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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.

About a week after its superintendent resigned over mishandling a sexual harassment complaint, the Sarasota County School Board voted to appoint Mitsi Corcoran as acting superintendent.

Anxieties multiplied quickly across Baker County, a mostly rural community of 28,000 in northern Florida, when news spread that a 15-year-old had planned a massacre at the county’s only high school.

State education officials continue to consider changes to the operations of Florida Virtual School, which has faced a number of problems, including questionable spending and a wide-ranging data breach.

Five panelists discuss on stage at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting in Ybor City.
Erin O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

With the Florida Department of Health reporting a significant increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases cases, some are calling for sex education reform.

Hillsborough County is one of 15 Florida districts that agreed to implement a comprehensive sex education system two years ago. This means that during classes, students learn not only about abstinence, but also safe sex practices. 

Gov. DeSantis: Replace 'Best And Brightest' With New Teacher Bonus Plan

Nov 15, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the Florida Legislature to abandon the embattled “Best and Brightest” bonus program and replace it with a new plan to offer bonuses to public-school teachers and principals.

A federal appeals court Wednesday overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit about whether the Florida High School Athletic Association improperly prevented Christian schools from offering a prayer over the stadium loudspeaker before a 2015 state championship football game.

Sarasota Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden has agreed to step down from his post.

In the more than 20 months since the deadly shooting in Parkland, the state has passed a number of laws to address school safety, including the controversial measure allowing teachers to be armed. 

Tensions ran high at a special school board meeting on Tuesday in Sarasota, where school superintendent Todd Bowden faced mounting pressure to resign over allegations he acted too slowly when he learned that a subordinate was accused of sexually harassing a co-worker.

The Florida Education Association (FEA) continues its “Fund Our Future Bus Tour” as it rolls into Manatee, Collier, DeSoto, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties this week.

The campaign is fighting for a numer of things, with filling teacher vacancies and increasing pay being two main issues.

The Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago, ending an era of Cold War division between East and West, democracy and communism. At a time when U.S. culture is increasingly divided along partisan lines, students and professors at New College of Florida decided to build a Berlin Wall again, as a way of studying the history of divisions and how they persist today.

Report: Florida Virtual School Needs New Board

Nov 3, 2019

A new, independent board of directors, inspector general and ethics standards are needed for the scandal-plagued Florida Virtual School, according to a new report from the state’s Department of Education.

Florida is near the bottom of the nation when it comes to teacher pay. Governor Ron DeSantis wants to change that by raising the base salary. But the state’s largest teacher union says the governor’s plans don’t go far enough. 

Fact Check: DeSantis' Teacher Pay Plan Won't Make Florida No. 2 In The Nation

Nov 1, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week his plan to raise the minimum salary to $47,500 for teachers would make Florida No. 2 in the country for highest base pay in classrooms, but the facts are more complicated.

Wikimedia Commons

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday called the results of the latest Nation's Report Card evidence of a country with a "student achievement crisis."

The report card is a test of fourth and eighth graders given every two years since 1990. The grades reflect student success in reading and math.

Sarasota County School Board Superintendent Todd Bowden was set to fire his Chief Operations Officer, Jeff Maultsby, after a sexual harassment investigation found that Maultsby created a hostile working environment.

Instead, Maultsby saved him the trouble by resigning on Monday. His departure was confirmed by school district spokesperson Kelsey Whealy Tuesday afternoon.

Senate President Bill Galvano
News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday continued his full-throated support of a plan to increase minimum teacher salaries in Florida to $47,500, but Senate President Bill Galvano cautioned it might be difficult to carry out.

Computer simulations have long helped train doctors in complex medical procedures. Now, tens of thousands of Florida teachers and school staff are using online simulators to learn how to talk to troubled students.

Kathleen Middle School will remain closed until next week as workers continue to clean up damage spawned by a tornado from Tropical Storm Nestor over the weekend.

Cleanup continues at Kathleen Middle School in Lakeland, two days after a tornado spawned from Tropical Storm Nestor ripped through Polk County.

Details Emerge In Pasco Officer’s Accidental Shooting In School Cafeteria

Oct 21, 2019

Eleven young heads turned toward the explosive noise coming from the side of the school lunchroom. A young girl in jeans and white shoes moved her hands toward her ears. A cafeteria worker ducked behind the counter. White smoke lingered.

Latvala: Budget Cuts May Be Necessary To Pay For Teacher Raises

Oct 17, 2019

A House education panel on Thursday began delving into the issue of raising teacher pay, with a key lawmaker saying that while "everything is on the table," the panel still needs to figure out where the money would come from.

How Florida classrooms will be taught post-Common Core will be the focus of a listening tour stop in Tampa Thursday by Florida's top education official, Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

The state's Education Practices Commission on Tuesday unanimously rejected a settlement agreement between the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) and Manatee County Schools Superintendent Cynthia Saunders.

These are second graders at Broward Elementary in Tampa.
Hillsborough County School District

A plan to raise minimum salaries for Florida teachers by an average $10,000 a year is being greeted by Tampa Bay union leaders with mild applause and great concern.

DeSantis Wants To Raise Minimum Teacher Salaries To $47,500

Oct 7, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to raise the minimum salary of Florida teachers to $47,500, a proposal that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and likely will be a key issue during the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

teacher in class with children
U.S. Department of Education

The powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee filed a proposal Friday that would repeal the state’s long-controversial “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus program.

The potential impeachment of a President, like Donald Trump, is a highly partisan affair, where truth can be hard to find.

Political science professor Frank Orlando of St. Leo University is teaching his students to understand it through the lens of both history, and strategy.

In a 95-page ruling, an administrative law judge Friday backed a decision by the Manatee County School Board to terminate a contract with a charter school that he said showed “gross financial mismanagement,” including failing to pay salaries and payroll taxes, getting cut off by food suppliers and facing a shutoff of water service.

Nine county school boards, including Polk County, are going to the Florida Supreme Court in a battle about the constitutionality of a controversial 2017 law that sought to bolster charter schools.

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