Today's news -- April 4, 2017

 

 

 

Senators moving toward reducing assessment tests *

A sweeping plan to reduce standardized testing in Florida's K-12 schools cleared its first state Senate committee Monday, after lawmakers struck a compromise to blend competing reform proposals. Despite political drama last week that delayed the policy discussion, senators breezed through vetting SB 926 and passed it unanimously after considering most of the amendments — all but two out of the 19 filed — in less than 15 minutes. Trilby Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson, who led the meeting, provided no time for the Education Committee to debate the changed bill or for the public to weigh in prior to the final vote. The committee ran out of time, because nearly two dozen bills were scheduled to be heard in just two hours. (The committee won't meet next week because of the Passover holiday.) "I know sometimes, with the public, it looks like we rushed through this and we went through a lot of things in a short amount of time," said Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, who sponsored the bill. "But this is the result of not just working together in the last week, but working together over the last several months." Her revised proposal represents an acknowledgment by lawmakers this year of the flaws in the state's education accountability system, such as over-testing or duplicative testing that has frustrated parents and educators. The changes approved Monday blended Flores' originally basic testing proposal with much more comprehensive — and politically more popular — reforms proposed by Tallahassee Democratic Sen. Bill Montford, a move that last week drew the ire of a top Senate Republican who came to Montford's defense. Although Flores and Hialeah Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. had promoted their joint effort as a "Fewer, Better Tests" bill, it actually proposed nothing to reduce student assessments. It originally shifted all testing to the last three weeks of the school year and required a faster turnaround time for teachers and parents to get results. Many of the changes approved Monday incorporate ideas first proposed in Montford's testing bill, SB 964. Those include eliminating end-of-course exams in geometry, Algebra II, U.S. history and civics; allowing school districts to use paper-and-pencil exams instead of computerized tests; and, repealing a controversial formula to evaluate teachers based on their students' year-over-year growth on exams. "Sometimes this is the way government has to work; you compromise to make things better," Montford said. "We must, this session, pass a bill that will give students and teachers relief...This is not a retreat from accountability at all; as a matter of fact, I believe this is the strengthening of a good state assessment program." Montford's bill wanted to let students use the SAT or ACT in lieu of the Florida Standards Assessments, but senators on the Education Committee want an independent study first to see if that's feasible and would align with Florida Standards, the state's version of Common Core. Another change to Flores' measure would let students who pass certain exams — such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests — to be exempt from the statewide assessments in those areas, beginning next school year. "Essentially what we're trying to do with this legislation — at least when it started out — was to reduce the amount of testing that we have in Florida schools," Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, said. "One of the best ways and easiest ways to do that is to leverage other tests that are trusted by parents and educators, are nationally recognized and that our students are already having to take in the course of their education. To the extent that we can utilize those tests, there's a chance that we can avoid students taking duplicative tests," he added, noting that some of those tests are "accepted and trusted by our parents much more than the FSA." The House version of Flores' initial measure — HB 773 from Diaz — has only one more hearing before it could reach the House floor. Just small changes have been made to Diaz's bill so far.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/senators-homework-pays-off-in-progress-on-reducing-student-assessment-tests/2319023?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/florida-senate-plan-would-lead-fewer-student-tests/g6UpPs9Saz9j0FdBY5HQzJ/

http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2017/04/03/committee-passes-bill-shortening-school-testing-season/99994206/

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/senate-education-committee-merges-ideas-from-two-key-testing-bills-into-one/2319002

https://apnews.com/cf91147dcf124301a116f7cd0c73339a

 

Bay teachers express frustration over state exam (Alexis Underwood quoted)
http://www.newsherald.com/news/20170401/bay-teachers-express-frustration-over-state-exam/1

 

Gadsden school board to vote on district shake-up (GCCTA mentioned)
http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2017/04/03/gadsden-school-board-vote-district-shake-up/99994524/

 

House charter expansion bill finds Senate sponsor

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/florida-house-schools-of-hope-bill-finds-senate-sponsor/2318923

 

Duval superintendent “extremely concerned” about charter legislation

http://news.wjct.org/post/duval-superintendent-extremely-concerned-about-charter-legislation

 

House committee seeks to spend $4 million to make tests public

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/florida-house-committee-seeks-to-spend-4-million-to-make-tests-public/2318963

 

Financial literacy bill moving through the Florida House

http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/Financial-literacy-418026323.html

 

Bill requiring schools teach about human trafficking passes first Senate panel

http://news.wfsu.org/post/bill-requiring-fla-schools-teach-about-human-trafficking-dangers-passes-first-senate-panel

 

Fix schools, not teachers

http://hepg.org/blog/fix-schools,-not-teachers

 

The separate, unequal education of students with special needs

http://hechingerreport.org/georgia-program-children-disabilities-separate-unequal-education/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=2c2b4e3a5c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a4f3e0748b-2c2b4e3a5c-298490665

 

It’s time to stop the clock on math anxiety: Here’s the latest research on how

http://hechingerreport.org/opinion-time-stop-clock-math-anxiety-heres-latest-research/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=2c2b4e3a5c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a4f3e0748b-2c2b4e3a5c-298490665

