Where have all the students gone?

The global pandemic had major impacts on education. A recent piece in EdWeek draws attention to one of the major factors affecting public schools since the pandemic- declining enrollment. The…

Third Grade Reading Retention- No Longer on Pause

During the pandemic, states paused policies requiring third grade retention for students who have not attained reading proficiency on high-stakes, state reading exams. According to EdWeek, these controversial policies are…

The Nation’s Report Card (NAEP) grades drop to lows not seen in decades

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores are out and show drops in math and reading not seen in decades. NAEP provides important information about student achievement and learning…

School board elections: A Recap

The 74 interviewed our own Melissa Erickson Tuesday night after the polls closed on schools board elections across the state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s effort to fill local school board…

Schools across the nation open without enough teachers

Legislative Update: Changes slated for Florida’s public schools

New report gives Florida education funding a failing grade

The Florida Policy Institute recently published the first installment of their “Pursue Equity” series, a part of their “multi-year research initiative on Florida’s historically discriminatory policies, their evolution and their…

Media Advisory: Alliance for Public Schools celebrates increased graduation rates

Today, the Alliance for Public Schools celebrates Florida’s graduation rates for the Class of 2021. Hillsborough County Public Schools posted the highest graduation rate in district history. “I am so…

In Focus: Ending the FSA and changing standards for Florida classrooms

Thanks to your advocacy- FL finally submits plan for $2.3 Billion in federal relief

After tremendous advocacy from parents and community members across the state, the Florida Department of Education finally submitted its plan on Wednesday to access $2.3 billion in remaining federal education…

Florida to end the FSA but what will happen to the high-stakes?

The FSA will be administered for the last time this coming spring if the governor has anything to say about it. At a press conference Tuesday, Governor DeSantis announced that…

Florida leaves billions in pandemic relief earmarked for kids unspent

In May of 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released $770 million dollars to Florida schools to address the impacts of COVID-19. Now, the amount has grown to $15 billion…

U.S. Department of Education opens civil rights investigation for students with disabilities

In a story from the New York Times’ reporter, Erica Green, the U.S. Department of Education has begun investigations into five states whose prohibitions on universal mask mandates in schools…

Federal funds save Florida…again

The Florida Policy Institute released their summary of the state budget for fiscal year 2021-2022. The legislative session and subsequent budget occurred in the midst of a global pandemic and…

Alliance for Public Schools Earns Community Investment Grant from United Way Suncoast

ALLIANCE FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS EARNS COMMUNITY INVESTMENT FUNDING FROM UNITED WAY SUNCOAST The UWS award, part of a $6.05 million investment in the community, will support the organization’s Hillsborough and…

DeSantis signs budget. How did Florida’s public schools fare?

Governor DeSantis signed the record $101.5 billion budget for the coming fiscal year into law today at a popular restaurant in New Smyrna Beach. He also vetoed $1.5 billion in…

2021 Legislative Session budget balanced with federal relief funds

The 2021 Florida Legislative Session ended on April 30th. Lawmakers will return on May 17th to discuss details of the gaming compact. No money from the compact is in the…

Billions in federal aid earmarked for schools tied up in Tallahassee

According to the Miami Herald, the Florida lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on how to spend $12 billion in federal COVID stimulus funds earmarked for public education. School…

Teachers in Florida and Texas can get COVID-19 shots despite governors’ edicts

March 5, 2021 From CBS News: School and childcare workers now have an opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine even if they live in one of the roughly dozen states around the…

DeSantis says school employees will not be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine

DeSantis says school employees will not be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine “Emphasizing that his focus remains on Florida’s elderly population, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said teachers and school staff…

HCPS receives $3 million STEM grant from the Department of Defense for STEM partnership

The Alliance of Public Schools is thrilled to announce that Hillsborough County Public Schools is one of 12 U.S. Department of Defense awardees across the nation for the National Defense…

Florida to see ‘significant cuts to the budget’ says House speaker

Florida’s incoming Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls warned of significant budget cuts due to the state’s dire financial crisis. He told participants in an online webinar last week that…

