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.

Not For Publication -- K12 Audio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.

Right now, schools determine whether to move a student into special education classes.

But a proposed bill in Tallahassee would give parents of children with special needs more power over their education.

Fort Lauderdale sixth-grader Mariah Harris has Down syndrome, and she wants to be a veterinary technician.

“My dream is to go to college with my friends one day,” she told a panel of lawmakers.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

As state budget negotiations continue, members of the Florida Senate have changed their minds about cutting $22.4 million in operating funds for Florida Polytechnic University.

Florida Poly Chief Operating Officer Ava Parker thanked supporters, and told The Ledger:

"We are focused on continuing our mission to develop Florida Poly as an applied research university that partners with industry and produces graduates ready for high tech jobs."


The University of South Florida can finally compete with the state’s other large public universities that have law schools (University of Florida and the Florida State University).

The state's first law school, Stetson University College of Law, has joined with USF to offer a “3+3” program to students who want to earn a Juris Doctor law degree as well as a bachelor's.

John O'Connor/StateImpact Florida

The Pasco County school board has asked Superintendent Kurt Browning to come up with alternatives to cutting media specialists and literacy coaches to help close a budget shortfall, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Board members don't like the proposed cuts, but say other solutions won't work either:

Board member Joanne Hurley said she was "not really comfortable" with the superintendent's plan, and did not want to approve a staffing formula that might hurt the proper levels of student support in the schools.

Festina Lente, LLP

Several hundred people gathered Tuesday to celebrate the construction of Florida Polytechnic University's signature building, designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava.

Kim Cook / Facebook

The Florida Education Association and National Education Association filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s teacher evaluation system.

The system was created under a law passed in 2011 known as Senate Bill 736.

Sagette Van Embden / Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Shakira Lockett always got pretty good grades in school. That’s why she was surprised to find out she had failed her college placement exam at Miami Dade College.

Lockett spent a year a half taking remedial classes in reading, writing and math before she could start earning credits toward a degree. She finished her studies — but Lockett’s a rare case for students who end up in remedial courses.

National statistics show just 1 in 10 community college students forced to take a remedial course finish their studies within three years.