"Florida's average composite score on the ACT college entrance test dropped 0.4 point to 19.9 this year to rank 48th nationally, according to results released early Wednesday."
This year, only the District of Columbia (18.7), Mississippi (18.9) and South Carolina (19.6) have lower scores.All is not lost: "More Florida students traditionally have taken the SAT, a competing entrance exam. SAT scores have not yet been released for 2007, but Florida also ranked near the bottom last year, when the state's composite average declined by three points to 993. ... ahead of only Georgia and South Carolina."
Of course, there is a good reason for this failure - Florida's Acting Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg, believe it or not, actually
said Florida's scores fell because its ACT participation increased, particularly among black and Hispanic students."Florida ACT scores fall, state ranks 48th nationally".
"Like the 2000 Recount—On Steroids"
William March writes that "Mitchell Berger, a long-time, high-level financial backer for Democratic candidates, is worried about this year’s presidential primaries. Berger, who was one of the leader’s of the Al Gore legal team during the Florida 2000 presidential recount, fears the primary race could descend into 'chaos' and maybe litigation because of the game of leapfrog initiated by Florida’s move of its primary date to Jan. 29. Here’s the scenario that worries Berger". "Primary Chaos? 'Like the 2000 Recount—On Steroids'".
"As early property tax notices start hitting mailboxes across South Florida this week, most taxpayers are due a slight drop in their bills." "Tax cut effect muted; savings slight".
Congress Won't Bail Out Florida
"Tropical Storm Dean is the first real threat of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, and a reminder that Congress has been unable to agree on creating a national fund to help lower home insurance costs tied to hurricanes and other natural disasters. It now appears unlikely that any such bill will make landfall on the president's desk this year or even by the end of 2008, when the current Congress expires." "National Hurricane Fund Unlikely".
These Dopes Count Our Ballots?
"The much-maligned touchscreen-voting machines look like they're going to be maligned again at 8 p.m. EST tonight on HDNet's "Dan Rather Reports." The touting of the show by Susan Pynchon, of Florida Fair Elections Coalition, riled some elections chiefs, according to some emails." Here's an example:
Pat Hollarn of Okaloosa County said activists need to "get a life" and noted that Rather "lost his job" over his "false reporting" concerning President George W. Bush's military record."Election chiefs' peeved over Rather's touchscreen report".
"Do siblings have a basic right to be raised together in the same family? That thorny question, now confronting a Miami judge who will decide whether to return a 4-year-old girl to her father in Cuba, may determine whether an already tense, complex and emotional court battle will become even more complicated." "Lawyer says half brother has right to be with sister".
Now we know why Judges' home addresses are kept confidential.
Yecke Still In The Hunt
"The chancellor who oversees Florida's elementary and secondary schools and her predecessor are among seven semifinalists in the State Board of Education's nationwide search for a new education commissioner."
The board unanimously voted to winnow a list of 29 applicants Tuesday. The semifinalists, including K-12 Chancellor Cheri Pierson Yecke, will be invited for interviews during the next meeting Sept. 17-18 in Tampa before the board selects a set of finalists. ..."Board narrows education commissioner list to 7". See also "Education board to interview 7 finalists". This is a hoot: "Bush appointees helped block Crist buddy". Yecke looks like a lock.
Yecke, a Republican who was briefly employed by a conservative think tank, dropped a campaign for Congress in Minnesota to take her present job in 2005.
Before that she had served 16 months as Minnesota's education commissioner until the Democratic controlled state Senate fired her. Her tenure there included rewriting academic standards and launching a school grading system similar to the one implemented in Florida by former Gov. Jeb Bush in 1999.
Some Minnesota lawmakers disliked her hard-charging style and complained her conservative agenda was turning education into a political battleground. Yecke also has served as Virginia's education secretary.
Her support for such ideas as school grading and vouchers, which let children attend private schools at public expense, was a good fit, though, with Bush and then-Education Commissioner John Winn.
"State preserves 1,400 acres for wildlife habitat".
"Scamming Miami-Dade County is getting a little too easy these days. Even after the county has quit doing business with nonperforming businesses, it seems that they can still get a check out of County Hall." "Deal was severed, but spending continued".
"Records opened Tuesday in the case of the Loxahatchee home where a malnourished woman was found lying in filth show intense conflict between a road patrol deputy and a Department of Children and Families investigator who thought the deputy was not moving quickly enough to make an arrest." "DCF worker, deputy jousted on abuse at home, records show".
Workin' on that Tan
"Crist has taken 18 work days off from the job in the first seven months of his administration." "Crist takes a bit more vacation than Bush".
One Too Many?
"High Costs Show Florida Plans One Medical School Too Many".
Building on "Florida's most vulnerable coastal barriers"
"When property owners decided to build homes on some of Florida's most vulnerable coastal barriers, they did so knowing their land was too threatened to qualify for federal flood insurance and other government subsidies." "As coastal areas grow, worries about risk arise".
The Sun-Sentinel editors: "State law now requires young teens convicted of sex crimes to register as offenders. A 14-year-old experimenting with sex does not have either the culpability or the awareness of his actions that a 30-year-old convicted of rape does. And yet, thanks to lawmakers' misguided efforts, both would now find themselves condemned to the same fate: their name inscribed for perpetuity on the state's public registry of sex offenders." "Offender list requirement not fair for young teens".
The Palm Peach Post editorial board: "Florida has spent nearly 40 years trying to get no-fault auto insurance right. Now, Florida is very close to getting it wrong." "It will be Florida's fault if no-fault disappears". See also "Who pays when the law changes?"
You Go Mel
"Sen. Mel Martinez, the head of the Republican National Committee, took a swipe Tuesday at the leading Republican presidential candidates for not offering solid solutions to America's immigration crisis." "Martinez chides GOP candidates".
I Feel Safer
"Bilirakis finds mixed bag in Iraq".
"State Rep. Bob Allen is reaching out to local NAACP groups to explain remarks he made about blacks after he was arrested last month on sex charges." "Allen explains remark". Meanwhile, "Lawmaker's image worries Florida GOP leaders".