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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.

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According to the Florida Department of Education, nearly eighty one percent of Florida teenagers earned a high school diploma last year. That makes the state's graduation rate 20 percent higher than it was a decade ago.

It mirrors a national trend--but is the news too good to be true?  

A school bus safety bill is now heading to Governor Rick Scott, after passing the Senate this week. But, it not only received bipartisan support, but some bipartisan opposition as well.

Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Higher Ed Changes

May 2, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — House and Senate negotiators reached agreement Saturday on the major portions of a higher-education budget that will dramatically expand student financial aid, boost university funding and bring significant policy changes for universities and state colleges.

A state proposal would cut back on standardized testing in Florida, but the bills would also make several other changes to education.

A House testing bill cuts a requirement that high school students have to take an end of the year algebra II exam. Duval School Board member Becki Couch said she supports the idea, but prefers the Senate version, eliminating even more end-of-year exams.

Florida lawmakers appear to be moving forward with a House priority bill boosting funding to charter schools that set up near chronically failing public schools. The measure, dubbed schools of hope, is a priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran but its final form is still being debated.

A bill formally apologizing to the victims of the now-closed Dozier School for Boys is now heading to the Senate floor, after passing its last committee Tuesday.

The iconic images of school integration show determined black students making their way through jeering white crowds, just to take their seats in class. And at the head of those classes, teachers who were part of a workforce every bit as segregated as the student body.

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It could become easier for parents and residents to challenge school textbooks under a bill passed by the Florida House.

Proponents like the bill’s sponsor, Naples Republican Bryon Donalds, say the legislation will better equip parents to contest material they feel is unsuitable for their children.

But critics contend that it could lead to censorship.

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More than 4,000 people have weighed in on a plan that would change school schedules in Hillsborough County.

The state Senate is considering a $200 million program passed by the House that would speed up the process for closing underperforming public schools and funding charter schools in their place.

The average age when people are coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is falling. 

But a climate of growing acceptance doesn't necessarily translate to the current generation of teens wanting to express their sexual orientation or gender identity at school. To some, it's a place that still feels unsafe.

When I was 4 years old, my parents faced a decision. My birthday is in late November, so should they send me to kindergarten as the youngest kid in my class? Or, wait another year to enroll me? — A practice referred to as academic redshirting.

Since I was already the oldest sibling, they decided it was time for me to experience something different. So, they sent me to school.

The Florida House has approved a plan to give bonuses to teachers and principals.  But critics take issue with handing out money based on test scores that are sometimes decades old.

The Florida House will vote this week to establish what members call “schools of hope.” Democratic lawmakers say Republicans want to spend more than a billion dollars over several years on charter schools while starving public schools of funding. But Republican lawmakers and charter advocates argue public schools are failing to educate students.

It’s spring break and for some kids that means going to the beach or visiting family, but for 40 children and teenagers from South Florida it means delivering an important message to President Donald Trump.

The trip to the White House started outside the office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez Monday with a protest against the mayor’s compliance with President Trump's immigration policies.

How important is it to have a role model?

A new working paper puts some numbers to that question.

Having just one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade reduced low-income black boys' probability of dropping out of high school by 39 percent, the study found.

And by high school, African-American students, both boys and girls, who had one African-American teacher had much stronger expectations of going to college. Keep in mind, this effect was observed seven to ten years after the experience of having just one black teacher.

Legislators and community college presidents are pleading with leaders in the Florida House and Senate to spare community colleges from budget cuts. The House and Senate have very different budget proposals. But college presidents said they don’t like either one.

A group of top economists and innovators met in Palm Beach Monday to sound an alarm: radical change is coming to the American workforce.

After a rough start, a Florida Senate education panel has managed to move a major testing bill forward. The proposal is a mix of two separate testing bills.

Florida has more than 100 schools that it labels persistently failing. Those schools have earned D’s and F’s for several years in a row. Many of them suffer from high poverty and high teacher turnover. The issues facing parents, teachers, and students in such schools are complex. Now a House panel has unveiled a plan that would change the way the state deals with such situations.

Pembroke Pines sixth grader Ethan Greenberg traveled to Tallahassee last month to testify before the education committee of the Florida Senate about a bill he thinks can help him land his dream job. “I love Nintendo,” he said. “I want to become a game programmer for Nintendo.” 

A rift has emerged along a now-familiar fault line in the House and Senate Education spending plans. The chambers are again at odds over how to count what’s known as the required local effort to fund public schools.

Subcommittee Approves Bill For Coding Classes

Mar 28, 2017

The Florida House is considering allowing students to take a computer coding course to fulfill credit requirement in lieu of a foreign language. The Bill was amended before voted on.

The Florida House is pushing for $164 million in budget cuts in its initial higher-education budgets.

Under a plan outlined by the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday, universities would see a $110 million cut, while state colleges would face $61 million in reductions. Small increases in other higher-education programs, including workforce education and private colleges, lowers the proposed net reduction to $164 million.

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The first thing you notice at Campbell Park Elementary School in St. Petersburg are all the signs. An oversized poster reads "No Fear, No Limits, No Excuses" in big block letters. A wooden plaque is inscribed in flowering cursive with the phrase, "Always Be Kind." The affirmations are just a part of an effort to transform the school's culture in the wake of a newspaper investigation on failing majority black schools in Pinellas County.

The Florida House is promising big cut to higher education funding. And it also has another idea for changes that should be made to the system.  The chamber unveiled its answer to one of Senate President Joe Negron’s top priorities this week.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is down.

If those words don't send a shiver up your spine, it means you're not a high school senior or college student rushing to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

The FAFSA is the form — famously complicated and difficult to finish — that stands between many low-income students and the federal, state and institutional aid they need to pay for college.

The price tag for Florida’s class size amendment is now at $34 billion. The state has spent that much since the measure was put into the Florida constitution by voters back in 2002. Since that time, its caused headaches for schools and districts which undergo the tricky task of trying to meet the standard. Now  state lawmakers are trying again to grant districts a little more wiggle room when it comes to class sizes.

Colleges Balk At Budget Cuts

Mar 14, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — State college presidents on Friday expressed dismay that the 28-school system is being targeted for three-quarters of the cuts in the Florida Senate's initial plan to trim $131 million in higher-education spending.

“It is of great concern that the first thing out of the chute is a 74 percent reduction impacting the Florida college system and it is directed at programs that support our most at-risk student populations,” said Ed Meadows, president of Pensacola State College and the chairman of the Council of Presidents, which represents all the state colleges.

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