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 Call Foul On State Education Policy

Jan 15, 2016

With lawmakers in town for Session, many groups pick up the mic to air their grievances. The cries of teachers filled the Capitol Courtyard Thursday.

The State Board of Education has approved a scoring rubric for its new standardized exam. But  some are disappointed the bar isn’t being set higher.

Florida House of Representatives

Right now, Florida’s top educator is two steps removed from voters. The state education commissioner is appointed by a board and that board is appointed by the governor.

But lawmakers are considering legislation that would change the Florida Commissioner of Education into a statewide, elected position and add the post to the Florida Cabinet.

The idea has been proposed before, but this time, it’s gaining traction according to State Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach. She said parents, local school boards and other lawmakers are interested.

State Sen. John Legg heads the education committee in the Florida Senate. StateImpact Florida's Robin Sussingham sat down with Legg recently, and asked him to sum up the most important education issues that will be in front of the legislature this year.

Legg: The biggest education issues I see are class size; [also], the House has made a priority of looking at Best and Brightest which is a recruitment and merit reward for teachers around  $10,000...

Sussingham: That's pretty controversial. If you took the SAT 30 years ago, you're going to get $10,000 if you did well?

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There is a renewed call to make Florida’s Education Secretary an elected position – again.

The state’s top educator used to be elected statewide and served as a member of the Florida Cabinet. The cabinet also served as the Florida Board of Education.

flsenate.gov

It's been just days since President Obama signed into law the new Every Child Succeeds Act, doing away with No Child Left Behind. State lawmakers likely will not be dealing with the law's effects during the next session, but anticipate big changes in 2017.

Associated Press

Less than a mile from the state Capitol, a former steakhouse shows little evidence that it was once part of a movement to change Florida’s schools.

Robin Sussingham

The Polk County School Board has given the nod to a "recess" requirement for the county's public elementary schools during their work session on Tuesday.

Higher Ed Funding, Teacher Bonuses Move Forward

Dec 4, 2015

Proposals adding performance funding for colleges and universities into law passed House and Senate committees on Thursday, but the legislation faced concerns over university standards and a House-backed plan to reward teachers for their test scores.

Education Commissioner Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Dec 3, 2015
Florida Department of Education

The state's top education official has been diagnosed with breast cancer, the Department of Education announced Thursday.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart will remain on the job despite the illness, agency spokeswoman Meghan Collins said in a written statement.

Robin Sussingham

Remember recess? When you knew that if you just sat still for a couple more hours, you and your friends could go racing out to the merry-go-round or the hopscotch court for a daily dose of fun? In many public elementary schools in Florida, recess has become a thing of the past. And parents are not happy.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

As soon as the fourth and fifth graders at Natural Bridge Elementary were handed the lyrics to "Amazing Grace," they were ready to sing out.

But first, they needed a lesson in the four voice types of a choir – bass, tenor, alto and soprano.

One by one members of the group added their part while the students waited to sing the melody. Finally, it was time to add soprano Sara Guttenberg.

“I really hope she sings the melody,” tenor Patrick Muehleise kids.

The students are ready. They join in before the conductor gives them their cue.

The Florida High School Athletics Association continues to draw scrutiny from some lawmakers. Now they’re gearing up to water down the association’s powers.

Florida State University President John Thrasher is condemning cable network CNN’s decision to air “The Hunting Ground” a film about campus rape, later this week.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

It’s game day in the 8th grade International Baccalaureate design class at Ada Merritt K-8 Center in Little Havana in Miami.

The games the students are playing are designed by their classmates. And they’re based on books the students read for class.

Four eighth graders prepare to set off on a board game based on the book “Everlost” – set in a fantasy world between life and death inhabited by “afterlights.”

Theo Urquiza reads the rules and introduces the characters.

Saint Leo University

GOP Presidential hopeful Charles Franklin is a Virginia senator and a Desert Storm veteran. He's convinced he'll win the election to become the leader of the free world. But, he's facing a scandal. 

"The supposed scandal is that my e-mail was connected to an Ashley Madison account and that there's a woman who threw her life away for me," he said, referring to the online dating service with the motto: Life is short. Have an affair. "Those claims (of an affair) are absolutely false." 

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Florida is a state that juts out into the water and is home to 14 ports -- but still the maritime industry is a mystery to most teens. Now, a rapidly aging workforce in one of the state's major economic engines is behind a push to reach a younger generation and teach them about sea-going jobs.  

Associated Press

 Recently, President Barack Obama admitted he’d made a mistake when it comes to public schools.

Like many people with big news to share – he posted it on Facebook.

“I also hear from parents who, rightly, worry about too much testing,” Obama said in a video posted to the White House’s Facebook page.

Robin Sussingham

Representatives of those in Florida who want to opt out of standardized testing in public schools were out in force at Wednesday's Board of Education meeting in Orlando.

The Board met to discuss Florida Standards Assessment "cut scores," which are the cutoffs for different achievement levels on the test, including what will be considered a passing score.

Wendy Bradshaw

A Polk County public school teacher's letter of resignation has apparently hit a nerve with frustrated teachers and parents nationwide.

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