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Jessica Bakeman

Jessica Bakeman reports on K-12 and higher education for WLRN, south Florida's NPR affiliate. While new to Miami and public radio, Jessica is a seasoned journalist who has covered education policymaking and politics in three state capitals: Jackson, Miss.; Albany, N.Y.; and, most recently, Tallahassee.

Jessica first moved to the Sunshine State in 2015 to help launch POLITICO Florida as part of the company’s national expansion. She is the immediate past president of the Capitol Press Club of Florida, a nonprofit organization that raises money for college scholarships benefiting journalism students.

Jessica was an original member of POLITICO New York’s Albany bureau. Also in the Empire State, Jessica covered politics for The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. As part of Gannett’s three-person Albany bureau, she won the New York Publishers Association award for distinguished state government coverage in 2013 and 2014. Jessica twice chaired a planning committee for the Albany press corps’ annual political satire show, the oldest of its kind in the country.

She started her career at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. There she won the Louisiana/Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors’ 2013 first place award for continuing coverage of former Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision to pardon more than 200 felons as he left office.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English literature from SUNY Plattsburgh, a public liberal arts college in northeastern New York. She (proudly) hails from Rochester, N.Y.

State lawmakers are facing renewed pressure to pass gun control legislation following last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — and the Legislature is only scheduled to be in session for another two and a half weeks after it returns from the Presidents' Day recess.

State Sen. Gary Farmer, who represents nearby Fort Lauderdale, is pushing the Legislature’s Republican leadership to hear bills he and his Democratic colleagues have introduced in past years.

Shock was turning to anger and grief for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and their families on Thursday morning as they sought grief counselors’ help in processing the shooting that left 17 dead at the Parkland school the day before.

Read more: Resources Available For Grief Counseling For Those Affected By Shooting

A budget proposal that is advancing in the Legislature would make next year's funding for Florida's public schools contingent on the passage of Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran's chief education priority: a new voucher directing taxpayer dollars to private schools.

Democrats in the state House of Representatives are employing a more aggressive strategy in fighting Republicans’ education priorities this year after they felt like they got burned by the chamber’s GOP leadership during the last legislative session.

State higher education officials directed Florida's public universities to hire more mental health counselors to meet growing student demand — and asked a Florida Atlantic University administrator to help them keep track of the progress.

The Florida Senate wants to see state universities get another funding boost in the next state budget, while leaders of the state House of Representatives say public higher education has been “overfunded” and is ripe for cuts.

For Geancarlo Rodriguez, Hurricane Irma was a little bit like summer.

Rodriguez has worked as a clerical assistant at Hialeah Gardens High School for nine years, answering phones and greeting visitors for about 25 hours a week. But when his school closed for seven days because of the September storm, he didn’t get paid.

A national teachers union is targeting two South Florida Republicans in an ad campaign pressuring members of Congress to force a vote on a replacement for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

President Donald Trump has announced he’s ending the Obama-era immigration program that allows immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to obtain work permits and reside here without fear of deportation. Trump has challenged Congress to come up with a different solution for about 800,000 so-called Dreamers.

A national charter school chain that focuses on preparing disadvantaged kids for college is poised to open a new location in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood this fall.

But before plans for the new school could move forward, the San Francisco-based KIPP Foundation first had to overcome local leaders’ concerns about the network’s lackluster performance in Jacksonville,  the only other place in Florida where it has established a presence.

The legislative session has just started and House Speaker Richard Corcoran has already declared he won’t compromise on what’s likely to be one of the biggest budget fights of the year.

“The Florida House will never support raising taxes on any individual or any business ever,” Corcoran said during his opening remarks at the Capitol on Tuesday.

He’s talking about a specific tax: local property taxes that support public education.

First, it was "Bright Futures." Next, it could be "Sunshine."

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Broward County Democrat, is pushing to establish a new taxpayer-funded grant that would help low-income Floridians earn certificates and associate's degrees. 

South Florida’s community college presidents are fighting a legislative proposal they argue would especially hurt low-income people and minorities — who make up the majority of their student bodies.

The leaders of Miami Dade College, Broward College and Palm Beach State College — whose schools enroll about half of all community college students in Florida — are teaming up to oppose Senate Bill 540, a chief priority of Republican Senate President Joe Negron.

Nearly 10,000 students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enrolled in Florida’s public schools since hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean.

Education leaders haven’t yet quantified the financial impact of absorbing them into schools. But it’ll likely take a combination of funding from the state and federal governments to cover the costs.

While visiting a Coconut Grove elementary school late last month, Gov. Rick Scott said the state has reserves that could be used to help.

The leader of Miami-Dade County public schools sharply criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policies Tuesday morning during a keynote that sounded like part stump speech, part sermon.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho delivered an impassioned address opening a bipartisan summit on immigration reform at the University of Miami, relating his own “journey” as a Portuguese immigrant who was once in the U.S. illegally.