Today on Context Florida: Advances in education, Orange Rising, Step Up for Students and teen marriages

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Today on Context Florida: Florida may be making progress in education, starting with Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan in the late 1990s, but few people realize it, says Peter Schorsch. Only 8 percent of parents and 4 percent of Tampa Bay parents accurately report that Florida schools are above average compared to other states, but more than one-third of Florida parents think that our state’s education system has gotten worse.

One excellent example of “think globally, act locally,” writes Daniel Tilson, is the Orange County coalition of more than 20 organizations backed by thousands of residents called Orange Rising. Participating organizations and individuals will be spreading the word about why it’s essential to be a voting participant in local government, rather than passive onlooker.

The real reason voucher expansion died in the Florida Senate, according to Bob Sikes, were the revelations about the operations of Step Up for Students— the administrative agent for the de facto voucher program Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship.

Steve Kurlander believes the push to ban marriage in Florida for youths under age 16 by a Miami lawmakers is unnecessary. If teens can go to prison at age 13, they should be allowed to marry, with the proper judicial and parental supervision that already exists.

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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.