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Education Stakeholders Praise Outgoing Ed Commissioner

June 12, 2011 - 6:00pm

It isnt easy finding someone to criticize Eric Smith.

Even the most ardent critics of the direction Florida is taking on education, with increased emphasis on test score data and expansions of voucher programs, charter and virtual schools, hold back when it comes to Smith.

Floridas popular education commissioner, whose last day on the job was Friday, has earned accolades from a wide spectrum of education stakeholders during his four years in office.

Little Revealed About Education Commissioner Candidates

June 7, 2011 - 6:00pm

The Department of Education is staying tight-lipped about whether any new applicants came forward for the high-profile job of education commissioner as the second deadline to apply for the job came and went late Monday.

Two State Board of Education members reached Tuesday said they had not received a formal briefing on who the new applicants are from the search firm hired to find Floridas next education commissioner.

I have not received any briefing today, said board member A.K. Desai.

State Poised to Approve New Teacher Evaluations

May 31, 2011 - 6:00pm

Class attendance will count. A students socioeconomic status wont. Students with disabilities and gifted students will be a factor. But race and gender will not.

Thats a glimpse of the new test-based teacher evaluation formula the state is set to approve on Wednesday. As part of the requirements of the new teacher merit pay law and the mandates of the $700 million Race to the Top federal grant, the state and school districts are preparing for a major overhaul of how teachers are rated and paid.

Applicants Trickle In for Education Commissioner

May 25, 2011 - 6:00pm

Three people have applied for the job of Floridas education commissioner, with more applicants expected before the midnight deadline.

The three applicants are Thomas Goodman, a former charter school superintendent from California and now superintendent with Education Management Systems; Carlos Lopez, the superintendent of the River Rouge School District in Michigan; and Bessie Karvelas, the district chief instructional officer for Chicago Public Schools.

Does Money Spent by Voucher Groups Equal Votes?

May 22, 2011 - 6:00pm

When Florida voted in 2001 to create a corporate tax credit voucher program for low-income students, only one Democrat supported the idea.

Ten years later, when it came time to vote on a bill (HB 965) that expanded the amount of tax credit a company gets for making a donation to a school voucher program, 24 Democrats chose to support the bill.

Thats a remarkable policy shift for Democrats, who started out nearly united in their opposition to vouchers.

Florida Universities Prepare to Slash Budgets

May 12, 2011 - 6:00pm

State universities are once again having to comb their budgets and look for ways to slash millions to close shortfalls by early June.

Universities are facing an unappetizing buffet of budget-trimming choices after years of budget cuts have left some with what they say are bare-bones operations. On the table this year are tuition increases, cuts to merit-based aid, higher fees to out-of-state students, reductions in paid time off and the possible elimination of programs that have low enrollments.

Session Bears Little Fruit for Environmentalists

May 11, 2011 - 6:00pm

Environmental groups are surveying the damage done by this years legislative session, and saying it was one of the worst sessions for the environment in recent memory.

The Republican-dominated Legislature approved a raft of bills that generally favor developers over environmental protections in the name of reducing bureaucratic red tape and increasing jobs.

Lawmakers Slash Schools Budget

May 8, 2011 - 6:00pm

Florida lawmakers approved an education budget in the final hours of the legislative session that slashed money that pays for schools by nearly 8 percent, cutting funding by $542 per student.

Budget writers say they were left with few choices but to slash spending when faced with a $3.75 billion budget hole, and said they tried to shield education from the more severe cuts that hit other areas, such as prisons.

Lawmakers Approve Controversial Permitting Bill

May 5, 2011 - 6:00pm

Lawmakers on Thursday sent to Gov. Rick Scott a controversial proposal that environmentalists say will make it easier for developers to sidestep challenges to development.

The House voted 79-36 on Thursday to approve a bill (HB 993) that was amended by the Senate this week to include a change to state law involving protests in environmental permitting.

Republicans, who supported the proposal, said it removes obstacles to development and will create jobs.

Lawmakers Target University, College Salaries

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