What We Learned At Gov. Scott's Education Summit

Sep 4, 2013
State Board of Education chairman Gary Chartrand makes a point at last week's education summit.

John O'Connor / Sta

Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

Three-Day Education Summit Underway In Clearwater

Aug 27, 2013

Governor's Education Summit Opens In Clearwater

Aug 26, 2013
Sarah Gonzalez/ StateImpact Florida

Educators, business leaders and advocates gathered Monday in Clearwater for a three-day education summit called by Gov. Rick Scott --- but the first day in some ways served to highlight differences between those involved in public schools as the system enters a critical period.

In an early example of the disagreements that could affect the meeting, Joanne McCall, vice president of the Florida Education Association, highlighted teacher concerns with the state's accountability system, now under siege from several sources.



For years, Miami-Dade County Public Schools faced problems common to many urban schools: low attendance, high dropout rates, poor grades. But since 2008, Alberto Carvalho has been in charge of the nation's fourth largest school district, and there've been some noticeable improvements in Miami schools. More students are graduating, fewer are dropping out, test scores are up and the district's budget crisis has faded.

NPR's Claudio Sanchez has this profile of the man some call a miracle worker.

As Teachers Know, School Is A Home Away From Home

Aug 15, 2013

My kids are off to college. It is a bittersweet moment. I am – of course – incredibly proud of them. I’m excited for all of the experiences and opportunities that lay before them; but I am also sad, and a little worried, because they will be on their own and so far away from home.

Educators say the percentage of students meeting state goals on Florida’s math and reading tests will decline after the state switches to new standards known as Common Core.

How bad will it be? Check out the test results released today in New York.

Just 31 percent of New York students in third through eighth grades were proficient on the new math and reading exam. Last year, 65 percent were proficient in math and 55 percent were proficient in English on different exams.

Governor, Cabinet Approve Search For Bodies At Dozier

Aug 6, 2013
Bill Cotterell / Reuters/Landov

As expected, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday authorized a year-long dig for human remains at a closed Panhandle reform school, saying the state cannot ignore abuse that went on for decades.

Bennett Resignation Buoys Critics Of Testing

Aug 2, 2013
Florida Department of Education

For the third time in Gov. Rick Scott's two-and-a-half years as governor, there is no permanent leader in place for the Department of Education.

Departures are nothing new for the Scott administration. At least 11 department heads during Scott's term have resigned; the governor is also on his third chief of staff and is still looking for a replacement for Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

Researchers at the University of South Florida are fighting with the state over access to the grounds of a now-closed reform school.

For decades, the Dozier School for Boys was notorious for the harsh treatment boys received there. Now, a forensic anthropologist and her team want permission to exhume dozens of bodies they found in unmarked graves, but are meeting resistance from state officials.

White House Boys

Florida Legislative leaders left no wiggle room in last week’s letter to Education Commissioner Tony Bennett: They want Florida to pull out of a multi-state partnership developing a next generation standardized test to (mostly) replace the FCAT.

There are some real perils to systems which try to reduce teacher performance to a single number, such as many of our new “value-added” formulas.

The first is that whatever you decide to measure — and, implicitly or explicitly reward — is what you are going to get.

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett said he will recommend changes to the state’s A through F school grading system by the end of the week.

Bennett met with school superintendents and researchers Monday to gather concerns and suggestions about the school grading system.

Superintendents said they were concerned state requirements had changed too quickly the past two years for students test scores to keep pace.

University of Arizona's Coral Way Bilingual Elementary Program Oral History Project

The first English/Spanish bilingual education program in the country started at Miami's Coral Way Elementary in 1963. It was supposed to be a temporary curriculum to help Cuban students retain their language and culture, while people waited for the Castro regime to fall. 

Today the school, which has since expanded to the eighth grade, continues to thrive. Coral Way's elementary students spend about 60% of the day learning in English and 40% learning in Spanish.