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Today on Context Florida: Teacher bonuses, Irish Troubles, TaxWatch recommendations and Kick Butts Day

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Today on Context Florida:

In Florida, 68,000 teachers carry an evaluation that rates them as “highly effective.” They’re the best of the best. Yet Joanne McCall says only a small percentage of these top teachers qualified for bonuses this year under Florida’s Best and Brightest bonus scheme. But 820 first-year teachers – on the job for only a few months without ever receiving a performance evaluation — each received nearly $8,500 in bonuses. McCall is calling on Gov. Rick Scott to veto this flawed teacher bonus scheme.

Catherine Durkin Robinson never knew she was poor until her 15th summer, when she visited Scranton Pennsylvania and spend time with relatives who could afford luxuries like frozen fruit snacks and automatic dishwashers. Yet, Irish cousins were much worse off since they had to deal with the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Dominic Calabro salutes the Legislature for adopting Florida TaxWatch recommendations, bills that will improve the future for the state and its residents. Among those measures passed include permanently extending the sales tax exemption on manufacturing equipment; the beginnings of a framework for telehealth and expanding the scope of practice for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Kari Jacoby says that on March 16, the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance will be participating in the 20th annual Kick Butts Day, which gives everyone an ideal opportunity to tell the world how and why you fight tobacco. Kick Butts Day is an annual event sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids that encourages kids and their peers to stay tobacco-free and to stop the marketing of tobacco to youth.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

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.

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