Theresa Civil is a high school junior and a wrestler.

The Orlando teen has a big smile and a big laugh, and she’s got big plans for after high school: She wants to be a homicide detective, get her Ph.D. and become an Army engineer.

She frets about her health. Any little thing wrong, she goes to the doctor.

That used to mean making an appointment and waiting weeks for an opening. Now, Civil sees the doctor in the halls, and the next morning, she’s being seen at Evans Wellness Cottage.

Gov. Scott Pushes Lawmakers On School Funding

Jun 1, 2015
John O'Connor / WLRN


Gov. Rick Scott visited a Miami elementary school Monday to ask lawmakers to meet his request for school funding.

Lawmakers return to Tallahassee today to finish the budget. The big disagreement is how to pay for health care. And that could affect how much money is left for education.

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.”

Creative Commons via Flickr / Boston Public Library (

Today on the Florida Roundup, we're talking special session, soccer and Spanish.


At 1 p.m. Monday afternoon gavels will fall in the Florida House and Senate, calling to order a special session of the state Legislature. Lawmakers have only one piece of business to take care of: pass a budget before July 1 or risk a state government shutdown.

Of the more than 600 charter schools in Florida. Some focus on the arts, some on sciences. Others are high schools that help students who are at risk for not finishing or dropping out completely.

At the crossroads of  busy four lane highway in Clearwater, students have to make their way through the noise and exhaust of heavy traffic to get to their high school classes.

Tucked in the back of of a strip mall is Enterprise High School. The 5-year-old charter school focuses on just one kind of student, those at risk for not finishing high school at all.

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.

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 Oliver spent 18 minutes taking on standardized testing, teacher evaluations and all things “accountability” related on his show, “Last Week Tonight.”

And, of course, Florida plays a starring role.

Warning: Salty language, off-color jokes and test monkeys ahead.

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.

Explaining Florida's For-Profit College Industry

Apr 27, 2015
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.

Florida Roundup: Health Care And Budget Plan Gaps

Apr 24, 2015
Andrew Bosch / Miami Herald

  On the Florida Roundup, here are the week's topics we discuss.

Health Coverage Gap

About 850,000 Floridians live in the health coverage gap -- they don't earn enough for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act but they don't qualify for Medicaid. However, they would benefit from Medicaid expansion if it was enacted in the state.  Lawmakers haven't come to an agreement.

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.

Taking A Class At FIU With Professor Marco Rubio

Apr 13, 2015
Michael Vadon / Flickr/Creative Commons

Marco Rubio will speak this afternoon at the historic Freedom Tower where he will share his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race. During his time as Florida senator, he’s also held another title: Professor Rubio.

Abel Ramos Taype was 23 years old and a few electives short of graduating with a degree in international relations from Florida International University.

Upon looking for one of those final electives needed to graduate, an international relations course billed with two lecturers caught his eye.

Jessica Lucia / flickr Creative Commons

You might see some new and young faces in the office today.

That's  because Miami-Dade and Broward schools are allowing kids to miss a day of school to take part in “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”

The day is designed to expose young people to different workplaces and inspire them to consider various career choices.

Kids who don't go to school today are excused, but they will have make up any school work they might miss.

The national “Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day” is actually April 23rd, but that is a testing day in Florida. 

Cornell University

Three months ago, W. Kent Fuchs became president of the University of Florida, leaving New York’s Cornell University.

Fuchs says Florida universities are adding new faculty, but opposition to higher tuition means more pressure to find private donations.

The University of Florida is also expanding a new online program with a goal of eventually enrolling 24,000 students.

Fuchs sat down with WLRN’s StateImpact Florida reporter John O’Connor to talk about the issues in higher education.