Today on Context Florida: Charter schools, accountability, craft beer regs and FEA

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Today on Context Florida:

Sen. Kelli Stargel tries to clear up many of the misconceptions over Senate Bill 1714, the amendment she filed to propose changes in regulations of the craft beer industry. The bill has been clouded by “promulgating misinformation” by a small, yet vocal faction of the beer industry.

William Mattox notes that those calling for “accountability” when expanding the state’s school-choice voucher program could learn a lesson from the example set by Mary McLeod Bethune. She opened the Daytona School for Negro Girls in 1904, knowing that success would depend on both parents sending kids to her school and business leaders with donations necessary to keep the school open.

Proponents argue that charter schools offer families more choices to educate their children, says Marc Yacht, but a lack of accountability has undermined confidence in many charter schools, leading 252 to close in 2013. These closings harm students, parents and public school funding.

District Judge Mark Walker dismissed part of a lawsuit by the Florida Education Association, which challenged a 2011 law that tied teacher evaluations to student performance. Judge Walker ruled in precisely the way a conservative judge would expect to rule, writes Bob Sparks, except that Barack Obama appointed him in 2012.

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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.