Monday, March 4, 2013

Education News Update

Wow. I realize that I haven't posted since Election Day 2012. It's been a busy few months, and a LOT of things have happened in the education world since November. 


  • On the federal level, it looks like things will be the same. I don't believe education policy would have changed too much if Romney won. Perhaps the only change with a Romney administration would have been an acceleration of the testing and privatization movement.
  • Tony Bennett lost his seat as the head of education in Indiana. However, the bad news is that he was appointed to the equivalent position in Florida. There has not been much controversy yet, he's still fairly new on the job. I don't think he will be as controversial in Florida as he was in Indiana because his ideas won't be new to the state. 
  • Voters in Seminole County, FL (north of Orlando) approved a property tax increase for school funding. This was after a failed attempt in a prior election to impose a 0.5% sales tax. However, the district is in the midst of a rezoning battle with its elementary schools in order to save money.
  • Brevard County, Florida, home of the Kennedy Space Center, lost its 0.5% sales tax referendum and is in a dire situation as it mulls several serious budget cutting ideas.
  • Governor Rick Scott has all of a sudden had a change of heart on education, proposing a massive increase in education spending, which includes a recommended $2,500 raise for all teachers. This is more political posturing than anything else. It will be up to the Florida Legislature to enact the recommendation and up to district/union collective bargaining to make it a reality. Republican legislators are against it as it contradicts the merit pay law passed in 2011. 
  • The tide is slowly, and I emphasize slowly, starting to turn in regard to excessive testing and the emphasis on such measures as the sole indication of performance in a child's education. I am hoping that this turns into some key election victories in November 2014.  
I think 2013 will still be a challenging year for public education, but I believe that our side is becoming stronger and we will start to gain more exposure and credibility in the media. It will not be an easy fight, but I do believe that our side will gain some much needed traction. 

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