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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 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.

With time running out in this week’s special session, state lawmakers have lined up a showdown over education funding.  Both chambers are planning final votes Friday. 

The Florida Senate is setting the stage to override Governor Rick Scott’s veto of public school funding.  But House lawmakers say the Senate is on its own.

School officials and teachers unions across the state have expressed outrage over a comprehensive education bill passed by the Florida legislature, and are calling for a veto from Gov. Rick Scott. Their objections stem -- in part -- from a requirement that public schools share local taxpayer revenue with charter schools for capital projects.

Governor Rick Scott says he will veto the legislature’s education funding proposal, sending lawmakers back to the drawing board in a special session next week. Scott says he and legislative leaders have agreed to spend another $200 million for education, and put more money into the state’s tourism and job recruitment agencies.

State College Cuts Spur Calls For Budget Veto

May 28, 2017

Upset over a $30 million cut in remedial education funding, state-college advocates are asking Gov. Rick Scott to veto a $1.2 billion portion of the state budget, forcing lawmakers to revamp the spending plan for the 28 colleges.

USF Looks To Add Faculty, Boost Standing

May 25, 2017

With the goal of becoming one of the top public-research institutions in the country, the University of South Florida is being guided by a plan to hire 300 new faculty members over the next five years.

The plan would reduce the student-to-faculty ratio on the Tampa campus from the current 22 students per instructor to a 19-to-1 ratio. The move could help the school increase research funding, attract more top-quality faculty and help students graduate more quickly with degrees in high-demand professions.

Debby Dawson, who lives in southwest Florida, has a simple message to Gov. Rick Scott: The state's existing scholarship program for disabled children is "life changing" and has helped her 7-year-old autistic son "develop by leaps and bounds."

Florida’s public education board had its say on a controversial ed bill and the state budget Tuesday.  Public school officials and a state lawmaker presented opposing views on how education policy played out during the legislative session.

When it comes to feeding kids a healthy diet, "it's not politics, it's parenting," Michelle Obama said Friday.

And then she got a little fired up.

Without ever naming President Trump, the former first lady took aim at changes the administration announced last week that weaken some of the school nutrition standards she championed.

No one likes to take tests. Sitting down to take a standardized test on a beautiful Saturday morning would not, almost certainly, be categorized as a fun weekend activity. Yet, it's a requirement many of us face at one point in life. So we sharpen our No. 2 pencils and get to work.

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Recess has returned, but not for charter schools, and state testing will be limited to two weeks. Those are just two of the proposals lawmakers crammed into an education bill that capped off the end of the legislative session.

Charter School Lobbyist: Education Bill Could End Up In Court

May 11, 2017

There are growing demands for Governor Rick Scott to veto both the state budget, and a controversial education companion measure that critics say goes too far.  House Bill 7069 covers everything from charter schools to testing to sunscreen.

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According to the Florida Department of Education, nearly eighty one percent of Florida teenagers earned a high school diploma last year. That makes the state's graduation rate 20 percent higher than it was a decade ago.

It mirrors a national trend--but is the news too good to be true?  

A school bus safety bill is now heading to Governor Rick Scott, after passing the Senate this week. But, it not only received bipartisan support, but some bipartisan opposition as well.

Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Higher Ed Changes

May 2, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — House and Senate negotiators reached agreement Saturday on the major portions of a higher-education budget that will dramatically expand student financial aid, boost university funding and bring significant policy changes for universities and state colleges.

A state proposal would cut back on standardized testing in Florida, but the bills would also make several other changes to education.

A House testing bill cuts a requirement that high school students have to take an end of the year algebra II exam. Duval School Board member Becki Couch said she supports the idea, but prefers the Senate version, eliminating even more end-of-year exams.

Florida lawmakers appear to be moving forward with a House priority bill boosting funding to charter schools that set up near chronically failing public schools. The measure, dubbed schools of hope, is a priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran but its final form is still being debated.

A bill formally apologizing to the victims of the now-closed Dozier School for Boys is now heading to the Senate floor, after passing its last committee Tuesday.

The iconic images of school integration show determined black students making their way through jeering white crowds, just to take their seats in class. And at the head of those classes, teachers who were part of a workforce every bit as segregated as the student body.

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It could become easier for parents and residents to challenge school textbooks under a bill passed by the Florida House.

Proponents like the bill’s sponsor, Naples Republican Bryon Donalds, say the legislation will better equip parents to contest material they feel is unsuitable for their children.

But critics contend that it could lead to censorship.

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