8:33 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Final Word Before USF Graduate Moves On

Noor Shakfeh (center) with Syrian children in one of the refugee camps. (March 2013)
Photo courtesy of Jihad Saadeh

We first met University of South Florida student Noor Shakfeh after she spent her spring break in Syria helping at a refugee camp along the Turkish border almost two years ago.

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7:00 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Florida Education Board Wants Legislature To Reconsider Class Sizes

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:57 pm

Florida’s public school class size limits could be up for reconsideration in the upcoming legislative session. The state’s public school governing board wants lawmakers to consider revising the system.

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7:02 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Fewer And Better: How Lawmakers Want To Change State Testing

Most students will take the Florida Standards Assessments online.

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 4:06 pm

When lawmakers return to Tallahassee in March for the annual legislative session, they have a lot of questions they need to answer about public school testing.

Senators laid out their concerns about the state testing system last week at a series of meetings.

They don’t know how many tests the state requires or how long it takes to complete those exams.

They don’t know how much the state and school districts spend on testing.

And they’re not convinced they can depend on all the results of those exams.

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6:10 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Gov. Scott Proposes 'Historic' School Budget Increase


Making good on a campaign promise, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday he will ask lawmakers to provide the highest per-student funding for education in state history during the legislative session that begins in March.

Scott said his "Keep Florida Working" budget would include $7,176 per student, about $50 above the previous high in the 2007-08 budget year. That spending plan was approved before the financial crisis that caused the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

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3:36 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Obama In Tennessee To Promote Free Community College

President Obama speaks at a Ford assembly plant on Wednesday in Wayne, Mich., about the resurgent automotive and manufacturing sector.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 7:15 pm

President Obama is in Tennessee previewing some of the big issues he'll talk about in his State of the Union address later this month. Friday, he'll speak in Knoxville, focusing on education and an idea that is gathering steam in some states: making community college tuition-free.

In the emerging debate over this idea, there are skeptics and there are true believers.

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6:47 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Florida Teachers Union Says it Will Drop Voucher Lawsuit

Florida's union that represents teachers says it is dropping a lawsuit aimed at blocking an expansion of the state's main private school voucher program.

Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis in late December tossed the lawsuit. The judge ruled those who filed the lawsuit didn't show how the expansion would harm them.

The Florida Education Association had filed the lawsuit on behalf of the parents of three students and a Lee County teacher. It contended legislators did not follow correct procedures when they approved the expansion.

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12:28 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Scott Eyes Graduate School Tuition For Price Cuts

An FSU student protests against tuition hikes. Florida lawmakers recently stopped letting the state university system governing board approve tuition increases at public universities.

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 7:03 pm

After years of pushing to keep undergraduate tuition down at the state’s public colleges and universities, Governor Rick Scott is now targeting graduate degree programs.

The federal government says tuition now makes up the greater share of funding at public colleges and universities across the country. The same is true for Florida, where dollars paid by students are greater than the state’s funding to the schools.

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3:42 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Class Size Versus School Size

Credit National Education Association

It’s been 12 years since Florida voters passed the class size amendment, limiting the number of students in certain classes to between 18 and 25, depending on the grade.

Now, a new report suggests focusing on smaller schools - instead of classes - might be more effective.

The School of Arts and Sciences in Tallahassee (SAS) has just over 300 students. The waiting list to get into this K-8 charter school is much longer. This is 6th grader Mary Stafford’s first year.

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1:45 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Report Says Small Schools Trump Small Classes In Academic Outcomes

Maureen Yoder addresses students at the School of Arts and Sciences in Tallahassee.

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:25 am

The School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) in Tallahassee has just over 300 students, and the waiting list to get in is much longer.

Maureen Yoder is one of the founders of the 15-year-old K-8 charter school.

“We started this school with the intent of keeping it small because we want to create a school family,” Yoder says. “We believe that the relationship between the teacher and the students is the primary reason students succeed – besides a good home base.”

This is sixth grader Mary Stafford’s first year.

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9:45 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Judge Dismisses FEA Lawsuit Over Vouchers, Disabled Student Learning Accounts

Three moms with disabled children stand with former state Sen. Al Lawson and Goldwater Institute Attorney Clint Bolick on July 31st 2014.

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:32 pm

A lawsuit over a new program that grants personal learning accounts to students with disabilities has been tossed out by a trial judge.

The Florida Education Association, a teacher’s union, sued the Florida legislature over a new law expanding the state’s existing corporate tax scholarship program, which critics call school vouchers.  FEA attorney Ron Meyer argued the way the legislature adopted the expansion—by attaching it at the last minute to a more popular program that sets up financial accounts for disabled students—violated state law:

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StateImpact Florida
10:34 am
Mon December 22, 2014

The Education Year In Review -- And What To Expect In 2015

Barry University's Sean Foreman thinks Gov. Rick Scott will deliver on a promise for record per-student education funding.
Credit Photo courtesy of FLGOVSCOTT

2014 was a big year for education in Florida.

Activists in Lee County convinced the school board to ditch state testing -- before the board reversed the decision a couple of days later.

Florida schools pushed ahead with new Common Core-based math and language arts standards in every grade, despite rising opposition to Common Core across the country.

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StateImpact Florida
11:53 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Why Miami-Dade High School Students Are Teaching Their Classmates About Health

Diamante Sharpe leads an practice session for student health educators in the HIP program.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Abuse. Drugs. Mental health issues.

It’s tough enough for anyone to talk about those problems. It can be even harder for teens facing them for the first time.

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StateImpact Florida
11:53 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Why First Generation Students Find It Tougher To Earn A College Degree

Husband and wife filmmakers Adam and Jaye Fenderson are showing their documentary, "First Generation," in Miami this week.
Credit Courtesy Adam and Jaye Fenderson

Students who are the first in their family to attend college often have a more difficult time finishing their degree.

Research shows those students know less about how to get into and pay for college. And first generation college students are less likely to take tough high school courses needed to be prepared for college.

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1:54 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Hillsborough's Elia Named Fl Superintendent of the Year

Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia was named Florida’s 2015 Superintendent of the Year today by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

Elia was recognized in Tampa during a joint meeting of the association and the Florida School Boards Association.

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12:10 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Anti-Testing Groups Help Students Opt Out Of Standardized Assessments

The Florida Standards Assessment replaces the FCAT. Students will take the test online.

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:17 am

“Opt Out” groups are pushing back against what they say is too much standardized testing in Florida. The tests are changing as the state transitions to Florida Standards - an offshoot of the Common Core standards being implemented around the country.

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