A loose-knit network of education activists generally opposed to the direction Florida has been taking its schools recently is attempting to organize into a more potent political force.
The groups include parents, people who want more state funding for schools, and others who are fed up with the brand of testing-based school accountability that Florida has become famous for. Under the umbrella of the Alliance for Public Schools, they are hoping to bolster their fundraising capacity and step up their efforts to influence legislation at the statehouse.
An ambitious Miami-Dade school board member--who happens to be daughter of Miami's mayor--talks up education priorities for state lawmakers. What Raquel Regalado has to say about teacher raises, charter schools and the transition away from F-CAT's.
It's all in the family.
Miami-Dade school board member Raquel Regalado grew up listening to her father Tomás host one of Miami's most popular radio talk shows. She watched as her famous dad won a spot on the Miami City Commission, and eventually become mayor in 2009.
Now, she's got a high-profile job of her own, and may be following in dad's footsteps.
The younger Regalado hosts her own Spanish-language radio program on La Poderosa, 670 AM, and was elected in 2010 to represent district 6 on the Miami-Dade School Board.
Lonnie Robinson fell on hard times in the early 80s with drugs and alcohol. Addiction kept him out of college for decades, and he found himself living under a bridge. During the day, Robinson found solace at a Miami Dade College library in Liberty City, where a reading program changed the future course of his life. He graduated from the college in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
"No other college would accept me," said Robinson, who’s 59. Today, Robinson visits the same library daily, where he hopes to mentor and inspire younger students.
Ruth Morris's experiences as an immigration beat reporter have colored her vision of what it means to transition from immigrant to American. She tells WLRN that an unlikely event renewed her faith in what it means to be an American and the opportunity it provides.
Immigration officials say there is an often an increase in the number of people applying for U.S. citizenship before a presidential election.
Former Under the Sun producer Ruth Morris is one of those immigrants who wants to become a citizen. For three years, Morris covered South Florida immigration, a beat that can earn you a slew of angry emails. It can also make you cynical, according to Morris. Some of her readers got angry when she used the term “undocumented workers.” They preferred “illegal aliens.”