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Save PE in Duval County

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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.

Duval Superintendent Statement Regarding Board Recommendation for Intervene School Oversight

When Duval Partners for Excellent Education, Inc. was started, the primary responsibility was to mobilize the entire city in supporting the four intervene schools and their feeder schools. Specifically, they were to expand the involvement of businesses and faith-based partners, university staff, non-profit and government wrap around services, as well as adding to the financial resources to attract and retain the best principals and teachers, extend learning time, and other important needs.

Commander Calls Cutting Jacksonville High Schools' ROTC Unacceptable

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The commander of Jacksonville's Mandarin High Naval Junior ROTC Program said cutting the program came as a surprise.

"I just learned about it last week," said Cmdr. Glen Akins, a retired naval flight officer, who taught the Naval Junior Reserve Training Officer Corps at Mandarin High for nearly a decade.

"ROTC is a good course; it teaches discipline, leadership and responsibility to kids," said Akins.

On Aug. 1, Akins will retire, but he would like to see the program remain. He finds it difficult to believe that the budget crunch is the real issue behind the program being cut at four area high schools. 

Akins said the U.S. Navy pays 50 percent of his salary and it meets most of the students' needs.

"The Navy pays for all of the computers and text books and our transportation. We have a lot of drills we go to, that's all paid for by the Navy," said Akins.

Four Duval County Schools Unexpectedly Cut JROTC

Four Duval County Schools Unexpectedly Cut JROTC

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dozens of First Coast students will no longer get training in high school to be military leaders of the future.

We've confirmed Englewood, Mandarin, Raines and Wolfson have cut their JROTC programs.

"They took out the one thing I loved about high school," Englewood senior Brian Sightler said.

"Always have looked forward to JROTC and being part of a team," Englewood sophomore Joey Taylor said.

Taylor lives and breathes JROTC. In the sweltering heat, he and his friends still enjoy practicing drills in the neighborhood; a neighborhood the Taylors moved to specifically for the school and its JROTC program.

"This is going to cut out some opportunities for a bunch of people," said Taylor's mother, Nova, who added they are depending on the JROTC scholarships.

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.

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Local Youth Earns $1,000 Kohls Cares Regional Scholarship for Impactful Community Efforts

 Osjah Castro, 11, from Jacksonville was chosen from more than 37,000 nominees nationwide for making a positive impact on her community by dedicating approximately 1,000 hours of community service through various projects including holding a school supply drive for an underprivileged community school, hosting a “welcome back” breakfast for the teachers and organizing a coat and socks drive for the children at the school.