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

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

The halls of the Leon County courthouse were packed Monday as a grand jury began its investigation into the death of a Florida State University student. The investigation and testimony is expected to continue Tuesday.

A House Republican who previously served on the Duval County School Board proposed a constitutional amendment Monday that would place term limits on school board members across the state.

It's no secret that we've had a rough fall and winter with natural disasters. Even as we write this, fires burn in Southern California, adding to the previous wildfires in the northern part of the state that burned over 245,000 acres in October.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastated communities across Florida and Texas, while touching communities in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Louisiana.

Nearly 10,000 students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enrolled in Florida’s public schools since hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean.

Education leaders haven’t yet quantified the financial impact of absorbing them into schools. But it’ll likely take a combination of funding from the state and federal governments to cover the costs.

While visiting a Coconut Grove elementary school late last month, Gov. Rick Scott said the state has reserves that could be used to help.

Saying it's not the role of judges to determine education policy, an appeals court Wednesday rejected a long-running lawsuit that alleged Florida has failed to meet its constitutional duty of providing a high-quality system of public schools.

Cathy Carter

A new law allows any Florida resident to question what's being taught in the state's public schools.

A handful of complaints have been filed in school districts across the state since the law took effect in July. Previously, challenges to curriculum and instructional material could only be made by parents.

Florida Governor Rick Scott highlighted his education budget proposal at Jacksonville’s Englewood Elementary School Wednesday morning.


Marc Haze/WUSF News

As far back as ancient Greece, composers have written music to be performed by children. It's a unique sound that adults can't duplicate.

It seems we hear it more often at the holidays, whether it's singers caroling at the mall or providing heavenly backup for an orchestra or pop singer.

Pinellas County Schools

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael Grego has been named Florida’s 2018 Superintendent of the Year.

Earlier this month, Grego was selected as the Superintendent of the Year by the National School Foundation Association. On Wednesday, his fellow Florida school superintendents presented him with the award at a statewide meeting in Tampa.

The leader of Miami-Dade County public schools sharply criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policies Tuesday morning during a keynote that sounded like part stump speech, part sermon.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho delivered an impassioned address opening a bipartisan summit on immigration reform at the University of Miami, relating his own “journey” as a Portuguese immigrant who was once in the U.S. illegally.

A proposal prohibiting local school board members from being paid looks unlikely to go before Florida voters. But term limits for those members and making superintendents appointed instead of elected are moving ahead.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Gov. Rick Scott stopped at a Tampa elementary school Monday morning, touting what he called a record budget for education. Scott may not get what he wants from lawmakers, but he vowed to push forward, anyway.

Pixabay.com

Just three states hold elections for local school superintendents and Florida is one of them. But a proposed constitutional amendment could change things. 

Most superintendents in Florida, 41 of 67, are elected by popular vote.  That stands in contrast to the vast majority in the country where school superintendents are typically selected by members of school boards.

Beginning Monday, members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission will consider whether that position should be one appointed by school boards.

The Constitution Revision Commission is considering a handful of education proposals.

When the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus pulled up at Hialeah Gardens High School, many students didn’t know much about the famous late Beatle.

Some wondered if he was on the bus himself. One insisted to her friend his last name was “Legend.”

But when the educators who drive the bus-turned-recording-studio-on-wheels played the 1971 song “Imagine” and other Beatles tunes, the kids understood the messages. They know what it’s like to yearn for a world without violence.

Local university professors are pushing against the Republican tax overhaul that’s moving through Congress, saying the legislation will irreparably harm graduate education.

Three professors from Florida International University and a peer from the University of Miami visited Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s office earlier this week to share their concerns about the plan.

State lawmakers are advancing a bill to create a statewide board to oversee Florida’s 28 state and community colleges.

The schools are now under the State Board of Education, which also oversees Florida’s pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade system.

The proposal also revives a plan college presidents objected to last year: stricter performance measures for graduation.

State Senators Back College System Revamp Amid Graduation Rate Concerns

Nov 15, 2017

A plan to create a statewide board to oversee Florida's state and community colleges advanced Monday, while college presidents raised objections to a proposed cap on four-year degrees and a stricter performance measure for graduation that are part of the legislation.

Jodi Bardelli

Hundreds of Hillsborough County school teachers protested at Tuesday's School Board meeting in Tampa.

Friction between teachers and administrators began surfacing last month when teachers were told they would not be getting a pay raise. Under a negotiated pay plan, teachers have received a four thousand dollar increase every three years if they attain high evaluation scores. 

But now, the school district says it cannot afford the $17 million dollars it would take to pay out those performance raises to teachers and support staff.

Wikimedia Commons

More than 5,000 students from Puerto Rico have enrolled in Florida public schools since Hurricane Maria.

In the seven weeks since the storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, the majority of schools in Puerto Rico still don't have electricity or running water.  While most students have settled in Central and South Florida, school systems across Tampa Bay were also impacted.

When the new Legislative session begins in January, lawmakers will debate policy and craft budgets.

The chair of Miami-Dade County’s school board wants to set a deadline for the district to decide whether to join a  legal challenge against a controversial new charter school law.

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, 18-year-old Ledishla Acevedo booked a flight to Miami in hopes of continuing her college education in Florida.

When she arrived at her cousin’s house here, she turned on the lights and started to cry.

Then she took a hot shower and cried some more.

Cathy Carter

Each spring, third graders in Florida's public schools are required to take a reading exam, and a failing grade could result in a student being held back.

Supporters of the mandatory state test say it helps catch struggling readers early.

But in Sarasota County, educators and community leaders think third grade intervention isn't soon enough.   

Howard Webster’s third graders had “first-day jitters” on Sept. 18. But the first day of school had been nearly a month earlier.

Gateway Environmental K-8 Learning Center in Homestead was closed for seven school days because of Hurricane Irma, as were most other schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“With the kids being out so long, it's like starting school all over again,” Webster said during an after-school event shortly after the storm.

WUSF News is looking for student journalists ready for the opportunity to work in a professional newsroom. We're taking applications for the Spring 2018 Stephen Noble Internship - a semester-long chance to develop into a public radio reporter.

You'll work closely with our team of seasoned reporters learning how to research, write and produce stories for radio and online platforms. It’s place where students are treated like a real journalist from the start, assigned stories that matter to millions of Tampa Bay area residents.

Latoya Williams was concerned about her first paycheck after Hurricane Irma.

She couldn’t go to work for seven days because the early childcare center where she teaches was closed because of the storm and its after-effects.

“Whatever I make is what I make,” said Williams. “I have no supplemental income. It really would have been hard and tight."

Like most hourly employees, Williams doesn’t get paid if she doesn’t show up to work— even if the reason is an act of nature. The economic impact of Irma could have a devastating affect on individuals who work hourly jobs.

Hillsborough County School Board

Here's a sample of what the start and end times may look like for students in Hillsborough County in the coming school year. Actual times for individual schools can be found here

The Duval County School District is one of 13 counties that jointly filed a lawsuit in Leon County Monday, against the state regarding a new education law.

Amaury Sablon

Vibhor Nayar spends most of his time at the University of Florida studying mechanical engineering.

But as president of the UF Indian American Student Association, the senior from Fort Lauderdale is distracted by Thursday’s expected arrival of a white nationalist group on the Gainesville campus.

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