April 15, 2024
Florida home schoolers want no part in voucher expansion bill

Florida Trend Education

Florida home schoolers want no part in voucher expansion bill

| 2/23/2023

Florida home schoolers want no part in voucher expansion bill

When lawmakers rolled out their newest plan for more school vouchers in January, they made sure that home education families would be included. After reviewing the specifics, many home schooling organizations are saying thanks, but no thanks. “We want home education programs to be treated separately and not be confused with families that choose to take the education savings account,” said T.J. Schmidt, senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida schools still struggle with late buses

Students are still arriving to school late, and efforts to hire more bus drivers to improve the problem are not as easy as it might seem School districts are seeking creative ways to solve the situation. They’ve changed start times, shifted routes, altered student class schedules and more, all in an attempt to get kids to school on time. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Jacksonville University in partnership to open new medical school

Jacksonville University and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) have partnered to establish LECOM at Jacksonville University. LECOM plans to have an inaugural class of about 75 students in 2026 who will work toward a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree. The program plans to grow enrollment to about 150 students within five years. LECOM’s other Florida location is in Bradenton. It also has campuses in Elmira, N.Y., and Greensburg and Erie, Pa. [Source: Florida Trend]

Proposed new bill eases licensing requirements to become a teacher in Florida

A proposed new bill aims to help fill Florida classrooms with more teachers by easing what it takes to become certified and how long candidates have to prove they deserve that teaching certification. The bill includes provisions that would extend temporary teaching certificates for teachers from three to five years and gives aspiring teachers more options to prove they are qualified to teach. [Source: WFTS]

Florida bills target ‘political loyalty tests’ in college diversity efforts

Florida’s public colleges and universities would be barred from basing hiring, promotion and admissions decisions on a person’s statements and actions regarding race or political ideologies under newly filed bills in the state House and Senate. The legislation is aimed at diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the schools, which Gov. Ron DeSantis has targeted as part of a larger package of proposed changes to Florida higher education. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Former UCF president John Hitt, who oversaw massive growth at Orlando campus, dead at 82
Former University of Central Florida president John Hitt, who oversaw tremendous growth at the school and the addition of a medical school, on-campus football stadium and more than 100 new buildings, has died. Hitt, 82, died Monday, less than five years after retiring from the university where he spent 26 years at the helm. Before his retirement, Hitt spoke frequently of UCF’s role in providing access to a college education to people who may not have otherwise earned bachelor’s degrees.

› OCPS schools to debut Florida’s first electric school buses, a pilot to test costs
Six electric school buses will soon be driving Orange County Public Schools students to and from school, as the district becomes the first in Florida to put these vehicles on the road. The new buses will be used on routes in west Orange and in the Pine Hills area and will help OCPS test whether the more expensive electric buses save money in the long run because of lower fuel costs. About 60 students and bus driver Gary Giddens took one of the electric buses on a test run last week.

› UF considering Downtown FSCJ, fairgrounds property for proposed Jacksonville graduate center
Florida House Rep. Wyman Duggan says at least two Downtown sites are being considered for the University of Florida’s proposed Health and Financial Technology Graduate Education Center in Jacksonville. According to Duggan, people close to the project say UF is reviewing land that’s part of Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Downtown Campus and the fairgrounds near TIAA Bank Field.

› Hillsborough school board talks of delay as key vote nears on boundary plan
A week before an important vote on school boundary changes and closures, some members of the Hillsborough County School Board indicated Tuesday that they might not be ready to take action. Board member Lynn Gray, alarmed by pending legislation that would expand the state’s school voucher system, said she fears enrollment and funding levels could drop dramatically, making it impossible at this time to make an informed decision on new attendance boundaries.

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During a Sarasota County school board meeting Tuesday evening, member Tom Edwards asked for the district to begin conducting exit interviews with teachers who leave the district. Edwards said he was inspired after seeing a WFTS investigation last week which obtained hundreds of teacher exit surveys from other districts revealing the “brutal” truth behind why so many Florida teachers keep leaving.

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