Today's news -- October 12, 2017




Florida lawmakers set forth education funding priorities

Chairing her first meeting of the Florida Senate PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, asked her panel's member to list their priorities for the coming session, and then she offered some of her own. Passidomo, who noted she has not served on an education committee previously, said she planned to turn the subcommittee's attention to mental health issues -- something Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said had been near the top of superintendents' agenda for several years. "A teacher can only do so much and can only teach in a classroom where students are active and engaged," and not struggling with health issues, she said. She said she has invited educators to the next committee meeting to hear their thoughts about how lawmakers can help. "How do we help our teachers teach our students and not have to be burdened with parenting them at the same time?" Passidomo said. She also set early education as key for the year. That issue also was key for Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, who said the Legislature must ensure adequate funding for prekindergarten and related programs. Young said she agreed with Sen. Darryl Rousson, D-St. Petersburg, on the need to continue the focus on "failing schools." Young set the subject in the context of HB 7069, the 2017 legislation that faces legal challenge from several school districts. Lawmakers should consider the impact of the bill, Young said, and determine how it is working and where it might need attention. Other issues that arose in the Senate subcommittee included hurricane preparedness, especially relating to school shelters; data security; special education resources; and increased per-student funding.


Corcoran pushes yet another voucher expansion

Children bullied or abused in public schools could get state-backed vouchers to go to a private school starting next year. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, said he will push legislation to give vouchers to children abused at school, allowing them to get funding and attend a private school of their choice if their parents opt to remove them. Under the proposal, they could also choose to move to another public school. “Children who are subjected to violence and abuse at school deserve hope, dignity and a real opportunity to succeed,” Corcoran said. “No child should ever be afraid to go to school, and no child should have to continually suffer abuse. They deserve a way out.” But Orange School Board Chairman Bill Sublette decried the plan as “just one more attack on traditional public schools” and “insulting to our intelligence.” “What evidence do they have ... that allegations of bullying are not treated seriously?” Sublette asked. He added that there was no proof that private schools have fewer bullying incidents than their public counterparts. To allow a parent to seek a private-school scholarship based on a bullying accusation that wouldn’t need to be verified “boggles my mind,” Sublette added. The legislation hasn’t been drafted yet, but Corcoran said it would be filed within the next 30 days and sponsored by Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples. It would allow 15 days after an incident is reported for a school to respond; then parents would get to decide whether to accept the voucher to remove their child from the school. The proposal also drew criticism from the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers union and a frequent Corcoran nemesis. “From what we’ve seen this, doesn’t seem like it’s about protecting bullied kids; it’s about boosting the state’s voucher system,” said FEA spokesman Mark Pudlow. “If there’s a problem with bullying in public schools, then [lawmakers] should come up with solutions, and really to this point, their actions haven’t helped.” Lawmakers will consider the proposal when they meet for the legislative session that begins Jan. 9. (FEA mentioned)

Districts seek alternate student head counts due to storm uncertainty


State Department of Education names schools to get relief from some state rules


Keys schools get big lift with relief fund


Clay School Board pushes back on new tech initiatives (Renna Lee Paiva quoted),9037?


A vision for public schools where the teaching profession makes decisions


Why North Carolina charter schools are richer and whiter


Whatever happened to the public audit of K-12 Inc. in California?


Some New York charter schools can certify their own teachers


UF security costs top $500,000 for Spencer's talk on white “separation”


“Do we have to fight Nazis again?” professor says of Spencer at UF (Paul Ortiz quoted)


Rubio: Don't show up at UF speech by white nationalist


Senate may tap reserves to plug $1.6 billion budget hole


State's private-sector job count falls by 20 percent in September over year


Senators sound skeptical of new state jobs fund


Voting restoration amendment clears 200,000 signatures


Clear path for ex-felons to regain right to vote


Frustrations boil over in D.C. as Scott meets with congressional delegation


While tourists return to the Keys, more than 600 buildings lie in ruins


Lawmaker questions cause of state nursing home deaths after Hurricane Irma


Rubio calls for congressional investigation of nursing home


State launches investigation into assisted living firm over hurricane surcharge


Thousands show up at “Food for Florida” storm-benefit site in Jacksonville


State officials issue dire warning: Rescue citrus industry or find your OJ elsewhere


After weeks of flooding, Withlacoochee River returns to its banks


Republicans see hurricane as an opportunity to review energy regulations


Utilities, lawmakers still cozy after Irma


Trump threatens to pull federal assistance out of Puerto Rico


Much of Puerto Rico still dark, thirsty and frustrated


In Puerto Rico, lives depend on volunteer doctors and diesel generators


Starving Puerto Rican towns sharing food, eating plants, and waiting for FEMA


Puerto Rico investigates post-hurricane disease outbreak


Another victim of Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico’s treasured rainforest


Hurricane made Puerto Rico’s giant debt even trickier for hedge funds


Cruz heads to Puerto Rico on aid trip


Arrival of Puerto Ricans post-hurricane could have big impact on Florida


Has America forgotten the Virgin Islands?


Ten hurricanes in ten weeks: A 124-year-old record is matched


Lawmaker calls for juvenile justice review in wake of newspaper series


Slavery memorial wins support as Confederacy debate rages


Officials: State has the most fraud complaints in the nation


Georgia governor jokes about Florida’s “hard time” in water battle


Democratic senators tell Sessions they want answers on Trump talks


Lawmakers say they plan to release Facebook ads linked to Russia


Russia’s Facebook ads show how Internet microtargeting can be weaponized


The GOP had one big divide on health care. It has three on taxes.


Trump promises big tax cuts, but GOP-led Congress thinks about scaling back


IMF cautions against tax cuts for wealthy as Republicans consider them


Is this the tax plan blue-collar Trump supporters voted for?


The GOP plan to simplify taxes could put charitable giving at risk


In Pennsylvania, Trump hunts for Democratic support for tax plan


Activists in Tampa denounce Trump’s tax plan as “giveaway to wealthy”


Foiled in Congress, Trump moves on his own to undermine Obamacare


Trump to sign order to eliminate ACA insurance rules, undermine marketplaces


Florida Democrats remind people to sign up for Obamacare


Trump’s Health Department declares that life begins at conception


On contraception, it’s church over state


ICE’s captive immigrant labor force


McConnell signals he will end the practice of allowing senators to block judges


Trump: Minorities “want” and “need” more police protection than others


Don’t write off young people. They care deeply about a better society.


Here’s where your tax dollars for Defense are really going


White House aide is selected to run Homeland Security department


Trump’s tough talk on NAFTA raising fears of pact’s demise (AFL-CIO mentioned)


Trump may be kicking off a new age of nuclear weapons


Trump’s war games


Growing chorus confronts Trump against leaving nuclear deal


Trump’s anger over Iran deal forced aides to scramble for a compromise


On the eve of Trump delivering decision on Iran deal, Congress strategizes


Trump seethes as advisers fear the president is “unraveling”


Corker is likely to get the last laugh


Rubio downplays Trump attack on Corker


Trump is a real-world political science experiment


Trump’s Cabinet can’t seem to stop taking private planes


Judge surprised at Feds' slim disclosure on Mar-a-Lago visitors


Trump threatens NBC over nuclear weapons report


Trump’s threat to NBC’s license is the very definition of Nixonian


Trump does not value or understand how a free press works


Republican senator asks if Trump is recanting his oath of office


Trump may be too incompetent to destroy the First Amendment


Check out the propaganda Sinclair is bringing to local stations across the country



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