Education

Penmanship
9:20 am
Fri August 29, 2014

FIU Study Finds Link Between Good Handwriting And Good Grades

Art may be another way parents can help their children practice their fine-motor skills, says FIU professor Laura Dinehart.
Credit Jeffrey James Pacres / Flickr

Do you have sloppy penmanship? A Florida International University professor's research finds that kids whose writing is easy to read tend to do better in school.
 

After examining the handwriting of 3,000 preschool students in Miami-Dade County, an FIU study found good handwriting and good grades are related.

FIU early childhood education professor Laura Dinehart focused her study on students from low-income households.

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StateImpact Florida
10:14 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Florida's Teacher Union Says Scholarship Program Is Unconstitutional

The Florida Education Association is challenging the state's private school tax credit scholarship program in court.
Credit Monocle / Flickr

When Florida first approved its private school tax credit scholarship program in 2001, Florida Education Association attorney Ron Meyer said education groups questioned the legality, but no one really objected to helping low-income students get out of low-performing schools.

But then the scholarship program started to grow. Lawmakers approved a law that automatically expanded the program each year. Then earlier this year lawmakers raised the income cap. Now, a family of four earning $62,000 can receive a partial scholarship.

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StateImpact Florida
6:12 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Florida Ready To Challenge Federal Testing Rules For Students Learning English

Gov. Rick Scott says he's giving the U.S. Department of Education 30 days to change their mind about testing requirements for students learning English or the state could head to court.
Credit John O'Connor / Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott is ready to take the federal government to court over testing rules for students learning English.

The U.S. Department of Education says Florida must count those students’ results after one year in school. Scott and Florida educators want to give students two years to learn English.

Scott said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart will send a letter asking the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider testing rules for students learning English. If they don't change their mind in 30 days, Scott said the state could go to court.

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Education
12:38 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Recapping The Results From Tuesday's Education Races

South Florida school boards remain mostly unchanged after Tuesday's elections.
Credit vox_efx / Flickr

South Florida school boards remain unchanged after Tuesday's election, with incumbents winning in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

That includes Ann Murray, whose use of a racial epithet in 2007 was an issue as she sought reelection to Broward County's school board. Murray narrowly defeated Felicia Mychele Brunson. Four other incumbents won reelection as well.

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StateImpact Florida
6:24 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Opting Out Of Testing Would Come At A Cost For Florida School Districts

Florida school boards are considering saying no to the state on standardized tests.
Credit sboneham / Flickr

UPDATE: Wednesday night, Lee County's school board became the first in Florida to reject required statewide exams. The board voted 3-2.

The consequences of that decision aren't clear yet. The Florida Department of Education said Wednesday that the agency was still weighing its response.

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Education Essay
7:01 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Essay: What A Teacher Score Doesn't Tell Us

Teachers get a number score with the state's value-added model.
Credit vd1966 / flickr

I finally know my worth as a teacher—and now that the “value-added model” scores mandated by our state legislature are public, everyone else knows, too.  

I’m a 37.5.

But, I have no idea what that number means. 

Along with my 37.5, I was told I’m “highly effective” and given a $230 bonus. In case you’re wondering, that’s about half what the average teacher spends of his or her own money on school supplies per year.  

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Education
10:35 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Report: Miami-Dade's Poorest Schools Have District's Least Experienced Teachers

Pablo Ortiz with the Miami-Dade education transformation office says district schools are improving and they are working to make sure the least-experienced teachers aren't concentrated in the district's high-poverty schools.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Students in some of Miami-Dade's lowest-income schools are more likely to have teachers who are new to the profession, who miss more school time and who receive lower evaluation scores, according to a new analysis by the National Council for Teacher Quality.

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StateImpact Florida
2:33 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Poll Finds Support For Common Core Declining Among Republicans And Teachers

The annual Education Next poll finds support for Common Core is declining among Republicans and teachers. But the poll found people generally support the idea of common education standards.
Credit TheTurthAbout / Flickr

Public support for Common Core math and language arts standards dropped in the past year, and less than half of teachers now say they support the standards, according to an annual back-to-school poll Education Next.

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Education
5:16 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

New Food Truck, New Magnet For South Florida Students Kicking Off The New School Year

iTech Students had their choice of a roasted pork sandwich or chicken tacos from Miami-Dade schools' food truck.
John O'Connor StateImpact Florida/WLRN

South Florida districts raised the curtain on a new school year Monday.

And that meant showing off two new programs in Miami-Dade schools: a new food truck and the iTech magnet program at Thomas A. Edison Educational Center, which was formerly Little Haiti's Edison Middle.

Miami-Dade is finishing a billion-dollar renovation of schools, and the food truck will serve meals at campuses when the cafeterias are closed.

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StateImpact Florida
6:29 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Florida School Districts Preparing For Central American Immigrants

More than 120 Honduran students have enrolled in Miami Jackson Senior High School the past two years. Schools across Florida are expecting thousands of immigrants from Central America -- many traveling without their parents -- this school year.

Jessica Gaspar was born in the U.S. and grew up speaking English at school -- but at home, she speaks Q'anjob'al.

That’s the Mayan language spoken by her Guatemalan parents.

She said she and her brother struggled to practice their English once the school day ended. It's why Gaspar volunteers at a community center on a back street lined with body shops in Lake Worth.

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Education
7:11 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Broward County Schools Release $900 Million Maintenance Wish List

Credit 401(K) 2012/Flickr

  Broward County school leaders have unveiled a $900 million list of projects they want to complete over the next five years.

That includes turning portable rooms housed in mobile trailers into permanent classrooms, replacing aging air-conditioning systems and upgrading art, music and athletics facilities.

Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie said the district scrutinized every project on its wish list and chose those that were most important.

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StateImpact Florida
11:36 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Florida's Newest University Will Try To Bring MIT Culture Here

A model of the future campus of Florida Polytechnic University.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

This coming Saturday marks the grand opening for Florida's 12th state university. Florida Polytechnic University in Polk County will offer tuition-free education focused on science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM -- to its inaugural class of about 550 students. They'll start on August 25.

President Randy Avent sat down with Robin Sussingham from WUSF in Tampa to talk about his vision for the new university.

Here's an edited version of their conversation.

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StateImpact Florida
4:56 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Where Should Computer Programming Fit Into Florida's School Requirements?

Students at the CodeNow workshop in Miami learned to program simple games, such as asking users to quickly match words and colors.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Lots of people think teaching students computer programming is a good idea. But where coding fits in schools is a difficult question.

Is it a science? A language? Career training?

Florida lawmakers proposed, but did not approve, letting students substitute coding for foreign language or physical education courses required for a high school diploma. The idea is also tucked into the education plan of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

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StateImpact Florida
6:54 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Why Taking More Breaks Can Help Students Get More Done

The tomato-shaped timer that gives the Pomodoro Technique its name.
Credit jbn97 / Flickr

Set a goal. Work hard. Then, take a short break to recharge.

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StateImpact Florida
5:15 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

How Miami Coding Camps Are Teaching Students Old-School Logic

CodeNow's Kareem Grant works with students during a June coding camp in Miami. Grant likes that coding requires disciplined thinking.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Ryan Seashore starts off every CodeNow workshop with a simple request: Write out step-by-step instructions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Then a CodeNow teacher pretends to be a robot, and follows the students’ orders exactly as they’re written.

Students quickly find that asking a computer to perform an everyday task isn’t so easy.

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