Scott creating chaos in education
What explains Gov. Rick Scott's sudden decision to remove Florida from a national consortium developing a test to better measure student achievement, a test meant to replace the FCAT next year? The governor said Tuesday that he doesn't want the federal government intruding into Florida's education system, his excuse for pulling out of the consortium. "It's their entry point to having more involvement in our education system. … It's 'no' to federal intrusion." But the federal government isn't creating the test. Rather, it's being developed by a consortium of states that now numbers 17. "We should be able to come up with an assessment that works for us," the governor said. Really? Why should Floridians have confidence that by a March deadline, Florida will be ready to roll out a new test that holds enormous power over students, teachers, school systems and neighborhoods? Remember, the past two years, Florida has so bungled FCAT administration that it has had to artificially inflate school grades, allowing none to drop more than one letter grade per year. Remember, too, there's a revolving door at the office of the state education commissioner. During his 32 months in office, Scott has had four education commissioners. Our newest, Pam Stewart, has been on the job just over a week. She follows Eric Smith, Gerard Robinson and Tony Bennett. Also remember that in August, the governor abruptly convened a three-day education summit -- and then failed to attend. Kathleen Shanahan, a former chair of the State Board of Education, called his behavior "embarrassing."
Scott misses chance to debunk fears about Common Core
Tea Party and parent groups protest Common Core in Tallahassee
PARCC meets without Stewart
St. Johns school officials agree on teacher contract (Dawn Chapman quoted and SJESPA mentioned)
Escambia School District, union members reach deal in pay raise (Bill Vincent quoted)
Monroe School Board votes to end furloughs days (UTM mentioned)
Contract ratification on tap for Pasco teachers, school-related personnel (USEP mentioned)
Pinellas schools superintendent marks one year on the job (Bruce Proud quoted)
Thousands of late enrollments hurt students -- and teachers
SAT scores 2013 released: Florida students below nation
A later early bell in store for high schools?
School libraries lost
The pros and cons of appointing Florida’s schools chief
Why did Race to the Top ignore social science?
Forbes: All aboard the charter school gravy train!
The great charter tryout
UF, FSU looking to hire faculty
A nudge to poorer students to aim high on colleges
Oversight board plans for a speedy university chancellor search
Florida says farewell to Brogan
Federal budget uncertainty looms over rosy state budget picture
Florida’s chief economist told the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that a possible federal government shutdown next week and the fast-approaching federal debt ceiling could dramatically darken the state’s positive budget outlook. Lawmakers have swooned over a projected $845.7 million surplus for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, but chief economist Amy Baker said the uncertainty over the federal budget could sour those estimates. Sequestration cuts have slashed federal spending after congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a budget earlier this year. Now, as Republicans hold up a continuing resolution to fund the government after Oct. 1 in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, the federal budget crisis is set to trickle down to Florida, especially if it isn’t resolved soon. “If you look at just the direct impact of the potential cuts under a full sequester -- it was about $2.2 billion that would be directly affected in Florida’s economy ... and if you ran that through the economy and looked at all of the ripple effects -- what we call the indirect and induced effects -- then you’re approaching $8 billion in terms of the potential effects on the whole economy from a full sequester and somewhere just shy of 80,000 jobs will be affected,” Baker said. But the lack of a resolution to the debt ceiling could pose a larger problem for the state budget. Congressional Republicans are hoping to extract budget cuts from Democrats and President Barack Obama in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling, the maximum statutory level of debt the federal government is allowed to incur. The problem is Congress has already approved spending above that level, and the government will be unable to pay its obligations by mid-October if the debt ceiling isn’t lifted, by current estimates. Baker said consumer confidence took a nosedive the last time Congress seriously flirted with not lifting the debt ceiling in 2011, and for a state like Florida heavily dependent on sales taxes, the budget impact would be significant. “That’s the fear, is that if things get too rocky or too shaky we could see consumer sentiment dive again and that feeds into sales tax collections pretty quickly,” Baker said.
Web sales tax again on Tallahassee's radar
On health care, Florida legislators play politics, deny help to poor