Education

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Abuse. Drugs. Mental health issues.

It’s tough enough for anyone to talk about those problems. It can be even harder for teens facing them for the first time.

Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. The president wants every 4-year-old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill.

Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years.

Courtesy of "First Generation."

Students who are the first in their family to attend college often have a more difficult time finishing their degree.

Research shows those students know less about how to get into and pay for college. They're also less likely to take tough high school courses needed to prepare for college.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

 This week, Miami-Dade schools will participate in Code.org's Hour of Code initiative. School board member Raquel Regalado says Florida high-tech jobs are growing, and students need to be ready. 

She stresses that for today's kids coding will become like typing was to earlier generations.

"In the same way that right now we all handle our own email, this generation is going to handle their own apps, their own basic web development," says Regalado.

Pearson K-12 Technology/flickr

“Opt Out” groups are pushing back against what they say is too much standardized testing in Florida. The tests are changing as the state transitions to Florida Standards - an offshoot of the Common Core standards being implemented around the country.

In Taneka Hawkins' classroom, 20 kindergarteners wiggle through a mid-morning dance break, waving their arms and jumping around to a guided dance video. It's busy, to be sure, and a bit crowded.

"The children are so small, and a lot of things that we do have to be so hands on, and it's kind of hard when it is more than 20," Hawkins says. A class size of 15, she adds, would be ideal. "I think we could reach more students with that smaller class size."

University of Florida

One look at the Brazilian flag and you think: This must be a space-age, high-tech country. That star-spackled orb in the middle glowing like a planetarium. The banner wrapped around it hailing “Order and Progress.” Engineers must be rock stars there, right?

Screen shot / Florida Department of Education

We're taking this week to help parents and students understand the new Florida Standards Assessments, which students will take for the first time beginning in March.

freedigitalphotos.net

This spring, Florida students will take a brand new test tied to the state’s new math, reading and writing standards.

This is the test that replaces the FCAT. It's known as the Florida Standards Assessment, and it’ll be online.

What’s on the test won’t be the only thing different about the exam. Students will also find new types of questions.

We gathered your questions about the new exam from our Public Insight Network. Here’s what you you wanted to know -- and what it’ll mean for students and schools.

Christine DiMattei

In many secondary schools nationwide, classes in vehicle maintenance are falling prey to the same kind of budget cuts eliminating art, music and phys-ed from the curriculum.

But instructors in Broward County have found a way to take automotive classes on the road -- and pull them right up to the school door.

The Automotive Mobile Lab -- about the size of an 18-wheeler -- was designed by the staff of Broward Technical Colleges and was modeled on the kind of trailers used in NASCAR races.

 

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

In September, Alachua County kindergarten teacher Susan Bowles refused to give a state reading test.

She told the parents of her students it was an act of civil disobedience.  The Florida Department of Education later suspended the exam for this year.

jaredearle / Flickr

Today in Tampa, lawmakers, superintendents, businesspeople and state university staff will gather to talk about using technology in Florida classrooms. The summit was the idea of Senate Education chairman John Legg, R-Trinity. We asked him what he wanted to accomplish:

You are gathering some school and education leaders together… to talk about school technology. Why are you doing this and what do you hope to learn?

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Miami Northwestern High School teacher Daniel Dickey says there's no silver bullet or secret book which will spark a student's interest in reading.

Instead, he says he asks questions and listens.

"I sit down with that student and really figure out what is it that drives you?" Dickey says. "Why do you come to school? Why are you here every day?"

He asks them about their plans, their dreams.

Common Core Reading: 'The New Colossus'

Nov 11, 2014

Part 1 in a four-part series on reading in the Common Core era.

The Common Core State Standards are changing what many kids read in school. They're standards, sure — not curriculum. Teachers and districts still have great latitude when it comes to the "how" of reading instruction, but...

The Core standards explicitly require students to read "complex" material, and the fact is, many kids simply weren't doing that before the Core. What were they doing?

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Miami Northwestern High School English teacher Daniel Dickey has found a way to make his tenth graders brag about their reading skills.

Mischael Saint-Sume and Ciji Wright tease each other about who's going to read one million words first -- a contest Dickey created.

“Did you put him in his place?" Dickey asked Wright. "Because Mischael, he’s popping in my classroom every day with a new book."

“Oh don’t worry about it because I’ve got plenty of books for him,” Wright replied.

“But it ends today, by the way," Saint-Sume said. “I’m going to hit a million.”

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