Education

Courtesy of Jack Miller, Knopf

For the last two decades, Florida has been a laboratory for school choice policies: alternatives to public education like privately-run charter schools and taxpayer-funded scholarships to private institutions.

Diane Ravitch argues that’s not something to celebrate or emulate.

Ravitch is a historian, advocate and former assistant education secretary under Republican President George H. W. Bush. She once believed charters, vouchers and standardized testing could improve public school education.

impeachment
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

At Nova High School in Davie, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is proving an urgent, engaging lesson for the eleventh- and twelfth-graders in Richard Judd’s Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics class. 

"A lot of them are just starting to form their own political awareness," Judd said. "So being able to bring in what's happening helps illuminate their own little discoveries as they're learning about the world around them."

Florida College Scholarship Proposal Gets House Backing

Jan 22, 2020
News Service of Florida

A House panel on Wednesday signed off on two new scholarship programs that would support students who attend historically black colleges and universities or state colleges and career centers.

One of the proposals, called the Sunshine Scholarship Program, would fully cover tuition and fees for students who are Florida residents and pursue associate degrees or career certificates at state colleges or career centers operated by school districts.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday appointed Ryan Petty to the Florida Board of Education, subject to state Senate approval.

Petty’s 14-year-old daughter Alaina was murdered in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and he has since become a national advocate for school safety reforms.

Petty founded a nonprofit called the WalkUp Foundation. The organization’s mission is to persuade students to “walk up” to their peers who seem like they need a friend and seek help from adults if necessary.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Starting high school later in the morning for health reasons is under discussion locally and nationally. The Monroe County school district is considering pushing back the start times — but for a different reason.

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
STEVE CANNON / AP

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.

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