Education

They read a book quietly under their desks, pester the teacher for extra credit, or, perhaps, they simply check out and act up.

Every classroom has a few overachievers who perform above their grade level and don't feel challenged by the status quo. A new report suggests they are surprisingly common — in some cases, nearly half of all students in a given grade.

In northwest Pennsylvania, along the edge of Lake Erie, you'll find the city of Erie.

There, the superintendent of the more than 12,000-student district has forwarded a plan that's causing a stir — calling for leaders to consider shutting down all of the district's high schools and sending students to the wealthier, whiter, suburban districts.

Why?

Superintendent Jay Badams says it's a "matter of fairness."

A sign on the front door said only that the school would be closed for a day after Labor Day weekend. Through closed blinds, visitors could glimpse desks still laden with paperwork in offices where the lights had been left on.

All morning, a steady stream of students pulled up out front of the Hialeah campus to see if the news was true: ITT Tech, one of the largest chains of for-profit colleges in the country, with more than 40,000 students spread across 130 campuses nationwide, was closed for good.

  Anya Contreras’ ninth grade algebra class started first thing in the morning, right around 7:30. “I’m not a math person, and I’m not a morning person either,” Contreras says, so she had a little routine to get through class. When she heard the teacher’s voice getting muffled, “I knew he was facing toward the board,” Contreras says. So she would close her eyes, let her head rest against the wall…and get a few seconds of precious sleep.

A Tallahassee judge is going to hold another hearing on the lawsuit challenging the state law that prevents some school children from being promoted to the fourth grade.

Verónica Zaragovia

A charter school in Immokalee, roughly 35 miles east of Fort Myers, wants to help migrant farm worker families overcome language barriers by using 21st century technology.

How?

The Immokalee Community School, run by the Redlands Christian Migrant Association, is bringing children and their migrant parents into the classroom.

An appeals court says Florida's teacher union has no legal right to challenge the state's largest private school voucher program.

Love Krittaya

At the start of the school day, Rory Feinberg says "all anyone talks about is how tired they are."

Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons

For-profit colleges have gotten some unwanted government attention lately—for aggressive recruiting and high interest rates on loans, and for misleading students about what their degrees will help them accomplish.

The for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges shut down a year ago. Now another large operator, ITT Technical Institute, looks like it might be next: It is losing students quickly, its stock price has plunged to $2 a share, and the Obama administration is pushing to shut down the accreditors that oversee this school and many other for-profit colleges.

For a moment, let's pretend.

That everything you know about America's public education system — the bitter politics and arcane funding policies, the rules and countless reasons our schools work (or don't) the way they do — is suddenly negotiable.

Pretend the obstacles to change have melted like butter on hot blacktop.

Now ask yourself: What could — and should — we do differently?

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

  “You can’t find your website? We’re going to need to help you with that,” Derick Pearson tells a camper squinting at a laptop at New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Liberty City before a summer camp “pitch session.”

Pearson, a co-founder of the nonprofit Code Fever, is getting ready to give out accolades and prize money to a group of kids who have spent part of the summer learning the fundamentals of web and app design, now set to present their work before an audience.

CDC

Schools and school districts are among those reacting to news of 14  locally-acquired cases of the Zika virus confirmed in South Florida.

With the first day of school still weeks away, Miami-Dade County Public Schools sent out an automated voicemail to parents last week reinforcing basic anti-mosquito measures.

The recording advised parents to wear "long-sleeved shirts and long pants," to "apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing  and use mosquito netting with children younger than two months." 

Katie Lepri / WLRN

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.

The school is smack-dab in the middle of Little Haiti, with a student body that, in many cases, is just beginning to master English. “When I took the program over,” says Gomez Laleau, who started coaching there in 2004, “99 percent of them were like Haitian-descent kids and college was not part of the discussion.”

 

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Some 200 young people from schools throughout Broward and Miami-Dade are lined up on a football field while instructions come over the loudspeaker from a perch high in the stands.

WLRN

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.”

 

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