Judge rules in favor of teachers’ school reopening lawsuit; State to appeal

BREAKING NEWS- Today, Leon County Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of the Florida Education Association in their lawsuit against the state. Read the Ruling here. From the Tampa Bay…

Teachers’ lawsuit to prevent mandatory school reopening proceeds

The lawsuit contending the state cannot force counties to open for in-person instruction passed its first hurdle Friday morning. The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and denied the…

Hillsborough School Board: 100% eLearning for Four Weeks

After stark testimony from Hillsborough’s medical advisory group, Hillsborough School Board members voted to delay the implementation of Superintendent’s school re-opening plan for four weeks. Members Stuart and Snively were…

VP Pence “It’s time to get kids back to school”

Wednesday, Vice President Pence announced that, “It’s time to get kids back to school.” He spent time thanking America’s teachers for their work during the closures and thanked parents for…

Florida provides guidance on reopening plans; won’t seek FSA waiver

In a follow up presentation by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Tuesday, districts received additional guidance about reopening requirements after Commissioner Corcoran issued an emergency order Monday. Districts must…

Emergency Order requires Florida schools to reopen 5 days a week

This is a breaking story. We will be updating this post with more information. Florida Department of Education announced an Emergency Order Monday. In part, the order states that school…

Reopening plans unveiled in Hillsborough

Reopening schools was the topic for Hillsborough County’s Superintendent Davis yesterday. His plan is fluid but likely allows families to have a choice. The plan was outlined in a 47…

School leaders warn of massive budget cuts

School leaders across the country are sounding the alarm on looming budget cuts. The pandemic has led to a national fiscal crisis predicted to be worse than the Great Recession.…

Caring for your mind while you are caring for our students

Today, we have a special guest post from Hillsborough County School Board Member Karen Perez. Teachers and Parents- First, THANK YOU for ALL you are doing with your students at…

CARES Act: How much will Florida schools receive?

The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27th, gave an unprecedented $2 trillion economic relief to individuals, businesses, and states. $30.75 billion of that money went to the Education…

Thank Public School Employees Today

Class of 2020: good news in these uncertain times?

Although the Florida Department of Education released specific details about testing and other waivers, it was still unclear whether the Class of 2020 would receive a diploma if they lacked…

FDOE closes K12 campuses and state colleges; provides information on testing, funding and more

The Florida Department of Education issued additional guidance to their March 17th press conference. In addition to closing school campuses through April 15th and moving to distance learning for students,…

State Testing Canceled for 2020; Schools Remain Closed

Governor DeSantis canceled state testing and school grading for the 2019-2020 school year. Schools will remain closed through April 15th. From WCTV- Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in a press conference Tuesday…

Big Data Will Not Stop School Violence

Ora Tanner graciously agreed to share her latest blog post with us about a convening of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. Ora became involved in the…

Engage. Inspire. Educate Hillsborough

Study shows so-called “failing schools” may not be failing

Funding needed for students, teachers

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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:…

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…

Town halls provide referendum information to voters

Voters are encouraged to attend an information session to learn more about the Hillsborough Schools Referendum that will appear on the November 6th ballot. Here is the schedule of Town…

School referendum to appear on November 6th ballot

At the August 24th school board meeting, Hillsborough School Board members decided to ask voters to approve a half-cent, 10-year local sales tax increase on the November 6th ballot. The…

A/C problems plague Hillsborough schools

School is back in session but it still feels like summer outside. Massive air conditioning problems are causing summer-like temperatures inside classrooms across Hillsborough County. Social media sites are flush…

Florida Supreme Court strikes Amendment 8 from the ballot

This afternoon, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the controversial proposed constitutional Amendment 8 should remain off of the November ballot. They agreed with the lower court that the summary…

School board races decided by only a few voters

School board races decided by a few voters It turns out that the people who represent us and our children on the school board earned their seats thanks to just…

Primary voters in Florida exceed 2014 totals

Primary voters in Florida exceed 2014 totals Over 1.9 million Florida primary voters had already voted before polls opened on Election Day. Election supervisors are predicting an increase over the…