 

UF, GAU continue bargain over health care insurance costs (Charles Shields quoted)
http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/article_bb50db18-18e5-11e7-bfa6-d7757d852253.html

 

UCF female faculty earn less, study says

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/school-zone/os-ucf-study-gender-20170328-story.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SentinelSchoolZone+%28Sentinel+School+Zone%29

 

FGCU, state board in power struggle over president's bonus

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/education/2017/04/03/fgcu-state-board-power-struggle-over-presidents-bonus/99981390/

 

Scott's investments linked to energy firm selling land surrounding Florida Poly

http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/04/scotts-investments-link-him-to-energy-company-developing-university-he-approved-110907

 

What some colleges are quietly doing to help undocumented students

http://hechingerreport.org/colleges-quietly-help-undocumented-students/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=2c2b4e3a5c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a4f3e0748b-2c2b4e3a5c-298490665

 

On Equal Pay Day, many women in state are fed up with the wage gap

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/retail/today-is-equal-pay-day-and-in-florida-many-women-are-fed-up-with-the-wage/2319039

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2017-04-04/budget-policy-and-priorities/report-equal-pay-still-years-away-for-florida-women/a57110-1

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/what-equal-pay-day-here-s-everything-you-need-know-n741391

 

Scott takes 21 more cases from prosecutor who won't seek death penalty

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/rick-scott-takes-21-murder-cases-from-orlando-prosecutor-who-wont-seek/2318968?utm_source=TBT_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY%20BUZZ_3-27-17&utm_email=6575d82b873cf5ef9faac9fbc241bd1f

http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/04/scott-removes-ayala-from-21-more-murder-cases-110946

http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20170403/gov-scott-reassigns-21-1st-degree-murder-cases-away-from-embattled-orlando-prosecutor

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/post-nation/wp/2017/04/03/florida-governor-reassigns-21-more-murder-cases-as-part-of-death-penalty-dispute-with-prosecutor/

 

Florida’s vengeful governor

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/opinion/floridas-vengeful-governor.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170404&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=8&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

An unfair undermining of Fair Districts amendments

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/ruth-an-unfair-undermining-of-fair-districts-amendments/2318975

 

Reject term limits for appellate judges, justices

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-reject-term-limits-for-appellate-judges-justices/2318965

 

What is the CRC hiding from the public?

http://www.sar-cdn.com/opinion/2017-04-04/guest-editorial-what-crc-hiding-public

 

Tampa Bay area mayors to Legislature: Hands off our city halls

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/tampa-bay-area-mayors-to-legislature-hands-off-our-city-halls/2318979

 

Blackwater founder held secret meeting to build Trump-Putin back channel

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/blackwater-founder-held-secret-seychelles-meeting-to-establish-trump-putin-back-channel/2017/04/03/95908a08-1648-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.8ab126e8a79a&wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

 

Ex-Trump adviser gave energy documents to Russian spy, files show

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/03/trump-russia-carter-page-energy-industry-files-spy?CMP=edit_2221

 

House Intelligence Committee may resume interviews later this month

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/04/03/house-intelligence-committee-may-resume-interviews-later-this-month/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.88786cbbb2ea

 

Trump tries to deflect Russia scrutiny, citing “crooked scheme” by Obama

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/politics/twitter-trump-clinton-obama.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170404&nl=first-draft&nl_art=15&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-decries-media-lack-of-interest-in-reports-of-obama-officials-spying/2017/04/03/bd8650fe-18b6-11e7-bcc2-7d1a0973e7b2_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.2c18c53cb0d5

 

Anatomy of a fake scandal, ginned up by right-wing media and Trump

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/04/03/anatomy-of-a-fake-scandal-ginned-up-by-right-wing-media-and-trump/?utm_term=.c110a948dac6&wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

https://thinkprogress.org/amp/p/1a72785b100e

 

The White House is a smoke machine when it comes to Russia

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/03/the-white-house-is-a-smoke-machine-when-it-comes-to-russia/

 

Trump steps up effort to dispute and distract on Russia

http://saintpetersblog.com/donald-trump-steps-effort-dispute-distract-russia/

 

Fact-checking the Trumpian spin on “surveillance of Trump”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/04/04/fact-checking-the-trumpian-spin-on-surveillance-of-trump/?utm_term=.e69a4f8515b7&wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

 

Trump’s budget would hit rural towns especially hard

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-budget-would-hit-rural-towns-especially-hard--but-theyre-willing-to-trust-him/2017/04/02/51a456d4-12e3-11e7-833c-503e1f6394c9_story.html?utm_term=.813df4f91044&wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

 

Plan to cut funding for biomedical research hits opposition in Congress

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/politics/trump-medical-research-funding-nih.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170403&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y&_r=0

 

Democrats’ vow to filibuster ensures bitter fight over Gorsuch

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/politics/senate-democrats-appear-poised-to-filibuster-gorsuch-nomination.html?emc=edit_th_20170404&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=3179832

