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.

Young College Graduate Numbers Down in Florida

Jul 12, 2012
MorgueFile

The percentage of young adults who graduate with a college degree is up nationally according to the US Department of Education.

More than half of the states have a reason to celebrate but Florida isn't one of them.

The study looked at state by state numbers of college graduates age 24-35 in 2010, the latest numbers available.

It says the number of those adults with a college degree fell by one tenth of a percentage point in Florida. 

USF Saint Petersburg

USF President Judy Genshaft has named William Hogarth as interim regional chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and appointed Frank A. Biafora, dean of the USFSP College of Arts and Sciences, to lead a search committee for a new regional chancellor.

Hogarth, currently director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, will assume duties at USFSP on Aug. 6 while continuing his leadership of the marine science consortium. A national search is underway for a new regional chancellor following the resignation of USFSP Regional Chancellor Margaret Sullivan.

Fewer Florida schools earned an ‘A’ on the state’s annual report card, while more schools saw their grades drop to ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘F,’ according to state Department of Education data released this morning.

Last year 58 percent of Florida elementary and middle schools earned a ‘A’ grade. This year the percentage fell to 43 percent. That’s 357 fewer schools earning a ‘A.’

At the other end of the spectrum, an additional 16 schools earned an ‘F’ — a total of 47.

Gov. Scott's Choice: Education Versus Healthcare?

Jul 9, 2012
John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Gracie Fowler earns $11 an hour at an Orlando title company. It’s just enough that sometimes she earns too much for her two kids to qualify for Medicaid.

That’s what happened for two months earlier this year.

“Luckily they didn’t get sick but that was like the only couple of months where they didn’t have a little ear infection or they didn’t need to be tested for strep,” she says. “If they would have needed to go to the doctor then it would have been an emergency room visit. ”

aepoc / Flickr

Those down and out in a bad economy often turn to the lottery for a glimmer of hope.

Florida is no different and state officials said they set a new record for sales in the budget year which ended June 30.

Gov. Rick Scott is drawing a line on tuition hikes this year. He wants state universities to find other ways to deal with budget cuts.

At a contentious Board of Governors meeting in June,  many universities asked for the maximum tuition increase. A few got it; most did not.

But some colleges are heeding Scott's request.

StateImpact Florida's John O'Connor spoke to Valencia College president Sandy Shugart about why the state's second-largest college is not raising tuition next year.

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is all grown up. But has it grown into a monster?

That’s the question raised by a Tampa Bay Times article recounting the birth and adolescence of the FCAT:

President Obama and Mitt Romney have very different opinions about immigration.    But both of them agree on one thing: giving green cards to international students with advanced degrees. 

What that would mean for Florida?

"I would staple a green card to a diploma for someone who gets an advanced degree in America."

Thats Mitt Romney. He says President Obama hasn't done enough to retain talented foreign students. But Obama seems to agree with Romney:

Tuition Hike Rates Settled for State Universities

Jun 22, 2012

After many votes and re-votes, the Board of Governors finally settled on tuition hike percentage rates for Florida's universities.

On Thursday, universities proposed a range of percentage increases for the upcoming school year's tuition. The Board of Governors was having a hard time accepting many of those proposals.

During its meeting in Orlando this week, the Board of Governors expressed its displeasure with the University of South Florida's graduation rates.

And if USF doesn't get its act together, the group that oversees the state's higher education system might not approve future tuition increases.

The percentage of first-time-in-college students that graduate in four years from USF is 34 percent. About 50 percent graduate in six years.

Florida was the only state that received an 'A' grade for access and success for both it's two and four-year higher education institutions. That's  according to a report card released Tuesday.

The report card is done by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce which is affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It measures performance and policies of universities and colleges from across the country.

Gov. Scott Doesn't Want Tuition Hikes

Jun 20, 2012

Governor Rick Scott is telling the Florida Board of Governors he doesn't support the tuition increases being asked for by the state's universities.

Scott says he wants a great university system for better job growth, but he wants that done without institutions hiking up their tuition.

According to Florida Today, Scott said, "We’re not in a system where we can afford a bunch of ‘nice to haves.' "

USF Looking to Hike Up Tuition 11%

Jun 14, 2012

There's good and bad news today for undergraduate resident students at the University of South Florida. 

The bad news: the board of trustees has approved a tuition increase for the upcoming school year. The good news: it's 11 percent and that's less than last years increase of 15 percent.

With the $300 million budget cuts made to Florida public universities this year, universities are scrambling to make up some of that money.

Q&A With Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

Jun 11, 2012
Chip Somodevilla / Getty News Images

StateImpact Florida spoke with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush about his role as a national education leader, and how he's using his experience in Florida to convince other states to adopt reforms pioneered in the Sunshine State.

Bush spoke about Republicans and Democrats finding common ground on education, his lukewarm support for federal reforms and the defeat of the parent trigger bill during the last legislative session.

Here's an excerpt:

Standing in front of a banner reading "There is a Voice!" a group of Polk County business leaders and politicians today  rallied in support of the new Florida Polytechnic University.

In attendance was  State Sen. J.D. Alexander, the driving force behind Florida Polytechnic's contentious  split from the University of South Florida. The group said they  wanted to move discussion and press coverage about the school into a positive light and away from the laser-like focus on Alexander.

Jeb Bush Taking Florida Education Ideas Nationwide

May 30, 2012
Joe Raedle / Getty News Images

You won't find much that President Obama and Mitt Romney agree on, but both parties' presidential candidates have praised former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's education ideas.

Bush is taking ideas he pioneered in Florida national, particularly requiring third graders pass a state reading test before graduating to fourth grade.

It's one reason Indiana education superintendent Tony Bennett says Bush is the most influential person in U.S. education.

Hillsborough County teacher Robert Pierce says he's opting out of his school's merit pay system -- for now.

"I'll be honest with you. I don't participate. I think it's a double-edged sword," he said.

But he soon won't have any choice. Lawmakers have mandated merit pay in every Florida school district by 2014.

Two Tampa Bay-area student have been named winners in the National STEM Video Game Challenge.

It’s a competition to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by learning, playing and making video games.

Twenty-eight middle school and high school students from across the U.S. were selected as winners for their original game designs.

Shashank Mahesh won in the middle school division for “Mission 17639: Planetcorp.” He lives in Gibsonton.

And Daniel Gasiorek of Riverview won in the high school division for “ViViD ABYSS.”

The Things You Don't Learn in College About Teaching

May 24, 2012

Teachers are facing increasing pressure about merit pay, the constantly-evolving FCAT, and students facing tough times at home.

Some Florida teachers voiced their hopes and frustrations as part of a town hall meeting which is set to air Thursday May 24 on WUSF TV.  It's part of our "American Graduate" project, which promotes success in high school and beyond.

I went to the town hall meeting as both a reporter and as a college student who's trying to decide whether to become a teacher.

Tampa Prep's "Mr. Man": Music Shows No Color

May 24, 2012
Bobbie O'Brien

Lots of folks will tell you they have at least one teacher who affected them in a positive way on into adulthood.

Maybe that teacher taught you something that was not necessarily part of the normal curriculum. Such is the case with Drew Alexander, a WUSF intern, and his music teacher at Tampa Preparatory High School.

If you were to walk by the music room on the bottom floor of Tampa Prep, you’re likely to hear teacher Lyle Manwaring stepping out a rhythm for his students or playing his trumpet.

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