Parents would be able to choose more broadly form Palm Beach County public schools if the school board approves a new proposal. The district would be divided into zones, giving parents at least a half-dozen other schools from which to choose. The district believes the proposal could save money by reducing class sizes.
The SAT will no longer require a written essay from students taking the test, starting in 2016. However, many colleges may still require the essay. The SAT is also partnering with Khan Academy to offer a series of free, online test prep videos.
A Senate panel has approved changes to the state school grading formula which echo those proposed by Florida schools chief Pam Stewart, the Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau reports.
The bill looks similar to recommendations made last month by state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. It eliminates the bonus points schools can earn, as well as the so-called triggers that automatically cause a school grade to drop. It also removes several factors from the complex formula used to evaluate high schools, including five-year graduation rates and some college readiness measures.
Schools would continue to receive A-F grades during the transition to a new formula. But there would be no consequences for poor performance in the first year.
The education committee made two tweaks to Stewart’s original recommendations. They added a provision that would give middle schools credit for participation and performance in high-school classes. They also added language that would exempt children with complex disabilities from state testing, in response to recent discussions about the plight of profoundly disabled children.
As Florida prepares to move to new K-12 math and language arts standards this fall, state Democrats have joined school superintendents and the Florida PTA in asking for a three-year delay before school performance is judged using Common Core.
School grades are partly based on student test results. Tests tied to the new Common Core standards are expected to be more difficult, and perhaps half as many Florida students will meet state goals.
Gov. Rick Scott is asking lawmakers to eliminate the state’s tuition differential law, which allows universities to request as much as a 15 percent tuition increase each year.
Scott has fought higher education tuition hikes since he took office in 2011.
“We are changing how we fund higher education,” Scott said, according to the prepared version of his State of the State speech, “but if we want to make higher education more accessible to low and middle-income families we have to make it more affordable.
“We will hold the line on tuition,” he added moments later.
Lawmakers are talking about reducing the hikes to a maximum of 6 percent each year.
But what is tuition differential?
Education will be a major theme in Gov. Rick Scott’s State of the State speech today. Scott will push lawmakers to eliminate a law which allow universities to request up to a 15 percent tuition increase.
Former Washington Post owner Donald Graham and Miami education activist Gaby Pacheco sat down with NPR to talk about a new scholarship program for undocumented immigrants.
Allowing undocumented students access to in-state tuition rates will be a big issue in the legislative session set to begin tomorrow. A court has ruled Florida can not force the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition (Florida uses the parents’ financial information to determine a student’s residency). Sen. Jack Latvala has introduced a bill to expand in-state tuition to all undocumented students.
Graham has raised $25 million for the financial aid program, including money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Listen to the interview with Graham and Pacheco.
Sondra Hulette and her granddaughter joined dozens of anti-Common Core protestors as they circled a fountain outside the Orange County school district offices last month.
Inside the building, the State Board of Education was about to rename Common Core as “The Florida Standards.” But outside, Hulette and others chanted “Stop Common Core!” “Keep education local!” and “Follow the money!”
Common Core are math and language arts standards adopted by Florida and 44 other states. They outline what students should know at the end of each grade.
But Hulette and many others oppose the standards because they are concerned about losing local control over classroom decisions, cost and other factors.
Hulette’s granddaughter is homeschooled, but she worries college placement exams are being written to the standards. And that would force parents of homeschooled students to address the standards or possibly leave their kids unprepared for the exams.
“I don’t want what’s happening in the public school to infiltrate what I have the authority over as homeschoolers,” Hulette said. “It’s going to impose some things on her that are illogical.”
Opposition to the standards has dominated Florida’s education conversation the past year, but Christina Phillips’ sixth grade language arts students at Monroe Middle School in Tampa wouldn’t know that from their school work. Phillips’ lessons have been Common Core-based for the past two years.
Brevard County schools are considering 30 new middle and high school textbooks for the nationally crafted math and language arts standards known as Common Core, Florida Today reports.
The standards are currently used in kindergarten through second grade, and are scheduled to be used in every Florida grade when classes start this fall.
Like Brevard County, school districts across the state that have yet to do so will soon need to make big curriculum decisions. But there’s a problem — researchers are finding many textbooks and classroom materials aren’t a perfect match for Common Core.
A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute looks at early Common Core adopters in Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada and Tennessee. The report finds that many curriculum companies don’t have Common Core materials ready, and school districts were skeptical of what’s already for sale.
The non-profit American Institutes for Research should produce Florida’s next statewide exam a Florida Department of Education procurement panel said Tuesday, the Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau reports.
The final recommendation is up to Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. She has said she plans to announce her choice next month.
So you’re a school district leader with a limited budget but looming deadlines to upgrade classroom technology — what’s going to provide the best bang for the buck? A researcher at North Carolina State University recommends avoiding “canned content,” such as educational software and big-ticket interactive whiteboards. Instead, invest in wireless while deciding whether to make short- or long-term tech investments. And try more flexible tools, such as netbooks coupled with document cameras.