education

StateImpact Florida
10:59 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Despite Problems, Experts Say Computerized Testing Is The Answer For Florida Schools

Despite problems with Florida's new exam, testing experts say the state's emphasis on digital lessons mean schools should use computerized testing.
Credit wcsryanhartley / Flickr

Testing experts say so far Florida's problems with its new statewide exam, the Florida Standards Assessments, are likely not serious enough for the state to consider throwing out this year’s test scores.

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Education
7:53 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Senate Committee Wants To Suspend Testing Penalties For Third Graders

Florida law requires 3rd graders with the lowest scores on state tests to be held back. But a Senate committee wants to suspend that penalty this year.
Credit departmentofed / Flickr

Nearly one in five Florida third graders were at risk of being held back because of low scores on the state reading test last year.

But this year the state might not hold back any third graders. That’s because a Senate committee voted to suspend those penalties this year.

The bill requires an outside group to make sure the state test results are statistically valid.

Sen. David Simmons says he wants to make sure schools and the state can depend on Florida Standards Assessments results before making big decisions using those results.

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Youssef Wardani
11:50 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

How An Ethnic Slur Spurred A Broward Father's Activism

Youssef Wardani speaks to the Broward County School Board about the suspension of a Cypress Bay High French teacher for five days without pay for repeatedly calling his 14-year-old son a "raghead Taliban."
Credit Charles Trainor Jr / Miami Herald

Youssef Wardani never considered himself an activist.

He’s a fairly soft-spoken software engineer. He’s very organized and believes everything should have a plan from start to finish.

Activism for him was a sudden evolution  sparked by a Broward teacher who called his 14-year-old son a "raghead Taliban” and the bureaucracy of a school system he felt ignored him when he demanded accountability.

His son, Deyab-Houssein Wardani, 14, is a ninth grader at Cypress Bay High School in Weston. Everyone calls him D.H.

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StateImpact Florida
2:36 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Project Gives Developmentally Disabled A Chance To Go To College

Quan Jones of Project 10 Stingray works at the marina behind USFSP.
Credit M.S. Butler / StateImpact Florida

A college education is generally considered a student's best shot at getting a good job these days, and it's often assumed most high schoolers are prepared to attend college.

But there's one group that has been quietly excluded from that process -- students with intellectual disabilities.

A program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg  is giving these students college experience that, while it's not a traditional degree, is giving them a head start on their career goals.

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Politics
9:47 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Florida Roundup: Sensitivity In Classrooms

Credit Schplook / Flickr/Creative Commons

    

  On the Florida Roundup, we talk to the area's journalists about the week's top stories.

2011 Memorial Day Weekend Shooting

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News
12:27 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Broward School Board Suspends Teacher Who Used Slur Against Muslim Student

Deyab Houssein Wardani, left, and his father Youseff Wardani.
Credit Nadege Green / WLRN

The Broward County School Board voted Tuesday to suspend a teacher who was accused of calling her student "a raghead Taliban."

Maria Valdes, a French teacher at Cypress Bay High School, will be suspended for five days without pay and must complete mandatory diversity training.

The school board passed the item with no discussion.

Valdes allegedly made the comments to 14-year-old Deyab Houssein Wardani as he entered class wearing a hoodie.

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School Funding
10:10 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Amendment Would Give Charter Schools A Share Of School Construction Money

Sen. Don Gaetz has filed an amendment which would force school districts to share local construction money with charter schools.
Credit JD Hancock / Flickr

School districts would have to share local school construction and maintenance money with charter schools, according to an amendment filed by an influential state senator.

Sen. Don Gaetz, former Senate president, filed the amendment Tuesday. The amendment would require half of the money raised by an optional local property tax to be split between charter and traditional schools on a per-student basis.

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StateImpact Florida
9:43 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Testing, School Choice, Phys. Ed.: A Town Hall Conversation About Florida Education

Rashon and Mr. Brown, two people featured in the documentary "180 Days: Hartsville." Florida public media stations will air the movie this month. Check local listings.
Credit Clevis Harrison / PBS

This week, PBS is launching a new documentary series, "180 Days."