DeVos considers allowing federal funds for guns in schools

According to the Washington Post, sources inside the U.S. Department of Education say Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering allowing federal funds to buy guns for schools. Two people said the…

Amendment 5 puts school funding, Florida’s future in jeopardy

Amendment 5 puts school funding, Florida’s future in jeopardy Florida’s current per-pupil, school funding is below the pre-recession level, when accounting for inflation, and could be made even worse if voters…

Florida’s schools need fix to access millions for kids’ health services

Florida has the opportunity to improve children’s health and educational outcomes while drawing down millions in additional federal funds for school-based Medicaid services by making a series of statutory and…

Republican vouchers give $7,200 for claims of “bullying”

This year the Republican controlled Florida Legislature passed a bill that gives up to $7,200 vouchers to students who claim to have been bullied. The so-called “Hope Scholarship” provides vouchers…

Florida risks $1.1 billion due to lack of federal ESSA plan

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed by Congress in the fall of 2015. It was a rare piece of major federal legislation that was truly a bipartisan effort-…

Charter schools behind deceptive Amendment 8

In November, Florida voters will have a chance to vote on Amendment 8, a proposed addition to the state constitution. This proposal claims to require school board term limits and…

Why don’t we treat teachers as professionals?

This year, the nation watched as teachers in numerous states began to walk out of schools and storm state capitals demanding better working conditions for themselves and better learning conditions…

Future of public education in Florida voters’ hands

This election cycle, Florida voters will choose a new governor, half of the state senate and the entire state house. The winners of these races will shape the future of…

Speaker holds education budget hostage

From WLRN: Under House Budget Plan, No Public School Funding Without Corcoran Education Bill By JESSICA BAKEMAN • JAN 31, 2018 A budget proposal that is advancing in the Legislature would make next…

Student leaders help raise grad rates to record levels across Tampa Bay

Student Alliance for Public Schools leaders worked in high schools across the region to raise high school graduation rates to record levels. From the Tampa Bay Times: Graduation rates in…

In her own words: My experience with Parent Teacher Home Visit Project

My experience with Parent Teacher Home Visit Project was truly eye-opening. I have always known that there is so much more to teaching than simply what goes on in the…

Civil citations keep kids in school, out of jail

As the new school year begins, many counties are looking at ways to keep students in class and out of jail by employing the use of civil citations instead of…

You did it! A nurse in every Pinellas public school

You advocated for funding for a nurse in every Pinellas County Public School and they listened! This week the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to provide funding for…

Florida’s anti-science bill signed into law

In addition to HB 7069, the sweeping 278 page education bill, a few other education related bills were passed this session. According to the National Center for Science Education, HB…

Report shows Florida shortchanges children

Kids Count 2017, the annual study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, found that Florida’s children experienced an overall decline in economic well-being. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Florida children…

Powerful commission and election will determine the future of Florida

The 2018 election season is already shaping up to be a momentous one for Florida’s public schools. The governor’s office and cabinet positions will be on the ballot along with…

Will the new education law impact you? Find out here.

Governor Scott signed HB 7069 into law at a private, voucher school in Orlando. It was a fitting setting for a bill that funnels billions of taxpayer dollars into private…

Florida’s school grades rise against backdrop of harsh legislative session

The Florida Department of Education released school grades this week. Across the state, districts saw their grades rise with the number of schools earning A’s and B’s increasing by 20…

Take Action: Hillsborough School Board members seek input on budget

As Hillsborough County Public Schools brace for the impact of the recently approved state education budget and new legislation (House Bill 7069), the school board held a workshop on June…

Scott signs controversial education bill into law

Governor Scott signed the controversial House Bill 7069 into law today at a Catholic voucher school in Orlando. The education bill makes sweeping changes to public education and most public…

Gov. Scott gets budget; veto clock is ticking

From the Tampa Bay Times: The clock starts today for Gov. Rick Scott who has 15 days to decide whether to sign an $82.4 billion state budget — and just…

Senate Surrenders to House, Passes Devastating Education Bill

Senators debated the sweeping conforming bill for three and a half hours Monday night. In the end, the vote split the Senate 20-18 with three Republicans crossing the aisle to vote…

