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.

Wendy Pedroso has never liked math, but for most of elementary school and middle school she got B’s in the subject.

It wasn’t until ninth grade at Miami Southwest Senior High School, when Pedroso took algebra, that she hit a wall. In particular, she struggled with understanding fractions.

“I kept getting stuck in the same place,” Pedroso, 20, recalled recently. She failed the class, and worried that she’d never get to go to college. Pedroso sought help from tutors, took algebra again over the summer and passed. She went on to graduate from high school in 2011.

Shakira Lockett was a pretty good student in elementary, middle and high school. The Miami-Dade County native says she typically earned As and Bs in English classes.

Math was always something of a struggle for Lockett. Still, she got through her high school exit exam with a passing grade and went on to graduate from Coral Gables Senior High School in 2008.

She went straight to Miami Dade College. Then, something unexpected happened: She flunked the college placement exams in all three subjects – reading, writing and math.

A group of state university presidents gathered at the state Capitol today to try to strike a bargain with state lawmakers. Their message is "Give us more money, and we won't raise tuition this year."

Gov. Scott Proposes $10,000 Degree Challenge

Nov 26, 2012

Governor Rick Scott is challenging state colleges (or community colleges) to offer students a $10,000 bachelor's degree.

Scott wants higher education to be more affordable and for graduates to able to find a job.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Scott made his announcement this morning at the St. Petersburg College in Clearwater. SPC is the first of 28 state colleges to take on the challenge.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have signed on to implement new school curriculum and standardized tests.

It's called Common Core, and it'll replace Florida's FCAT.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a big supporter of Common Core - and has been pushing this and other reform efforts around the country.

Education reporter Sarah Gonzalez with our StateImpact Florida team sat down with the conservative education advocate to talk about his national agenda.

Courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says 13-year old Andrea Bower was running late this morning to catch the bus to take her to Giunta Middle School in Riverview. 

She missed the bus at her usual stop and decided to cross busy Bloomingdale Avenue to get on the bus at a different stop.  That's when she was struck by an SUV driven by Stephanie Akins.  Authorities say Bower is now in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.  And they say at this time speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash. 

The Harlem Globetrotters Bullying Prevention program came to Tampa's Pizzo Elementary School.

The ABCs of Bullying Prevention program is coordinated with the National Campaign to Stop Violence to help reduce bullying in schools.

Hammer Harrison of the Harlem Globetrotters showed off some of his ball handling skills while talking to students about taking Action, being Brave, and having Compassion.

Vice Principal Angela Fullwood says the students are able to see a variety of people expressing the same message about bullying.

Over the past decade, hundreds of men have come forward to tell gruesome stories of abuse and terrible beatings they suffered at Florida's Dozier School for Boys, a notorious, state-run institution that closed last year after more than a century.

Known as the "White House Boys," these 300-some men were sent as boys to the reform school in the small panhandle town of Mariana in the 1950s and 1960s. They have joined together over the years to tell their stories of the violence administered in a small building on the school's grounds they knew as the White House.

In honor of today's Twitter Education Forum (#npredchat) at 11 a.m. (Eastern) hosted by NPR's midday-talk program Tell Me More with Michel Martin, here's a closer look at the StateImpact Florida team.

NPR's show Tell Me More opened up a conversation this morning about education reform. It was heard here on WUSF and it included two people at the very core of the issue.... students.

One of those students is Shakira Locket, student at Miami Dade College.

Locket graduated from Coral Gables Senior High school but once she reached college, she realized she wasn't prepared.

We won't just get to elect the next president on the November ballot. In Florida, eleven amendments to the state constitution will be up for vote - and they all were put there by lawmakers in Tallahassee. A group of teachers are opposing one of the amendments, saying it would hurt public schools.

If you're interested in the future of education in Florida and our nation, there's just one place you want to be on Oct. 10 -- next to your radio and/or computer.

Next Wednesday at 11 a.m., the NPR show "Tell Me More" and WUSF and WLRN's education reporting project StateImpact Florida are teaming up for a special show.

We've convinced some of the heavy-hitters in education to be part of the forum -- including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the provocative former leader of Washington D.C.'s public schools, Michelle Rhee.

Florida College Access Network released a report today that says for the first time, Florida awarded more post secondary certificates than bachelor's degrees last school year.

A post secondary certificate is the credential from non-credit programs offered at below the bachelors level.

And we might be undermining their potential.

USF Board of Trustees Approves Unique Partnership

Sep 24, 2012

The University of South Florida Board of Trustees voted unanimously today in favor of the new partnership between USF and Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

The unique affiliation between the University of South Florida and Lakeland Regional Medical Center creates a non-profit corporation-- USF Health System Inc.

Lakeland Regional is one of Florida's busiest hospitals and it would be a major teaching hospital for USF.

Trustee member Steve Mitchell says this is a great partnership.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of teenagers in the United States quit high school without diplomas—an epidemic so out of control that nobody knows the exact number. What is clear is that massive dropout rates cripple individual career prospects and cloud the country’s future.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was in Sarasota Thursday, laying out his ideas for improving the economy.

Romney’s five-point plan included an education plank.

Romney praised former Gov. Jeb Bush and borrowed a key idea. He also pledged to allow federal dollars to follow the student, which would allow parents to better choose the best school for their child.

Here’s the transcript:

University of South Florida

University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft gave her fall address today, and she described a university that's bringing more money in through grants and research, but having to tighten its belt anyway.

Some Florida School Districts Not Checking For K12 Problems

Sep 16, 2012

Seminole County teacher Amy Capelle had to make a decision.

Her supervisor at the nation’s largest online school, K12, asked her to sign a roster saying she’d taught 112 kids.

She’d only taught seven.

“If you see your name next to a student that might not be yours, it’s because you are qualified to teach that subject, and we needed to put your name there,” wrote K12 supervisor Samantha Gilormini in an e-mail.

Capelle refused, and now state officials are investigating whether K12 used improperly certified teachers and asked employees to cover it up.

In K12 Courses, 275 Students to a Single Teacher

Sep 16, 2012

Student-teacher ratios at K12, the nation’s largest online educator, are nearly twice as high as Florida’s state-run virtual school, according to internal company documents obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and StateImpact Florida.

A high school teacher working for K12 may have as many as 275 students, compared to Florida Virtual School, which has a maximum class size of 150.

As Chicago's teachers took to the streets, Americans were reminded of the importance of education in the national conversation. In collaboration with our StateImpact Florida team, NPR's midday-talk program Tell Me More is guiding an extensive - and inclusive - discussion to spotlight education in America.

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