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Gradebook

Tampa Bay Times

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Gradebook
Gradebook

Gradebook

Tampa Bay Times

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Gradebook takes you inside the world of Florida education issues with reporter discussions and newsmaker interviews on the hottest topics of the week. Florida has been a national leader in education initiatives for more than two decades, and our team brings you closer to the action.

Latest Episodes

Why do principals matter? One principal's perspective.

In efforts to make schools better, Florida officials often look to the person in charge of the campus. The principal sets the tone, leads by example, attracts (or in negative examples, repels) the faculty and staff charged with the daily education of children. How do school principals view their responsibilities? As Florida school districts are recognizing their top educators, we turned to Pasco County's newly named Principal of the Year, JoAnne Glenn, to hear her thoughts about the highly touted role. Glenn, who runs a virtual school, discusses the importance of the job, as well as her views on the changing nature of public education in a time of choice and customization.

11 MIN4 d ago
Comments
Why do principals matter? One principal's perspective.

Can Florida afford teacher raises and increase per-student funding, too?

Florida's government leaders have decided to prioritize increasing teacher pay in their next state budget. They also want to expand vouchers, bolster school security, improve early education funding and raise per-student spending. They don't want to raise taxes, either. (Did we mention the governor and the majorities in both chambers are Republican?) Is the goal possible? State Rep. Chris Latvala, chairman of the House PreK-12 Appropriations committee, talks with reporter Jeff Solochek about the moves under consideration to afford these many priorities.

16 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Can Florida afford teacher raises and increase per-student funding, too?

Why are Florida teacher union leaders riding a bus around the state?

As Florida lawmakers have gathered in the state capitol to debate education issues such as teacher pay, prekindergarten funding and student-athlete health protections, leaders of the state's largest teacher union hit the road. They launched a five-week, 50-stop bus tour aimed at drawing attention to their positions on the issues, which often differ from those of the governor and legislative leaders. What's do they hope to accomplish? Florida Education Association vice president Andrew Spar discusses the group's objectives, as well as the barriers they face, with reporter Jeff Solochek.

22 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Why are Florida teacher union leaders riding a bus around the state?

Florida's school standards and children of color: A mom's view on what needs fixing

Alexandra Gilmore knew she needed to attend the Florida Department of Education's public forum about student expectations when it came to Tampa on Oct. 17. The mother of two, who sometimes substitutes in local schools, has seen the love of learning sucked out of her children, and others like them, because of the way the standards are implemented. Not all families start at the same place, Gilmore observed, and yet the state expects them all to begin at a high level — whether that's attainable or not. "The current standards are a set up for kids to fail," she said. What needs to be done? Hear Gilmore discuss her views on Florida's academic standards in an interview with reporter Jeff Solochek.

18 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Florida's school standards and children of color: A mom's view on what needs fixing

Should Florida school districts have their own police forces?

Two years after Parkland, Florida government, political and education leaders continue to debate the best ways to keep schools safe from violence. The state's Public Safety Commission, convened in the aftermath of the deadly attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, is about to issue a new set of recommendations. How individual districts choose to address the issues remains distinctly local. In Hernando County, the far north exurbs of Tampa, officials have long sworn by having trained law enforcement officers in the schools. Until one day the school district administration came up with a different idea. What comes next? Hernando County education reporter Jack Evans discusses the ongoing discussion with Jeff Solochek in our latest Gradebook podcast.

23 MINOCT 17
Comments
Should Florida school districts have their own police forces?

Florida's governor proposes $600M for teacher raises. Why isn't everyone cheering?

This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his goal to increase Florida’s base teacher salary to $47,500. That would move the state from 26th in the nation to 2nd. And it would meet a longtime teacher plea to shift attention from bonuses to wages. DeSantis’ call to put more than half a billion dollars into paychecks didn’t win universal accolades, though. It instead was greeted with questions, doubts and criticisms.Why all the concern? Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association president Rob Kriete talks to reporter Jeff Solochek about the proposal and the pushback.

17 MINOCT 11
Comments
Florida's governor proposes $600M for teacher raises. Why isn't everyone cheering?

What should schools do to help students who struggle to read?

