Education
7:47 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Despite Problems, Experts Say Computerized Testing Is The Answer For Florida Schools

Despite problems with Florida's new exam, testing experts say the state's emphasis on digital lessons mean schools should use computerized testing.

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:48 am

Testing experts say so far Florida's problems with its new statewide exam, the Florida Standards Assessments, are likely not serious enough for the state to consider throwing out this year’s test scores.

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Environment
5:42 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Report: Wildlife Still Feeling Impact from BP Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig after the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
Credit Photo Courtesy of REX

Five years after the BP oil spill, the environmental impacts are still being felt.

According to a report released Monday by the National Wildlife Federation, animals such as dolphins were found dead at four times the historic rates in 2014. The group believes the oil spill may be to blame.

"Bottle-nosed dolphins in the places most-affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are very sick, their pregnancies are failing, and they're dying in large numbers," said Ryan Fikes, a restoration scientist with the National Wildlife Federation.

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Environment
5:38 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Georgia Governor Seeks Talks in Apalachicola Water Dispute

Sunset over Apalachicola Bay
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has tried to kick-start negotiations with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to try to reach agreement in the long-running battle over a river system the three states share.

Deal's effort follows decades of litigation over the amount of freshwater flowing from the top of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, in north Georgia, downstream to the Florida Panhandle's Apalachicola Bay.

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Florida Matters
4:31 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Florida Matters Preview: Cancer Town Hall

Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF

  On April 5, WUSF-TV will air the first part of the new Ken Burns’ documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.”  

Florida Matters hosted a preview of the film and a town hall discussion on cancer, and we're bringing you highlights of the discussion taped on location at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa with cancer patient and survivor Joshua Rivera, Dr. John Cleveland and Dr. Nam Tran. 

You can view a portion of the film below:  

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World Affairs
9:36 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Germanwings Crash: Co-Pilot Was Treated For Suicidal Tendencies

Airplanes' contrails streak the sky close to where a Germanwings plane crashed last week, in Seyne les Alpes, France.
Thomas Lohnes Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 11:59 am

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET.

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week with 150 passengers on board, received treatment for suicidal tendencies for several years before he became a pilot, a German prosecutor says.

Christoph Kumpa, a spokesman for Duesseldorf investigators, says Lubitz "had been in treatment of a psychotherapist because of what is documented as being suicidal at that time."

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World Affairs
9:33 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Sticking Points In Iran Nuclear Talks: Sanctions And A Fuel Stockpile

Ahead of Tuesday's deadline, Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wait Monday for the opening of a plenary session on Iran's nuclear program at the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 11:33 am

With Tuesday's deadline for an international deal on Iran's nuclear program approaching, foreign ministers from Iran and six world powers are trying to hash out an agreement. The debate currently centers on where Iran's nuclear fuel should be stored, and how — and when — economic sanctions should be lifted.

Other details, such as rules controlling enrichment, the length of the deal and how it would be enforced, also remain unsettled.

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StoryCorps: Tampa Bay
8:00 am
Mon March 30, 2015

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: A Sisters Bond

Sisters Alina Lezcano (right) and Elaine Lezcano-Perez (left)
StoryCorps

There is no bond like a bond between sisters. In this installment of Storycorps Tampa Bay, Alina Lezcano tells her younger sister, Elaine Lezcano-Perez, about her own unusual entry into this world and what it meant to her 14 years later when her baby sister came along. 

Music:

“Lost Star” by Jelsonic from the album, Various Moods, from freemusicarchive.org.

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Yoselis Ramos.

Education
1:32 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Alternative Spring Break - On the Mexico Border

The U.S./Mexico border fence.
Credit Quincy Walters / WUSF News

Spring break for college students is often a time to head to the beach, or relax. However, I decided to spend my vacation differently. 

Each year, USF's Bulls Service Breaks sends students on various trips with the intent of raising social awareness--public health, gang prevention and immigration to name a few. 

I went on the immigration trip. 

Our group (11 of us) went to McAllen, Texas--a border town.  

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World Affairs
12:41 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

Pilot Who Downed Airliner Vowed 'To Do Something' To Be Remembered

A German police investigator carries a box after searching an apartment believed to belong to the crashed Germanwings flight 4U 9524 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in Duesseldorf, on Thursday.
Wolfgang Rattay Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 2:53 pm

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

The co-pilot who deliberately downed an airliner over the French Alps this week, killing all 150 aboard, had told a girlfriend sometime last year that he would "do something" that would make people remember his name, a German newspaper reports.

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Education
12:40 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

House Passes Bill To Reduce Class Size Penalties

Voters approved the class size amendment in 2002. Florida lawmakers are charged with implementing - and funding - the amendment. It limits the number of students per class to 18 through 3rd grade, 22 in 4th - 8th grade, and 25 in high school.

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 7:17 am

School districts are likely to face fewer penalties for violating class-size requirements under a bill that passed the Florida House Friday on a vote of 107 - 3.

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Politics
12:38 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

An Unconventional Path To A Balanced Budget

Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola Beach, wants to call a constitutional convention for a balanced budget amendment

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 5:54 pm

It’s the gold standard for every conservative – a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Jeffrey Utsch, executive vice president of the ultra-conservative Compact for America, preaches it in a video on his group’s website:

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Education
5:08 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Public Education Changes Approved by Fl House

Charter schools would get more construction funding, class-size penalties would be relaxed and school districts would be encouraged to enact dress codes under a series of education bills approved Friday by the Florida House.

Most of the school-related bills were passed in lopsided votes, though Democrats united to oppose a measure that could funnel local tax dollars to charter-school construction (HB 7037).

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Law & Order
12:10 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

New DJJ Secretary Christy Daly Breezes Through Senate Confirmation Hearing

DJJ Secretary Christy Daly being sworn in during her Senate confirmation hearing Monday.

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 11:30 am

The newly appointed head of Florida’s juvenile justice system breezed through her recent initial confirmation hearing in the Senate.

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Politics
11:37 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Push for Resort Casinos Stalls in Fl Legislature

Bill is still a roll of the dice

The push to bring Las Vegas-resort-style casinos to South Florida is stalling again this year as the Florida Legislature remains divided over what type of gambling to allow in the state.

A major gambling bill sponsored by a top House Republican that includes the casino proposal has yet to be voted on — and it may not get its first vote until sometime in April. The 60-day session ends May 1.

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