C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

Public high schools in South Florida start before 8 a.m. — they have for years. But research finds a later beginning is better for teenagers and their sleep cycle.

Miami-Dade schools are considering changing school start times and having the first bell ring later at high schools.


Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday defended students who feel they can't pray in their schools — and warned school administrators they risk losing federal funds if they violate their students' rights to religious expression.

Trump held an event in the Oval Office with a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim students and teachers to commemorate National Religious Freedom Day. The students and teachers said they have been discriminated against for practicing their religion at school.

Florida Governor Calls For Teacher Raises, New Abortion Law

Jan 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for teacher raises, the eradication of Burmese pythons in the Everglades and a new law to force girls to get their parents' permission before getting an abortion during his State of the State address on Tuesday.

Pasco County Schools/flickr

The first school bell in Miami-Dade County might be 40 minutes later, if the school board adopts a new plan under consideration.

Elementary and middle schools start anywhere from 8:30 to 9:10 a.m. High schools start earlier, at 7:20 a.m., because a majority of students attend “choice” programs, like magnet schools, rather than their assigned neighborhood schools.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he believes in science, and the science is clear: Adolescents aren’t getting enough sleep, and experts believe later school start times could fix that.

But Carvalho said he understands that pushing back the first bell to no earlier than 8 a.m. could be a logistical nightmare for students, parents and school employees — and he insisted the district won’t do it unless there’s community support.

Marsha Halper / Miami Herald

A junior at a Doral high school started an online petition in October that got nearly 185,000 signatures. The cause? A day off from school after Halloween.

After a series of viral petitions like his and requests from students and parents, a Miami-Dade County state senator filed a bill to keep sleepy, sugared-up kids home on Nov. 1 after a night of trick-or-treating.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Florida teachers have won some battles on the pay front in recent years — but for them, it’s too little, too late.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Thousands of educators in South Florida and across the state are heading to Tallahassee for a rally Monday afternoon, ahead of the start of the 2020 legislative session.

Florida Education Association president Fedrick Ingram has high hopes for the turnout.

“We're going to have the biggest, broadest, most comprehensive showing of force, of people who care about public schools, in Tallahassee that we've ever seen in the modern era,” said Ingram, who is the former president of the United Teachers of Dade, Miami-Dade’s teachers union.

Chris Cutro / Miami Herald

Palm Beach County has the highest high school graduation rate in South Florida — and it’s the only district in the region that’s outperforming the statewide average, according to newly released data from the Florida Department of Education.

But Palm Beach’s 87.1 percent graduation rate for the class of 2019 is down just slightly from the previous year’s 87.2 percent.

Monroe County also saw a slight drop last year, from 86.4 percent to a flat 86 percent.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Miami Dade College’s reassembled presidential search committee will hold its first meeting next week, with plans to begin reviewing applications for Eduardo Padrón’s successor in late March.

The committee is moving forward with a vaguer picture of what the next president will look like. A presidential profile approved by the college’s board of trustees states a terminal degree — the highest academic credential available in one’s field — is preferred.

On Jan. 1, 2019, more than 3 million women in India joined hands to form a 385-mile-long human wall of protest calling for equal rights for women.

They are among the many extraordinary women we have written about in Goats and Soda this year — women on the front lines of political and social change, women who sometimes quite literally put their life on the line to take a stand and to do their job.

Here are some of the women we've interviewed and written about in 2019.

"I don't think as a kid I ever saw a minority physician," says Russell J. Ledet.

Ledet is a second-year medical student in the M.D./MBA program at the Tulane University School of Medicine, and he's African American. Last weekend he organized a trip to Whitney Plantation, now a museum in Edgard, La., for fellow members of the Tulane chapter of the Student National Medical Association, a student-run organization that supports black medical students.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Esteemed former Miami Dade College president Eduardo Padrón headlined a Tuesday night campaign fundraiser for an alumna who once worked in his office and is now running for her first elected post: a seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board.

The 2020 race for the school board district representing south Miami-Dade is expected to draw at least four contenders — including a longtime MDC administrator whose son was lieutenant governor under Republican Rick Scott.

This fall, there were nearly 250,000 fewer students enrolled in college than a year ago, according to new numbers out Monday from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks college enrollment by student.

"That's a lot of students that we're losing," says Doug Shapiro, who leads the research center at the Clearinghouse.

Nicole L. Cvetnic / Miami Herald

Despair, rage, and calls for help are coming from teenagers in Florida. Some are emotionally disturbed while others are obsessed with death or holding grudges. Even more disturbing—many of these young people have easy access to guns.