Education

StateImpact Florida puts education policy to the test.
Credit StateImpact Florida

WLRN is proud to partner with WUSF in Tampa, WJCT in Jacksonville and NPR to bring you StateImpact Florida, a project that provides deep, multimedia coverage how education issues affect people’s lives here in the Sunshine State.

Recent topics on StateImpact Florida include:

For daily coverage of education in the Sunshine State, visit StateImpact Florida.

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StateImpact Florida
4:32 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Five Things We Learned About Common Core This Summer

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 3:08 pm

We spent a lot of time this summer watching and listening as Florida school districts trained teachers about what to expect when the state makes the full switch to new education standards next year.

Florida is one of 45 states to fully adopt the Common Core State Standards, which outline what students are expected to know in math and English at the end of each grade. The standards also put more emphasis on reading and writing in other subjects.

Here’s five things we learned:

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Bus Stop Interviews
8:00 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Back-To-School Scenes From Across Florida

Keri Grigas started her junior year on Monday.
Credit Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

After a long, humid summer, kids across the state are waking up and getting ready to go back to school this week.

One of those students, 16-year-old Keri Grigas, started her junior year at South Broward High School this morning. Listen to her bus-stop interview with us from Monday morning:

Keri later met up with us at the bus stop after school to tell us how the day went:

For your reading pleasure, we’ve also rounded up a few more of our favorite small moments from the big day back. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

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StateImpact Florida
8:37 am
Mon August 19, 2013

New Standards Will Require Rewriting Expectations, But Not School Grading Formula

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 1:31 pm

Last month State Board of Education members turned on Florida’s school grading system.

The board was being asked to voted on two temporary changes which would soften the impact of several years of changes to the state formula which assign schools and districts an A-to-F rating. One change would prevent schools from dropping more than one letter grade this year, while another would change how

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StateImpact Florida
12:17 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Classroom Contemplations: Why Teachers Leave The Classroom

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 1:57 pm

We all agree that every student should have good teachers.

I think we also agree that there are three ways to improve the teaching force:

    • We must get “bad” teachers who cannot or will not improve out of the classroom

    • We must help “mediocre” teachers improve.

    • We must keep “good” teachers in the classroom.

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StateImpact Florida
10:03 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Tony Bennett's Last-Minute School Grade Changes Benefited 165 Indiana Schools

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 11:58 am

Our colleagues at StateImpact Indiana have crunched the numbers and found that 165 schools benefited from changes to the school grading formula former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett made in 2012 while the elected leaders of Hoosier State schools.

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StateImpact Florida
10:46 am
Thu August 15, 2013

What A School Grade Means To Parents

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 11:45 am

Florida’s system of giving schools grades from A-to-F has been in the spotlight this summer.

First, state officials made last-minute changes to the A-to-F formula, preventing more than 150 schools from dropping to F grades.

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StateImpact Florida
5:09 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

St. Johns County Republicans Have A Few Questions About New Education Standards

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 8:15 am

The St. Johns County Republican Assembly is the latest GOP group to ask questions — quite literally — about new education standards fully adopted by Florida and 44 other states.

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StateImpact Florida
8:23 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Is Florida's School Grading System Too Complicated?

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 3:17 pm

Florida officials made just two major changes to the state formula which determines A-to-F school grades during the first six years of its use — adding a component to measure student test improvement from year-to-year and expanding the number of students included in the formula.

But since 2010 the state has made 16 changes to the formula, including adding new test results, increasing target test scores, factoring in high school graduation rates and accelerated coursework and adding scores for students with disabilities or those learning English.

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StateImpact Florida
5:12 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Classroom Contemplations: How Teachers Find Success From Failure

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 10:37 am

Editor’s note: Names of students and teachers have been changed.


Knowing we were going to be talking about former students, Lisa Perry told me she got out some letters she had saved and read through them.  The exercise inspired her to get in touch with four of her students from over 20 years ago.  (“Facebook is a wonderful thing,” she told me.)

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Teaching
11:12 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Classroom Contemplations: Little Books, Big Statement

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:00 pm

Ms. Roberts left teaching ten years ago, but she remembers very clearly a day in class that changed her and her students.

It was her first year and she was teaching English to over two hundred kids a day in Room 100, also known as “the Pit.”  The name came from the fact that her class was where several other Language Arts teachers had transferred challenging students.

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Politics
5:48 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Florida's Education Chief Resigns Over Grading Scandal

Florida's former Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett.
Florida Department of Education

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:01 pm

In education circles, Tony Bennett is widely known as a hard-charging Republican reformer associated with Jeb Bush's prescriptions for fixing public schools: charter schools, private school vouchers, tying teacher pay to student test scores and grading schools on a A through F scale.

Bennett resigned from his post as Florida's education chief this morning when a controversy over the last of those things — the school grades — caught up with him.

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Politics
12:32 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett Resigns

Tony Bennett

Update 2:24 p.m.: Florida is looking for a new education commissioner. Tony Bennett resigned today – effective immediately – after just six months on the job.

Allegations surfaced this week that Bennett changed the school grading system in Indiana to benefit a campaign contributor while he served as that state's elected superintendent.

Bennett said the allegations were unfounded, but he decided to step down because they had become a distraction.

Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg says Bennett did the right thing.

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Politics
11:33 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Archive: A Conversation With Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett

NEW EDUCATION COMMISSIONER: Tony Bennett was Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana for one term. He lost his re-election bid in November 2012, and was appointed Florida's schools chief by Gov. Rick Scott.
Credit Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Editor's Note:   Shortly after Tony Bennett began as the state's Education Commissioner last December, he sat down with WLRN's former StateImpact reporter Sarah Gonzalez.  They talked about his time as head of Indiana's school system and what plans he had for Florida's.  

Tony Bennett drove from Indiana over the weekend to start his first day as schools chief in Florida on Monday.

Last month the State Board of Education hired Bennett, a Republican who served as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction for one term.

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Politics
11:24 am
Thu August 1, 2013

The School At The Heart Of Bennett Controversy: The Philanthropy And Philosophy Of Christel DeHaan

Christel DeHaan
Credit Matt Detrich / Indianapolis Star

Editor's Note:  On Monday, the Associated Press published emails from 2012 showing former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett and his staff in Indiana discussing how to change that state's grading formula to boost the grade of an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor.

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Politics
11:12 am
Thu August 1, 2013

A Look At The Indiana Charter School At The Center Of Tony Bennett's Resignation

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 10:42 am

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is expected to resign today after the Associated Press published emails this week showing he and staff worked to change the state’s grading system in 2012, which boosted a charter school’s grade.

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