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There’s a new test in town and it's replacing Florida's long-established FCAT.

The new Florida Standards Assessment will test students on their knowledge of a set of rigorous new state standards based on the now infamous Common Core. But will students be ready?

In part two of a three part series on the issue, WJCT’s Rhema Thompson explains there are some concerns about how the state is rolling out and grading this new test.

When Florida first approved its private school tax credit scholarship program in 2001, Florida Education Association attorney Ron Meyer said education groups questioned the legality, but no one really objected to helping low-income students get out of low-performing schools.

But then the scholarship program started to grow. Lawmakers approved a law that automatically expanded the program each year. Then earlier this year lawmakers raised the income cap. Now, a family of four earning $62,000 can receive a partial scholarship.

Florida Ranks Third in Parents Snooping on Kids Online

Jul 31, 2014

Reasons for the sudden growth are unknown, said Ivory Thompson, operations manager at Retina-X, parent company of Mobile Spy. But one thing the company does know: 95 percent of South Florida parents surveyed said their children regularly access social media sites on smartphones. "In Florida, it just seems like a lot of families are worried about their children on social media sites, and they want to find out what they're doing," he said. "It could be that more kids are coming of age and getting a phone, or more parents are buying their kids phones, or it could just be product awareness."

Students and civil rights activists have asked Gov. Rick Scott to hold black and Hispanic students to a higher standard. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Dream Defenders were in Tallahassee this week to deliver a petition — with 5,800 signatures — protesting Florida’s race-based academic goals.

Florida high school seniors continue to struggle in math and reading, according to the latest report from the National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP.

Nathan B. Forrest High — the Jacksonville school named for the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader — has a new name.

Saying that "zero tolerance" discipline policies at U.S. schools are unfairly applied "all too often," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is urging officials to rethink that approach. The Obama administration issued voluntary guidelines today that call for more training for teachers and more clarity in defining security problems.

Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

Florida Polytechnic University is still a work in progress. Travelers can see the iconic innovation, science and technology (IST) building from Interstate 4, just east of Lakeland. It's not done, but the admissions center building is open to the public.

Prospective students are able to register for tours online. Florida Poly Chief Operating Officer Ava Parker says this building brings the brochure to life.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

Florida’s legislative session is months away, but educators and politicians are already talking about making early childhood education a priority.

 

“Early childhood is viewed as childcare, and not early childhood education, which it really is,” says Dr. Susan Neimand, director of the School of Education at Miami Dade College, which runs a nationally recognized early learning center called Education Station.

“We know that the brain starts developing from the time the child is in the womb—and the proper attention for that is not given,” says Neimand.

Rapper Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to the flourishing charter school movement. Alicia Keyes, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Oprah — all support or sponsor charter schools.

'Club Lib’ No More As USF Shortens Library Hours

Aug 26, 2013
Yoselis Ramos

The Library at the USF Tampa campus has become known to students as "Club Lib" because of the late night hours.  Senior biomedical science/political science major Katharine Orr explains the library as the "hub" of campus. "Everyone is here all the time so it is like a club," she said.

Since the 2009-2010 school year, the campus library has been open 24 hours five days a week. But students starting classes today are facing shortened hours at "Club Lib" as the library is closing at midnight those days.

Teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever had.

In the midst of all the talk about schools and education policy, ultimately the classroom doors close and we, the teachers, are the ones in there with the children. We are the ones who think every day about those kids for the whole school year, and for years after.

USF Sarasota-Manatee To Welcome First Freshmen Class

Aug 21, 2013

A bold transformation starts Thursday at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, with the picturesque courtyard and stone building that makes up what has predominantly been a night school. Expansion is a long-held dream slowly coming to fruition for USF Sarasota-Manatee, which gained separate accreditation from the system's main campus in Tampa after legislators advocated for independence for the University of South Florida's satellite campuses.

freedigitalphotos.com

Florida is in the midst of implementing new, tougher academic standards to make its students more competitive. To do that, the state needs to replace the well-known FCAT exam with a new set of tests.

These new standards kick in next year, so a new test has to be found soon and the current debate is about a test known as PARRC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

But is it the best choice?

When Florida Governor Rick Scott signs the state budget into law on Monday, he's expected to use his veto pen on a number of items, including a proposed 3 percent tuition hike for the state's public universities and colleges. The increase could have raised as much as $50 million for the schools.

Prosecutors are charging 12 former Florida A&M University band members with manslaughter in the 2011 hazing death of a drum major.

Florida Sequestration Effects by the Numbers

Feb 25, 2013
whitehouse.gov

If the "Fiscal Cliff" wasn't enough to worry about, then how about a sequestration? The word sounds like the name of an ominous spaceship falling from the sky but in reality, it means across-the-board budget cuts - which could be just as bad the spaceship.

The cuts are supposed to take effect March 1st.

How would they affect Florida?

Here's how the White House put it if the sequestration does take effect:

MyFlorida.com

The Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting has revived the debate in many state legislatures over new gun laws as well as school security and mental health care.

After holding roundtable discussions with gun owners, teachers and law enforcement officers, State Rep. Linda Stewart of Orlando came to a conclusion about Florida’s elementary schools.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Roughly 2 million veterans and their family members are eligible for tuition, books and living expenses under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

And like every budget line in Washington, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told the annual gathering of Student Veterans of America that  their education benefits need to show a “return on investment”  or risk being cut.

This is the fourth time Shinseki has addressed the SVA national conference and each time he’s carried the same message.

Screen shot

Grab the Kleenex. This video of Hakam Daley just might make you well up.

Daley, a senior at Centennial High School in Port St. Lucie, has cerebral palsy and grew up in a series of foster homes, according to WABC-TV. But none of that mattered Friday night, as this video from WPBF News explains.

NPR's show Tell Me More opened up a conversation this morning about education reform. It was heard here on WUSF and it included two people at the very core of the issue.... students.

One of those students is Shakira Locket, student at Miami Dade College.

Locket graduated from Coral Gables Senior High school but once she reached college, she realized she wasn't prepared.

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