Today on Context Florida: Sustainable growth, vouchers & accountability, and VAM evaluations

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Today on Context Florida:

Strong, sustainable economic growth will be the Republican strategy that wins the midterm elections, says former U.S. Under Secretary of State James Glassman, beginning with tax reform that lowers rates and simplifies an absurdly complicated system, immigration reform that makes America more productive and expanded trade to increase our export markets and lower costs for consumers at home.

Daniel Tilson sees the passage of an unpopular voucher expansion bill in the final minutes of the final day of the 2014 legislative session as another attack in a very well-funded, well-organized and well-executed campaign to gradually undermine most of the state’s public schools and ultimately privatize them.

Voters might remember that Julie Delegal has long opposed voucher schools because, among other reasons, they do not administer the same high-stakes tests to their students that public schools do. Without equal accountability, parents of mostly low-income children who now use the voucher have no apples-to-apples means of comparing private voucher schools to public schools.

Many of Florida’s public school teachers see little value in the value-added-model (VAM) teacher evaluation process used this year, writes Marc Yacht. It does not take into account the student’s home environment, intelligence, family income, natural abilities, or parental involvement.  It targets the teacher, Yacht adds, and that is wrong.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.