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These days, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy works as an analyst for "NBC Sports' Football Night in America." But he's also the founder of "All Pro Dad," an organization committed to bringing "intentional focus" to fathers. 

Cathy Carter

Homeschooling entered the mainstream in the 1980s and was led largely by white evangelical Christians. Today, the U.S Department of Education says approximately 1.7 million students in the U.S are homeschooled—more than 84,000 of them in Florida.

The fastest growing demographic choosing to leave traditional schools behind are African-Americans.

Flickr

Florida's state university system may ask legislators to expand the state's popular Bright Futures scholarship program to cover summer courses.

Sleepless In High School: Why Does The Bell Ring So Early?

Aug 22, 2016

On game days, the boys’ soccer team at Miami-Edison Senior High speaks Haitian Creole during huddles. Fans play Haitian carnival music, known as Rara, with drums and horns in the stands.

Sandra Teramo never got to finish the list of local politicians she blames for the rapid expansion of charter schools in Miami-Dade County. “[State Rep.] Erik Fresen, other politicians such as City Commissioner...''

 

 


“Ma’am, I would appreciate it that you don’t mention names,” came the voice of School Board Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman. “Names are not allowed.”

 

Cathy Carter

Florida is home to some of the country's largest school districts but according to a report from the Florida Department of Education, it doesn't have enough teachers.

That means school districts are coming up with new ways to fill vacancies.

WUSF Public Media

Preparing to make public universities a priority during the next two years, incoming Senate President Joe Negron says more and better scholarships will help take Florida's higher-education system to the next level.

The Stuart Republican has made clear his goal of finding an additional $1 billion for the 12 public universities during his two-year term as president, which is slated to begin after the November elections.

Mort Elementary School is one of Tampa’s lowest-performing elementary schools situated in one the most troubled neighborhoods in Hillsborough County.

In 25 years though, officials are hoping it will be a model of success.

Recess every single day of the week: That's the rallying cry of four mothers lobbying Miami-Dade schools after a bill to require daily recess failed to make it out of the Legislature this year. The Miami Herald's Christina Veiga and WLRN's Rowan Moore Gerety talked with Debora Hertfelder, Louisa Conway, Kate Asturias and Victoria Kenny about why they think free time at school is so important.

Read Christina Veiga's story in the Miami Herald 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.

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.

State lawmakers want to make Florida the most veteran friendly in the nation. This session, lawmakers are sticking with that pledge, with a push to improve veteran employment and education.

In Tallahassee, Bills Are Dying

Feb 22, 2016

Members, bills are dying.

Those four words --- or something like them --- have long been used by legislative committee chairmen and presiding officers to try to get lawmakers to focus on the task at hand or to move quickly through contentious agendas. The line also happens to fit what starts happening as the session enters its second half.

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.

The 2016 Florida Legislative session starts Jan. 12, and this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 a.m.), we are previewing some of the bills lawmakers are proposing.

Florida House of Representatives

Right now, Florida’s top educator is two steps removed from voters. The state education commissioner is appointed by a board and that board is appointed by the governor.

But lawmakers are considering legislation that would change the Florida Commissioner of Education into a statewide, elected position and add the post to the Florida Cabinet.

The idea has been proposed before, but this time, it’s gaining traction according to State Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach. She said parents, local school boards and other lawmakers are interested.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There is a renewed call to make Florida’s Education Secretary an elected position – again.

The state’s top educator used to be elected statewide and served as a member of the Florida Cabinet. The cabinet also served as the Florida Board of Education.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

It’s game day in the 8th grade International Baccalaureate design class at Ada Merritt K-8 Center in Little Havana in Miami.

The games the students are playing are designed by their classmates. And they’re based on books the students read for class.

Four eighth graders prepare to set off on a board game based on the book “Everlost” – set in a fantasy world between life and death inhabited by “afterlights.”

Theo Urquiza reads the rules and introduces the characters.

Our Ideas series is exploring innovation in education.

It's 20-year-old Randall Lofton's third shot at college. He's already wiped out twice. Too much partying and basketball, he says, and not enough studying. "I didn't apply myself."

Lofton is now trying to balance a full-time job with three classes at community college. He's taking a mix of online and in-class work at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla.

New Florida Teacher Bonus Program Draws Complaints

Oct 12, 2015
John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

In Brigette Kinney’s design class at Ada Merritt K-8 center in Miami, one of the key concepts is editing and revising ideas after getting feedback.

Her 8th graders create role-playing games based on books they read. And then adjust the games, after watching their classmates play.

Kinney hopes Florida lawmakers will be as open to change as her students.

“I feel that legislators are out of touch with what it means to be a good teacher,” she said.

stanfordtech / Flickr

Last week the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released the results of a global study looking at the effect of technology on 15-year-olds test scores.

The group oversees one of the most important international exams, so their research matters.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For weeks now, Palm Beach County schools have struggled to get students to classes on time.

Bus routes have been redrawn. And the district sent up flares, looking to hire anyone who wants to drive a bus.

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio says the U.S. doesn't need a federal Education Department, arguing that its recommendations to state and local governments often turn into mandates tied to money.

The Florida senator made the comments Tuesday during a town hall meeting in Carson City. About 200 people attended the gathering in a community center, part of a tour of northern Nevada.

Wikipedia Commons

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is joining those who are calling for federal review of Pinellas County’s use of Title I funds for education.  

Pinellas Teachers Make Back-To-School House Calls

Aug 24, 2015
M.S. Butler

At the beginning of each school year, making new students feel welcome and building a rapport with them is a big part of getting off to a smooth start. And at one Pinellas County middle school, teachers and staff aren't waiting for the students to come to them.

It's no secret that not every student is excited about going back to school at the end of summer.

On the first day of school some will be waiting at the bus stop with a backpack of new notebooks and a stomach full of butterflies.

Albuminarium

 

 

A day after the Pinellas County Schools Superintendent announced changes to five failing St. Petersburg elementary schools, the U.S. Department of Education has been asked to review county programs serving poor children. 

Graphic courtesy of Tampa Bay Times

The Tampa Bay Times just completed an investigation into a group of low-performing elementary schools in black neighborhoods of southern Pinellas County -- schools that they're calling "Failure Factories." WUSF's Robin Sussingham spoke with reporters Michael LaForgia and Cara Fitzpatrick... and asked what they discovered about those schools that made them want to dig deeper:

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