Hillsborough schools getting it right by changing with the times

While the district is frequently in the news for what goes wrong at its schools, the district deserves kudos for its efforts to prepare our students for the global economy — particularly as it relates to new technology.

Students in 27 of the county’s 44 high schools are now offered the opportunity to earn certificates. Those certificates show a student’s proficiency in programs such as Photoshop or Excel. Certificates are offered for Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Microsoft, Quickbooks and the COMPTIA A+ products. Last year 3,040 information technology-related industry certifications were awarded to Hillsborough students.

By Chris Ingram

Hillsborough County residents pay more in taxes to fund the county’s school system, which has a budget of $2.8 billion, than they do to run every other department or agency in the county combined.

The Hillsborough school system is the largest employer in the county, with more than 25,000 employees, of which nearly 16,000 are teachers. The system is the third largest in Florida and the ninth largest in the country with over 202,000 students (for comparison, the city of Tampa has about 350,000 residents).

Of those students, nearly 60 percent are eligible for free and reduced lunches. At last count, there were 168 languages spoken by students attending the county’s schools, which has a graduation rate of 82 percent.

The challenges of the Hillsborough school district are immense. The number of students, and the diversity of the population, adds to the enormity of those challenges.

While the district is frequently in the news for what goes wrong at its schools, the district deserves Continue reading “Hillsborough schools getting it right by changing with the times”

Rick Scott’s two Charlies

For students of politics, it will be easy to tell very soon just how busy Gov. Scott’s pollster has been. After all, he has a nice, cushy job, but in order to keep it, he needs to keep the boss happy. In other words, he needs to get Scott’s poll numbers up — and fast.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 5, 2013

If Charles Manson showed up at your door and offered you a free box of Girl Scout cookies, would it make you forget about his evil ways?

If you were a public school teacher who hasn’t had a pay raise in years, and Gov. Rick Scott offered you a $2,500 pay raise (merit pay be damned), would it make you forget that he cut  more than a billion dollars in the state’s education budget his first year in office and indirectly cut your take-home pay by 3 percent?

If you were a member of the Florida Legislature who sees himself as a team-playing, collaborative kind of guy who likes to plan spending and budgets, and things like pay raises for teachers, would it bother you that you learned of the governor’s $2,500 pay-raise-for-teachers plan by reading about it in the paper?

If you were a police officer or firefighter and learned that if you were to become permanently disabled on the job, you wouldn’t receive a dime in pension disability payments under proposed changes to the GOP’s pension reform plan, would you respond to a burglary  or fire at Scott’s mansion in Naples?

If you were a dog and Scott adopted you, would you Continue reading “Rick Scott’s two Charlies”

The mess that is the Fla. G.O.P.

I.V.: Given his low poll numbers and discontent of him within the GOP, what should Charlie do?

Ingram: The best thing Charlie Crist can do at this point is drop out and try to rehabilitate his image. It can be done. But running as anything other than a Republican permanently ruins his chances to run for the White House or vice-presidency – especially if he loses. But Charlie is a political animal and while he has good instincts most of the time, he won’t drop out because he’s too stubborn and has started believing his own press releases, and isn’t listening to anyone.

Creative Loafing asks Chris Ingram a few questions

CL: Given his low poll numbers and discontent of him within the GOP, what should Charlie Crist do?

Ingram: The best thing Charlie Crist can do at this point is drop out and try to rehabilitate his image. It can be done. But running as anything other than a Republican permanently ruins his chances to run for the White House or vice-presidency – especially if he loses. But Charlie is a political animal and while he has good instincts most of the time, he won’t drop out because he’s too stubborn and has started believing his own press releases, and isn’t listening to anyone.

CL: He’s been abandoned by a lot of people including his life-long mentor, former U.S. Senator Connie Mack. What was up with that?

Ingram: Connie Mack is a politician. He calculated that Charlie can’t win so he used Crist’s veto of SB6 as a convenient excuse to stop supporting him. Mack is shallow and lacks a spine and integrity like most politicians. If he had any real principles and convictions he would have dumped Charlie the day he hugged Obama. But at that point Charlie was about 30 points up in the polls. Continue reading “The mess that is the Fla. G.O.P.”

Dockery says No to Teacher Bill

The devil is in the details: more government interference is not good for the classroom

By Paula Dockery

Had Senate Bill 6 simply rewarded exceptional teachers with extra pay, I would have supported it.

Had it simply phased out tenure for new and existing teachers, I would have voted in its favor.

Had it actually offered a way to remove bad teachers, I would have signed on as co-sponsor.

But as I have found so often in public life, the devil is in the details. Continue reading “Dockery says No to Teacher Bill”

Barrack Obama – School teacher in Chief

…or something like that

By Jamie Miller

Barrack Obama – School teacher in Chief

A recent Twitter update I posted received quite a few comments about Pres. Obama and his plan to address socializing medicine with today’s schoolchildren.

Here is my recent post – “Barrack Obama-Teacher in Chief http://tiny.cc/xscCZ. If you can’t convince the parents, try brainwashing the kids.”

The link will take you to an interesting document released by the U.S. Department of Education suggesting activities for teachers in classrooms from PreK-6th grade. Continue reading “Barrack Obama – School teacher in Chief”