Education

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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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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.

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.

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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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.

Essay: What A Teacher Score Doesn't Tell Us

Aug 25, 2014
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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

jbn97 / Flickr

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

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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