Today at the Florida Supreme Court: Does the state spend enough on education?
The Florida Supreme Court this morning will hear a 9-year-old case that argues the state is failing to provide students a “high quality” public education as demanded in the state constitution. The case also challenges the adequacy of Florida school funding and questions the constitutionality of two of Florida’s popular school voucher programs. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times.
Julie Roberts’ classroom measures maybe 6 square feet. In that tiny spot in her Land O’ Lakes home, she teaches six classes a day starting at 6 a.m. She smiles into the faces of students about 8,000 miles away, meeting new ones nearly every day and knowing it’s unlikely she’ll ever meet them in person. Roberts is one of more than 60,000 instructors teaching English to about 100,000 Chinese children. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Across the country and around the state lead-contaminated drinking water has put schools in the spotlight and under the microscope. In Hillsborough County, since the district started lead testing last year, 54 schools have tested above 15 parts per billion, the federal standard for action. [Source: WFTS]
At a time when arts and humanities departments at many institutions are struggling for support, the University of Florida offers a contrast. The University of Florida College of the Arts is in the middle of a hiring wave that will increase the size of its faculty by over 10 percent. See the full announcement from UF and read more at Inside Higher Ed.
In addition to the general upheaval of normal routines and rhythms, the storm’s destruction brought great uncertainty to Bay District Schools. How many teachers or staff members would be able to return? How many students would they have left when the doors finally opened? For many schools, only Monday, or their later start date, would tell. [Source: Panama City News Herald]
› University study that aims to identify well being of Manatee County veterans could be a game changer [Bradenton Herald]
Manatee County’s 35,000 veterans have an opportunity to anonymously participate in a first-of-its-kind study of their well being by the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. An online survey recently went live, seeking information on veterans’ physical and mental health, employment history, relationships and lifestyle.
› Florida State launches new Civil Rights Institute [FSU News]
The new FSU Civil Rights Institute is the brainchild of Doby Flowers and attorney Fred Flowers, both FSU alumni. Doby Flowers was FSU’s first African-American Homecoming Queen, and her brother, Fred, was the first African-American student athlete to wear an FSU uniform.
› One year later: Greek culture at FSU gains more oversight a year after Andrew Coffey's death [Tallahassee Democrat]
Andrew Coffey's death rocked FSU, upended the campus's Greek system and plunged the administration, staff and students into months of soul-searching, re-evaluation and recrimination. Twelve months later, administrators, staff and leaders within the campus Greek community say Coffey's death was a turning point.
› Hillsborough voters pass education referendum to increase sales tax for 10 years [WTSP]
Voters on Tuesday passed Hillsborough County Referendum 3, which includes a half-cent sales tax increase to fund public school improvements. The increase in sales tax is estimated to raise $138 million a year and $276 million in the first two years.
» See also: Miami-Dade voters say yes to property tax hike to pay teachers, hire school police