Education

There hasn't been a more controversial pick for Secretary of Education, arguably, in recent memory than Donald Trump's choice of Betsy DeVos. The Senate confirmation hearings for the billionaire Republican fundraiser and activist from Michigan start today.

The final few days before President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office will be filled with a flurry of congressional activity, as the Senate holds confirmation hearings for eight more of his Cabinet nominees.

Most are expected to be fairly routine, but a few could be hot-button affairs, including hearings for Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt, Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The future could get a little brighter for some Florida college students. There’s a growing consensus to increase awards for some of the state’s highest academic performers. Legislative and state leaders seem to be in agreement when it comes to lowering the cost of higher ed.

He didn't have long. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. was confirmed by the Senate in March 2016 after President Obama's long-serving secretary, Arne Duncan, stepped down at the end of 2015. No matter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, King knew that Obama would be out in a year and replaced by a president who, regardless of party, would almost certainly replace him.

Florida's incoming Senate President Joe Negron is laying the groundwork to revamp the state's Bright Futures scholarships program, which is funded by the state lottery.

The 24 juniors and seniors in the astronomy class at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Va., sink into plush red theater seats. They're in a big half-circle around what looks like a giant telescope with a globe on the end. Their teacher, Lee Ann Hennig, stands at a wooden control panel that has enough buttons and dials to launch a rocket.

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This week on The Florida Roundup...

2016 was the year that defied predictions, but that won't stop our panel of journalists from making some forecasts for the upcoming year.

We all experience stress at work, no matter the job. But for teachers, the work seems to be getting harder and the stress harder to shake.

A new report out this month pulls together some stark numbers on this:

data: Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research (Dec. 15, 2016)

The Florida economy may be humming along, but there is a budget problem looming for state lawmakers. In about a year and a half, the state is forecast to see a $1 billion difference between what it collects in taxes and fees and what it spends.That is a $1.3 billion budget hole. Legislators will start tackling the anticipated budget shortfall in their next session before the red ink starts.

A lesson in leadership illustrated by images of men only. A fill-in-the-blanks test whose "correct" answer is a stereotype: "I am a Filipino. I am a domestic helper in Hong Kong." A discussion of global warming that highlights potential "positive effects" of climate change, such as "Places that are too cold for farming today could become farmland."

These are some examples from textbooks around the world included in a newly released study about the role of textbooks by the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report.

South Florida school districts continue to make gains in graduation rates, according to state data released Friday. Gains in 2015-2016 represent an all time high for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, even as South Florida graduation rates remain slightly below the state average of 80.7 percent, with the exception of Palm Beach County.

Marsha Halper / Miami Herald

When Mayade Ersoff got her annual evaluation in late November, the veteran teacher barely made it over the threshold needed to be considered effective. Her score was dragged down by a portion of the evaluation based on her students’ standardized test scores in English Language Arts.

 

The problem? Ersoff doesn’t teach English. She teaches world history. And the 78 students her evaluation was based on represent only two-thirds of the students in her sixth-grade classes at Palmetto Middle School.

 

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A federal court has overturned a ruling that kept middle schoolers in Florida from forming gay-straight alliance clubs to help combat bullying of straight and LGBT students.

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