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.

The Florida Board of Governors has just announced that student enrollment in the state's universities is up three percent from last year.

But there's are three exceptions to that growth -- FAMU, University of Florida, and the biggest drop of all -- the University of South Florida, which lost almost one percent of enrollment.

That means USF is no longer the 3rd largest university in Florida -- it's fourth, behind University of Central Florida (up four percent!), UF, Florida International University, and then USF.

Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association

Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association president Jean Clements says dual efforts to toughen Florida's school grading system and approve a law allowing a majority of parents to choose how to restructure their child's failing school amount to an education land grab for private business.

Clements' op-ed was published on the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog.

Clements argues Florida Department of Education is changing its grade standards with the intention of failing more schools. The agency argues raising standards will compel schools to find ways to improve.

Another School Bus Crash in Manatee County

Mar 1, 2012

We've just received word that eight children have been injured, none seriously, in a bus crash in Manatee County this morning.

This comes less than two months after another big school bus accident in Manatee County that injured 23 students.

Which leads to the question - is this just bad luck for Manatee County bus drivers, or is there some sort of training they need?

USF College of Pharmacy Dean: We Need Full $6 Million

Feb 29, 2012

Students and faculty at the USF School of Pharmacy told the media today that $3 million is not enough.

The Florida Senate originally proposed a $6 million cut to the USF College of Pharmacy, but later reinstated half of it.

The dean of USF's College of Pharmacy, Dr. Kevin Sneed, is working to get back the original whole amount.

Clermont Struggles With Homeless Students

Feb 29, 2012
60 Minutes

The Associated Press has a terrific profile out on a homeless student in Lake County, the latest in a series of stories using Florida as the face of the Great Recession.

In the last few weeks, USF President Judy Genshaft found herself in the fight of her career, taking on powerful lawmakers who wanted to slash USF's budget and make USF's branch campus in Lakeland into an independent school.

Florida Matters had a chance to talk with President Genshaft recently while she was in the middle of the budget fight. We've reported on that before.

Courtesy of South Florida Sun Sentinel

The latest Florida Department of Education ranks  Palm Beach County's Hagen Elementary School a "B" school.

But teachers there want to improve performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or FCAT and they are even willing to resort to a white lie,  says the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Leo Reynolds / Flickr

Florida's Board of Education is meeting tomorrow to debate changing the state's school grading system. The proposal has drawn criticism from educators and parents -- particularly a proposal to include students with disabilities in the formula.

Yes, it was only a game. And with just one miss from freshman point guard Anthony Collins, it could have easily gone the other way.

But it was hard not to see the 46-45 win by USF over Cincinnati this weekend in the larger context of USF's recent budget fights.

A bill to grant immediate independence to a new university in Polk County generated some passionate debate from its sponsor, Senate budget chief JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

With his voice cracking with emotion, Alexander again criticized USF President Judy Genshaft for what he called dragging her feet on creating Florida Polytechnic, which would be the state’s 12th university.

USF President Judy Genshaft expressed some relief after hearing that state Senators trimmed USF's share of its budget cut from nearly 60 percent to 23 percent. But she hopes the cuts won't last beyond the next year.

Even at the lower level, she says just about every state university will have to scramble to find enough money to continue their current level of operations.

We’ve been asked by several of our listeners about WUSF’s relationship to USF as the station covers the fight over budget cuts to the university. I’d like to take this opportunity to answer some of them.

Why don’t you put a disclaimer on every story you run on USF?

WUSF is part of the University of South Florida. I believe that is very clear to our audience.

USF is part of our call letters. We often announce that we’re a service of the University of South Florida.

USF President Judy Genshaft says there’s one positive side effect of almost having $128 million cut from the budget: seeing the Tampa Bay delegation and community rally around USF.

“We believe the University of South Florida is very strong and will remain strong. And we’ve shown this strength through the outpouring of comments and e-mails and calls,” she said.

“The legislators have heard very loudly that the University of South Florida system: Don’t mess with it.”

Senator JD Alexander has said the the way USF supporters have portrayed proposed budget cuts is unfair.

He says the cuts proposed for USF are justified because of the university's reserves and not that different from other similar institutions, such as UCF.

On Florida Matters, we interviewed USF President Judy Genshaft about how she's dealing with the budget fight and what she calls a "crisis."

Since the Florida Senate unveiled a budget that could lead to over 100 million dollars in cuts to the University of South Florida, reaction has been fast and furious.

When it came to the Senate's proposed budget, USF Vice Provost for Strategic Planning and Budget, Graham Tobin expected his university to take a hit--but not the kind of wallop the Senate delivered.

"We were anticipating some budget cuts given the mood of the state and the politicians, but the degree of change was significant, and, yes, there was some shock."

Some Tampa Bay lawmakers are reacting with anger and defiance to a Senate proposal to cut 58 percent of state funding for the University of South Florida.

Those proposed cuts are more than twice as big as the proposed reductions for other universities, according to an analysis by USF.

Senate Finance Chairman J.D. Alexander of Lake Wales pushed for the cuts after USF President Judy Genshaft opposed him on independence for USF Polytechnic.

Senator Mike Fasano of New Port Richey didn't mince words today in describing what he thinks of Alexander's actions:

The University of South Florida Board of Trustees is launching a campaign to convince the Florida State Senate not to impose a budget that would cut 58 percent of USF's funding. Other universities face cuts, but more in the 20 to 25 percent range.

At an emergency meeting last night, the trustees discussed the potential impact of the cuts, which include unfunded spending commitments for USF Polytechnic, which would immediate become independent under the Senate legislation.

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