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The Florida Department of Education says that the math tests taken by nearly 550,000 students won't count this school year.

The department sent out a memo this week to school districts telling them the results from end-of-course exams in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II will not be available until September.

State officials told districts to calculate final grades without the test grades. The tests are supposed to count for 30 percent of the grade.

In a victory for school-choice supporters, a circuit judge Monday tossed out a constitutional challenge to a state program that helps send tens of thousands of low-income children to private schools.

Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds ruled that plaintiffs in the case --- spearheaded by the Florida Education Association teachers union --- did not have legal "standing" to challenge the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

M.S Butler

Of the more than 600 charter schools in Florida. Some focus on the arts, some on sciences. Others are high schools that help students who are at risk for not finishing or dropping out completely.

At the crossroads of  busy four lane highway in Clearwater, students have to make their way through the noise and exhaust of heavy traffic to get to their high school classes.

M.S Butler

It's that time of year when thousands of students across the country get ready to graduate from public and private schools. But in St. Petersburg there's a unique group taking a walk across the stage after finishing four years at a local college.

It’s graduation week and there’s a buzz of anticipation in the air at Eckerd College. The ceremony is just about to begin and members of this class are too excited to sit or speak.

But this is not your normal graduating class

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Several large Florida schools districts say they will use state test scores to evaluate those teachers. That means some art, music or gym teachers will be judged based on their students’ scores on the state reading test.

“In some cases teachers are definitely not happy with it,” said Sharon Glickman, president of Broward Teachers Union. “And to a certain extent we’re not either. But it’s the best of, I hate to say it, two evils.”

John O'Connor / WLRN

Rain is terrible when you’re trying to give tours of your new garden.

But it’s great for the spinach, sweet potato and purple passion fruit rapidly taking root.

On a very rainy day, Kelsey Pharr Elementary third graders Ronnield Luna and Jeffrey Arroyo are showing grownups around what used to be a grass field.

Now the school in Miami’s Brownsville neighborhood has several thousand square feet of all kinds of fruit and vegetables.

Some you can find at your supermarket.


Florida school districts across the state were forced Monday to halt the latest round of state standardized testing amid renewed problems with the online system used to administer the test.

The vendor hired by the state to carry out Florida's new high-stakes test blamed the technical issues on "human error" and apologized. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said that the company, American Institutes for Research, had made unapproved changes to the testing system over the weekend.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

A new program at Broward College has just eight students and seeks to train the next generation of South Florida artists and designers.

The school hopes to earn a national certification for the Visual Arts and Design Academy this spring – becoming the first community college in the South to have that.

Trianons Oficial/flickr

Bills filed in the Florida House and Senate would require high school students to take a one-semester financial literacy course. But with just three weeks left in the legislative session, the proposals (House bill 29 and Senate bill 92)  haven’t been discussed by committees.

Cornell University

Three months ago W. Kent Fuchs became president of the University of Florida, leaving New York’s Cornell University.

Fuchs says Florida universities are adding new faculty, but opposition to higher tuition means more pressure to find private donations.

The University of Florida is also expanding a new online program, with a goal of eventually enrolling 24,000 students.

Fuchs sat down with WLRN’s StateImpact Florida reporter John O’Connor to talk about the issues in higher education.

Florida high school students already get instruction on financial literacy before graduating, but a popular House bill would have made it a stand-alone, required class.  The measure won’t be moving forward despite a long and bipartisan list of co-sponsors.

Testing experts say so far Florida's problems with its new statewide exam, the Florida Standards Assessments, are likely not serious enough for the state to consider throwing out this year’s test scores.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

Spring break for college students is often a time to head to the beach, or relax. However, I decided to spend my vacation differently. 

Each year, USF's Bulls Service Breaks sends students on various trips with the intent of raising social awareness--public health, gang prevention and immigration to name a few. 

I went on the immigration trip. 

Our group (11 of us) went to McAllen, Texas--a border town.  

House Passes Bill To Reduce Class Size Penalties

Mar 28, 2015

School districts are likely to face fewer penalties for violating class-size requirements under a bill that passed the Florida House Friday on a vote of 107 - 3.

Public Education Changes Approved by Fl House

Mar 27, 2015

Charter schools would get more construction funding, class-size penalties would be relaxed and school districts would be encouraged to enact dress codes under a series of education bills approved Friday by the Florida House.

Most of the school-related bills were passed in lopsided votes, though Democrats united to oppose a measure that could funnel local tax dollars to charter-school construction (HB 7037).

A decade from now, Florida is expected to be short 7,000 doctors.

The University of Central Florida is looking to tackle some of that.

Deborah German, dean of the UCF medical school, said Thursday the school wants to expand the training doctors get after getting a medical degree. The specialty residencies would focus on psychiatry, surgery and emergency medicine.

And it would offer the opportunity to get new federal money, German said.

M.S Butler

A Hillsborough County project to help teens is expanding across the bay with the help of some well known local dignitaries.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Tampa Bay Rays President Matt Silverman and others broke ground Tuesday on what will soon will be a residential facility for homeless teens in Pinellas County.

The project, funded through private donations, comes from the efforts of Start Right Now a program working to end homelessness for area teens.

 Vicki Sokolik  is the founder and executive director.

M.S Butler

A college education is generally considered a student's best shot at getting a good job these days, and it's often assumed most high schoolers are prepared to attend college.

But there's one group that has been quietly excluded from that process.

A program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg  is giving these students college experience that while it's not a traditional degree, it's giving them a head start on their career goals.

Gov. Scott Unlikely to Get Full School Funding

Mar 17, 2015
Texas Tribune graphic

House budget writers unveiled an education spending plan Monday that would provide public schools with almost $47 less per student than Gov. Rick Scott proposed, and a key senator said his chamber was also unlikely to meet the governor's number when a Senate blueprint is released Tuesday.

The two developments cast increasing doubt on one of Scott's chief priorities only two weeks into the 60-day legislative session.

A proposal allowing guns to be carried on public college and university campuses is gaining steam in the legislature. While the bill applies to all public higher educations in Florida—One school, Florida State University—is dominating the conversation.