Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Florida has a graduation problem. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) isn't helping."
According to the annual Diplomas Count report by the Maryland-based nonprofit Editorial Projects in Education (which publishes Education Week and other academic journals), just 57.5 percent of Florida students completed high school on time with a regular diploma in 2006. The national average was 69.2 percent, ranking the state fifth-lowest in the nation."Pamela Weston, a high school student in Coral Springs, made the point legislators -- FCAT's biggest fans and underwriters -- keep missing."
"About $51.5 million a year is spent on the FCAT alone," Weston wrote in a Sun Sentinel column. "That price does not include the extra FCAT coaches schools hire." Nor does it include the hundreds of millions of dollars a year distributed to schools as rewards (or withheld as punishment) for FCAT scores. "Here's an idea: Get rid of the test and spend the money where students will actually enjoy themselves." Or at least learn something."Let FCAT drop out".
Better yet: Quit grading schools and using FCAT scores either for ransom or punishment. Use them exclusively to diagnose where the needs are, and invest there. And don't say it's working until graduation rates improve dramatically.
"With a conservative South Carolina senator breaking Republican ranks to endorse Marco Rubio in the Florida U.S. Senate primary, the race between Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist is becoming a prototype for the battle over the future direction of the Republican Party."
George LeMieux, a Crist campaign spokesman, denied that the race was in any way a reflection of an internal Republican Party battle. "This election is going to be about Charlie Crist and whether he has done a good job as governor and can do a good job in Washington," LeMieux said."Florida Senate race echoes dissent on GOP future". See also "DeMint rattles GOP with Rubio endorsement".
One hopes the issue truly is "whether [Charlie] has done a good job as governor"?
RPOFers in a tizzy
"A new economic report, commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund, says the latest federal proposal to curtail greenhouse gases will have ''very modest or even negligible'' costs for the Florida economy over the next 15 years." "Report: Energy plans won't harm Florida economy".
"Former Senate President Childers out of prison".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Although The Herald's Editorial Board opposed allowing slot machines in parimutuels as part of our long-standing opposition to statewide gambling, we can't help but cheer for Hialeah Race Track's revival." "Hialeah Park still a high stakes bet". See also "If gaming deal fails, Seminole tribe to take it to feds".
"Toll agency borrowed $1 billion at variable interest rates -- that are now soaring".
"The brother of former House speaker Ray Sansom is soliciting contributions for a legal-defense fund, with a sort of money-back guarantee if the Panhandle lawmaker beats 'politically motivated' charges of official misconduct and perjury." "Sansom's brother solicits for legal-defense fund".
"The University of Florida medical school received an F and the University of Miami a B on a scorecard designed to measure ethical policies on professors' relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, the Pew Prescription Project announced Tuesday." "Study finds inadequate ethics policies at Florida medical schools".
100 "U.S. citizens whose parents face deportation - are demanding a say in the immigration debate." "More than 100 kids sue over parents' deportations".
Bought and paid for
"Crist is in the midst of a furious fundraising schedule to kick off his U.S. Senate campaign, apparently aiming at building a large cash hoard - the kind that scares off competition - for the campaign's first financial reporting period."
That presents a problem for a sitting governor: coordinating his government work with political events, while avoiding having taxpayers pay for political travel. ..."Crist is fundraising furiously, carefully".
June 30 will be the last day of the quarterly financial reporting period, the first of Crist's campaign. The report will come out next month.
Crist faces a primary challenge from former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who expects to be a financial underdog.
Last week, Crist had fundraisers in Clearwater, Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. In each case, he [ironically] had state business in the same city or nearby either immediately before or immediately after the fundraiser.
"In danger of extinction"
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Just last year, Florida discovered it had become a destination state, for the wrong kind of market. Driven by an insatiable, and lucrative, demand from Asian food and medicinal retailers, the state's freshwater turtles have been pulled from our waters at such a rapid rate, conservationists feared they were in danger of extinction." "Proposed harvesting ban best way to save Florida's turtles".
Charlie all smiles
"Iorio meets with Crist to seek Encore funding".
The RPOFer base in action
"Hoisting anti-tax signs and speaking out against government spending, Tea Party movement supporters on Tuesday let Palm Beach County commissioners -- and particularly Burt Aaronson -- know they are watching."
Aaronson drew the ire of the Tea Party crowd after comments he made at a May 19 commission meeting when he questioned why more of the anti-goverment-spending group didn't show up for a county discussion about national health care proposals."Tea party backers bash Palm Beach County spending, Aaronson doesn't budge".
Since then, Aaronson has been swamped with e-mail from Tea Party supporters, taking him to task.
A good start
"Eric Draper's ag commish campaign begins".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Give Attorney General Bill McCollum credit. He can tell when a barn is really a house, unlike state Sen. Charles Dean and some Citrus County officials." "When a barn is really a house".
"With Wetherell's departure, trustees ponder next president of Florida State".
"Civil libertarians argue that a DNA bill signed into law by Florida's governor vastly expands the government's powers." "New Florida law requires DNA in felony arrests". See also "New Florida law requires police to collect DNA in felony cases".
"A federal judge in Miami has lifted an injunction that prevented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from building a one-mile bridge on a road through the Everglades." "Judge lifts injunction, Everglades work to resume".