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.

Cathy Carter/WUSF

 Elissia LaPorte is standing in front of a large full length mirror underneath a hand-painted sign that says "Hello Gorgeous."

The senior who attends Tampa's Leto High School is shopping for a prom dress at the Belle of the Ball boutique in Clearwater, which has close to 4,000 gowns on display.

LaPorte has already tried on several and after she picks her favorite, she won't have to pay for it.  

Scott Signs Education Plan That Expands Choice

Apr 15, 2016
Pixabay.com

A wide-ranging education bill dealing with everything from funding for high-performing universities to school membership in athletic associations was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Cathy Carter

Pinellas County School principals are getting some extra advice from local business leaders. 

The cohorts gathered in Largo Wednesday to share what they’ve learned as part of a statewide education initiative.

The Executive PASS program teams a business leader and principal for a school year in an effort to improve school and student performance.  The program operates in about 125 schools in four Florida counties.

Cathy Carter/WUSF

Think like an engineer. That’s what students at Jamerson Elementary School in St. Petersburg have been hearing the past 13 years.

Now, Jamerson isn't the only school that applies science, technology, engineering and math into all of its classes.

The Play's The Thing For Florida's Teen Thespians

Mar 28, 2016
Daylina Miller

Thousands of Florida teenagers flocked to Tampa this month for their version of the Super Bowl. The annual Florida State Thespian Festival is where high school dramatists converge to compete, meet college recruiters and learn from Broadway pros. 

But another big draw is the chance for these self-described "theatre geeks" to meet people just like them.

Within the massive education bill awaiting Gov. Rick Scott's signature is a provision that says that parents will be able to enroll their child in any school they choose, as long as there's space available.

If there's room on the roster, those students also can immediately start playing a sanctioned sport.

Lineth Mardomingo, a third-grader at Coral Terrace Elementary School, calls her latest piece of art, "Spinny Scroll." The piece is inspired by a memory: the time she dropped a crayon on the floor and saw it spinning, then kept spinning it and spinning it and then started spinning herself, and then bumped into a wooden bed.

"That was a long time ago and I was, like, 5," Lineth says. Now older and wiser, she says the colors she chose for her piece -- dark blue and light purple -- are the same colors as the crayons in that memory.

Massive Education Bill Approved on Final Day

Mar 12, 2016

A wide-ranging education bill dealing with everything from funding for high-performing universities to high-school membership in athletic associations made it through the final day of the legislative session Friday, despite the long odds that such policy "trains" often face.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Computer coding is the language that tells a computer what to do, but is it a foreign language? The Florida Senate has approved a bill saying yes; if it passes into law, high school students could substitute computer coding for required foreign language credits. It's an attempt to get more of the state's students into computer science classes.

Wiki Commons

A Clearwater-based charter school company is facing increased scrutiny.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

College can be expensive, and most families need some help paying for it. To get that help, they have to fill out something called the FAFSA  -- "the Free Application for Federal Student Aid." The FAFSA is important. In 2014, Florida high school grads left unclaimed more than $167 MILLION  in federal grant money  -- which they wouldn't have had to pay back -- because they didn't turn in a FAFSA.

Kristen M. Clark

The Florida House of Representatives last week wrestled with key education proposals. 
 

The Florida House has approved several education bills changing everything from the way students can transfer to how how quickly they can advance in school. But some of those proposals face opposition in the Senate when they get there.

Like many parents of high school juniors, I'm getting anxious about upcoming college applications and what it'll take to get in, such as doing well on the SAT. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the College Board, creator of the SAT,  is debuting a new test in March and these are the first changes in more than a decade.

Kristen M. Clark / Herald/Times

Joanne McCall, president of the Florida Education Association, speaks with WLRN and State Impact Florida's Luis Hernandez.

Wikimedia Commons

There appears to be early backing by lawmakers to let voters - and not the governor - decide who should run Florida’s Department of Education.

On Tuesday, a Senate committee unanimously approved the bill (SJR942) that returns the Florida Commissioner of Education to an elected, cabinet level position – if approved by 60 percent of voters.

The push to bring back recess to the state's public schools got another boost Tuesday. A bill that would require 20 minutes of recess every day for elementary school students passed its second House committee.

Several mothers -- who called themselves "recess moms" --  grew clearly emotional when speaking in favor of the bill. Amy Narvaez, a parent of students in Orange County, told the committee that she became a "recess mom" in October of 2014, when her youngest daughter  started kindergarten.

Lawmakers Back Requiring School Recess

Jan 27, 2016
Robin Sussingham

A House education panel Tuesday moved forward with a proposal that would require school districts to provide 100 minutes of recess each week in elementary schools.

Robin Sussingham

Physics is the most  fundamental of sciences; it's an essential stepping stone for  careers in engineering or science. But around the country, fewer than 40 percent of high school students take a physics class. In Florida , that number is much lower -- only about a quarter of high school students take physics. Experts say that the trend affects the future earning potential of the state's students.

Pages