Today's news -- June 19, 2017



Scott’s double-whammy against public education *

With one stroke of his pen last week, Gov. Rick Scott set back progress for Florida’s public universities. And with another stroke, he did astounding damage to the state’s K-12 public schools. Nice work, Governor. In the first instance, Scott vetoed most of the policy initiatives sought by Senate President Joe Negron in hopes of catapulting Florida campuses into the nation’s top tier of public universities. That included expansions of the Bright Futures merit-scholarship program and funds to attract world-class professors and researchers and reward top-performing medical, business and law programs. Some of the initiatives will be salvaged for a year because they’re included in the new $82 billion state budget, which takes effect July 1. But with Scott’s veto of the “Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act,” they won’t be permanent. Scott did this because he thought the universities were benefiting at the expense of the 28 state colleges. Himself a product of a community college, he objected to the bill’s proposed cap on bachelor’s degrees for the usually two-year schools. He also fumed that the Legislature cut the state college system’s budget by $25 million for 2017-18. It’s true that the state colleges fared badly in Tallahassee this spring. But the way to fix those shortcomings is to address them next year — not punish universities for the advances they managed to make. Since when it is wise to throw out the baby with the bathwater? More galling is Scott’s embrace of House Bill 7069, which was rightly reviled by school boards, superintendents, classroom teachers and parents throughout the state. With Scott’s signature, $140 million of public money will be set aside to subsidize privately owned charter schools that can set up near struggling traditional public schools and call them “Schools of Hope.” That’s just one of its insults to the state’s public school system. The new law also allows charter schools to take a slice of the money that school districts raise for construction and maintenance through local property tax. In Palm Beach County, officials say that will chew an estimated $10 million, about 2 percent, out of the schools’ $400 million capital budget. Over 10 years, the loss to charter schools could reach $230 million, county officials say — public money going to buildings the public won’t own. As Rep. Janet Cruz, the House Democratic leader, put it: “Not since the creation of the unconstitutional voucher system has there been an assault on our public schools as flagrant and hurtful as what’s contained in HB 7069.” This naked payout to the for-profit charter school industry was a prime priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes. The bill that envelops it was cobbled together from a slate of education bills in closed-door negotiations at the end of the session, with no public input and little debate. It easily passed the House but cleared the Senate by the barest of margins, 20-18. Negron, R-Stuart, voted for it, perhaps in exchange for Corcoran’s support of his higher education initiatives. Now that Scott has vetoed Negron’s higher-ed bill, the more moderate Republican should be looking long and hard at his missed opportunity to have thwarted the Corcoran-led kiss-up to private school corporations. But in the end, it is the governor who, under the guise of offering more choices to students, has tightened the leash on universities trying to leap ahead and who bears responsibility for this ripoff of the public school system.


Too many decisions made in private, by just three people


Education budget jeopardizes raises for Brevard's struggling teachers (Vanessa Skipper quoted)


In Tampa, Corcoran faces hostile crowd angry about school bill (Kenny Blankenship and Naze Sahebzamani quoted)


Reactions throughout the state (Wendy Doromal quoted) (Wendy Doromal quoted) (Wendy Doromal quoted) (Joanne McCall quoted)

Volusia’s first charter high school marks shift in state education (Andrew Spar quoted)


Budget woes force the Hillsborough district to rethink its role as a job provider (Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins quoted)


Six Leon schools at risk for “Schools of Hope”


SD 40 candidate Díaz de la Portilla denounces charters bill, GOP House leaders


State senators grieve passage of controversial education bill


In two key education bills, Scott rewards Corcoran, rejects Negron


Negron got played — Florida public schools pay price


HB 7069 and its promise of “hope”


Sink: Anger over HB 7069 could be Democrats’ winning issue in 2018


Hack attacks highlight vulnerability of state schools to cyber crooks


After-school programs for poor: Boost for kids or boondoggle?


School choice: an ugly idea


Bob Graham: What happened to civics education?


Spur a love for science that spans a lifetime


From the battlefield to the classroom: Are veterans a solution to teacher shortage?


How both parties in Congress waste school officials’ valuable time


Federal Education Department says it will scale back civil rights investigations


DeVos invites anti-LGBT groups to join Father’s Day event in D.C.


