Florida School Boards Association laments 'federal overreach' in parent protests issue
The Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) is pushing back against a call from its national counterpart, the National School Boards Association, for the federal government step in and assist with handling threats to school officials. In a letter sent to leaders of the NSBA on Monday, Andrea Messina, executive director of the FSBA, wrote: "FSBA strongly encourages a review of NSBA leadership and its processes, as well as urges a public acknowledgment of the federal overreach expressed in your letter. Not only has it unnecessarily distracted from the important work being carried out by our members, it has strained important local and state collaborative relationships our members have worked hard to build and maintain for years."
Tampa Bay Times
Latest elementary and middle schools rankings published
U.S. News & World Report has published its latest Best K-8 Schools rankings. For 2022, schools have been ranked at the state and district level, with Best Charter Schools and Best Magnet Schools ranked as stand-alone categories. California has 5,534 ranked elementary schools – the most of any state – followed by Texas (4,446), New York (2,211), Florida (2,128) and Illinois (2,038). California also has the most ranked middle schools with 2,319, followed by Texas (1,942), Illinois (1,243), New York (1,219) and Florida (997). The methodology for the brand-new rankings focuses on two areas: math and reading proficiency, or how well students perform on state assessments, and math and reading performance, or how well they perform compared to expectations. Notably, the state assessment data used in the rankings is from the 2018-2019 school year, so pre-dates the impact of the pandemic.
US News and World Report
Medical requirement for mask opt-out removed in Leon County
Leon County Schools is one step closer to being in compliance with state law and Governor Ron Desantis’ mask mandate ban, after superintendent Rocky Hanna loosened the mask requirement for pre-K through 8th to move back to parental opt out with no medical documentation required. "We're also going to allow visitors back on campus to help schools with the daily functions of activities as well as mentoring our children," he says.
Parents’ Bill of Rights passed in Lee County
The School Board of Lee County has approved a Parents’ Bill of Rights policy to promote parental engagement. The Parents’ Bill of Rights Policy 2.062 pulls from all the district’s policies, outlines parental rights from healthcare to education and consolidates everything into one document, which can all be found on the district’s website. The four-page policy includes three subheadings — parents’ rights, promoting parent involvement, parent requests for information and that the district will inform parents on various topics.
Lehigh Acres Citizen
Broward School Board Votes No On Cartwright
The Broward County School Board voted by a 6-3 margin Tuesday evening not to give interim superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright the permanent position. School board members Ann Murray and Laurie Rich Levinson said there needs to be a national search for a superintendent and a more inclusive process, while member Lori Alhadeff said a national search is important but wants to support a motion to change Cartwright’s contract, so she can apply for the permanent position in the future.
Federal funding key to tackling soaring U.S. childcare costs
Jason DeParle explores the nation's soaring childcare costs and underlines the determining role of the federal government in funding seismic changes to the sector. The Treasury Department reported last month that the average cost of care is roughly $10,000 a year per child and consumes about 13% of family income, nearly twice what the government considers affordable. At the same time, the Department noted the average teacher earns about $24,000 a year, many live in poverty, and nearly half receive some public assistance. “It’s among the lowest-paid of all occupations,” laments Lea J.E. Austin of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. “People have a hard time seeing that this is complex, specialized work.” The weighty social policy bill being pushed by President Biden at present would cap families’ childcare expenses at 7% of their income, DeParle notes, offer large subsidies to child care centers, and require the centers to raise wages in hopes of improving teacher quality, and a version before the House would cost $250 billion over a decade and raise annual spending fivefold or more within a few years. An additional $200 billion would provide universal prekindergarten. “This would be the biggest investment in the history of childcare,” says Stephanie Schmit, a child care expert at the Center for Law and Social Policy, who asserts: "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do right for everyone.”
New York Times
International educators hired to fill teacher shortages in Polk County
Teachers from all over the world are filling a major need in Polk County. The district struggled to fill teaching vacancies locally so they looked abroad for help and found approximately 60 educators willing to relocate to Polk County. "It exposes them to different cultures, different teaching techniques," McLaughlin Middle School Principal Dr. Debra Wright-Hudson said. "The students win when they gain a qualified teacher in a critical subject area. The teachers win. They get to share strategies and learn new things. The schools win by gaining certified qualified educators," added TPG Cultural Exchange Chief Operating Officer Sujata Gidumal.
Fox 35 Orlando
Policy recommendations for state lawmakers to support 'principal pipelines'
A new report by the Wallace Foundation underlines how state policy can support school districts in building and strengthening principal pipelines. Paul Manna, the Hyman professor of government and director of the Public Policy Program at the College of William & Mary, suggests six "levers" state lawmakers can pull, asserting that approaches that embrace flexibility and provide local school districts with incentives to consider launching principal pipeline initiatives would be a better approach than mandating typically more rigid standards. Examples of actions policymakers can take, he adds, include developing leader standards with differentiation between leadership roles, using those standards to inform oversight and licensing for principal preparation programs, and ensuring flexibility for local standards and evaluation policy processes.
New initiative aims to help school officials with tech purchasing decisions
District and school leaders are facing some of the most difficult and expensive technology purchasing decisions of their careers. Now, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is working with partner organizations to build a national database of edtech products. Next month, ISTE will roll out a searchable, database with a filtering tool. Initially, users will be able to see information such as the name of the product, a description, the grade or grades that the product is intended for, the topic it covers, and the pricing structure, and soon the database will be expanded to include other factors such as whether the products meet interoperability standards and feature privacy policies.