House and Senate leaders play politics using Florida’s children

Late Friday, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Negron held a meeting to reveal a plan they devised behind closed doors that effectively tied the testing and recess bill…

House to decide fate of VAM, testing, and recess today

This afternoon, the Florida House will determine the fate of the repeal of VAM (the mandatory, statewide use of test scores in teachers’ evaluations), a rollback of testing and mandatory recess.…

Florida politicians poised to funnel millions to unproven charters

A bill being negotiated in backrooms of Tallahassee would send $200 million to charter schools to turnaround under-performing schools in primarily low income neighborhoods. The bill was once called “schools…

Grad Day for Tampa Bay a HUGE success!

Grad Day for Tampa Bay 2017 was a huge success! Held Thursday, March 2nd in the Hilton Tampa Downtown, students and community members from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties came together…

DeVos Confirmed in Historic Tie Breaker

Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the Senate as the Secretary of Education today. Advocacy forced the vote to a historic 50-50 tie. Students need your voices now more than ever.…

4 Reasons Betsy DeVos is Unqualified to be Secretary of Education

  Betsy DeVos is an extremely controversial pick for Secretary of Education. Her three hour confirmation hearing featured many uncomfortable exchanges and left many senators formally requesting an additional hearing which…

Students use their power to raise grad rates

Graduation rates rise; students make a difference We received an early present this year! Graduation rates are up again! We are thrilled to have partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools to…

STEM Family Night provides hands on learning

Last night, we hosted a STEM Family Night at Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus with Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) and Hillsborough County Public Schools. This invitation only event…

Want to raise graduation rates? Ask these kids

The Alliance firmly believes that students know the solutions to barriers that prevent them from graduating. However, they must have input with decision makers in order to affect change. The…

This is what 40,000 books for kids looks like!

Partners come together for kids Last week we joined with other organizations to give away 40,000 FREE books to kids in the greater Tampa Bay area! Thanks to a sponsorship by…

August election will determine important school board races

Numerous school board seats across the state are on the August 30th ballot. Many of these races will be won or lost that day while candidates that fail to secure…

Parent involvement is the key to success

This week marks the beginning of a new school year for many districts around Florida with the rest following next week. In a recent editorial, the Tampa Bay Times reminds…

Commissioner Stewart wants to hear from you

Now’s your chance to give the Florida Department of Education your opinion on all things education, including testing and the current accountability system. As the state begins to tackle the…

Parents, Districts, Department of Education face off over 3rd grade retention

A showdown is occurring over the issue of mandatory 3rd grade retention. Third grade students whose parents opted them out of the Florida Standards Assessment this spring are now faced…

Students Shine at Second GradNation Summit

Pinellas and Hillsborough Student Alliance for Public Schools members presented their research and ideas on closing achievement gaps and raising graduation rates at our second annual GradNation Community Summit on…

Sneaky senator breathes life into bad bills

  In an eleventh hour move, Senator Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) added over a hundred pages of policy changes to two unrelated bills. The amendments attach numerous bills together in what…

Florida House wants to push property tax dollars to unpredictable charters

The Florida House is pushing to force school districts to turn over a portion of local property taxes to charter schools. These schools are housed in privately owned buildings on…

House and Senate Divided on Education Budget

The House and Senate released their Education budgets last week with the Senate proposing more per pupil funding and less charter school construction money than the House. The House version…

What to expect in the 2016 Florida Legislative Session

The 2016 Florida Legislative Session begins Tuesday. What should public education supporters expect? Well, not much according to policy leaders in Tallahassee. Congress passed a sweeping overhaul to No Child…

Florida’s Board of Ed sets FSA and school grades

Today, Florida’s Board of Education met to determine cut scores for the Florida Standards Assessment tests given last spring. In September, after months of input from a 300 person Reactor…

40,000 FREE books given away in one day event

 We had so much fun on Saturday! We helped give away over 40,000 books to children in a one day event called “Home Library for the Holidays.” The event was…

No Child Left Behind’s replacement signed into law

Today, President Obama will sign the Every Student Succeeds Act into law. Earlier this week, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill which is the replacement for No Child…