For the first time, a D.C. charter school has voted to create a teachers union


Teachers at 32 charter schools vote to join the Chicago Teachers Union


South Carolina taxpayers waste $350 million on failing virtual charter schools


Indianapolis: What the public schools learned from the charter schools


GAU: UF grad assistants protected by gender identity discrimination in contract  (Charles Shields, Bobby Mermer, Alec Dinnin and John Hames quoted)


At USF and elsewhere, education schools reboot as enrollment declines


Long-awaited accreditation for Florida Poly marks school as “serious and legitimate”


Corcoran: State legislators represent people better than local governments


Corcoran’s buckets of contradictions


Tampa Bay lawmakers express regrets over legislative session


Florida lawmaker: All legislators should be armed


Trujillo got last-minute budget language OK'd to punish Miami developer


Open-government group seeks lawmakers' text messages


Armed with new fund, Scott goes job hunting again


Scott asked to respond to judicial appointments lawsuit


Florida leads country in job growth while unemployment rate dips to 10-year low


Why state politicians fought a 6-year gun battle with doctors they knew they'd lose,amp.html


Trump administration backs employers over workers on arbitration pacts


Labor groups say “sham unions” undercut other organizations


Rigged: Forced into debt, worked to exhaustion, left with nothing


The cruel Catch-22 of being poor with no ID


Rural divide


Rosenstein says he may need to recuse himself from Russia probe


Trump attacks Rosenstein in latest rebuke of Justice Department


Did Trump just lay the groundwork to fire the special counsel?


Trump’s tantrums speak volumes


Trump is girding for a fight


Trump “is not under investigation,” his lawyer insists


How Flynn’s disdain for limits led to a legal quagmire


Mueller’s team has over a century of experience at the Justice Department


Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, hires his own lawyer in Russia probe


Trump adds another lawyer to his Russia investigation team


Kushner is said to be reconsidering his legal team


Trump threatens to break the glass on DOJ succession plan


Gowdy now has the House Oversight gavel. But will he investigate Trump?


The obscure lawyer who might become the most powerful woman in Washington


Trump’s dangerous indifference to Russia


U.S. voting is hackable. Here are six things we must do to prevent chaos.


House Russia investigators want to bring in Trump digital director


How the Russia investigation entangled a Manafort protégé


Escalating investigation puts Trump and his staff at legal odds


Rubio’s friendship with Trump blossoms even as he helps investigate


Rubio: Trump “pretty fired up” about Russia investigations


Secrecy faces criticism as GOP works behind closed doors on health bill,amp.html


We asked eight Senate Republicans to explain what their health bill is trying to do


Schumer wants all-Senate gathering on health care


Secrecy surrounding healthcare bill makes us sick


Cerebral palsy didn't stop this college junior. Obamacare repeal might.


How did health care get to be such a mess?


Trump administration map of Obamacare failures is riddled with inaccuracies


Rubio cautions against rushing health care in Senate


Commission on Civil Rights to investigate enforcement under Trump


After acquittal in Castile case, activists find reasons for hope amid a sense of defeat


Grim echoes for families: An officer shoots and a jury acquits


Trump vowed to “take care” of opioid crisis, but there are few signs of action


Playing tricks with Dodd-Frank


Trump demands face time with favored Cabinet heads


Milwaukee sheriff rescinds acceptance of Homeland Security post


Zinke moving dozens of senior Interior Department officials in shake-up


Appointment of Trump wedding planner to HUD post draws outcry


Trump doesn’t care about HIV. We’re outta here.


Why Republicans won’t work for the Trump administration


White House pushes for widening war in Syria over Pentagon objections


Why is the U.S. killing so many civilians in Syria and Iraq?


As U.S. adds troops in Afghanistan, Trump’s strategy remains undefined


“The war after Isis”: Has Trump opened the door to conflict with Iran?


Trump’s Arab alliance is a mirage


Trump aides Kushner and Greenblatt to visit Israel, Palestinians this week


Trump turns clock backward on Cuba


In announcing Cuba crackdown, Trump returns to GOP base


Rubio: Trump's Cuba policy will “punish” Cuban military


Russia considers opening military base in Cuba


A hidden cost of corruption: environmental devastation


Foreign aid is a good investment


Trump reports he’s getting rich as president


Trump retains assets worth at least $1.4 billion, new disclosure shows

See the disclosure form:


Mar-a-Lago revenue soars with Trump presidency


Trump’s business ties in the Gulf raise questions about his allegiances


Russia renewed unused Trump trademarks in 2016


Indiana to pay out $100,000 to deal with requests for Pence emails


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