Today's news -- August 25, 2017

 

 

 

 

Polk School Board right to fight a bad education law *

As sometimes witnessed during Gov. Rick Scott’s six-plus years in office — during which the state has spent almost a quarter-billion dollars on legal fees — government filing potentially unwinnable lawsuits to make a political point is not a healthy strategy. Yet sometimes a point has to be made. Thus, the Polk County School Board has rightly joined other counties in fighting the dreaded House Bill 7069, the $419 million ideological concoction that some in Tallahassee believe passes for suitable education policy. The board voted unanimously Tuesday to spend up to $25,000 to begin work on the lawsuit. The school district will likely have to expend more before the case is concluded. Yes, we realize this drains away resources from other needs for Polk’s 102,000 students — albeit a tiny bit in a $1.2 billion budget. But the Legislature was wrong to adopt this jumbled mess, as was Scott in signing it. Hopefully, the courts will do what Scott should have done with his veto pen.

http://www.theledger.com/opinion/20170825/editorial-school-board-right-to-fight-bad-education-law

 

Castor says HB 7069 runs contrary to federal law *

Some of the biggest school districts in Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Volusia and Orange counties, have filed legal challenges to House Bill 7069, the controversial education legislation that critics say will undermine local control of schools and expand the charter school system. Hillsborough County is not one of them, but it may be more inspired to after receiving a letter from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, who believes the law runs afoul of federal law, specifically Title I provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). “I understand that other school districts and educators are considering legal challenges to the troubling provisions of HB 7069 and I hope my insight on certain federal Title I provisions is helpful as you consider the same,” Castor said in her letter penned Thursday to Cindy Stuart, the chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. Castor says that under ESEA, Congress has established its clear intent that local school districts have the legal responsibility and are most knowledgeable in targeting Title I funds to develop and implement high quality, effective initiatives. “The new Florida law unlawfully allows the state of Florida to change the way Title I funds are allocated, thereby diluting the ability of school districts to educate children in Title I schools in the most effective ways,” she writes. The Tampa Democrat adds that during the recent reauthorization of ESEA, the Congress debated and ultimately rejected “portability” proposals that would have shifted more control over to the states. “The state of Florida the authority to act in contravention of the ESEA Title 1 provisions, especially when the congressional intent is so clear.” In other words, Castor believes the bill is ripe for a legal challenge.

http://saintpetersblog.com/kathy-castor-informs-hillsborough-school-board-believes-hb-7069-runs-afoul-federal-law/

 

What lawmakers must do to retain good teachers *

The nation faces a critical teacher shortage that can only be described as self-inflicted. The real tragedy in the short term is our children will suffer without trained, qualified, professional educators — but in the long term, it is the nation that will be hard-pressed to endure. Quality public education is what sustains a democracy. In order to continue as a viable republic, an informed electorate is essential. To compromise the public education system is to condemn the democratic institution to failure. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in Florida, which is the incubator for bad educational programming, undermining public education, profitizing children and driving good teachers out of the profession they love. As across the nation, Florida's children are overwhelmingly enrolled in public schools. Nearly 3 million children attend public school in Florida whereas only about 256,000 attend charters. Yet the state Legislature continues to reward charters with additional tax dollars and resources diverted from public schools' strained coffers and simultaneously exempt charters from the same rigorous demands of public education. Rather than listen to administrators, parents and educators on a variety of issues, the Legislature overrides or ignores their concerns and focuses on creating greater opportunities for charters, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of widespread waste, abuse and corruption in the ranks of charters. To recruit and retain high-quality teachers, the Florida Legislature needs to:

  • Listen to the stakeholders. Administrators, educational professionals and parent organizations have sound ideas and specific recommendations to attract quality educators and keep them on the payroll to improve educational outcomes.
  • Implement practices that meet the academic and behavioral needs of students using research-based strategies.
  • Create opportunities for educators to work collaboratively and apply research-based strategies to improve quality instruction.
  • Institute teacher leader groups to support professional development and coaching.
  • Support new teachers through mentoring and other mechanisms.
  • Validate individuals and the profession with recognition of success stories, pay incentives and continuing contracts.
  • Allow more time for teaching. Testing is not teaching, and mandated increases in paperwork or "toxic testing" reduce instruction (learning) time.
  • Provide competitive salaries. Compensation is a direct indication of value and importance in our society. (Florida ranks in the bottom 10 nationwide of teacher salaries.)
  • Retain effective teachers. Turnover is costly to districts, the overall state economy and to students (2014 statistics indicate turnover cost Floridians $130 million a year).
  • Ensure adequate funding. Florida is 41st in per-pupil spending, which should be unacceptable to all who care about children or our democracy.
  • Restore class-size limits. The one thing all research proves is that class size matters. The smaller the class size, the more all students learn, retain and progress. The Legislature consistently ignores this data and the will of Floridians who have voted overwhelmingly for smaller teacher-student ratios.