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-panel-prepares-to-consider-gorsuch-as-threat-of-filibuster-looms/2017/04/03/129bcd8c-186a-11e7-bcc2-7d1a0973e7b2_story.html?wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

https://www.thenation.com/article/democrats-should-do-everything-they-can-to-block-neil-gorsuch/

 

What these senators can agree on: They’re about to do something very bad

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/opinions/the-one-thing-these-senators-can-agree-on-theyre-about-to-do-something-very-bad/2017/04/03/3f099112-18b8-11e7-bcc2-7d1a0973e7b2_story.html

 

McConnell bets the Senate on Gorsuch

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/mcconnell-senate-gorsuch-supreme-court-236764

 

Strategic debate in Gorsuch battle: use filibuster now or later?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/us/politics/supreme-court-gorsuch-filibuster.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170404&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

 

What you need to know about the Senate filibuster

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/politics/filibuster-supreme-court-neil-gorsuch.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170403&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

 

A (probably futile) plea for sanity in the Senate

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-probably-futile-plea-for-sanity-in-the-senate/2017/04/03/01a220d8-18a8-11e7-bcc2-7d1a0973e7b2_story.html?utm_term=.710132dd19a6&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

 

The government Gorsuch wants to undo

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/sunday-review/the-government-gorsuch-wants-to-undo.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170404&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=12&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

How to end the politicization of the courts

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/opinion/how-to-end-the-politicization-of-the-courts.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170404&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=3&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

Trump is ready for tax cuts, but his Treasury Department isn’t

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/politics/tax-reform-treasury-department.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170403&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

 

Why is Trump flailing? Because Americans hate his agenda, and it’s based on lies.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/04/03/why-is-trump-flailing-because-americans-hate-his-agenda-and-its-based-on-lies/?utm_term=.a781ace63f46

 

With help from Pence, House Republicans rekindle health-care talks

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/with-help-from-pence-house-republicans-suddenly-rekindle-health-care-talks/2017/04/03/88ec08e4-1888-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.491074b2a500

 

The devastating process of dying in America without insurance

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-devastating-process-of-dying-in-america-without-insurance/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

 

Scott: Republicans must continue fight to kill Obamacare

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/rick-scott-republicans-must-continue-fight-to-kill-obamacare/2318949

 

Sessions orders Justice Department to review all police reform agreements

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-orders-justice-department-to-review-all-police-reform-agreements/2017/04/03/ba934058-18bd-11e7-9887-1a5314b56a08_story.html?utm_term=.cbe82bec02d3&wpisrc=al_alert-national&wpmk=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/justice-department-jeff-sessions-baltimore-police.html?emc=edit_na_20170403&nl=breaking-news&nlid=3179832&ref=cta

 

Visa applications pour in by truckload before door slams shut

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/tech-visa-applications-h1b.html?emc=edit_th_20170404&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=3179832

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/04/03/this-one-group-gets-70-percent-of-high-skilled-foreign-worker-visas/?utm_term=.5a34977264af&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

 

Spouses of U.S. immigrants on H-1B visas could lose their right to work

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/03/us-immigration-h1b-visa-spouse-trump-right-to-work?CMP=edit_2221

 

Fox News destroyed EPA chief Pruitt over climate change

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/03/the-left-and-right-agree-fox-news-destroyed-epa-chief-scott-pruitt-over-climate-change/?tid=pm_pop&utm_term=.00dd47e6d9ef

 

Trump won’t pay for Mar-a-Lago trips out of pocket, spokesman said

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/national-govt--politics/new-trump-won-pay-for-mar-lago-trips-out-pocket-spokesman-said/prklOF51wXXnUyPIgo6fGO/

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-pn-trump-donation-20170403-story.html

 

Trump can pull money from his businesses at will -- without ever telling us

https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-pull-money-his-businesses-whenever-he-wants-without-telling-us?utm_campaign=sprout&utm_medium=social&utm_source=sprout&utm_content=1491221180

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-can-quietly-draw-money-from-trust-whenever-he-wants-new-documents-show/2017/04/03/7f4c0002-187c-11e7-9887-1a5314b56a08_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

 

The violent rally Trump can’t move past

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/03/the-violent-rally-trump-cant-move-past/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.833e16eb1d5a

 

Kushner, the assistant with the big portfolio

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/opinion/jared-kushner-the-assistant-with-the-big-portfolio.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170403&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y&_r=0

 

Kushner has a singular and almost untouchable role in Trump’s White House

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kushner-has-a-singular-and-almost-untouchable-role-in-trumps-white-house/2017/04/03/df4e7cf8-1897-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?utm_term=.758a33512178

 

Controversial Trump aide Gorka backed violent anti-Semitic militia

http://forward.com/news/national/367937/exclusive-controversial-trump-aide-sebastian-gorka-backed-violent-anti-semi/

 

A peek into the White House swamp

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/opinion/a-peek-into-the-white-house-swamp.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170403&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

 

How Trump’s messy transition led to a chaotic presidency

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/it-went-off-the-rails-almost-immediately-how-trumps-messy-transition-led-to-a-chaotic-presidency/2017/04/03/170ec2e8-0a96-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html?utm_term=.21feedcb2fd1&wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

 

 

 

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