Today's news -- March 26, 2014


State Senate waters down charter school bill

The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday gutted a controversial education proposal aimed at creating a more favorable environment for charter schools. The original bill, filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, sought to require school districts and charter schools to use a standard contract developed by the state. SB 1528 also would have required local school districts to make unused facilities available to charter schools, and awarded special privileges to high-performing charter schools. But Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Trinity, filed an amendment removing all of that language, and instead creating a process for administrative law judges to hear disputes over charter school contracts. Legg also added a provision stating that a charter school cannot remove a student against his or her wishes unless the child has violated the school's code of conduct. Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat and CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, had been advocating for a similar measure. Montford said he knew of several charter schools that had withdrawn children for poor academic performance or bad behavior. In November, the Herald/Times reported that an Orlando-area charter school had threatened to dismiss students for failing the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests. "If there are some out that that adhere to those practices, this will stop that," Montford said. It's too early in the session to predict what will happen to the charter school proposal. Even though the model contract is no longer in the Senate version, it doesn't mean the language is off the table entirely. The House version, which won approval in the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday despite concerns from Democrats, still includes the model-contract and space-sharing provisions.  The Senate version has two more stops. But the Legg amendment, coupled with Sen. Bill Galvano's decision to pull his controversial voucher bill last week, sends a strong message to the House: the upper chamber does not want any controversial education bills this session.


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Adkins’ false testimony on Common Core and raw hypocrisy on accountability (Andy Ford quoted)


Walton teachers’ union stands firm in pay talks (Sandra Butler quoted)


Pasco teachers union files complaint against district over planning time (Lynne Webb quoted)


State won't fine Lake for violating class-size law (Mark Pudlow quoted),0,2394884.story,0,4396567.column (NEA mentioned)

“Slam dunk” approval for school tax in Sarasota


Stealth vouchers


False choice: Vouchers Will Destroy Public Education


Florida Tax Watch calls for reconsideration of class size amendment


Hays' textbook proposal draws criticism


Education success touted in Florida, but some say not so fast


Why computer-scored essays could eliminate the need for writing tests


Why teachers’ salaries should be doubled -- now


Trying to close a knowledge gap, word by word


The new extremists in education debate


Billionaire donates $750,000 to end teacher tenure in Missouri


Florida “DREAMers” deserve in-state tuition


Political campaign work might soon qualify for Bright Futures scholarship


State gives mystery project a nearly $21 million boost


Abandon court-packing amendment


Federal official: Key part of Florida unemployment system still doesn't work


Feds to extend sign-up period for insurance


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