education

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 Statewide Student Testing Called Valid

Sep 1, 2015
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. 

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

For the first time in decades, the majority of U.S. school children come from low-income families.

Florida has one of the highest rates in the country -- federal data shows just seven states have a higher percentage of low-income students.

stevendepolo / Flickr

Palm Beach County teachers soon could be able to stock their classrooms for free.

The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County says it hopes to open a school supply store in the spring for teachers working in Palm Beach County's poorest schools.

Christina Lambert with the foundation says teachers will be able to visit the store often.

“We hope that we’re able to provide an opportunity for these teachers to shop monthly," she says, "and to get about $200 worth of supplies each time they shop.”

Georgia Guercio / Wikipedia

The former head of the Broward Teacher’s Union is facing new criminal charges.

Pat Santeramo has been charged with mail fraud for misappropriating more than $35,000.

Investigators say Santeramo took money intended for teacher training, speakers or special projects and instead paid himself and another union employee.

He could serve up to 20 years in prison for each of the two charges.

His attorney says Santeramo will fight the charges.

It's just the latest criminal charges for the former union boss.

Miami Herald

Florida House members were so impressed by testimony about school uniforms earlier this year -- convenience, improved safety and better discipline -- that they offered up $10 million to districts requiring uniforms.

The Miami-Dade school board likes the idea too. They required uniforms for elementary and middle schools.

Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says that’s easy money.

New Database Will Track Who Runs Charter Schools

Aug 4, 2015
comedynose / Flickr

Florida school districts will have a new way to track the financial and academic records of charter school operators.

For the first time, a new database is connecting charter schools to who runs them. The goal is to reduce the number of charter schools that close.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers wants to create a paper trail. The group has launched a database that lists who is operating a school and includes performance data from the website GreatSchools.org.

Miami-Dade Adding Healthier Choices To School Menus

Aug 3, 2015
John O'Connor / WLRN

Miami-Dade school meals are going lean and green this school year -- with more veggies and heathier, low-calorie choices.

The district is adding smoothies made with Naked brand juices, greek yogurt and vegetarian lasagna.

But at an event Monday unveiling the new dishes, the district was most proud of its version of a Miami classic.

The “guavalito” is a whole grain, lower-sugar version of a guava and cheese pastelito, made by a local baker.

Students who are considered homeless by Florida schools can be living in hotels, trailer parks, in campgrounds or doubled up with friends or relatives. And with as many as 71,000 or more homeless students in the state the challenges can extend beyond the kids and families to include the schools.

For most kids school is a place of achievement and learning, or just a place to socialize with friends. But for kids without stable living arrangements it can mean much more than that.

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