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Sammy Mack

Sammy Mack loves public radio and public policy.

Mack is the Miami-based education reporter for StateImpact Florida. She is a St. Petersburg native and a product of Florida public schools. She even took the first FCAT.

Mack previously was a digital editor and health care policy reporter for WLRN - Miami Herald News, where she covered the public health and health policy beat. For two years, her health reporting with WLRN was supported by the grant-funded HealthyState.org project. She was selected as a 2012 fellow with the Kaiser Health News and NPR Health Care Reporting in the States project.

Her stories have also appeared on NPR, Monocle 24, the Miami Herald, Global Health, HealthNewsFlorida.org, Gambit Weekly, MAP Magazine, Gulfshore Life, Philadelphia Weekly, the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and other outlets.

Mack’s work has been honored with Florida AP Broadcaster and SPJ Sunshine State awards. She’s collaborated on projects that have won an Emmy, regional Edward R. Murrow awards, a Wilbur Award and a Dart Award. Mack was a writing fellow during the 2008 Poynter Summer Fellowship for Young Journalists.

She was recognized by her colleagues as the 2011 Herald Top Chef. She’s happy to share her recipe for garam masala macarons with lemongrass filling.

In our Power of Price series, we’ve been exploring how the secrecy shrouding health care pricing can raise costs — the cost of the care itself and the cost to employees who get their insurance through work.

There’s a movement to make those prices more transparent. More than a dozen other states have started something called an “all-payer claims database.”

Figuring out the real price of health care is complicated — even if you've already paid your bills. You can hear just how complicated it is here:

And if health care pricing wasn’t convoluted enough, it’s hard to talk about it without running into some conversation-stopping jargon. Words that mean one thing to the rest of the English-speaking world can mean something completely different in health care — like a “charge” that isn’t the same as the price.

  Almost a year and a half ago, Mt. Sinai Medical Center CEO Steve Sonenreich pledged on WLRN to make public what insurance companies pay his hospital.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

Students and civil rights activists are still asking Florida to hold black and Hispanic students to a higher standard.

It’s been a little more than a year since the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County filed a federal civil rights complaint against the state’s race-based academic goals.

There have since been a number of protests by activists who oppose lower expectations for minorities.

A group of Florida doctors has been charging Medicare at a surprisingly high rate.

Students and civil rights activists have asked Gov. Rick Scott to hold black and Hispanic students to a higher standard. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Dream Defenders were in Tallahassee this week to deliver a petition — with 5,800 signatures — protesting Florida’s race-based academic goals.

This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education — the Supreme Court decision declaring segregated schools were inherently unequal.

A recent ProPublica investigation found at least 300 school districts that are still under court-ordered desegregation. Eleven of those districts are in Florida.

The actor Sir Patrick Stewart is best known in the United States for his roles on stage and on screen. But you might be surprised to learn that the man who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard is chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, a 20,000-student university in England.

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is dying, say Florida education officials. By this time next year, the FCAT will be replaced with a new, Common Core-aligned assessment.

FCAT was born in 1995 in the humid June of a Tallahassee summer.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

It’s report card day at Miami Carol City Senior High, and sophomore Mack Godbee is reviewing his grades with his mentor, Natasha Santana-Viera.

The first quarter on Godbee’s report card is littered with Ds and Fs. This quarter, there are more Cs and Bs. He’s got an A in English.

“Congratulations on that,” says Santana-Viera. “When you need help, do you know where to go?”

“Straight to y’all,” says Godbee.

Nathan B. Forrest High — the Jacksonville school named for the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader — has a new name.

www.news4jax.com

Forrest High was originally named for Nathan Bedford Forrest—the Civil War general and first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The issue divided Jacksonville for decades.

Last June, a group of education advocates from Jacksonville’s African American community gathered around a table at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church to discuss education disparities. Aleta Alston-Toure expressed her frustration at what she sees as institutional racism.

"Duval County has a school where the Klu Klux Klan is still the title of that high school", Alston-Toure said. "And that school is? Forrest."

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After more than a half century of controversy, Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville is looking for a new name.

In 1959, Forrest High was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest—the Civil War general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

But Monday night, on the recommendation of Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, the Duval County School Board voted unanimously to rename the high school.

Students who are struggling in school take fewer art classes than their peers in Florida. And arts education advocates are concerned that high-stakes testing creates obstacles for would-be artists. A proposed bill would make schools more accountable for their arts programming.

The students from Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High—DASH—are on a bus ride to Art Basel and Design Miami—two of the giant international art shows that descend on South Florida every December.

To get into Florida colleges and universities you have to have studied — or be ab

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