In Florida, the Hillsborough County school district has one of the largest number of schools on the state's lowest performing list when it comes to reading. Nearly one in four students in the system score below grade level on the annual reading and language arts exam. To combat the problem, the district hired a consultant to explore where the problems lie, and what strategies might bring the lowest readers up. A newly released preliminary report pointed to the types of materials provided, and how equitably they are distributed, as key to the situation. Reporter Marlene Sokol talks with district chief academic officer Deborah Cook about the importance of reading and what the system has in mind to make improvements.

17 MINOCT 9
Comments
What should schools do to help students who struggle to read?

A civics lesson for Florida teens who think there ought to be a law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state's youth need improved civics lessons so they can become better citizens. Tony Pirotta, a social studies teacher at Hillsborough County's Armwood High School, sees the answer already exists — give students a hands-on experience to involve themselves in the government. Each year, he works with a group of teens to discover an issue that matters to them, and which they think needs attention in law. They study the subject, write a proposal, find lawmakers to sponsor their measure and lobby in the halls of Tallahassee. All of this, Pirotta says, makes civics both understandable and meaningful. Pirotta talks with reporter Jeff Solochek about the Ought to be a Law program, and this year's student initiative on testing of English-language learners.

16 MINOCT 3
Comments
A civics lesson for Florida teens who think there ought to be a law

Florida's 4-year-olds: Are they ready for school?

Florida voters approved a universal prekindergarten program back in 2002, after lawmakers refused to implement a an early education system to help prepare young children for school. Since then, the program has grown in enrollment, but its funding has remained stagnant, and its success has been limited. This year, state officials have called for improvements. With early learning on the front burner — it was the first topic of conversation for the House Education Committee as it heads to the 2020 legislative session — we turned to Pinellas County Early Learning Coalition CEO Lindsay Carson to discuss what needs to be done to fix the state's prekindergarten and school readiness model. Carson also chairs the state's Association of Early Learning Coalitions. She spoke with reporter Jeff Solochek.

23 MINSEP 26
Comments
Florida's 4-year-olds: Are they ready for school?

They're back. Florida lawmakers talk education priorities for 2020

Just months after ending their 2019 session, Florida lawmakers have headed back to Tallahassee to begin preparing for 2020. The first week of committee meetings has offered a glimpse into the education priorities the Legislature is poised to tackle. Among them are school security (no surprise there) and early education. What else is on tap? Reporters Emily Mahoney and Jeff Solochek read the tea leaves.

22 MINSEP 19
Comments
They're back. Florida lawmakers talk education priorities for 2020

Latest Episodes

Why do principals matter? One principal's perspective.

In efforts to make schools better, Florida officials often look to the person in charge of the campus. The principal sets the tone, leads by example, attracts (or in negative examples, repels) the faculty and staff charged with the daily education of children. How do school principals view their responsibilities? As Florida school districts are recognizing their top educators, we turned to Pasco County's newly named Principal of the Year, JoAnne Glenn, to hear her thoughts about the highly touted role. Glenn, who runs a virtual school, discusses the importance of the job, as well as her views on the changing nature of public education in a time of choice and customization.

11 MIN4 d ago
Comments
Why do principals matter? One principal's perspective.

Can Florida afford teacher raises and increase per-student funding, too?

Florida's government leaders have decided to prioritize increasing teacher pay in their next state budget. They also want to expand vouchers, bolster school security, improve early education funding and raise per-student spending. They don't want to raise taxes, either. (Did we mention the governor and the majorities in both chambers are Republican?) Is the goal possible? State Rep. Chris Latvala, chairman of the House PreK-12 Appropriations committee, talks with reporter Jeff Solochek about the moves under consideration to afford these many priorities.

16 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Can Florida afford teacher raises and increase per-student funding, too?

Why are Florida teacher union leaders riding a bus around the state?

As Florida lawmakers have gathered in the state capitol to debate education issues such as teacher pay, prekindergarten funding and student-athlete health protections, leaders of the state's largest teacher union hit the road. They launched a five-week, 50-stop bus tour aimed at drawing attention to their positions on the issues, which often differ from those of the governor and legislative leaders. What's do they hope to accomplish? Florida Education Association vice president Andrew Spar discusses the group's objectives, as well as the barriers they face, with reporter Jeff Solochek.

22 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Why are Florida teacher union leaders riding a bus around the state?

