charter schools

A national charter school chain that focuses on preparing disadvantaged kids for college is poised to open a new location in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood this fall.

But before plans for the new school could move forward, the San Francisco-based KIPP Foundation first had to overcome local leaders’ concerns about the network’s lackluster performance in Jacksonville,  the only other place in Florida where it has established a presence.

Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of a law that gives power to the State Board of Education in the approval of charter schools.

Justices turned down an appeal by the Palm Beach County School Board, which argued the law violates part of the state Constitution that gives local school boards the authority to “operate, control and supervise” public schools in their districts. As is common, the Supreme Court issued a one-page order that did not explain its reasons for declining to hear the case.

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich (01:07) about his recent update on the investigation into the death of Michelle O’Connell. Seaside Community Charter School Principal and University of North Florida Associate Professor of Literacy & Early Childhood Literacy Department of Childhood Education; Literacy and TESOL Katrina Hall (28:03) talked about charter schools. Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Bob Adelhelm (42:29) told us about the upcoming Vets4Vets meeting, and Frank Denton (46:39) from the Florida Times-Union told about its new J Magazine.    


Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we discussed if Governor Rick Scott should veto the school funding bill HB 7069 with Duval County School Board member Becki Crouch and Lynn Norman-Teck (01:21), executive director of the Florida Charter School Alliance. We heard about the increased dangers of Lyme disease in Florida with Kerry Clark, professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University of North Florida and Dr. Shirley Hartman (29:58 ), a local clinician specializing in lyme disease. Christina Parrish with the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council joined Kerry Speckman (45:15) to talk about some of the big events this weekend. 


Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we spoke by  phone with “Reveal”  host Al Letson about this weekend’s episode that focuses on Jacksonville. He was joined by WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride and Florida Times-Union reporter Ben Conorack who contributed to the program. We also spoke with Tom McLaughlin, owner of Metro Rooter for our going green segment on how he turns old household grease into useful products. Leadership Jacksonville CEO Jill Langford Dame joined the show to discuss their upcoming seminar to train local political candidates and we welcomed Amnon Weinstein, one of the most respected violin makers in the world, who is in Jacksonville for Sunday’s “Violins of Hope” concert by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. The concert features 16 violins recovered and restored from the Holocaust.  

      

Lindsey Kilbride

The Duval County School Board is deciding what policies it will advocate for during the upcoming state legislative session.

Akif Aydin and River City Science Academy

Akif Aydin, former president and director of the Istanbul Cultural Center of Jacksonville and one of the founders of Jacksonville’s River City Science Academy, joined us by phone to discuss the Fethullah Gulen movement, its influence on River City Science Academy, and his thoughts on the unsuccessful military takeover and the crackdown that’s jailed more than 7,000 political dissidents. 

Allie George / WJCT News

The St. Johns County School District recently expanded its realm to include post-secondary education with the acquisition of First Coast Technical College.

Last Friday, the district took over administrative and operational duties after the college agreed to relieve itself of its charter status and its former president of her duties.

According to its website, the school had originally been under the direction of the St. Johns County School Board, but became a conversion charter school in 1999.

The legislative battle over charter schools kicked into high gear Wednesday, as measures dealing with educational choice advanced in the House and the League of Women Voters hammered a constitutional amendment that could increase the number of charters in Florida.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

On Saturday, thousands of parents and kids attended the county’s annual School Choice Expo at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Magnet schools and traditional neighborhood schools displayed their offerings.

Saphara Harrell

A national School Choice Week celebration kicked off in Jacksonville today at the Florida Theatre. School Choice Week involves events across the U.S., all touting alternatives to public school.

National School Choice Week President Andrew Campanella emceed the event. He says every 26 seconds a child drops out of school , and he believes the statistic highlights the need for more school choices.

Duval County Public Schools

Duval County Public Schools is among four Florida districts vying for a multi-million dollar charter school partnership grant from the Florida Department of Education.

Wikimedia Commons

The Duval County Public School Board may put the brakes on at least half a dozen charter schools proposed for next year.

Duval Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti recommended that the board reject six out of the eight school applications submitted this month.

Duval County Public Schools

The number of students enrolled in Duval County Public Schools has fallen in recent years, with more families opting for a growing number of charter schools, according to district data. A new aggressive marketing campaign is aiming to change that.

Duval County Public Schools

A Southside charter school that just opened its doors this week may be forced to close them again.

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