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Senators ponder direction on school testing

A Senate Education Committee meeting Tuesday on the state’s accountability system turned into a show of strength by people who want to scale back standardized testing, as lawmakers consider the next move. The long-running debate over the use of assessments in school grades, teacher evaluations and retention and graduation decisions has flared again, prompting a… Read more »

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Keep state’s class-size mandate in force

Two years ago, parents in Miami-Dade County began to notice that school class sizes were larger than prior years, contrary to a constitutional amendment passed in 2002 to limit sizes for core classes. An attempt by the Legislature to amend it in 2010, utilizing a school-wide average to determine class size, failed to pass. The… Read more »

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First Amendment Foundation raises concerns about Constitution commission’s ‘lesser’ openness standards

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, is asking the the Constitution Revision Commission to amend its proposed rules to bring the commission into line with existing law regarding open meetings and public records. The 37-member commission, which meets today for the first time in an organizational session, has drafted rules that depart from… Read more »

03-17 Tampa Bay

Florida Senate plans to dive into assessment, accountability issues

For all the talk that Florida’s 2017 legislative session would focus on higher education, giving K-12 a breather, the climate is shaping up for potentially major changes to the state’s Jeb Bush-era test-based accountability system. The latest signal: The Senate Education Committee has scheduled a workshop for Monday Tuesday, where it will tackle ideas in… Read more »

03-15 Naples Daily News

Florida legislators shift proposals from teacher pay raises to bonuses

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House and Senate both have plans to expand a bonus program for teachers, but what little chance there was of a teacher pay increase faded Wednesday as the lawmaker who proposed the idea dropped it. Sen. David Simmons, chairman of the PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said he no longer is pursuing his proposal for a $200 million… Read more »

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Colleges balk at budget cuts

TALLAHASSEE — State college presidents on Friday expressed dismay that the 28-school system is being targeted for three-quarters of the cuts in the Florida Senate’s initial plan to trim $131 million in higher-education spending. “It is of great concern that the first thing out of the chute is a 74 percent reduction impacting the Florida… Read more »

03-10 Miami Herald

More teachers, principals could qualify for ‘Best & Brightest’ bonuses

More top educators in Florida would have a crack at an annual state bonus in the 2017-18 school year, under initial legislative proposals to expand a controversial, 2-year-old teacher incentive program. While there’s more room for compromise this year, House and Senate plans, unveiled this week, likely won’t appease all critics because they keep intact… Read more »

03-09 Palm Beach Post

Bill would end these high school end-of-course exams

A bill that would eliminate the majority of high school end of course exams, allow schools to give the remaining statewide tests in a paper-and-pencil format and seeks to take student test scores out of the grading equation for teachers and schools has begun to make the rounds in Florida’s capital. Sponsored by Sen. Bill… Read more »

03-08 Politico - Joe Negron

Negron’s higher ed agenda ready for Senate passage

The Senate on Wednesday amended a broad higher education bill to ensure universities that serve underprivileged students aren’t penalized by stricter performance standards before teeing it up for passage later this week. During its first substantive floor session this year, the chamber took up Senate President Joe Negron’s chief priority, SB 2, which would require universities… Read more »

Kids at Desks

Bipartisan group of senators touts benefits of cutting state tests

Florida should inject “common sense” into its school testing system by scrapping some required state exams and providing “stressed out” teachers and students the relief they need, a bipartisan group of state senators said today. The group wants the Florida Legislature to pass their bill (SB 964), a far-reaching proposal that would eliminate some tests, push back testing dates… Read more »

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