StateImpact Florida

Tony Bennett / StateImpact Indiana

Here’s our pick for the biggest education stories of 2013 — a few of which will likely dominate 2014 as well.

TONY BENNETT’S RESIGNATION

Bennett came to Florida in January with a reputation as a rising star among self-proclaimed education reformers and a leading voice for the Common Core English, literacy and math standards fully adopted by 45 states. He also came on the heels of losing his reelection bid as Indiana’s state schools chief to Democrat Glenda Ritz.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

From Common Core, to Florida's next standardized test and changes to high school graduation requirement, education was a top story time and again this year.

Here's a selection of some of our most important, interesting and favorite education stories of 2013.

Click on the headlines to read the full story and listen to the broadcast versions.

Adam Mizrahi / Flickr CC

  New testing data shows Hillsborough County schools beat the performance of other large urban school districts in math and reading. Miami-Dade fourth grade readers outscored other large urban districts, but were on par in eighth grade reading and fourth and eighth grade math.

albertogp123 / Flickr

As the GED prepares for a major overhaul in January, a growing number of states are trying a new class of tests designed as alternatives to the GED.

http://www.ib-bhs.com

Nearly half of Florida high schools -- 48 percent -- earned an A grade on the state's report card, according to a report Florida Department of Education released Wednesday.

That's up from 31 percent of high schools earning a top grade two years ago. More than 80 percent of Florida high schools earned an A or B grade. No Miami-Dade or Broward County schools earned Fs.

Wikimedia Commons and Sammy Mack

 

    

In 1959, Forrest High was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest — the Civil War general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

After more than a half century of controversy, Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville is looking for a new name.

But Monday night, on the recommendation of Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, the Duval County School Board voted unanimously to rename the high school.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

When Rodney Jones and Tremain McCreary walked to school on Tuesday morning, the brothers were headed to the same classrooms, to sit next to the same students, in a building with the same façade it had on Monday.

But it was not the same school they had gone to the day before.

“It’s a relief to me to know the school name had changed. I was thinking about it: How do we have a KKK leader’s name for our school?” Jones says.

“Things are changing around this school,” says McCreary.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

When Allison Rojas looks at a painting by Alice Neel, the high-school junior sees more than a seated woman in a purple sari.

“She uses very bold lines as you can see,” says Rojas. “Very fleshy paintings.”

Rojas has an eye that’s been trained in fine-arts classes at Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High. DASH is an arts magnet — consistently ranked among the country’s top public schools — and every year, Rojas and her classmates take a field trip with the school to Art Basel, where she gets to see works like Neel’s "Woman."

School districts must come up with their own distribution plans for teacher raises.

nuchylee / freedigitalphotos.net

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Uzelea Evans has had a tough run recently.

Her unemployment payments have been hung up for six weeks because of the state’s new online system. And the mother of five lost her Tampa housing and has to move out next month.

But she’s working hard toward some good news in a classroom at Metropolitan Ministries – passing the GED exam.

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