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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.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

School districts across Florida are reviewing their security plans and addressing safety concerns after a mass shooting at a Broward County high school earlier this week that killed 17 people. 

Florida’s student body has never been more diverse. But the state’s schools are also becoming more segregated. A recent study by the LeRoy Collins Foundation shows a marked increase in intensely segregated schools, spurred by demographic changes and the rise of private and charter academies. To understand why these changes are happening, WFSU looked back at Florida’s attempts at integration.

South Florida made the cut for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2). It’s one of 20 finalist cities that submitted proposals based on several metrics, including physical site space, transportation options and access to an educated work force.

 

Teachers' Unions Threatened By Florida House Bill

Feb 12, 2018

House Bill 7055 has been a lightning rod for controversy. The measure is known for a move to offer bullied students scholarships for private or charter schools. But, tucked away in the bill’s 200 pages, one provision threatens teachers’ unions with decertification.

From third to fifth grade, Alyson Hochstedler says bullies slammed her son into lockers and punched him. One threatened to stab him. The public school's administration did little to stop his tormentors, she says, so the mother of five transferred her son to a private school, using a state grant for low- and middle-income families to pay his tuition.

While Florida lawmakers approved funding for the so-called Hope Scholarship program as part of the House budget proposal, bills creating the program are still making their way through the committee process.

Last May, two Miami-Dade public school employees resigned amid investigations into allegations that they had engaged in inappropriate relationships with female students.

Alex Osuna, then 34, a marine science teacher and girl’s lacrosse team coach at Miami Palmetto Senior High, and Darryl Ward, then 49, a security guard at Coral Reef Senior High and a part-time coach for the school’s football and track and field teams, quit their jobs within a day of each other.

A court hearing was held Tuesday morning for nine Florida State University students facing criminal hazing charges. FSU President John Thrasher is optimistic new Greek life regulations will bring about a cultural change.

Florida Department of Health

While the flu is causing problems around the country, the number of students and teachers infected in Pinellas County has increased this year.   

The Florida Senate has unanimously passed a bill that allows state lawmakers to visit schools in their district, on any day and any time. That currently only applies to school board members as well as members of a charter school governing board. And, right now, principals or superintendents have the option to refuse a lawmaker’s visit or limit the scope of the visit. So, under Sen. Dorothy Hukill’s (R-Port Orange) bill, legislators can give a “heads up” or make it a surprise visit.

Wiki Commons

In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into federal law. ESSA passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. It's a long-term plan that succeeds the No Child Left Behind Act.

A budget proposal that is advancing in the Legislature would make next year's funding for Florida's public schools contingent on the passage of Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran's chief education priority: a new voucher directing taxpayer dollars to private schools.

Education System Challenge Put On Hold By Florida Supreme Court

Jan 30, 2018

The Florida Supreme Court has put on hold a long-running lawsuit alleging that the state has failed to meet its constitutional duty of providing a high-quality system of public schools.

Florida Senate Seeks Slightly Higher Student Funding Than House

Jan 25, 2018

A key Senate education panel released a budget proposal Wednesday that would increase public-school funding by $110 per student in 2018-2019.

A bill has passed its first legislative committee requiring schools to display the state motto, “In God We Trust.”

Senate Panel Backs Scholarships For Bullied Students

Jan 24, 2018

Students who are victims of bullying or sexual harassment would be eligible for voucher-like scholarships to attend private schools under a bill approved Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

Florida students who get bullied may get taxpayer help to attend a private school.

For Geancarlo Rodriguez, Hurricane Irma was a little bit like summer.

Rodriguez has worked as a clerical assistant at Hialeah Gardens High School for nine years, answering phones and greeting visitors for about 25 hours a week. But when his school closed for seven days because of the September storm, he didn’t get paid.

A national teachers union is targeting two South Florida Republicans in an ad campaign pressuring members of Congress to force a vote on a replacement for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

President Donald Trump has announced he’s ending the Obama-era immigration program that allows immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to obtain work permits and reside here without fear of deportation. Trump has challenged Congress to come up with a different solution for about 800,000 so-called Dreamers.

Miami's promising bid for the second Amazon headquarters results in part from regional collaboration on resilience issues including sea level rise, said an official familiar with the plan's development.

A bill that would create a new governance board for the state college system and impose a limit on the number of four-year degrees awarded by the colleges advanced in the Senate on Wednesday.

Pixabay.com

In 2017, Florida lawmakers passed a law that allows kids to attend any public school in the state, regardless of where they live. 

The state joined 42 other states that have policies allowing students to attend a school outside of their resident district.

Florida’s public community and state colleges could become their own system, and move from under the authority of the state board of education. But with that newfound independence would come strict caps on the number of students that can enroll in bachelor’s degree programs at those schools, and make it harder for community and state colleges to establish such programs.

For the past several years the Florida House and Senate have battled over how to pay for public schools. Now the House is drawing a red line over what it will and won’t do when it comes to deciding how to appropriate those funds.

Wikimedia Commons

The graduation rate for Tampa Bay schools reach above 80 percent for the first time in recent history.

Wikimedia Commons

A report released Wednesday gave a first look at efforts to improve the achievement of minority students in Pinellas County schools.

Florida Gulf Coast University began its spring semester this week, but for some students today, that meant wading through a sea of reporters and officers just to get into their classroom. 

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he won’t raise taxes—either directly or indirectly. Corcoran took aim at the Florida Senate, stating he will also fight any plan that allows an increase in property tax revenue through higher property values to be counted toward public school funding.

First, it was "Bright Futures." Next, it could be "Sunshine."

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Broward County Democrat, is pushing to establish a new taxpayer-funded grant that would help low-income Floridians earn certificates and associate's degrees. 

South Florida’s community college presidents are fighting a legislative proposal they argue would especially hurt low-income people and minorities — who make up the majority of their student bodies.

The leaders of Miami Dade College, Broward College and Palm Beach State College — whose schools enroll about half of all community college students in Florida — are teaming up to oppose Senate Bill 540, a chief priority of Republican Senate President Joe Negron.

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