States like Florida that spend the least on students are poised to grow the most and consistently demonstrate the poorest outcomes when ranked nationally. Establishing equity nationally with teacher salaries and per-student spending would help significantly in teacher recruitment and retention. The lack of stability in staffing negatively affects student learning and outcomes. Furthermore, it deprives students of reliable advocates and erodes confidence in the system. Teachers' groups, parents and allied professionals are not the enemies as some Florida legislators have implied; instead they are the strongest advocates for a viable, sustainable, quality learning environment for all children. Legislators with no knowledge or training keep bogging down and demoralizing school personnel with top-down mandates that are not educationally sound. Legislators need to start listening to the experts, who also happen to be their constituents.

http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/08/24/11-things-florida-lawmakers-must-do-retain-good-teachers-guest-column/597349001/

 

Who funds The 74?

https://dianeravitch.net/2017/08/25/who-funds-the-74/

 

New York: Latest state tests show that opt out continues to be a powerful force

https://dianeravitch.net/2017/08/25/new-york-latest-state-tests-show-that-opt-out-continues-to-be-a-powerful-force/

 

University officials say white supremacists are recruiting their students

https://thinkprogress.org/university-of-missouri-warns-white-supremacists-dbf0e419b103/

 

The hidden cost of college: rising student fees

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/08/24/the-hidden-cost-of-college-rising-student-fees/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.e5b3587f7db3

 

Don’t fall for the misinformation campaign against Title IX reforms

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-fall-for-the-misinformation-campaign-against-title-ix-reforms/2017/08/24/1ebb4450-8834-11e7-961d-2f373b3977ee_story.html?utm_term=.31764db1b00e

 

Visit Florida pays out $441,000 in bonuses

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-visit-florida-bonuses-20170824-story.html

https://apnews.com/6be7e5a1f612447f9381cfda2df22045/Despite-scrutiny,-Florida

 

Florida lawmakers to review law targeting injured undocumented workers

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/24/545688331/florida-lawmakers-to-review-law-targeting-injured-undocumented-workers

 

Norcross, hero of Hurricane Andrew: State “not remotely prepared” for the next one

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/08/23/bryan-norcross-hero-of-hurricane-andrew-florida-is-not-remotely-prepared-for-the-next-one/?utm_term=.c889bd34e74d

 

Hurricane Harvey could send state gas prices soaring

http://malled.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/08/24/hurricane-harvey-could-send-florida-gas-prices-soaring/

 

How today’s unions help working people

http://www.epi.org/publication/how-todays-unions-help-working-people-giving-workers-the-power-to-improve-their-jobs-and-unrig-the-economy/

 

Service union plans big push to turn Midwest political tide

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/business/economy/seiu-labor-midwest-politics.html?emc=edit_cn_20170825&nl=first-draft&nl_art=&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

The cure worse than the disease: Expelling freeloaders in an open-shop state

http://newlaborforum.cuny.edu/2017/08/24/the-cure-worse-than-the-disease/

 

Administration scraps local-hiring plan for public works

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/business/dot-trump-local-hiring-public-works.html?emc=edit_cn_20170825&nl=first-draft&nl_art=&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

Schumer’s post-Charlottesville pitch: Kill president’s voting commission

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/08/24/schumers-post-charlottesville-pitch-kill-the-election-integrity-commission/?utm_term=.b3f55095902f

 

It’s time to start punishing public officials who disenfranchise voters

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-time-to-start-punishing-public-officials-who-disenfranchise-voters/2017/08/24/62c84906-8909-11e7-961d-2f373b3977ee_story.html?utm_term=.b48808d5e256

 

Judge approves limited search warrant for data on anti-Trump protesters

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-justice-department-dreamhost-20170824-story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/judge-orders-tech-company-to-release-web-user-data-from-anti-trump-website/2017/08/24/19abeac4-88e7-11e7-a50f-e0d4e6ec070a_story.html?utm_term=.87821e751a72

 

Seven times Trump tried to call off the dogs on Russia

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/24/7-times-trump-tried-to-call-off-the-dogs-on-russia/?utm_term=.68731130b025

 

Trump fences himself in with border wall spending threat

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/us/politics/trump-wall-government-shutdown-congress.html?_r=0

 

The White House clearly isn’t going to make Mexico pay for that wall

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/24/sorry-trump-supporters-the-white-house-clearly-isnt-going-to-make-mexico-pay-for-that-wall/?utm_term=.a6a05918476e

 

Trump is threatening to inflict a huge political nightmare on his fellow Republicans

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/08/24/trump-is-threatening-to-inflict-a-huge-political-nightmare-on-his-fellow-republicans/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.a482bf049155

 

Will Republicans have the guts to head off a shutdown?

https://newrepublic.com/article/144490/will-republicans-guts-head-off-shutdown

 

Feds on Trump’s shutdown threat: “It’s blackmail”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/08/25/feds-on-trumps-shutdown-threat-its-blackmail/?utm_term=.da8945998297

 

