gonzalewis / Flickr

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle raised sharp questions Thursday about a study that Florida Department of Education officials say validated the state's controversial new standardized test for public-school students.

Members of the Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee reviewed the study of the Florida Standards Assessment, as the new test is called, and suggested that the department had portrayed the report's conclusions in an overly optimistic light and wondered whether teacher evaluations and school grades should be tied to the exam.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

With fresh haircuts and the knowledge lunch would be waiting on the bus when they arrived, about two dozen Miami Northwestern High School students headed to Washington, D.C. early Thursday morning.

This is an annual trip put together by an organization called 5000 Role Models of Excellence. The group arranges service projects for students who join the club and helps them find mentors.

They’ll be meeting with Civil Rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, attending the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual conference and visiting the White House.

ivydawned / Flickr

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has closed its six-month  investigation into a cyber attack during Florida Standards Assessments testing this spring.

The agency isn't saying who tried to shut down testing by overloading servers or why. But law enforcement officials said no personal student data was accessed during the attack.

FDLE said it  found that more than 29,000 Internet addresses were used to swamp servers run by test contractor American Institutes for Research. Some of the addresses were in the U.S., but most were believed to be foreign.

Screen shot / U.S. Department of Education

Lots of schools promise to train students to be nurses, technicians or for other in-demand medical careers. But a new federal database shows that isn’t always the case.

At some schools,  only a small percentage of students who attend using federal grants or loans earn more than a high school graduate a decade after enrolling in college.

The data links students who received federal financial aid to what they reported earning on their tax forms a decade later.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For weeks now, Palm Beach County schools have struggled to get students to classes on time.

Bus routes have been redrawn. And the district sent up flares, looking to hire anyone who wants to drive a bus.

It’s the first crisis new superintendent Robert Avossa has had to face since taking over the job in June. And he says it could have been avoided if district leaders had listened.

Pike Architects / Florida Keys Community College

Florida Keys Community College is based in Key West, at the end of the island chain. That's where it has its campus, including classrooms, library, dormitories and administration.

For decades, the college has offered classes in the Middle and Upper Keys through "centers" that collaborate with other institutions like the Monroe County School District.

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio says the U.S. doesn't need a federal Education Department, arguing that its recommendations to state and local governments often turn into mandates tied to money.

The Florida senator made the comments Tuesday during a town hall meeting in Carson City. About 200 people attended the gathering in a community center, part of a tour of northern Nevada.

Florida Department of Education / Flickr


A review of Florida's new statewide test has found the exam is valid and the results can be used to judge teacher and school performance, the Florida Department of Education announced.

But the review also found that after problems with computerized testing, "scores for some students will be suspect." The reviewers recommend that state test scores not be the sole basis to determine whether students graduate or if they are placed in remedial courses.

Robin Sussingham / StateImpact Florida

At last count, during the 2013-2014 school year, the number of homeless students had risen to more than 71,000 in Florida's public schools. For many of these children, a brand-new school uniform may be out of reach, though school officials say it makes a big impact on their attitude. One longtime charity in Lakeland is quietly helping to fill that need.

The new school year starts up soon and teachers are already preparing. A beginning teacher boot camp at Saint Leo University on Friday brought together 20 recent graduates who will take over a classroom this year. The idea is to give the new teachers a final low-down before students sit at their desks ready to learn.