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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.

95 year-old WWII veteran Joe Perricone will walk at Hillsborough High School's graduation Saturday to finally receive his diploma in person.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

A 95 year-old World War II veteran will walk across the stage Saturday at Hillsborough High School's graduation ceremony to finally receive his diploma in person.


Robert Smith encouraged graduates to "pay it forward"

Six schools in Hillsborough County are removing mascots that depict Native Americans as Braves, Indians, Warriors or Chiefs, and will replace them with something new.

Polk County School Bus Attendant Juanita Tippin
Polk County Sheriff's Office

The Polk County Sheriff's office has arrested a school bus attendant for abusing children and adults in her charge. 

Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler at a meeting Tuesday night
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

The Sarasota County School Board has approved a deal for some University of South Florida college courses to be offered at local high schools.

The Bruzon family celebrate Jonathan's acceptance to Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio.
Cathy Carter

The recent college admissions scandal exposed the role of wealth and privilege in gaining entry to America's best schools.

But its also helped bring attention to the issue of access to education for low income students and communities of color.

Nearly 2,300 teachers have just had a mountain of student loan debt lifted off their backs, according to previously unreleased figures from the U.S. Department of Education. The move follows reporting by NPR that exposed a nightmare for public school teachers across the country.

Man stands in front of school
Hillsborough County Schools

Hillsborough County was part of a recent nationwide effort to improve schools from the top down, through a project known as the "principal pipeline."

The 1Million Project Foundation is teaming with Sarasota County School District and Gulf Coast Community Foundation to provide high-speed internet to low-income students.
The 1Million Project Foundation

With schools continuing to lean more on technology, students without access to the internet at home are left at a greater disadvantage. Sarasota County is attempting to close the gap for its students who don’t have reliable internet by offering hotspot access.

A bar graph shows temperatures rising across the Earth since 1880
www.climate.gov

An NPR poll this week found that most parents want their children to learn about climate change at school, but that many teachers don't discuss it because they think it's beyond their subject matter or expertise.

children entering school building
School District of Manatee County

Another local school board has spoken out about teachers carrying firearms, a decision that comes as Florida lawmakers are close to passing a bill that would expand the state’s school guardian program.

The March For Our Lives protest in Parkland, Florida, on March 24, 2018.
Casey Chapter / WFSU

An effort to let school districts choose whether to allow more classroom teachers to carry guns has cleared the Senate.

The broader bill incorporates recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission, which was tasked with examining the response and lead up to last year's Valentine’s Day School shooting in Parkland.

A mockup of the ISEAUTO, designed at Tallinn Technical University in Estonia.
Tallinn Technical University

Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland has a new partner in autonomous vehicle research--a university in Estonia that’s built a prototype of a driverless car.  

Preschool children at a table at the French-American School of Tampa Bay
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

Elementary schools that immerse children in a foreign language are on the rise across the country. At a new French immersion school in St. Petersburg, which opened in September, American kids as young as three are learning French by speaking it all day.

Mindy Thomas, co-host of NPR's "Wow in the World" podcast for children and families is bringing her Wow In The World Pop Up Party to the Tampa Theatre on April 6th. It's the show's only performance in Florida.

Lawmakers hope allowing state colleges impacted by Hurricane Michael to waive out of state tuition for 3 years will spur economic growth. 

The fallout — and fascination — continue from the massive college admissions scandal.

Woman sings on stage while two classmates hold up signs that say "Common Sense."
Kerry Sheridan / WUSF

The Broadway musical "Hamilton" won critical acclaim with its modern take on historical figures. As the show makes its way across the United States, students in select cities are getting a chance to learn about the Founding Fathers and perform their own original pieces in the style of Hamilton.

Florida watchdog TaxWatch has released it’s assessment of the Florida College System. Their research found the schools raise wages for their graduates and boost the state’s economy.

The Florida International University community marked Friday one year since the devastating bridge collapse that killed six people — including a student and a bridge worker.

The school held a memorial service, and a moment of silence took place at 1:47 p.m., the time of the collapse.

It could become even tougher for Florida students to get bright futures scholarships. A senate proposal would match the state score requirements for the SAT and ACT tests to match the national percentile rankings.

Education Committee Chair Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr. at Wednesday's hearing.
The Florida Channel

A Senate measure could make it easier for people to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam.

Man standing with weapon
Manatee School For the Arts

A New York Times' story about the guardians at Manatee School For the Arts in Palmetto had locals buzzing with conversation on social media pages for days.

Heading into the 2019 Legislative Session, state lawmakers on either side of the aisle aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on education. Like they have in previous years, school choice and school safety remain polarizing issues.

Sandy Hook Promise

Research shows that four in five school shooters tell someone about their plans ahead of time. One father who lost his son at Sandy Hook Elementary visited a St. Petersburg high school on Thursday to teach students how to recognize and report the warning signs.

Brendan Byrne / WMFE

Middle school students at Faith Christian Academy in Orlando had an out-of-this-world experience — the chance to talk with an astronaut on the International Space Station. The school partnered with amateur radio operators to connect with the station last week.

Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

A plan to boost teacher pay at 50 struggling schools was approved Tuesday by the Hillsborough County School Board.

Hundreds of educators could earn up to $13,000 more per year as part of the plan, which aims to ease an ongoing teacher shortage.

Talia Blake / WMFE

Programs that teach kids how to code are popular right now.

But, what about kids who are blind or visually impaired? They have Code Jumper, a new program that teaches kids basic coding skills regardless of their level of vision or experience.

On Thursday, Feb. 14, Gail Schwartz drove to the Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery in North Lauderdale to visit the grave of her nephew, Alex Schachter.

Schachter was one of the 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago. He was 14 years old.

DeSantis Pursues New School Voucher Program

Feb 16, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he wants to create a new “equal opportunity” voucher program to eliminate a waiting list of about 14,000 low-income students seeking to use state-backed scholarships to attend private schools.

The governor is asking lawmakers to create a “supplement” to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the state’s largest voucher-type program, which serves nearly 100,000 students but has about 14,000 others stuck on a waiting list.

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