Steve Newborn / WUSF

Florida's 12th university, Florida Polytechnic University, is an architectural marvel that sits right next to Interstate 4 in Polk County.

The main building features a swooping veil-like facade designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

The public can get a peek of the new campus when it opens on Saturday. But WUSF reporter Steve Newborn took a tour with university spokesman Crystal Lauderdale to talk about the features and Calatrava's intent.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

To get a student loan at Broward College, you’ve got to sit through a two-hour financial lesson with Kent Dunston first.

At times, it’s a little like “Scared Straight!” – that 1978 documentary about setting juvenile delinquents on the right path -- but for your credit score.

Dunston’s first piece of advice – figure out how much money you’re going to need.

“You’re not going to borrow more than that amount of money,” he told the students. “You’ll be offered more. You don’t need it.”

Abd allah Foteih / Flickr

State university leaders want to add $45 million in needs-based financial aid to help make up for changes to the Bright Futures scholarship program. Those new, higher qualifications will eliminate more than $250 million a year in college aid by 2018.

The State University System Board of Governors Wednesday delayed a vote on adding $45 million. They want more time to discuss the issue.

Rosanna Chiarella

Most teachers don’t delve into space education before their students even know how to read. Dr. Rossana Chiarella is an exception. She teaches space travel to her pre-K students in Hialeah.  

Chiarella was not much older herself when she first became interested in space.

At 6 years old, she first witnessed an astronaut going to the moon from her hometown in Peru.

She carried her love of space with her to the United States and throughout her teaching career.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

A strong majority of Americans surveyed want teachers to have at least one year's practice time in the classroom and pass a board certification before teaching, according to a new national poll.

The Phi Delta Kappa professional teacher's organization and Gallup released a second batch of their annual survey data Tuesday. The poll surveyed 1,001 adults by phone and has a margin of error of 4.6 percent.

Zack Mccarthy / Flickr

A key Senate lawmaker may put less emphasis on test scores to determine which students qualify for state financial aid for college -- possibly including Bright Futures.

Instead, scholarships  and grants would depend more on taking tougher classes in high school.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Most new Palm Beach State College students were going through orientation earlier this month, but Jake Seiler was wrapping up his first three courses.

Despite earning the highest SAT scores of his two siblings -- 1100, on six attempts -- Seiler didn't score high enough this year to earn the Bright Futures Florida Medallion scholarship his older sister got last year.

John O'Connor / WLRN

The Urban League of Miami and the local NAACP want the Miami-Dade school district to stop work on a $1.2 billion bond project to renovate schools and upgrade their technology.

The groups believe black-owned businesses aren’t getting a fair chance at school construction projects.

A district review of contracts -- a legal requirement if the district wants to allocate contracts based on race or gender -- re-ignited the long-simmering dispute. The district review found black-owned businesses received a disproportionately larger share of district subcontracts.

JD Lasica / Flickr

University of Miami president Donna Shalala says she’s stepping down next year from the job she’s held since 2001.

Shalala came to the university after leading the federal health agency for eight years and serving as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 She helped build the national stature of the school's medical school and hospital and increased research budgets.

Frank Nero, former head of the Beacon Council, says even big businessmen were impressed by Shalala


“It was always a big deal," he says.

Read to Learn Books for Free staff

A program in Miami-Dade County that gives kids and parents free books to keep and read together is in the midst of a big push for donations.

The Read to Learn Books for Free program is having trouble keeping up with demand. The program distributes 3,000 books at more than 30 locations around the county every week in an effort to increase literacy among some of the county's most vulnerable children.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

At a Spanish restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, one of the most powerful women in education, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, pumps up union members by telling them where her career started – the cafeteria.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia is the first Latina elected to lead the nation’s largest union – the National Education Association.

Thursday was her fourth day on the job. She started at 6 a.m. with a tour of the Keys by plane. She followed with visits to Allapattah Middle School and Hialeah High School in Miami-Dade County.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Florida leaders should rethink the scope and purpose of education testing, and give schools more time to prepare for new math and language arts standards.

Carvalho's proposal was published online and emailed to reporters. Carvalho has also been tweeting excerpts since Monday.

Ashley Lopez / WGCU

The Lee County school board has reversed its decision to reject state tests, after board member Mary Fischer changed her mind. Last week the board became the first in Florida to refuse to offer state tests to its students on a 3-2 vote.

Miami-Dade Schools Test All Year Long

Sep 2, 2014
Roberto Koltun / el Nuevo Herald

  The testing doesn’t stop.

Out of the 180-day academic year, Miami-Dade County schools will administer standardized tests on every day but eight.

Though not every student will take every test, the number and consequences of testing are facing a growing backlash from parents, teachers and even some district officials.

The Miami Dade School Board on Wednesday will approve its assessment schedule for the next school year — a calendar with dozens of different exams that start at preschool and even eat into summer vacation.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

On the Intracoastal Waterway near Dania Beach, Ivan Bertaska is getting ready to captain his vessel.

Bertaska wants to check the boat’s capabilities by having it speed up and slow down as it carves a wavy wake across the Intracoastal.

“The wave pattern actually gives me a good range of velocities," he says, "so at first we go about two knots and then we get to the top corners where we’re making sharp turns and we’re going about one knot. So I get a good operational range of the vehicle.

"We get a lot of funny looks from boaters.”