be scaled back. Evidence of systemic cheating has emerged in as many as a dozen places across the country, and protests in Chicago, New York City, Seattle, across Texas and elsewhere represent a growing backlash among educators and parents against high-stakes testing. “The widespread cheating and test score manipulation problem,” said Robert Schaeffer, the public education director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, “is one more example of the ways politicians’ fixation on high-stakes testing is damaging education quality and equity.” But those who say that testing helps improve the accountability of schools and teachers argue that focusing on the cheating scandals ignores the larger picture.


In response to the latest developments in the cheating scandal in the Atlanta Public Schools, AFT President Randi Weingarten and Georgia Federation of Teachers President Verdaillia Turner released a statement on the scandal and what needs to change. "We do not condone cheating under any circumstances. Academic achievement can never be separated from academic integrity, which is why the Georgia Federation of Teachers was the first whistle-blower to expose Atlanta testing irregularities," Weingarten and Turner say. "Tragically, the Atlanta cheating scandal harmed our children and it crystallizes the unintended consequences of our test-crazed policies. Standardized tests have a role in accountability, but today they dominate everything else and too often don't even correlate to what students need to know to succeed. No amount of testing will replace what works to improve teaching and learning: giving teachers the resources and tools they need to be great teachers and providing students with a rich and well-rounded curriculum. Covering up kids' academic deficiencies cheats students out of the targeted help they deserve. It is outrageous that schools in some states are spending up to 100 days a year doing test-prep or actual testing. We have to re-order our priorities and move our schools from a test-based culture to one that is deeply rooted in instruction and learning, so that our kids can become engaged participants in the knowledge economy and our democracy.”




Three quotes about Florida’s new Common Core education standards (Andy Ford has one of them)




Why Common Core tests won’t be what Duncan promised



The new challenges of teaching



How to build a progressive education movement



When real life exceeds satire: Comments on ShankerBlog’s April Fools Day post



Rhee to face federal lawsuit over wrongful termination



Who runs the reform campaign money machine?



Investments in education may be misdirected



NRA report sees guns as path to safety in schools


http://www.nea.org/home/55122.htm (Dennis Van Roekel quoted)
http://leadernet.aft.org/news/article_detail.cfm?ArticleID=3882 (Randi Weingarten quoted)

Superintendents raise questions about arming teachers in schools



School lunches: The new battlefront in the war against obesity



University tuition: Balance funding, spending



Bright Futures changes could impact thousands of Hispanic and black students



FAU must support academic freedom during controversy (by Chris Robe)


FAU protesters claim victory when GEO withdraws donations





Fear, loathing and partisanship in Senate on elections bill



Sick-time “preemption” bill gets closer to House passage



Senate committee approves Bean's Plan C for health coverage






Weatherford says “never say never” to federal money for Medicaid alternatives




Outsourced, at home



One size fits none



How Washington gifts the 1 percent






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