About That Per-Pupil Funding Increase …

State lawmakers, back home in their districts, tout the increase in education funding in the 2019-2020 budget that took effect July 1st. However, a closer look reveals that politicians shortchanged Florida’s students, educators, and their public schools once again. The Florida Policy Institute’s Holly Bullard argues that something called the Base Student Allocation number is…

Florida’s school grading system rests on shoulders of children

On Friday, the Florida Department of Education released FSA scores to school districts and parents. This single standardized test determines advancement to the next grade, graduation eligibility, teacher pay, school grades and funding. For many, this is a time for celebration- for others, a time for concern. Regardless, it must be a time of reflection…

Bill to arm teachers passes another committee

There is only one more stop for a major bill that allows classroom teachers to carry guns while teaching. Senate Bill 7030 expands the so-called Guardian Bill passed last year after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The current law establishes “guardians” who are non-instructional school staff who choose…

Florida House, Senate far apart on education budget

The Republican-led Florida House and Senate released competing budget proposals on Friday. The budgets differ from each other and also differ in many ways from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposals. The House’s total budget is $89.9 billion, while the Senate’s total is $90.3 billion. Both proposals are higher overall than current state government spending levels. Debates…

Florida’s public schools deserve support

by Betty Castor, published by the Tampa Bay Times Betty Castor, former teacher, Hillsborough County commissioner and state senator, served as Florida’s commissioner of education and later as president of the University of South Florida. Castor has been president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She currently chairs the board at…

ICYMI: Graduation rates increased again!

In case you missed the news during the holiday bustle, graduation rates increased across Florida. Students are graduating at record rates, reaching a 15-year high in the last school year at 86.1 percent, according to the state Department of Education. Nearly every sub-group of students tracked achieved increases including African-American students, Hispanic students, students with…

Arizona voucher opponents’ win- a model for Florida?

Florida school voucher proponents overwhelmingly won their elections in November. Avid supporters like Governor-elect DeSantis, likely Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran and leadership in the Florida Legislature are poised to usher in an expansion of the controversial voucher programs that funnel tax money to private schools with little to no accountability. The award winning Orlando…

Rough road ahead for Florida’s public schools

Governor-elect DeSantis has named Richard Corcoran as his pick for the next Florida Commissioner of Education. As the previous Speaker of the House, Corcoran ushered in two of the most harmful and sweeping education bills which greatly expanded charters and vouchers while attempting to restrict traditional public schools. Corcoran — whose wife runs a Pasco…

Tampa Bay Times: Answering questions about the referendum

The Tampa Bay Times has endorsed the school referendum on the ballot in Hillsborough County in November. They followed up with a column on why voters should pass the referendum: The Hillsborough County school tax on the Nov. 6 ballot is a smart, necessary investment in the nation’s eighth-largest school system. The 10-year, half-penny sales…

Tampa Bay Times, Chamber of Commerce endorse referendum

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Bay Times have endorsed the Hillsborough school referendum on the ballot on November 6th. On Thursday, the Chamber voted to support Hillsborough’s schools. In a statement, they acknowledged the alignment between a strong education system and a healthy economy: “This tax would help to provide our…