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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 one hundred teachers rallied in downtown Orlando today against Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to solve a statewide teacher shortage by raising teacher salaries.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called 2020 the year of the teacher. 

Florida may soon be adding to its list of scholarship programs. Rep. Shevrin Jones (D- Broward)  is sponsoring a bill that would help low-income students pay any remaining tuition their other scholarships and grants don't cover.

Lori Alhadeff picked up a mallet and banged a small, colorful drum. At one point, she closed her eyes to feel the rhythm of the others in the small circle, who were also improvising with percussion instruments.

Alhadeff, who lost her daughter, Alyssa, two years ago in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, joined in during the music therapy activity at Pine Trails Park in Parkland Friday afternoon. 

NPR has launched the second annual Student Podcast Challenge, which invites students in 5th through 12th grade to submit their own podcast for a chance to have it air on NPR.

Public school teachers advocating for increased pay have found an ally in the Florida business community. 

Members of both the Council of 100 and the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council have grown vocal in their support of increasing teacher salaries. 

CORRECTION: In an interview published today by WUSF, an opponent to proposed changes in Florida education standards incorrectly stated when the changes could be implemented. WUSF did not verify this information with the Florida Department of Education, which is our normal reporting practice.

The Department says there will be no changes to statewide assessments or the school grades calculation in the 2019-2020 school year. The department also provided a link to a website with details of the implementation plan for English-Language arts and math.

Fifth Third Bank said Friday it will resume contributions to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, reversing course after saying it would stop contributing over concerns about vouchers going to schools with anti-LGBTQ policies.

pic of school board meeting
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

The Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday voted to award a $305,000 settlement to an employee who said she was sexually harassed by her boss.

Debate Rages On Florida School Vouchers And LGBT Exclusion

Feb 4, 2020

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday a decision by Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank to pull contributions to a Florida school-voucher program is a “publicity stunt aimed at earning wokeness points with the radical left.”

On Friday's Roundup we discussed the decision by Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank to no longer donate to Florida’s school voucher program after learning some of the state-funded schools have policies that discriminate. We also looked at how this Sunday's Super Bowl in Miami is going green.

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando is working to change Florida’s private school voucher program ‘Step Up for Students’ because he says it violates state law. Smith says Floridians have a constitutional right not to face discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification.

Senate's Version Of DeSantis' Teacher Pay Plan Includes Raises For Veteran Instructors

Jan 28, 2020
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

The Florida Senate on Tuesday unveiled an education-budget proposal that includes $500 million for teacher salary increases and no funding for bonus programs, a departure from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ more-ambitious teacher pay plan.

Photo of Hedda Sharapan
Desiree Deli

Hedda Sharapan worked with Fred Rogers for more than 50 years, but one thing in particular stands out. It was a typical day on the set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and the cameras were rolling when the beloved host started buttoning one his signature sweaters.  

A top administrator for Hillsborough County’s school district has been selected to lead Providence, Rhode Island's troubled public school system.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced new education standards on Friday, a year after he vowed to eliminate the “vestiges” of the controversial Common Core standards.

The Hillsborough County School Board has selected Addison Davis to serve as its new Superintendent.

Davis, who currently is the Superintendent of Clay County Public Schools, is the first superintendent hired from outside the Hillsborough County School District’s ranks since 1967.

Two French teachers and their American students sit in a classroom
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

A House education panel on Thursday unveiled an early budget recommendation that includes $462 million for teacher pay raises after conducting a “budget exercise” for the coming fiscal year.

Florida’s average teacher salary is among the lowest in the nation. The Florida Education Association says the state suffers from high turn-over rates and teacher shortages. The teachers union wants to change that and Monday, it brought educators from across the state to the Florida Capitol to demand more funding for education.

Poverty has long been an obstacle to reading. A new program called the Big Plan aims to boost reading scores by giving extra, individual attention to a select group of young readers who are close to reading at their grade level, but not quite there.

Thousands of families will see their Florida Prepaid college tuition savings plans suddenly paid off thanks to price cuts announced in Jacksonville Monday by Governor Ron DeSantis.

Teachers throughout Florida are making their way to Tallahassee to protest on Monday, the eve of the start of the 2020 legislative session. The teachers unions expects thousands of teachers, parents, and supporters of public education to take part.

Florida Education Association says inadequate funding has turned Florida’s public education system into one of the worst in the country. Despite Governor Ron DeSantis proclaiming this is the “Year of the Teacher” and proposing a minimum teacher salary of $47,500, and another $300 million in bonuses—Florida teachers want more.

According to the Florida Department of Education, nearly 87% of Florida teenagers earned a high school diploma last year, an increase of close to 1% over the previous school year.

Hillsborough County, the state’s third largest school district saw a slight graduation rate increase of 0.4%. The region’s largest bump was in Pinellas County which climbed by 2.5% to a total graduation rate of more than 88%.

laptop computer
pexels.com

A 69-year-old Florida middle school teacher resigned from his job Tuesday and is facing child porn charges after a Best Buy Geek Squad technician found the images on his laptop, sheriff’s investigators said.

Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies arrested William Crawford at John Long Middle School, where he taught science.

A day before the 2020 legislative session kicks off, three House committees will meet to discuss the idea of allowing collegiate athletes to get paid for their name and likeness.

Students protest guns
WIkipedia.com

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows that Floridians are deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the upcoming year. That sharp divide is reflected on how those polled feel about arming school teachers.

Hillsborough County Schools

Earl Lennard, a longtime educator who served as Hillsborough County’s Superintendent of Schools and as its Supervisor of Elections, died Monday after a long illness. He was 77.

Lennard became a teacher in Hillsborough schools in 1963, working his way up to the top post in 1996. He held that position nine years, and was appointed as Elections Supervisor from 2009 to 2012 after the death of Phyllis Busansky.

Richard Corcoran speaking
News Service of Florida

The Florida High School Athletic Association continues to move forward in a legal battle about whether Christian schools should have been allowed to offer a pregame prayer before a 2015 championship football game, as Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran pressures the association to reconsider its policies.

As a three-year legal battle continues over the issue, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran wants the Florida High School Athletic Association to reconsider policies that prevented Christian schools from offering a prayer over the stadium loudspeaker before a 2015 state championship football game.

Grand Jury Slams Schools, Says 'Turf Wars' Hamper Parkland Safety Compliance

Dec 13, 2019

A statewide grand jury has issued a report painting a dire picture of how Florida school districts are implementing security measures passed in response to a mass shooting at a Broward County high school nearly two years ago.

Legislature Spells Out Steps To Curtail Heat Strokes Among High School Athletes

Dec 12, 2019

Florida is well-known for producing high-caliber high school athletes, in part thanks to its near year-round sunshine and warm weather.

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