Florida's school standards and children of color: A mom's view on what needs fixing

Alexandra Gilmore knew she needed to attend the Florida Department of Education's public forum about student expectations when it came to Tampa on Oct. 17. The mother of two, who sometimes substitutes in local schools, has seen the love of learning sucked out of her children, and others like them, because of the way the standards are implemented. Not all families start at the same place, Gilmore observed, and yet the state expects them all to begin at a high level — whether that's attainable or not. "The current standards are a set up for kids to fail," she said. What needs to be done? Hear Gilmore discuss her views on Florida's academic standards in an interview with reporter Jeff Solochek.

18 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Florida's school standards and children of color: A mom's view on what needs fixing

Should Florida school districts have their own police forces?

Two years after Parkland, Florida government, political and education leaders continue to debate the best ways to keep schools safe from violence. The state's Public Safety Commission, convened in the aftermath of the deadly attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, is about to issue a new set of recommendations. How individual districts choose to address the issues remains distinctly local. In Hernando County, the far north exurbs of Tampa, officials have long sworn by having trained law enforcement officers in the schools. Until one day the school district administration came up with a different idea. What comes next? Hernando County education reporter Jack Evans discusses the ongoing discussion with Jeff Solochek in our latest Gradebook podcast.

23 MINOCT 17
Comments
Should Florida school districts have their own police forces?

Florida's governor proposes $600M for teacher raises. Why isn't everyone cheering?

This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his goal to increase Florida’s base teacher salary to $47,500. That would move the state from 26th in the nation to 2nd. And it would meet a longtime teacher plea to shift attention from bonuses to wages. DeSantis’ call to put more than half a billion dollars into paychecks didn’t win universal accolades, though. It instead was greeted with questions, doubts and criticisms.Why all the concern? Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association president Rob Kriete talks to reporter Jeff Solochek about the proposal and the pushback.

17 MINOCT 11
Comments
Florida's governor proposes $600M for teacher raises. Why isn't everyone cheering?

What should schools do to help students who struggle to read?

In Florida, the Hillsborough County school district has one of the largest number of schools on the state's lowest performing list when it comes to reading. Nearly one in four students in the system score below grade level on the annual reading and language arts exam. To combat the problem, the district hired a consultant to explore where the problems lie, and what strategies might bring the lowest readers up. A newly released preliminary report pointed to the types of materials provided, and how equitably they are distributed, as key to the situation. Reporter Marlene Sokol talks with district chief academic officer Deborah Cook about the importance of reading and what the system has in mind to make improvements.

17 MINOCT 9
Comments
What should schools do to help students who struggle to read?

A civics lesson for Florida teens who think there ought to be a law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state's youth need improved civics lessons so they can become better citizens. Tony Pirotta, a social studies teacher at Hillsborough County's Armwood High School, sees the answer already exists — give students a hands-on experience to involve themselves in the government. Each year, he works with a group of teens to discover an issue that matters to them, and which they think needs attention in law. They study the subject, write a proposal, find lawmakers to sponsor their measure and lobby in the halls of Tallahassee. All of this, Pirotta says, makes civics both understandable and meaningful. Pirotta talks with reporter Jeff Solochek about the Ought to be a Law program, and this year's student initiative on testing of English-language learners.

16 MINOCT 3
Comments
A civics lesson for Florida teens who think there ought to be a law

Florida's 4-year-olds: Are they ready for school?

Florida voters approved a universal prekindergarten program back in 2002, after lawmakers refused to implement a an early education system to help prepare young children for school. Since then, the program has grown in enrollment, but its funding has remained stagnant, and its success has been limited. This year, state officials have called for improvements. With early learning on the front burner — it was the first topic of conversation for the House Education Committee as it heads to the 2020 legislative session — we turned to Pinellas County Early Learning Coalition CEO Lindsay Carson to discuss what needs to be done to fix the state's prekindergarten and school readiness model. Carson also chairs the state's Association of Early Learning Coalitions. She spoke with reporter Jeff Solochek.

23 MINSEP 26
Comments
Florida's 4-year-olds: Are they ready for school?

They're back. Florida lawmakers talk education priorities for 2020

Just months after ending their 2019 session, Florida lawmakers have headed back to Tallahassee to begin preparing for 2020. The first week of committee meetings has offered a glimpse into the education priorities the Legislature is poised to tackle. Among them are school security (no surprise there) and early education. What else is on tap? Reporters Emily Mahoney and Jeff Solochek read the tea leaves.

22 MINSEP 19
Comments
They're back. Florida lawmakers talk education priorities for 2020
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