Teacher Merit Pay Fails in NYC Before Florida Schools Start Program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local education advocates are calling on Governor Rick Scott to look to New York City after their teacher merit pay program was abandoned Monday.

"I applaud New York for doing what's fiscally responsible and realizing that political ideology shouldn't set the tone for what we put into practice," said Colleen Wood, Save Duval Schools Executive Director.

The program in New York City rewarded the entire school based on performance.

Here in Florida individual teachers would be rewarded.

Wood has rallied against teacher merit pay since it was first introduced in Florida, and she thinks the state should follow in New York's footsteps.

Back-to-School Sales Show Up Extra Early at Some Retailers

Back-to-School Sales Show Up Extra Early at Some Retailers

Back to school already?

Some anxious retailers are jumping the gun to get shoppers' attention extra early. With good reason: Last year consumers spent more than $55 billion on back-to-school shopping, the National Retail Federation says. Many retailers are still nervous about consumer spending in a topsy-turvy economy.

That's one reason why Toys R Us' "Pack to School" sale on backpacks and lunchboxes started as early as July 1 in some parts of the country.


Nease NJROTC Attends Leadership Academy

Nease NJROTC Attends Leadership Academy

The Allen D. Nease Panther Navy is part of Area 12 NJROTC, and each summer 125 selected cadets from 61 high schools throughout Georgia and North Florida come together for one week for formal leadership training at the Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia. The qualifications to attend this leadership academy include academic and athletic minimal scores.  The cadets are divided into 2 companies, with 3 platoons each.

Some Real Estate Markets Boosted by FCAT Results

Some Real Estate Markets Boosted by FCAT Results

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Students in St. Johns County have scored the highest in the state on the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test for three years running.

That's not only a good indicator of how good the schools are, but also how well the area's real estate market is fairing.

According to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, the average home price on the First Coast so far this year is $130,000.

In St. Johns County, the average is $208,258.57. The lowest average price is $94,875 in southwest St. Johns County. The highest is $293,935 in the southern Ponte Vedra/Vilano Beach/Palm Valley/Nocatee area. 

This year St. Johns received an "A" from the state overall.  Duval County has a lower average home price and earned a "B." 

Education Foundation Seeks Mentors for Take Stock in Children Program

The St. Johns County Education Foundation (SJCEF) is currently seeking volunteers to become mentors to students in middle and high school as part of the Take Stock in Children (TSIC) Program. Mentors meet with students in order to help them acquire skills to transition into college and a future career.

St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Outstanding Business Partners of the Year

St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Outstanding Business Partners of the Year

Hydro Aluminum and the National Safety Commission were recognized as the 2010-2011 St. Johns County School District (SJCSD) Outstanding Business Partners of the Year at the 24th Annual Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards (CBRA) held last Thursday in Tampa. The event was hosted by the Florida Department of Education in partnership with the Florida Education Foundation and highlighted contributions of the honorees selected from each school district.

Who's Behind Effort To Save High School Sports?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Golfing is one of the high school sports in jeopardy, but not if Mike Lynch can help it.

"We can't let this happen, this is silly," said Lynch.

A dozen varsity and middle school programs are targeted to be cut in Duval County Public Schools to save an estimated $500,000. The school board started its budget cutting mission needing to slash $91 million from the budget.  

Now, several groups headed by sports advocates like Lynch are organizing to solicit money from private donors to keep the sports.

Lynch heads the NF-PGA Northern chapter. He and Boots Farley of the North Florida Junior Golf Foundation created a non-profit group to raise the money to save high school golf.

"We have had situations in the past and we came through; we will take care of this," said Farley.