One of the films focuses on Hartsville, South Carolina, a rural and poor district which has managed to become one of the highest rated school districts, according to South Carolina's ranking.

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StateImpact Florida
5:50 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Five Questions About Florida's Testing Problems

Florida students had trouble connecting to the state's new online writing exam on Monday and Tuesday. The problems seemed to be fixed by Wednesday afternoon.
Credit stanfordedtech / Flickr

Last week, dozens of Florida school districts had to postpone state testing because of problems with the new Florida Standards Assessments.

Students couldn’t log in to the online writing exam -- and some who did were booted out and temporarily lost their answers.

The problems seem to have been resolved Thursday. By Friday, more than half of students scheduled to take the online writing exam had finished.

Here's five questions about what happened and what's next.

What happened?

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An outreach event, Bagels & Barks!
2:00 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Calling All Animal Lovers!

Come one, Come All, especially the 4-legged kind to Tropical Park this Saturday March 7th from 9 am to Noon. 

Join Miami Dade Animal Services at Bagels and Barks at the Tropical Park Dog Park. Meet WLRN on air personalities and their pets and your furry friends are sure to love a morning at the dog park. This family event will include children’s activities, complimentary bagels and beverages for the humans, yummy treats for pets, a pet food and toy drive and pet adoptions from the Hope Mobile Express.

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The Florida Standards Assessments
6:51 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

School Districts Report Second Day Of Testing Problems

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho at a February press conference. He's suspending testing in Miami-Dade schools.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For the second day in a row, some Florida school districts decided to suspend required testing because of computer problems.

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Testing
11:16 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Miami-Dade Schools Suspending New State Test

School districts around the state report students had trouble logging in or experienced slow loading time with Florida's new online writing exam.
Credit Ann Douglas / Flickr

Miami-Dade schools are suspending online state testing for eighth through 10th graders after many students were unable to log on to Florida's new writing test Monday.

School districts across the state reported problems with the exam. And the test ran slowly for many who did manage to sign on.

Miami-Dade is suspending online testing for students who have yet to complete the writing test until the state can prove the new online system is running smoothly

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Philanthropy
11:13 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Teaching Students How To Give Away Thousands Of Dollars

Chloe Castro talks to her team about installing solar panels on a Camillus House residence.
Credit Wilson Sayre / WLRN

The names of prominent South Florida philanthropists are hung on buildings, printed in program notes and regularly thanked at cultural gatherings -- names you probably recognize: Arsht, Knight, Frost.

Unfortunately, many South Floridians are not in a position to give away thousands of dollars to a cause they believe in. But a new course at Florida International University is giving a few students a taste of what it’s like – the accolades and the work that comes from charitable giving.

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STEM
3:10 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

South Florida Students Make Their Robots Compete

The arena inside the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center where the robots compete.
Credit Lisann Ramos

This past weekend 51 student teams from high schools across Florida and the country competed in the South Florida FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

To the left of the convention center are tents lined up and full of students trying to get their robots ready for competition, each robot wearing its team shirt as well as some capes, masks and wigs. All in the name of team spirit.

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StateImpact Florida
6:34 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Ready Or Not, Students, The New Florida Exam Is Here

The new Florida Standards Assessments begin today. Most students will take the exam online, though some students will take a paper and pencil version of the writing exam.
Credit Extra Ketchup

At Miami's iPrep Academy, getting ready for the state's new standardized test includes rapping.

Two students are recording the daily announcements, telling classmates when and where they need to be starting today.

"Monday is ninth graders, with last name A to G," one student raps, in a rhyme that's no threat to Miami's Rick Ross.



"On Tuesday, it’s ninth graders with last name H through Z," his partner continues.

"All testing is in room 2 - 0 - 4!" they conclude together, Beastie Boys-style.

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