education

Some school districts are chafing under a provision meant to adjust funding based on cost of living.  They’re applauding an effort to study the system, but from different perspectives.

It's a fall tradition: Students don college sweatshirts and their parents, meanwhile, sweat the tuition bills.

One flash-in-the-pan movie this summer even featured a couple, played by Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, who start a casino to cope with their kids' college costs.

Annual tuition hikes have been pretty much a given in higher ed, but recently, there are signs that the decades-long rise in college costs is nearing a peak.

Cathy Carter / WUSF Public Media

At the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, a dozen or so kindergartners gather for a pop quiz, next to a coop holding an injured bird.

“Name a bird that can fly,” asks teacher Victoria Rhodes.

“A vulture and a pelican," a student quickly answers.

"Now," Rhodes pauses, "name a bird that cannot fly."

Kleanish Reynolds, 6, raises her hand and offers "penguin" as one possible correct answer.

With computers returned to the discount list, Florida retailers are readying for back-to-school shoppers this weekend during the state's sales-tax “holiday.”

The holiday, which will run Friday through Sunday, is a large part of a tax-cut package (HB 7109) that lawmakers passed this spring. The package is projected to provide $91.6 million in tax breaks during the budget year that started July 1.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

More than 60 volunteers gathered at Unity on the Bay in Miami to stuff backpacks Friday morning--more than 5,000 of them, according to Achilles Ballestas, one of the event's organizers.

The backpacks are for kids in need going back to school in South Florida and Haiti. 

"Recently it's taken a snowball effect," said Ballestas. "It's gone from a couple hundred [per year] to thousands." They've been stuffing backpacks every year for about a decade. 

Volunteers formed an assembly line complete with rulers, pencils, pens, glue sticks, and notebooks.

Florida Expands Financial Aid Program For College Students

Aug 2, 2017
Emily Michot / Miami Herald

As Florida students return to universities and state colleges this month for a new academic year, many will benefit from a major expansion of need-based financial aid.

Florida's main program aimed at students with financial need, known as “student assistance grants,” will expand to cover a record 234,824 students in the 2017-18 academic year, an increase of 112,495 students from last year, according to an estimate approved Wednesday by state analysts.

Jennifer Palma / UM Communications

What did you do during the summers when you were a teenager? Did you play video games? Did you spend your time at the pool or beach? Or perhaps you favored the park?  For 17 local girls, this summer has been all about learning computer science. 

Most of these future coders are in high school, though some are younger. And about half of them are in foster care.  It was a sunny Thursday morning in July when they got to show off all they had learned in the six-week college readiness camp, four of which were focused on data and computational science. 

Lindsey Kilbride

Seminole County is rolling out an app that acts as a panic button for school employees in an emergency.

With a tap of the app, an alert can be sent simultaneously to 911 and school employees. Maps of schools can be loaded into the app that sync with GPS allowing first responders to pinpoint where the call came from.

Keith Flaugh is a retired IBM executive living in Naples, Fla., and a man with a mission. He describes it as "getting the school boards to recognize ... the garbage that's in our textbooks."

Flaugh helped found Florida Citizens' Alliance, a conservative group that fought unsuccessfully to stop Florida from signing on to Common Core educational standards.

Allison Light / WLRN

Around 400 students from low-income families around Miami-Dade County spent six weeks of their summer learning to code – and getting paid for it.

The TechHire initiative was started by President Barack Obama in 2015. CareerSource South Florida, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the TechLaunch program at Florida Vocational Institute (FVI) partnered to bring TechHire to Miami. Out of around 900 applications, approximately 400 students were chosen by a combination of a lottery system and qualifications.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

The Miami-Dade County School Board plans to vote on whether to take legal action against the state to fight some provisions of House Bill 7069. That was the conclusion of Wednesday's informal workshop to discuss legal options.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho acknowledged the bill contains productive elements. "There are some provisions that we're very supportive of," he said, "the proverbial one ounce of honey for a gallon of vinegar." He specifically mentioned the daily recess requirement built into the bill, as well as the expansion of certain teacher bonuses. 

Teachers have one of the lowest-paid professional jobs in the U.S. You need a bachelor's degree, which can be costly — an equation that often means a lot of student loans. We've reported on the factors that make this particular job even more vulnerable to a ton of debt, including chronically low teacher pay, the increasing pressure to get a master's degree and the many ways to repay loans or apply for loan forgiveness.

Rejecting arguments of charter schools, an administrative law judge Friday upheld a plan that would make charter schools ineligible for state construction and facilities money if they have “D” performance grades in two consecutive years.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Heidy Rodriguez, 17, created an LGBTQ support group at her Miami-Dade high school when she realized that like her, many of her friends needed a place to share their struggles and successes.

 

“My main concern was seeing kids who don’t have a safe space,” she said.

But Rodriguez said in addition to support, LGBTQ youth and adults need stronger laws and policies that support their needs.

Hello! No shortage of education headlines even in the height of summer for our weekly roundup.

DeVos meets with "men's rights" groups on campus sexual assault

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