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 in South Florida to bring you a more comprehensive look at learning.

Our longtime education coverage also includes work as part of StateImpact Florida. You can see prior coverage from that project here.

A Hillsborough County 6th-grader has made it to the final round of the National Geographic Bee in Washington D.C.

Rishi Nair, 12, goes to Williams Magnet Middle School in Tampa and is competing Wednesday for the chance to be the 2016 national champion.

He made the cut to be one of 10 finalists, whittled down from a field of 54 geography whizzes from across the United States.

This is his second time competing at the national level. He represented Florida previously at the 2015 National Bee. 

Daylina Miller/WUSF

How do you teach kids about ecology when the natural world is shrinking around them?

In fast growing Florida, one solution is to take environmental studies outside the walls of a classroom.

Mort Elementary School is one of Tampa’s lowest-performing elementary schools situated in one the most troubled neighborhoods in Hillsborough County.

In 25 years though, officials are hoping it will be a model of success.

The Obama administration issued guidance to schools Friday, saying they must allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

The administration acknowledges this is "new terrain" for some people and says it wants to help school districts avoid running afoul of civil rights laws.

To Get Kids To Breakfast, Schools Try Take-Out

May 9, 2016

Walk into any classroom at Deerfield Beach Middle School and you won’t have trouble spotting the students who missed breakfast. “They’re the ones who are antsy during first and second period,” said Principal Francine Baugh, “waiting for lunch to begin.”

Jayne Chapman

 Two years ago the Florida High School Athletic Association, or FHSAA, passed a wildly unpopular mandate, requiring girls lacrosse players to wear head gear. The organization said it was responding to concussion risks -- but critics say policy and public perception of risk are getting ahead of the actual data.

Recess every single day of the week: That's the rallying cry of four mothers lobbying Miami-Dade schools after a bill to require daily recess failed to make it out of the Legislature this year. The Miami Herald's Christina Veiga and WLRN's Rowan Moore Gerety talked with Debora Hertfelder, Louisa Conway, Kate Asturias and Victoria Kenny about why they think free time at school is so important.

Read Christina Veiga's story in the Miami Herald here.

High School Costs Are Far More Than A Pretty Penny

Apr 24, 2016
Cathy Carter/WUSF

 Elissia LaPorte is standing in front of a large full length mirror underneath a hand-painted sign that says "Hello Gorgeous."

The senior who attends Tampa's Leto High School is shopping for a prom dress at the Belle of the Ball boutique in Clearwater, which has close to 4,000 gowns on display.

LaPorte has already tried on several and after she picks her favorite, she won't have to pay for it.  

Scott Signs Education Plan That Expands Choice

Apr 15, 2016
Pixabay.com

A wide-ranging education bill dealing with everything from funding for high-performing universities to school membership in athletic associations was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Cathy Carter

Pinellas County School principals are getting some extra advice from local business leaders. 

The cohorts gathered in Largo Wednesday to share what they’ve learned as part of a statewide education initiative.

The Executive PASS program teams a business leader and principal for a school year in an effort to improve school and student performance.  The program operates in about 125 schools in four Florida counties.

Cathy Carter/WUSF

Think like an engineer. That’s what students at Jamerson Elementary School in St. Petersburg have been hearing the past 13 years.

Now, Jamerson isn't the only school that applies science, technology, engineering and math into all of its classes.

The Play's The Thing For Florida's Teen Thespians

Mar 28, 2016
Daylina Miller

Thousands of Florida teenagers flocked to Tampa this month for their version of the Super Bowl. The annual Florida State Thespian Festival is where high school dramatists converge to compete, meet college recruiters and learn from Broadway pros. 

But another big draw is the chance for these self-described "theatre geeks" to meet people just like them.

Within the massive education bill awaiting Gov. Rick Scott's signature is a provision that says that parents will be able to enroll their child in any school they choose, as long as there's space available.

If there's room on the roster, those students also can immediately start playing a sanctioned sport.

Lineth Mardomingo, a third-grader at Coral Terrace Elementary School, calls her latest piece of art, "Spinny Scroll." The piece is inspired by a memory: the time she dropped a crayon on the floor and saw it spinning, then kept spinning it and spinning it and then started spinning herself, and then bumped into a wooden bed.

"That was a long time ago and I was, like, 5," Lineth says. Now older and wiser, she says the colors she chose for her piece -- dark blue and light purple -- are the same colors as the crayons in that memory.

Massive Education Bill Approved on Final Day

Mar 12, 2016

A wide-ranging education bill dealing with everything from funding for high-performing universities to high-school membership in athletic associations made it through the final day of the legislative session Friday, despite the long odds that such policy "trains" often face.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Computer coding is the language that tells a computer what to do, but is it a foreign language? The Florida Senate has approved a bill saying yes; if it passes into law, high school students could substitute computer coding for required foreign language credits. It's an attempt to get more of the state's students into computer science classes.

A Clearwater-based charter school company is facing increased scrutiny.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

College can be expensive, and most families need some help paying for it. To get that help, they have to fill out something called the FAFSA  -- "the Free Application for Federal Student Aid." The FAFSA is important. In 2014, Florida high school grads left unclaimed more than $167 MILLION  in federal grant money  -- which they wouldn't have had to pay back -- because they didn't turn in a FAFSA.

Kristen M. Clark

The Florida House of Representatives last week wrestled with key education proposals. 
 

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