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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.

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.

How Many Teachers Are Carrying Guns In Florida? State Keeping It Under Wraps

Dec 11, 2019
Gun and bullets
ST. LOUIS CIRCUIT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Republican lawmakers who pushed to allow teachers to carry guns in schools say they do not need to know how many Florida teachers are armed and participating in the so-called guardian program.

It's been the subject of derision and lawsuits. Even Gov. Ron DeSantis has been critical of the program. Now the lights could be dimming on Florida's Best & Brightest teacher bonus program. A Florida Senate education panel got started on a repeal Monday.

Denise had no idea her student loans could be erased. In 2007, a truck rear-ended her car. The accident ravaged her legs and back, and the pain made it impossible for her to work.

"I have basically been in pain — chronic pain — every day," says Denise, who asked that NPR not use her full name to protect her privacy. "I live a life of going to doctors constantly."

Some counties across the Tampa Bay region would receive the most amount of funds under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ teacher pay plan.

Three hundred middle and high schoolers filed into their school auditorium recently in the small, southeast Kansas town of Neodesha, uncertain why they'd been called there.

They left cheering and hugging. Some of the older students were teary-eyed.

In the gym at Bayshore High School in Bradenton, 16-year-old Yazmin Ramirez is handed a sheet of paper describing her life's work.

"I'm a maid-slash-housekeeper. My yearly income is $19,510. I'm a dropout. I'm single. I have no children. And my balance right now is $1,202,” said Ramirez. “This is depressing, but we'll see what I can do with it.”

School building
WIkipedia.com

Public school students would have to pause for up to two minutes of silent “reflection” each day, under proposals filed in the House and Senate.

Rep. Kimberly Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat, on Friday filed a measure (HB 737) that would direct public school principals to require teachers to set aside at least one minute for a moment of silence at the start of the school day. Ocala Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley filed an identical proposal (SB 946) earlier this month.

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.

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