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 across Florida to bring you a more comprehensive look at learning.

To see coverage from our prior StateImpact Florida project, visit here.

Florida Senate

Port Richey Republican Sen. John Legg has founded a charter school and is chairman of the Senate Education committee.

So people listened when Legg raised some of the first warnings about whether Florida would be ready for new English, literacy and math standards -- and the accompanying tests -- by the start of the 2014 school year. Legg recently sat down with StateImpact Florida to discuss state progress on the new standards.

Not For Publication -- Hosting StateImpact Audio

Jun 24, 2013

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Five Florida teacher training programs have landed on a list of schools dubbed "substandard," according to a new national ranking of education programs.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

The algebra problem asked the Sarasota County middle school students to figure out how much Sheldon, Amy and Howard – characters on the television show “The Big Bang Theory” – spent on tickets and popcorn while seeing “The Lord of The Rings.”

The students talked through their work in small groups around the room. A tutor helped them set up the equations.

The tutor? Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy on “The Big Bang Theory.”

emmajanehw / Flickr

A New York Times story published this week takes a look at why teachers have a tougher time improving reading performance than math performance.

In part, it’s because math lessons are more discrete. A quiz can tell you which math concepts a student is having problems with, as a teacher notes in the story.

Florida Plans Increased Scrutiny For Education Schools

May 20, 2013
John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Editor's note: This post was authored by Sarah Butrymowicz with The Hechinger Report.

Lee-Anne Spalding’s Elementary School Social Studies class at the University of Central Florida (UCF) had spread out over the room in small groups.

When Florida Governor Rick Scott signs the state budget into law on Monday, he's expected to use his veto pen on a number of items, including a proposed 3 percent tuition hike for the state's public universities and colleges. The increase could have raised as much as $50 million for the schools.

Not For Publication -- K12 Audio

May 15, 2013

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and StateImpact Florida have obtained internal emails and a recording of a company meeting that provide new insight into allegations that K12 Inc., the nation’s largest online education company, uses teachers in Florida who do not have all of the required state certifications.

mjymail (tiggy) / Flickr

Community college students are needlessly assigned to remedial math classes to learn lessons they won’t use during their studies, according to new research from a Washington, D.C. group.

And the study also found that many high school graduates are not learning subjects they will need to use in their careers.

The study was produced by the Washington, D.C.-based National Center on Education and the Economy and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gov. Scott received the budget from the Legislature on Thursday and has until May 24 to decide whether to sign it into law or veto it. He has been clear where he stands on tuition. "I do not support any tuition increase," the governor says whenever asked. There's enough to like in the budget for the state's 12 public universities, even without the money a tuition increase would bring. Lawmakers restored a $300 million cut from university budgets last year, and schools also received additional money for building maintenance and new construction.

Fact Checking Teacher Pay Raises

May 8, 2013

When Governor Rick Scott's "Facebook" page declared recently that "every Florida teacher gets a pay raise," it was only half-true.

That's the word from "PolitiFact Florida."

The Governor is touring the state this week on a "victory tour" for Florida schools. 

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

The small group of parents hovered over a list of words, deciding where to sort “cloud,” “photosynthesis,” and “Google.”  They paid particular attention to words indicating facts, evidence or conclusions.

Words such as "analyze," "convince" or "insight." Students will use these words to support their conclusions, analysis and opinions.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Tim Curtis says the federal government doesn’t have a record of getting things done.

It’s why the Tampa resident is concerned the federal Department of Education offered grants to states adopting new math and English standards known as Common Core.

Lawmakers And Gov. Scott Compromise On Teacher Raises

Apr 29, 2013
The Florida Senate

Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott reached a compromise on $480 million in raises for teachers and other school workers.

The raises are part of a $74 billion spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Districts will have flexibility in how the money is awarded based on local collective bargaining agreements.

Not For Publication -- StateImpact Audio Files

Apr 28, 2013

Not For Publication -- StateImpact Audio 2

Apr 28, 2013

Dr. Ken Atwater, president of Hillsborough Community College, has taken on a new leadership role as next chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges.

After being elected as the president of HCC in 2010, Atwater has taken his role to the national level.

The American Association of Community Colleges was started in 1920 when a group of presidents of various junior colleges got together to serve as a national "voice".

Gina Jordan / StateImpact Florida

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett says state leaders and lawmakers are listening to teacher concerns about evaluations.

The Florida Education Association is suing Bennett, the Department of Education, and a few school districts over teacher evaluations.

Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

The Marion County School Board has voted to reinstate paddling in county elementary schools after a three-year hiatus.

The punishment comes with a few restrictions. From the Ocala Star-Banner:

The board ruled that paddling can be used only if a parent gives a standing written OK once a year. In addition, the principal must obtain verbal permission at the time the punishment is handed down.