Today's news -- January 11, 2017



House leaders seek spending cuts, including education *

Florida's public education system could see millions of dollars of funding reduced in the coming year, under scenarios put forth Tuesday by the state House Appropriations Committee. Citing flat revenue this year, with anticipated declines in the coming two years, chairman Rep. Carlos Trujillo asked members to go through a budget cutting exercise aimed at maintaining a balanced budget that focuses on statewide needs. "The approach should really be, does this affect the entire state," Trujillo said, suggesting that member-driven local projects should receive close scrutiny. He also called for a close look at past programs that might have been worthwhile once but perhaps have become obsolete. Money spent on one area makes it difficult to meet the bottom line, he noted. The House also has set a goal of reducing local school property taxes, while the Senate has remained more open to allowing districts to keep their tax rates stable in order to maintain level funding.

If the rates decline, school district officials have said enrollment growth could force them into more budget cutting. To get spending in line with anticipated revenue, Trujillo presented two sets of targets, one more aggressive than the other. The "easy" one asks House members to find cuts of $164.8 million in recurring and $68 million in nonrecurring PreK-12 revenue, and $106 million recurring and $38.8 million nonrecurring higher ed revenue. The tougher assumptions would more than double the reduction targets. See the committee packet for more details. The committee is expected to discuss its ideas when it meets Feb. 13.


Lee board approves pay increases for some teachers (Marc Castellano quoted)


State to Manatee: “Evaluate your teachers.” Manatee to state: “We are!” (Pat Barber quoted)


Pasco school employees leaders face reelection challenge (Kenny Blankenship, Lisa Mazza, Lee Beville, Cheryl Vinson, Don Peace and Phil Altshuler mentioned)


The teacher crisis in Duval schools (by Chris Guerrieri)


Duval debates whether to expand teacher pay incentives to other schools


Opposition grows to Senate confirmation of DeVos *

Public education was not much of an issue during the 2016 presidential campaign -- but it sure is now as opposition grows to the Senate confirmation of Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s education secretary  nominee, who once called the U.S. traditional public school system a “dead end.” The confirmation hearing by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions had been set for today, but late Monday it was postponed until Jan. 17, with panel leaders releasing a statement saying the date was changed “at the request of the Senate leadership to accommodate the Senate schedule.” They did not note that Democrats had been pushing for a delay because an ethics review of DeVos has not been completed. Matt Frendewey, national communications director of the American Federation for Children, which DeVos founded, said in an e-mail, “It’s shameful that Democrats continue to play partisan politics with hollow attempts to disrupt what’s always been a bipartisan process.” DeVos, a leader in the movement to privatize the U.S. public-education system, has quickly become a lightning rod in the education world since her nomination by Trump in November 2015. Her critics say that her long advocacy for vouchers and her push for lax regulation of charter schools reveals an antipathy to public education; they point to an August 2015 speech in which she said that the traditional public education system is a “dead end” and that “government truly sucks.” A coalition of more than 200 national nonprofit organizations on Monday sent a letter to the Senate Education Committee accusing DeVos of seeking “to undermine bedrock American principles of equal opportunity, nondiscrimination and public education itself.”  The letter was sent by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, composed of groups including the NAACP, the National Urban League, a variety of labor unions, and the League of Women Voters. The two major teachers unions are also working against her confirmation, mobilizing teachers to oppose her nomination. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, gave a speech Monday saying in part: “Betsy DeVos lacks the qualifications and experience to serve as secretary of education. Her drive to privatize education is demonstrably destructive to public schools and to the educational success of all of our children.”


Forget charter schools and vouchers *


How hedge funds will profit from school privatization *


How Pearson made a killing on the testing craze *


Louisiana: Court rules state-approved charters are unconstitutional


Feds indict former Delaware charter school chief on theft charges


40 percent of North Carolina charter school’s graduates didn’t have enough credits

Scott calls for cap on college fees


Man who lied about college degree appointed to UNF Board of Trustees (John W. White quoted),16766


As more states set hikes in minimum wages, Florida pay starts to lag


Visit Florida picks new CEO


Florida’s economic development efforts are “underperforming”


Kentucky anti-union drive a harbinger of what we will see in Washington


It’s more expensive than ever to raise a child in the U.S.


Obama, saying goodbye, warns of threats to national unity


Obama’s farewell speech was a remarkable pep talk on democracy


Trump tells GOP to replace health care law quickly


Trump’s Obamacare remedy spurs more confusion


Where’s the GOP’s health-care plan?


Every GOP claim about the Obamacare economy was dead wrong


Obamacare repeal could cost Florida jobs


Senate splits on amendment based on Trump’s entitlements campaign promise


Senior intelligence officials to testify on election hacking


A new poll has all kinds of bad news for Trump


Republicans delay hearings for four Trump Cabinet Nominees


Trump’s risky approach to the West Wing


Trump laying the groundwork for 2020 reelection bid


Why millennials aren’t afraid of socialism


How extreme partisanship opens the authoritarian door




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