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Education

We're dedicated to telling you stories about policy and public spending, and how they affect students in Florida schools. Our WUSF News reporters team up with our public media partners across Florida to bring you a more comprehensive look at learning.

To see coverage from our prior StateImpact Florida project, visit here.

Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

A plan to boost teacher pay at 50 struggling schools was approved Tuesday by the Hillsborough County School Board.

Hundreds of educators could earn up to $13,000 more per year as part of the plan, which aims to ease an ongoing teacher shortage.

Talia Blake / WMFE

Programs that teach kids how to code are popular right now.

But, what about kids who are blind or visually impaired? They have Code Jumper, a new program that teaches kids basic coding skills regardless of their level of vision or experience.

On Thursday, Feb. 14, Gail Schwartz drove to the Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery in North Lauderdale to visit the grave of her nephew, Alex Schachter.

Schachter was one of the 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago. He was 14 years old.

DeSantis Pursues New School Voucher Program

Feb 16, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he wants to create a new “equal opportunity” voucher program to eliminate a waiting list of about 14,000 low-income students seeking to use state-backed scholarships to attend private schools.

The governor is asking lawmakers to create a “supplement” to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the state’s largest voucher-type program, which serves nearly 100,000 students but has about 14,000 others stuck on a waiting list.

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said he wants schools in his county to be the safest in the nation.

His pledge comes one year after 17 students and staff members were murdered, and another 17 were injured, during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Hours before the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered an audit of discipline programs across Florida schools and announced he has requested the Florida Supreme Court to create a statewide grand jury panel to look into the shooting and actions that could have prevented it.

The interim school superintendent in Manatee County has been offered a long-term contract.

The deal follows two months of postponement after the Florida Department of Education issued a report accusing Cynthia Saunders of manipulating data to improve graduation rates.

The  Manatee County School Board is scheduled on Tuesday to consider a long term contract for the district’s embattled interim school superintendent.

Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing changes to the state’s Best and Brightest program that he says will result in sizable bonuses for highly rated teachers. The move comes amid a teacher shortage that has made recruitment a necessity.

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced new programs for teacher retention and recruitment at a news conference Thursday morning at Armwood High School in Seffner.

U.S. Airforce

In Hillsborough County, each of the 100 public elementary schools has crossing guards to help children get to and from school safely.

Its 42 middle schools, however, do not offer the same protections for their students.

Florida Polytechnic University

A faculty member and a group of students at Florida Polytechnic University have been awarded a grant from NATO to develop research focusing on radiation detectors.

Education experts at the University of Florida are tackling an urgent question: How can schools be made safer without scaring or psychologically hurting students?

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

Even with a relatively strong economy, the number of high-growth, high-skill, high-paying jobs in Florida isn't where lawmakers like Gov. Ron DeSantis would like it to be.

In part, that's because the state doesn't have enough people qualified for those careers.

"Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories" needed to be written, its authors believe, but wish desperately it hadn't.

The book by 43 students and teachers who lived through February's high school massacre gives a poignant, raw, and sometimes graphic look into the six-minute shooting spree where 17 died and its aftermath as a well-off Fort Lauderdale suburb suddenly found itself mourning in a global spotlight that has dimmed but will never reach black.

Hillsborough County Public Schools

There are more than 4,000 public schools in Florida. Democratic State Sen. Janet Cruz of Tampa is co-sponsoring a bill to filter lead out of the water used for drinking and cooking at all of them.

Cruz thinks there's money in the budget to pay for filters to remove lead from water used for drinking or cooking at public schools.

Leon County eighth grade student Charlotte Stuart-Tilley organized a school strike, held last week, to bring attention on the issue of climate change.

School Leaders Face Hurricane, Security Issues

Jan 17, 2019

With the annual legislative session nearing, lawmakers and education leaders likely will have to grapple with the fallout of Hurricane Michael on Northwest Florida school districts and continued questions about how to bolster school safety throughout the state.

Florida is facing a teacher shortage that stakeholders say is a growing problem. State Department of Education data for this school year shows nearly 3,300 teacher vacancies across the state.

The State Board of Education is expected Wednesday to approve a report that details a shortage of certified science, English and math teachers in Florida’s public schools.

The Florida Department of Education says the state is experiencing a critical teacher shortage. Meanwhile, school districts across Florida continue to struggle to fill teacher positions.

A Sarasota lawmaker is proposing to make it easier for retired teachers to get back in the classroom.

Survivors of the Parkland high school shooting won't have to go to class on the first anniversary of the shooting that took 17 lives.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students will have the option to report to campus on Feb. 14 for a half-day of community service activities. If students choose not to come to school, they're being encouraged to plan their own community service projects off campus.

Code Reds, hard corners, and arming teachers are some of the recommendations made by the state commission investigating the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

 

Pinellas County Schools

For nearly two decades, Pinellas County schools have operated magnet programs for students from elementary through high school to teach journalism.  The 14th annual installation of some of their work will soon be on display for the public to see. 

Videos and photos of police officers responding to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 show them saving at least two victims by applying tourniquets to gunshot wounds on their legs.

Now, Julie Osheroff is learning how to do that. And she's not a cop — she's a teacher.

Osheroff recently trained with about 85 of her colleagues in how to be a first responder.

Nick Evans / WFSU News

A sharply divided Florida Supreme Court rejected a nearly decade-old lawsuit Friday that claimed the state isn't living up to its constitutional requirement to provide a "high quality" education for all.

In doing so, the 4-3 decision Friday essentially renders meaningless a 1998 constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters that sought to strengthen guarantees for K-12 education.

School choice is a priority for the education advisory committee Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis has convened to help shape his policy goals.

The panel met for a second time in Tallahassee Friday.

Related: DeSantis Transition Team Discusses Concerns About Teacher Pay, K-12 Funding 

During his campaign for governor, Ron DeSantis credited Republican education reform efforts like charter schools and private school vouchers for improving schools across Florida.

Now he’ll have an education commissioner who appears set to seek to expand those efforts. On Monday, the State Board of Education unanimously approved former Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran to serve in the position. DeSantis recommended Corcoran earlier this month.

In his new role role, Corcoran will be in charge of representing Florida's public education system.

Court Approves Drug Testing For Substitute Teachers

Dec 21, 2018

A federal appeals court Thursday rejected a constitutional challenge to a Palm Beach County School Board policy requiring substitute-teacher applicants to take drug tests.

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis’ transition committees are meeting this week in Tallahassee to help the Republican iron out his policy agenda in advance of his January 8 inauguration.

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