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Putting Education Reform To The Test

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He looks a little stern here, but Gov. Rick Scott made a funny in his State of the State speech Tuesday.

Grading Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Education

Background

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has aggressively pushed to change Florida schools since taking office in January 2011.

The first bill Scott signed into law required all state school districts to design a system to evaluate teachers and then pay teachers based on their rating.

The bill also stripped long-term teacher contracts, riling teachers and their unions and sparking a lawsuit challenging the law.

Scott has also been a vocal supporter of charter schools, staging press events at charters in Jacksonville, Opa-Locka, Orlando and elsewhere. Scott did not visit a public school until seven months into his term.

Scott also angered many when he vetoed capital funding for repairs and construction at traditional public schools and universities while signing off on similar money for charters.

As he heads into his second term Scott wants to refocus state universities on graduating more science, technology, engineering and math students to help fill jobs in expanding fields. Scott has also floated the idea of a “parent trigger” law, which would allow a majority of parents to vote to convert a district school into a charter.

Scott also pushed lawmakers to quickly pass a change in state law so Florida could apply for a federal early childhood education grant. If Florida wins the grant, the money would test student progress and train and assess instructors in the state’s voluntary pre-Kindergarten program.

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Education Commissioner Recommends Eliminating Some State Tests

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has recommended eliminating a high school exam, making another optional and asking state lawmakers and local school districts to cut back on the amount of testing. Stewart’s recommendations are the conclusion of a statewide review of standardized testing requested by Gov. Rick Scott. “There is, without a doubt, an excess of [...]

Everybody Loves STEM

Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro broke a long silence yesterday, and we couldn’t resist pointing out this education-related gem. He mostly touched on the push to open U.S.-Cuba relations. But in a statement to the University Students Federation, Castro put in a plug for STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math. From the Miami [...]

The Education Year In Review — And What To Expect In 2015

Testing opponents quietly show support for speakers at an August Lee County school board meeting. The board voted 3-2 to reverse its state testing boycott.

2014 was a big year for education in Florida. Activists in Lee County convinced the school board to ditch state testing – before the board reversed the decision a couple of days later. Florida schools pushed ahead with new Common Core-based math and language arts standards in every grade, despite rising opposition to Common Core [...]

What A Second Term Of Rick Scott Or Charlie Crist Will Mean For Florida Education

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist have talked about K-12 funding, the cost of college and other education issues.

Polls show Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist are polarizing. Voters are as likely to dislike the candidates as they are to approve of them. So both candidates are talking about schools, colleges and scholarships — to motivate their supporters. “Education is an issue that is helping to appeal to the base,” says [...]

Florida Ready To Challenge Federal Testing Rules For Students Learning English

Gov. Rick Scott says he's giving the U.S. Department of Education 30 days to change their mind about testing requirements for students learning English or the state could head to court.

Gov. Rick Scott is ready to take the federal government to court over testing rules for students learning English. The U.S. Department of Education says Florida must count those students’ results after one year in school. Scott and Florida educators want to give students two years to learn English. Scott said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart [...]

Gov. Scott Wants To Review Florida Standards And Local Testing

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush tour a Homestead manufacturing facility in August.

Gov. Rick Scott says he wants to review testing in Florida schools and the state’s new Common Core-based standards. It’s part of Scott’s latest campaign trail education proposal, released Monday. Education has been a top issue during the campaign, as Scott and other candidates have used the issue to draw contrasts between themselves and their [...]

Bush: Florida Standards “Not Substantially Different” From Common Core

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hit the campaign trail with current Gov. Rick Scott on Friday. Bush has been one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of the Common Core math and language arts standards adopted by dozens of states, including Florida. Scott? Not so much. After initially supporting the standards, Scott withdrew support for [...]

Gov. Scott Rolls Out Plan To Prepare Workers For High-Tech Jobs

Gov. Rick Scott spent Monday touring high-tech South Florida companies looking to hire. He wants to make sure firms like Boca Raton’s Modernizing Medicine, which designs electronic medical record systems, have workers ready. “If you think about – I’ve got kids and even have, hard to believe, I have grandkids – the jobs of the [...]

A Post-Session Q & A With Senate Education Chairman John Legg

We sat down with Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg to talk about the recently completed legislative session. Legg said it was a good year for schools, with the budget boosting per student funding and lawmakers adding more options for students who want to earn college credit while still in high school. On the year’s [...]

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 [...]

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