September 21, 2023
What can Florida school vouchers pay for? New lists are raising eyebrows.

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What can Florida school vouchers pay for? New lists are raising eyebrows.

| 9/7/2023

What can Florida school vouchers pay for? New lists are raising eyebrows.

As Florida lawmakers expanded eligibility for school vouchers this year, they also gave parents more ways to spend the money. Theme park passes, 55-inch TVs, and stand-up paddleboards are among the approved items that recipients can buy to use at home. The purchases can be made by parents who home-school their children or send them to private schools, if any voucher money remains after paying tuition and fees. More from the Tampa Bay Times and First Coast News.

Virtual-reality school is the next frontier of the school-choice movement

Back in 2015, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey predicted that — sooner or later — virtual reality headsets would find their way into the classroom and enable a new, more immersive future for education. "Classrooms are broken. Kids don't learn the best by reading books," Luckey told the Dublin Web Summit that year. Now, an online school called Optima Academy Online seems to be answering those queries, and bringing Luckey's vision to fruition. More from Business Insider and the New Yorker.

Florida expected to approve classical exam as a competitor to the SAT

The Classic Learning Test is the college admissions exam that most students have never heard of. An alternative to the SAT and ACT for only a small number of mostly religious colleges, the test is known for its emphasis on the Western canon, with a big dose of Christian thought. But on Friday, Florida’s public university system, which includes the University of Florida and Florida State University, is expected to become the first state system to approve the Classic Learning Test, or CLT, for use in admissions. [Source: New York Times]

3 Florida universities ranked among top 100 in the U.S.

A major honor for three Florida universities Wednesday, after the Wall Street Journal released its list of the 400 best universities in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal evaluated factors including student experience, salary impact and social mobility. The University of Florida ranked as #15 overall, and #1 out of only the public institutions. [Source: NBC Miami]

Florida school districts consider Idalia makeup days

Some Florida school districts are wasting no time in announcing their plans to account for class time lost to Hurricane Idalia. Students across broad swaths of the state missed anywhere from one to three days of classes as the storm threatened and then blew through, leaving wind and flood damage in its wake. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› ‘At a standstill’: Worries grow at FAU 2 months after the search for a new president was halted
It’s been eight months since Florida Atlantic University’s president retired, and since then — amid a stalled search for a replacement that critics say has become politicized — the school’s leadership has become increasingly populated by placeholders. Stacy Volnick, the school’s chief operating officer, is serving as interim president until a new leader is appointed.

› New model helps FAMU-FSU researchers locate best spots for field hospitals after disasters
FAMU-FSU College of Engineering researchers want Floridians to be prepared when the next pandemic or hurricane hits the state. A new study published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction examines the best locations for field hospitals that can supplement health care facilities when resources are stretched thin.

› Six teachers remain at Alachua eSchool
Alachua eSchool has lost seven of its original 13 teachers, leaving it with only six full-time instructors, according to the school directory. The cuts are partially due to low enrollment in Alachua eSchool, Alachua County Public Schools spokesperson Jackie Johnson said.

› STEAM Institute open at Jacksonville University
The STEAM Institute, an interdisciplinary center at Jacksonville University offering studies in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, is open after years of planning and a major overhaul to a 30,000-square-foot building on the Arlington campus at 2800 University Boulevard N.

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Florida schools using digital hall pass app
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We are in the digital age, and the times of using a lanyard or a piece of paper as a hall pass are over. Some schools in Seminole County are switching to an app called Minga. It works as a digital ID, a timed hall pass, an event notification service, and more, and it’s garnered some mixed reactions from parents and students.

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