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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.

Eillin Delapaz / WUSF Public Media

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum's running mate came to Tampa Tuesday to unveil the Democrats' $1 billion "Fair Share for Florida's Future" plan to revamp the state's public schools.

U.S. Department of Education

The Florida Board of Education on Friday advanced a $21.8 billion request for public school funding in the next budget year, including a $200 boost in per-student funds and increased funding for school-safety initiatives.

To millions of parents and students, they're magical words: free college.

But is the idea pure fantasy?

More than a dozen states now offer grants, often called scholarships, promising to help qualifying students pay for some or all of their college education. In fact, that word, "promise," shows up again and again in these programs' official names: Nevada Promise, Oklahoma's Promise, Oregon Promise, Tennessee Promise ... you get the idea.

A controversial education amendment will not go to voters in November.

In a 4-3 decision, Florida's Supreme Court has ruled that Amendment 8 should remain off the ballot.

The court upheld the order of a Leon County Judge who decreed the measure's title and summary to be misleading.

Pixabay.com

Hillsborough County residents will see a new tax referendum on their November ballots.

Voters will decide if they support a half-cent sales tax to help pay for improvements to the county's public schools.

Before Lori Alhadeff ran for a seat on her local school board, she had no experience in politics. She didn't even consider herself a "political person," she says.

That changed when her daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, died in the Parkland school shooting. In February, a former student killed 14-year-old Alyssa and 16 other people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The mother of a Florida high school massacre victim easily won a school board seat Tuesday, but the father of another victim was trailing an incumbent and a former teacher lost to another in an election seen as a referendum on district policies before and after February's shooting.

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Members of the Hillsborough County School Board voted Friday to add a new tax referendum to November's ballot.

Florida's top incoming legislative leaders are rejecting Gov. Rick Scott's push to redirect $58 million so school districts can hire more campus police officers. The lawmakers say the state should stay with a program they crafted that puts armed security guards and staff members in its public schools.

A long-running lawsuit over whether the state is properly funding its public schools is now before the Florida Supreme Court.  Oral arguments have been scheduled for November 8th.

Creative Commons

Florida remains the only state that hasn't received approval of a federally mandated education plan.

Now, civil rights groups are weighing in on the delay.

The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states latitude in creating systems for measuring student success, but they still have to be accepted by the U.S. Department of Education.

Florida's ESSA plan was initially rejected for failing to address several provisions including testing for English language learners.

Cathy Carter

According to the state's largest teacher's union, educators vote at a higher rate than the average Floridian.

Several dozen Pinellas County teachers gathered in downtown St. Petersburg Sunday for a "Get Out The Vote" rally. Like their counterparts across the country, the teachers wore the color red as a sign of solidarity. 

USF Libraries

In December 2017, Pinellas County community leaders met to discuss the state of education in the county.

They ended up commissioning a report looking at how to best educate students after high school. The group explored metrics related to college and career readiness, access and affordability, college performance and workforce and economic outcomes.

The League of Women Voters of Florida is hoping to persuade a Leon County Circuit judge today to strip a constitutional amendment proposal off the November ballot. The amendment in question is number eight, which combines several issues into one proposal like term limits for local school board, mandating civics be taught. But  the part the league takes issue with the section that deals with approving new charter schools.

The application process has begun for a new state scholarship designed to help kids who are struggling with reading.

Passed into law this spring as part of a larger education bill, the scholarships will give $500 to students who score below the Level 3 passing grade on the state's third and fourth-grade reading exam.

Daylina Miller/WUSF

School districts across Florida are scrambling to meet a deadline to install security officers in every single public school.

Florida "medallion scholars" will be among the biggest beneficiaries this academic year of the state's efforts to expand financial aid for university and state college students.

Broward County schools Superintendent Robert Runcie on Wednesday showed off a new system of fences and locked doors at Miramar High School — an example of the "single point of entry" standard that will eventually be in place at all schools in the county.

Here's how it works: During arrival and dismissal times on school days, there will be three or four doors students can use to enter or exit. But during school hours, several fences will funnel visitors to only one entrance. The door will be locked, and there will be police or security staff posted there.

Pinellas County Department of Health

The Pinellas County Department of Health is helping students start the new school year with a smile thanks to their no cost dental clinic.

Nick Amoscato/flickr

The new school year is fast approaching, and many students are still in need of school supplies, school physicals and immunizations. Organizations across the bay area are offering free events that help families meet some of those needs.

Cathy Carter

Research suggests that playing the game of chess can improve a child’s memory and attention span. It can also help kids with planning and decision-making.  

250 young players from Hillsborough County recently put their critical thinking skills to the test during the school district’s 3rd Annual Chess Tournament at Franklin Middle School in Tampa.

Project LINK Facebook

With the new school year around the corner, members of Hillsborough County's Back-to-School Coalition are trying to ensure students get their immunization shots, even if they're not able to afford it.

After much debate and controversy, Florida State University will change one building’s name, keep another building’s name as is and relocate a founder’s statue.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft's salary during the 2016-17 fiscal year placed her among the nation's top 10 highest paid presidents at public universities, based on data released from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Florida Looks To Boost College-To-University Pipeline

Jul 6, 2018

Last fall, more than one out of every four students enrolled at state universities came from the Florida college system.

Wikimedia Commons

Florida teachers and unions filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the constitutionality of a new law that requires local unions to represent 50 percent or more of instructional personnel.

Hernando County School District

A letter of termination released by the Hernando County School Board this week outlines why former superintendent Lori Romano was fired. But some board members still have questions.

Sarasota County Schools

The Sarasota County School Board is holding an emergency meeting Thursday on school security.  It comes after months of debate over whether the Sheriff's Office would help pay for school resource officers.


Dinorah Prevost

Brice Hayes searches the hallways and classrooms at Charles S. Rushe Middle School for an active shooter.

A Pasco County deputy tells him how to point his gun and scan the rooms. Suddenly he finds the shooter in a classroom and opens fire.

Hayes was one of the trainees at an active shooter training for new school safety guards held Friday by the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.

"For the last 14 years I had been a stay at home mom and a soccer mom of three kids," says Lori Alhadeff. "On Valentine's Day my daughter was brutally shot down and murdered and I became a school safety activist."

That day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when a 19-year-old former student killed Alyssa Alhadeff and 16 other people, changed many lives.

And it pushed the question of school safety once again to the front and center.

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