National trends: The Opportunity Index measures factors that contribute to quality of life, like graduation rates and access to early learning.
Florida doesn’t offer as much opportunity to its young people as other states do.
That’s according to new research from Opportunity Nation. The bipartisan organization compiles an index of community characteristics to measure how people’s zip codes affect their quality of life.
The index includes things like access to early learning, violent crime rates and graduation rates.
“As a nation we’re fixated on unemployment, and of course it’s important. But the real core issues of opportunity have been going on for much more than simply this recession,” said Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation.
“One of the measures of opportunity is the percentage of young adults in your community that graduate from high school—we know when that number is low, communities don’t do well,” he said.
Edwards was in Florida for a Grad Nation summit on the national dropout crisis. Ultimately, Edwards told the crowd of educators, he wants to see people vote on issues of opportunity—not unemployment.
There are fewer custodians and support staff in Florida public schools than there were in 2007.
A StateImpact Florida analysis of jobs in Florida public schools shows that while full-time staffing is almost back to pre-recession levels, one group of employees hasn’t come back: the support staff.
Since the recession began, Florida’s public school budgets have been hit with more than $2 billion dollars in cuts from state and federal funding, decreased property tax revenue and sequestration. StateImpact has been following the resulting layoffs and hard choices in schools across the state.
But at the start of last school year there were still about 15,000 fewer full-time jobs in Florida public schools than there were in 2007. Almost all of those jobs — 99.5% — are support staff positions. Custodians, secretaries, classroom aides—there just aren’t as many people filling those roles anymore.
LISTEN: WHAT IT MEANS TO LOSE SUPPORT STAFF
You can see a breakdown of year-to-year full-time employment numbers in Florida public schools here:
Students with disabilities are less likely to be students at charter schools.
The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington has released a study showing that charter schools in New York City are less likely to serve children with disabilities than traditional public schools in New York.
That’s because no school grade could drop by more than one letter grade this year. School superintendents asked for the protection because more than 30 factor in the formula have changed the past two years.
So which district benefited the most from the safety net?
Statewide 17.2 percent of schools avoided a larger drop. Most of the state’s large districts — Orange, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Hillsborough — bested that average.
Small rural and midsized districts — Citrus, Charlotte and Lake, for instance — had the highest percentage of safety net schools (though low numbers of schools in some districts mean a large percentage of schools qualified.)
The Florida Department of Education released 2013 elementary and middle school grades, part of the state’s school accountability system. The data includes each component of the school’s score and demographic data. Continue reading →
“Washington promises to pay the billions in new costs. But with these endless federal deficits can we really trust them?” The ad states. “If Florida gets stuck with the long term bill it will bust our budget. That could force big cuts for funding in education.
“Protect our budget and schools,” the ad concludes, asking viewers to sign a petition.
Malcolm Calvert was in 7th grade when he got into an argument with his 6th grade friend on a school bus and hit him with a Tootsie Pop.
“I hit him with it on his head,” recalls Malcolm, who was a student at Lanier James Alternative School in Hallandale Beach, Fla., when the Tootsie Pop incident happened in 2011. “They handcuffed me and took me off the school bus.” Continue reading →
District schools must calculate the class size of every classroom and count every violation. Charter schools are allowed to use a school-wide average, which school officials say is more forgiving.
In the 2010-2011 school year, 28 of 71 Florida schools districts — 39 percent — were penalized for not meeting class size limits, according to state data. In 2011-2012, 22 of 71 Florida districts — 31 percent — did not meet class size limits.