Robin Sussingham

Remember recess? When you knew that if you just sat still for a couple more hours, you and your friends could go racing out to the merry-go-round or the hopscotch court for a daily dose of fun? In many public elementary schools in Florida, recess has become a thing of the past. And parents are not happy.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

As soon as the fourth and fifth graders at Natural Bridge Elementary were handed the lyrics to "Amazing Grace," they were ready to sing out.

But first, they needed a lesson in the four voice types of a choir – bass, tenor, alto and soprano.

One by one members of the group added their part while the students waited to sing the melody. Finally, it was time to add soprano Sara Guttenberg.

“I really hope she sings the melody,” tenor Patrick Muehleise kids.

The students are ready. They join in before the conductor gives them their cue.

The Florida High School Athletics Association continues to draw scrutiny from some lawmakers. Now they’re gearing up to water down the association’s powers.

Florida State University President John Thrasher is condemning cable network CNN’s decision to air “The Hunting Ground” a film about campus rape, later this week.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

It’s game day in the 8th grade International Baccalaureate design class at Ada Merritt K-8 Center in Little Havana in Miami.

The games the students are playing are designed by their classmates. And they’re based on books the students read for class.

Four eighth graders prepare to set off on a board game based on the book “Everlost” – set in a fantasy world between life and death inhabited by “afterlights.”

Theo Urquiza reads the rules and introduces the characters.

Saint Leo University

GOP Presidential hopeful Charles Franklin is a Virginia senator and a Desert Storm veteran. He's convinced he'll win the election to become the leader of the free world. But, he's facing a scandal. 

"The supposed scandal is that my e-mail was connected to an Ashley Madison account and that there's a woman who threw her life away for me," he said, referring to the online dating service with the motto: Life is short. Have an affair. "Those claims (of an affair) are absolutely false." 

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Florida is a state that juts out into the water and is home to 14 ports -- but still the maritime industry is a mystery to most teens. Now, a rapidly aging workforce in one of the state's major economic engines is behind a push to reach a younger generation and teach them about sea-going jobs.  

Associated Press

 Recently, President Barack Obama admitted he’d made a mistake when it comes to public schools.

Like many people with big news to share – he posted it on Facebook.

“I also hear from parents who, rightly, worry about too much testing,” Obama said in a video posted to the White House’s Facebook page.

Robin Sussingham

Representatives of those in Florida who want to opt out of standardized testing in public schools were out in force at Wednesday's Board of Education meeting in Orlando.

The Board met to discuss Florida Standards Assessment "cut scores," which are the cutoffs for different achievement levels on the test, including what will be considered a passing score.

Wendy Bradshaw

A Polk County public school teacher's letter of resignation has apparently hit a nerve with frustrated teachers and parents nationwide.

Federal law does not prohibit undocumented students from enrolling in college, but it does something nearly as effective, banning them from receiving government aid. In recent years, though, some undocumented students have stumbled upon a little-known, nonprofit online university that doesn't charge tuition and doesn't care about students' legal status.

FAMU Trustees Chairman Resigns After 'Failed Coup'

Oct 25, 2015
Florida A&M University

A day after trying unsuccessfully to fire the college's president, Florida A&M University Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery resigned on Friday.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Polk County School Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy spoke Tuesday to a group of parents and teachers in Lakeland who are rallying for more recess in schools.

Superintendent LeRoy told the crowd  that she's in favor of recess. She said that other school districts are making resolutions in favor of bringing back recess, but she wants to make policy.

LeRoy said she's forming a county-wide committee to quickly study the issue and bring recommendations back to the school board by the beginning of December.

It sounded like a story guaranteed to irritate taxpayers: a national study out of Rutgers university says more and more public high school students are taking longer than four years to graduate.

Instead, they're in school for five or six -- or more --  years!

But Florida school officials say that's not a problem here. And experts say, they both may be right -- the difference may lie in some good news from the last several years.

For years former Gov. Jeb Bush has traveled the country urging states to adopt a group of education policies he says improved Florida schools.

The policies focus on reading by the third grade, using test scores to measure school and teacher performance and giving students more choices about where they can go to school.

Education researchers met in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to dissect Bush’s claims.

Our Ideas series is exploring innovation in education.

It's 20-year-old Randall Lofton's third shot at college. He's already wiped out twice. Too much partying and basketball, he says, and not enough studying. "I didn't apply myself."

Lofton is now trying to balance a full-time job with three classes at community college. He's taking a mix of online and in-class work at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

In Brigette Kinney’s design class at Ada Merritt K-8 center in Miami, one of the key concepts is editing and revising ideas after getting feedback.

Her 8th graders create role-playing games based on books they read. And then adjust the games, after watching their classmates play.

Kinney hopes Florida lawmakers will be as open to change as her students.

“I feel that legislators are out of touch with what it means to be a good teacher,” she said.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Jeb Bush's signature achievement in education policy as Florida governor may be at risk of coming apart.

A champion of what became known as Common Core education standards, Bush pushed a set of high-stakes tests for students and a system of grading schools as the centerpiece of an education agenda that defines much of his legacy in office.

It was with great fanfare in 2009 that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it was giving $100 million to Hillsborough County schools for a program called Empowering Effective Teachers -- one of just three public school districts in the country awarded the grant.

At the time, it was at the forefront of the movement to pay teachers for performance, rather than seniority.

Now, the district won't be getting a fifth of that money. And the consequences to the school district's budget are coming clear. Increases in teacher pay and bonuses haven't been matched by the Gates Foundation money or other revenue, forcing the school district to dip into its financial reserves.

University of Central Florida president John Hitt delivered the State of the University address this afternoon to what is now the nation’s second largest college student body.