Putting Education Reform To The Test


Education is big business. These are stories about the politicians, businesses, lobbyists and other leaders seeking to impact education decisions.

Latest Posts

Opting Out Of FCAT Can Have Consequences

A letter sent home warning parents their student may not be able to attend a field trip if they miss the FCAT.

Monday we told you about activists who are educating parents about what their options are when it comes to FCAT exams. While state law doesn’t allow parents to withhold their children from the exam, the law does outline alternatives to required tests. But opting out might still come with some consequences. A parent forwarded us [...]

Feds Investigating Florida’s Largest Charter School Management Firm

Academica president Fernando Zululeta, at a 2011 meeting in the Bahamas with company leaders. Florida's largest charter school management company is under federal investigation.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the business practices of Florida’s largest for-profit charter school operator, according to a Miami Herald scoop. The federal agency is concerned about conflicts of interest between Academica Corp. and the Mater Academy network it manages. From the story: The auditors found that three of the schools in the [...]

Why Florida Parents Want To Opt Their Kids Out Of State Tests

Last week Gov. Rick Scott delivered an $8.5 million check to Hillsborough County schools earning good marks on the state’s grading formula. Those grades depend a lot on student FCAT scores. So Hillsborough Superintendent MaryEllen Elia took a moment pump up students at West Tampa’s Graham Elementary School before this week’s testing. “Next week you’re [...]

Common Core Opponents Seeking Special Legislative Session

A coalition of groups opposing Florida’s use of new math and language arts standards say they will try to force the Legislature to call a special session to address two bills which would put the standards on hold. The gambit is a long shot. Twenty percent of the Legislature must call for the special session, [...]

Gov. Scott Avoids Question About House, Senate Private School Scholarship Dispute

Gov. Rick Scott presented Hillsborough schools with an $8.5 million check. Schools which earned an A on the state report card or significantly improved their grade earned a $100 bonus per student.

House and Senate leaders are divided over whether students who receive a tax credit scholarship to attend a private school should have to take the state’s standardized test. The dispute — the Senate wants the requirement, the House does not — has threatened to derail a bill which would expand eligibility for the private school [...]

Checking In On Education Bills As Florida Legislature Reaches Halfway Point

The 2014 Florida legislative session reached the halfway point last week, so we thought we’d check in on some of the big education bills. The Budget The House, Senate and Gov. Rick Scott mostly agree on education spending based on their proposed budgets. Both the House and the Senate approved roughly $75 billion budgets last [...]

A Q & A With Charter Schools USA CEO Jonathan Hage

Charter Schools USA CEO Jon Hage says his father advised him if he focused on quality and helping kids, politics wouldn't interfere.

Our colleagues at WLRN sat down with Charter Schools USA CEO Jonathan Hage to talk South Florida business. Here’s the Q & A with WLRN’s Elaine Chen: Jon Hage heads the for-profit charter school management company, Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), based in Fort Lauderdale. The company operates 58 schools in seven states across the country, [...]

Despite Common Core, Columnist Says GOP Should Still Consider Jeb Bush

Republicans should give former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush a chance if he decides to run for president in 2016 — despite his support of Common Core education standards — George Will writes in The Washington Post: He will not, however, have the nomination handed to him on a silver salver. And the nomination fight would [...]

Uh, Senators? You Know We Already Get In-State Tuition At Miami’s FIU, Right?

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee got a big surprise this week. Turns out, in-state university tuition rates are already available for some undocumented immigrants. That’s the case at Florida International University. It may have strengthened the hands of opponents of an in-state tuition bill, but not enough to defeat it. Rick Stone from member station [...]

Foundation Says Florida Schools On The Rise

The Foundation for Florida's Future is invoking Bill Murray, and that's the fact Jack.

Foundation for Excellence in Education blogger Mike Thomas has responded to a post we wrote last week looking at the claims in a television ad running in Tampa. The ad references the state’s top 10 ranking in an Education Week survey, rising graduation rates and more students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams. Our post [...]

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