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.

Teachers Discuss High School Drop Out Rates in Florida

Apr 29, 2012

An initiative called American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, which is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, brought together public school teachers from across the state, including Tampa, to Jacksonville this weekend.

The teachers discussed the 1.3 million kids that drop out of high school every year in  America.

Last year, more than 83 thousand high school students didn't graduate in Florida, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.

 Tallahassee teacher Cynthia McBride found it interesting that schools seem to share the same problems.

Photo Courtesy of Bay News 9

A USF Polytechnic investigation report recommends firing two top administrators campus regional vice chancellor for planning and facilities Alice Murray, and budget director Josh Bresler.

The report says they knowingly violated university policies.

It also says the former chancellor Marshall Goodman should be further investigated.

The investigation, brought on by employees' complaints, found the misuse of funds including purchases of Star Wars statues, an adult-size slide, soda fountains, and a video/audio wall that cost more than $400,000.

USF: Not Enough Money to Keep All USF-Poly Employees

Apr 24, 2012

Now that USF Polytechnic in Lakeland is becoming an independent university, one question is, what happens to all the current USF Poly faculty and staff?

Well, there may not be enough money to keep everyone on the payroll. The state Legislature only appropriated $10 million of the $18 million USF says it needs to absorb the faculty and staff.

USF President Judy Genshaft told USF Poly employees on Monday, "We will not be able to hire every single person," according to the Lakeland Ledger.

Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

One in two college graduates don’t have a job or they are underemployed where they don’t fully use their skills and knowledge, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Close to 54 percent of people younger than 25 who have a bachelor’s degree were jobless or underemployed in 2011.

Many young graduates with bachelor’s degrees are taking up lower-wage jobs like bartending, retail clerking, or waitressing.

Mark Wilson / Getty News Images

Gov. Rick Scott's decision on legislation setting the future of the University of South Florida Polytechnic is due this week.

Scott is feeling political pressure from both sides. The Lakeland Ledger is reporting Scott will announce his decision today.

StateImpact Florida takes a look at some of the reasons Scott could cite for signing (or allowing to become law without a signature) or vetoing the law.

Science Educator Questions the FCAT

Apr 19, 2012

The FCAT test is only as good as its questions…and one science educator says those questions are confusing at best.

Here's one example -- try to answer this sample FCAT question for 5th graders:

Which is scientifically testable?

  1. Orange blossoms give off a sweeter smell than gardenia flowers.
  2. The petals of red roses are softer than the petals of yellow roses.
  3. Sunflowers with larger petals attract more bees than sunflowers with smaller petals.

According to the testmaker, the correct answer is three.

Imagine School at North Port wants to drug test students 6th grade and above starting the next school year, according to the Herald-Tribune.

The students would be required to pass a drug test to attend the school and pass one random drug test every year to stay enrolled.

If students test positive, they would be referred to drug counseling and those who continuously test positive would be removed from the school.

Tampa City Council Coming to USF

Apr 17, 2012

Several Tampa City Council members are coming to USF  to answer students' questions tonight at a forum, sponsored by the student government of USF.

They will be discussing the city's economic future and how to keep USF graduates in Tampa. They will also explain how students can get more involved in local government.

Event coordinator Abdool Aziz says the event is a good opportunity for students.

Why College Aid Will Become An Election Year Issue

Apr 12, 2012
Justin Sullivan / Getty News Images

You know Democrats and their allies plan to use  cuts to Medicare included in the U.S. House budget against presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and any other member of the GOP running for office this fall.

At a press conference in Tampa Thursday, Democrats ran out another line of attack on what the House budget would cut — college aid.

U.S. Rep Kathy Castor, a Democrat, and Hillsborough Community College president Ken Atwater raised the alarm about $170 billion in cuts to the federal Pell Grant program within the House budget.

USF Ranked 50th Nationwide in Research Expenditures

Apr 12, 2012

The University of South Florida now ranks 50th in the nation for research expenditures, among all U.S. universities, public or private.

The new ranking by the National Science Foundation places USF in the elite class of research universities, joining Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Yale and Harvard within the top rankings nationwide. USF is second in Florida only to the University of Florida.

Some USF St. Petersburg students are learning the nuts and bolts of presidential campaigns by volunteering for them in a political science class called “Road to the White House.” 

This week's University Beat on WUSF Public Media introduces you to Professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan and some of her students, and tells you about some of the experiences, from meeting the candidates to debating reality TV stars.

Professors at the University of South Florida Polytechnic and University of South Florida at St. Petersburg earn a higher average salary than colleagues at USF's flagship Tampa campus, according to data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Professors at USF Poly earn $124,400, on average, or $17,200 more than the average professor at the Tampa campus.

University of Miami professors reported the highest average pay in the state at $140,800.

Rubio Working On New Version of DREAM Act

Apr 9, 2012
Mandel Ngan / AFP

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is working on an alternative version of the DREAM Act, which would allow some undocumented youths and young adults a pathway to citizenship.

Rubio's version would require undocumented immigrants wait to become citizens, he told the Tampa Bay Times, but would allow those who qualify to remain in the U.S. legally while waiting.

USF University Communications & Marketing

The federal government has decided not to intervene in a false claims suit filed against USF by a former doctoral candidate.

That student accused College of Medicine researchers of falsifying scientific data to win federal and state research grants. 

Augmented Reality Helping Students to Read

Apr 6, 2012

Reading teacher Audra Cervi says kids pay attention to their reading lesson when the letter ‘J’ turns into a jumping, blue 3-D jaguar.

Cervi places a flash card with the letter J under a special camera. Across the room a jaguar springs to life on an electronic screen.

It's not the U.S. News list of top universities, but the University of South Florida is at least getting the attention of another national media outlet. 

Citing its research power, the Washington Post's "College Inc." website has named USF as one of five "up-and-coming" universities.

TAMPA - A lot of students go to College - but they end up leaving without that sheepskin up on the wall. Nearly 700,000 people in the Tampa Bay area alone have some college experience - but no degree. That's the work from a new consortium of local university, college and business leaders who want to get them back in the classroom.

 They call it Graduate Tampa Bay.

 Hillsborough Community College President Ken Atwater says there's several common things every local college and university is doing to improve graduation rates.

Florida House of Representatives

The Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based, think tank that has been an ardent supporter of school choice, has published a piece opposing the ‘parent trigger.’

The law allows the majority of parents at chronically low-performing schools to petition for one of four methods to overhaul their schools, including replacing administrators and staff, closing the school or converting to a charter school.

USF BasketBulls Celebrate Their Season

Mar 21, 2012

 TAMPA - The USF Bulls Basketball team fell just short of the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen, but a crowd gathered today at the university's Tampa Campus to celebrate their success.

Bulls Coach Stan Heath - who was honored as the Big East Coach of the Year - told the crowd that they'll be back.

"We got a little taste of dancing," he told the crowd at the Marshall Center's outdoor amphitheater, "We're going to be dancing a whole lot more. Go Bulls!"

The Miami high school attended by Trayvon Martin, the student shot and killed by a neighborhood watch leader in Central Florida, held a moment of silence for Martin this morning, students and staff have told StateImpact Florida.

Students at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School say it is the first acknowledgement of Martin’s death since he was killed while visiting his father’s girlfriend’s home near Orlando.

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