John O'Connor

Reporter

John O’Connor is a reporter for StateImpact Florida, a project of WLRN and WUSF covering education. John writes for the StateImpact Florida blog and produces stories for air on Florida public radio stations.

John is a former political reporter for The (Columbia, S.C.) State and the Daily Record in Baltimore. He has a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. He was chosen as the South Carolina Press Association 2009 Journalist of the Year.

Ways To Connect

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Ashley Jean is graduating from Miami’s iPrep Academy this week. And then she’s planning to travel the world.

Jean will start a global studies program through Long Island University that will eventually take her to places like Costa Rica, Australia, Bali and Spain.

That’s a lot of plane tickets.

“I don’t want money to be a reason why I can’t change my life,” Jean says, “so I have to work hard to do what I can to get this program.”

John O'Connor / WLRN

Two Miami Beach officers are no longer on the force after an investigation found they had sent hundreds of emails that included pornographic or racist images.

And prosecutors are looking into whether one of the officers broke the law by emailing an autopsy photo to colleagues or someone outside the agency.

 

Take Stock In Children

A former dean at Miami Dade College has been chosen to lead the Florida College System.

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has chosen Madeline Pumariega to be chancellor of the state's system of community colleges.

Pumariega worked for more than a decade at Miami Dade College, including serving as dean of students at the Wolfson Campus. She has been the president and CEO of Take Stock in Children since 2013.
 

The statewide non-profit takes students at risk of dropping out of high school and helps them complete college.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald news, you heard:

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald news, you heard:

John O'Connor / WLRN

Florida lawmakers’ decision to end mandatory final exams for every class will mean that more teachers’ performance will be judged on subjects they don’t teach.

Concerned about the amount of testing in schools -- and pressured by activists and educators -- this year lawmakers rescinded a state law that requires school districts to have a standard final assessment in any class that doesn’t already have a statewide exam. In most cases that’s a test, but it could be a final project or compilation of a student’s work.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Rain is terrible when you’re trying to give tours of your new garden.

But it’s great for the spinach, sweet potatoes and purple passion fruit rapidly taking root.

On a very rainy day, Kelsey Pharr Elementary third graders Ronnield Luna and Jeffrey Arroyo are showing grownups around what used to be a grass field.

Now the school in Miami’s Brownsville neighborhood has several thousand square feet of all kinds of fruit and vegetables.

Some you can find at your supermarket.

Kirk Carapezza / WGBH

Miami Herald reporter Michael Vasquez has spent a year digging into Florida's for-profit college industry for a series called Higher Ed Hustle.

About 300,000 Florida students attend for-profit colleges, which often specialize in training low-skill workers for a new career.

But students often find their degree doesn't qualify for the career they were seeking, and they graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

A new program at Broward College has just eight students and seeks to train the next generation of South Florida artists and designers.

The school hopes to earn a national certification for the Visual Arts and Design Academy this spring – becoming the first community college in the South to have that.

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