Trump distances himself from GOP lawmakers to avoid blame if agenda stalls

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-distances-himself-from-gop-lawmakers-to-elude-blame-if-agenda-stalls/2017/08/24/f5ec44a8-88e1-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html?utm_term=.3e8cf7851f93

 

Republicans learn to love debt

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/opinion/republicans-debt-ceiling-budget.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170825&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=10&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

The nun who asked Ryan about caring for the poor didn’t like his answer

https://thinkprogress.org/nun-paul-ryan-interview-2d28106d76af/

 

Ryan faces diciest stretch of his speakership

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/25/ryan-speakership-threat-crossroads-241956

 

Trump’s mistake on health care was not realizing Republicans were lying

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/25/16196824/trump-health-care-lies

 

An anti-Obamacare argument evaporates: No counties now lack exchange insurers

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/08/24/an-anti-obamacare-argument-evaporates-no-counties-now-lack-exchange-insurers/?utm_term=.4a5f4380130d

 

Fewer resources to help Central Floridians get Obamacare

http://www.wftv.com/news/9-investigates/9-investigates-fewer-resources-to-help-central-floridians-get-obamacare/597582610

 

Trump seriously considering ending DACA

https://www.axios.com/trump-seriously-considering-ending-daca-2476724345.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/08/24/dhs-reviewing-status-of-obamas-deferred-action-program-for-illegal-immigrants/?utm_term=.1910ad3ec294

 

“Dreamers” want Rubio, Diaz-Balart to oppose “massive deportation machine”

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/dreamers-want-rubio-diaz-balart-to-oppose-trumps-massive-deportation/2335034?utm_source=TBT_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY%20BUZZ_Clone%20before%20using&utm_email=6575d82b873cf5ef9faac9fbc241bd1f

 

GOP lawmakers urge Trump to keep protections for “Dreamers”

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/347891-gop-lawmakers-urge-trump-to-keep-protections-for-dreamers

 

Florida Democratic lawmakers planning dinners with “Dreamers”

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/243670-democratic-lawmakers-planning-dinners-dreamer-immigrants

 

A politician wants to persecute “Dreamers” to distract from his own felony trial

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-politician-wants-to-persecute-dreamers-to-district-from-his-own-felony-trial/2017/08/24/0ccd3648-868d-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html?utm_term=.3744d088655e

 

Data show Florida has more than 41,000 pending immigration court cases

http://www.wmfe.org/data-show-florida-has-more-than-41000-pending-immigration-court-cases/77161

 

Trump falls behind in August push for tax reform

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/24/trump-lack-of-focus-hurts-tax-reform-242004

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/24/white-house-defers-to-congress-tax-details-242011

 

The Trump administration isn’t ready for the 2020 Census

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trump-administration-isnt-ready-for-the-2020-census/2017/08/24/1808b450-8756-11e7-961d-2f373b3977ee_story.html?utm_term=.db653f32eb9f

 

Trump and Pruitt, making America polluted again

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/opinion/trump-pruitt-polluted-climate-.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170825&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=5&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

Parts of national monument in Utah may lose federal protections

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/us/bears-ears-utah-monument.html?src=twr&_r=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/08/24/interior-secretary-recommends-trump-alter-a-handful-of-national-monuments-but-declines-to-reveal-which-ones/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_monuments-3pm:homepage/story&utm_term=.74a8ebdaff1f

 

The Trump administration's national monuments “review” is a sham

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/24/the-trump-administrations-national-monuments-review-is-a-sham?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=240997&subid=7590566&CMP=GT_US_collection

 

Trump locks America into its forever war

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-signs-on-to-the-forever-war-in-afghanistan/2017/08/24/64684004-890e-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html?utm_term=.43ac476dfb7f

 

Trump’s Afghan gamble now rests on general he doubted

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/world/asia/trump-afghanistan-general-john-nicholson-.html?emc=edit_cn_20170825&nl=first-draft&nl_art=&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

Trump wants to pressure allies by cutting foreign aid. That never works.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/08/25/president-trump-wants-to-pressure-allies-by-cutting-foreign-aid-that-never-works/?utm_term=.e6d3edfd2db6

 

Kelly’s latest mission: Controlling the information flow to Trump

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/us/politics/trump-white-house-kelly-memos.html?emc=edit_cn_20170825&nl=first-draft&nlid=3179832&te=1

 

Trump’s top economic adviser just issued an unprecedented rebuke of his boss

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/25/mutiny-trumps-top-economic-adviser-just-issued-an-unprecedented-rebuke-of-his-boss/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.27f2157d637b

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/us/politics/gary-cohn-trump-charlottesville.html

 

Trump hotel at night: lobbyists, Cabinet members, $60 steaks

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/us/politics/trump-hotel-washington.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170825&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

 

Unlike Trump, most presidents emphasize our common ideals

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/08/25/unlike-trump-most-presidents-try-to-unite-americans-around-our-common-ideals-in-their-speeches/?utm_term=.b6bf1aa0ba03

 

 

 

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