Jessica Bakeman

Reporter

Jessica Bakeman reports on K-12 and higher education for WLRN, south Florida's NPR affiliate. While new to Miami and public radio, Jessica is a seasoned journalist who has covered education policymaking and politics in three state capitals: Jackson, Miss.; Albany, N.Y.; and, most recently, Tallahassee.

Jessica first moved to the Sunshine State in 2015 to help launch POLITICO Florida as part of the company’s national expansion. She is the immediate past president of the Capitol Press Club of Florida, a nonprofit organization that raises money for college scholarships benefiting journalism students.

Jessica was an original member of POLITICO New York’s Albany bureau. Also in the Empire State, Jessica covered politics for The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. As part of Gannett’s three-person Albany bureau, she won the New York Publishers Association award for distinguished state government coverage in 2013 and 2014. Jessica twice chaired a planning committee for the Albany press corps’ annual political satire show, the oldest of its kind in the country.

She started her career at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. There she won the Louisiana/Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors’ 2013 first place award for continuing coverage of former Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision to pardon more than 200 felons as he left office.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English literature from SUNY Plattsburgh, a public liberal arts college in northeastern New York. She (proudly) hails from Rochester, N.Y.

Ways to Connect

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

A woman who was separated from her two sons at the U.S. border paid $15,000 in bond to be released from detention. But the federal government did not make arrangements to send her from the West Coast to Florida, where her children were being held, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said after meeting the woman on Friday.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Property owners in Miami-Dade County are one step closer to absorbing a tax increase that would pay for public school teachers and campus police officers.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

After the May school shooting in Texas, President Obama's secretary of education tweeted support for a radical idea: "What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?"

Now, Arne Duncan is working to make his hypothetical a reality: a national public school boycott. But first, he wants input from people in Parkland.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

A state investigative panel plans to interview officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about why they failed to act on a tip that could have prevented the Parkland shooting.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

A commission that's investigating the Parkland shooting met privately Thursday to review the confessed gunman's confidential health records.

But first, the panel's chair offered some details about what law enforcement officials have learned regarding Nikolas Cruz's history with behavioral health treatment. 

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Broward County school officials still don't know whether the confessed killer of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 attended a controversial disciplinary program after he was referred to it for vandalizing a bathroom in 2013.

NALEO Education Fund

The last time the federal government asked about citizenship status on the U.S. census was 1950. Now federal officials plan to do it again in 2020.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Summer camp counselor Shaunak Mishra floated from table to table during a recent afternoon art class at the Boys & Girls Club in Kendall, asking his group of second graders what they were painting.

"I’m trying to draw Batman," one replied. Shaunak — who the kids call "Shaun" for short — told him to draw the Joker, too.

The 17-year-old interpreted one kid's painting of green swirls as a soccer field and asked the table for predictions of World Cup winners. A couple of the campers chanted: "Mexico! Mexico!" 

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

They include a veteran art teacher who decided to protect classrooms, a former undercover narcotics detective who came out of retirement, and an early-career cop who wanted to help after the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Florida’s largest teachers’ union wasted no time in suing the state over a controversial new law that took effect Sunday and could threaten the existence of the labor organizations.

House Bill 7055 includes a provision that would decertify teachers’ unions if their dues-paying membership falls below 50 percent. The Florida Education Association (FEA), which represents 140,000 members statewide, argues the law impairs individual employees’ constitutional right to collective bargaining.

File photo / Miami Herald

Adjunct professors at Miami Dade College — which boasts one of the largest undergraduate enrollments in the country — announced on Monday their plans to unionize, at a time when state and federal policy has struck major blows to organized labor.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

The mother of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior and two recent graduates announced on Friday her plans to run for the Broward County school board, the third parent inspired to try to make schools safer after the Feb. 14 shooting that took 17 lives.

Tenille Decoste joins the race for school board district 4, where she will run against Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter, Alyssa, was killed in the shooting. Ryan Petty, who lost his daughter, Alaina, is running for an at-large seat.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Three South Florida school districts earned “A” grades for the academic year that just ended.

The Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe county school districts all saw their grades increase from “B” to “A” for 2017-18. Broward County Public Schools kept its “B” from previous years. The Florida Department of Education released the newest ratings on Wednesday.

DATABASE: Check out the grades for all Florida schools

Miami Herald

The Democrats in this year's governor's race say they're all about spending more money on public schools — and slowing down Republican efforts to create more privately run alternatives like charter schools and vouchers.

But the newest candidate in the Democratic field founded a private school himself.

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