Education

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English Language Learners
11:54 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Students Learning English Get Extra Reading Help At Summer Camp

Students at Aprendo Porque Juego Summer Camp practice their summer musical.
Sarah Gonzalez/StateImpact Florida

Juan Galvez is going into 4th grade. His parents are from Bolivia and Guatemala, and they only speak Spanish.

When it comes to homework, Juan is usually on his own.

“My mom helps me a little because she knows the math,” says Juan. “But with reading, I’m good. I do it by myself.”

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This Miami Life
1:30 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Salsa Lessons

Salsa trumpeter and music teacher, Mario Ortiz, demonstrates salsa steps to his class at Hialeah Gardens Middle School.
Laura Isensee

Music teacher Mario Ortiz has been teaching classic salsa tunes to elementary and middle school students for 14 years.  Outside the classroom, Mario plays trumpet in a salsa group. He learned music from his father, who was also named Mario Ortiz.

The elder Ortiz was a well known salsa bandleader (for the Mario Ortiz All Star Band)  in Puerto Rico in the 1960s.  He died in 1999.

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School Suspensions
12:37 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

In-School Suspension: a Better Alternative or Waste of Time?

Students at Power U Center in Miami advocate for keeping students in class and out of in-school-suspension.
Sarah Gonzalez StateImpact Florida

There is a place on school campuses for students who break the rules.

In some Florida schools, it’s called SCSI.

Marcus Pryor, a junior at Miami Northwestern Senior High, thinks it stands for School Criminal Scene Investigation.

SCSI actually stands for School Center for Special Instruction. And in Miami, it’s where students go when they get an in-school suspension.

It’s an alternative to out-of-school suspension Florida schools can use for offenses considered minor, like consistent tardiness, wearing baggy clothing or cutting class.

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FCAT 2.0
12:46 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Inside FCAT 2.0: What Changes Mean for Teachers, Students

At Booker T. Washington High School, students likes Danna Contreras, took turns taking the online FCAT reading test because there aren’t enough computers for sophomores to take the test at the same time.
Sarah Gonzalez StateImpact Florida

Danna Contreras doesn’t like the new FCAT.

The sophomore at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami emigrated from Colombia three years ago.

She wears thick, pink-rimmed glasses and she squints a lot. She says the new computerized version is harder to take.

“I think I am better with paper, not on the computer because sometimes my eyes hurt,” she said.

That’s not the only reason she’s worried about her reading score.

“I have difficulty speaking English and the vocabulary is really hard,” she said.

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Trayvon Martin
12:48 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

How Trayvon Martin’s High School Reacted To His Public Death

Students at Krop Senior High in Miami wore hooded sweatshirts to remember slain classmate Trayvon Martin who was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt when he was fatally shot.
_bigm33ch Instagram

It’s been nearly a month since self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen in Sanford, Fla.

Martin’s death has inspired a national debate about race and justice.

But at the high school Martin attended in Miami, his death had not been announced publicly until today, when the school held a moment of silence for the slain student.

Ashley Aristide is a junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High in Miami, where Martin went to school.

She’s having a hard time coping with her friend’s death.

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School Spankings
12:25 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Why Florida Schools Want the Right to Paddle Misbehaving Students

Holmes County High School principal Eddie Dixson holds the wooden paddle used to spank misbehaving high school students.
Sarah Gonzalez StateImpact Florida

Spanking in school may seem like a relic of the past, but every day hundreds of students — from preschoolers to high school seniors — are still being paddled by teachers and principals.

In parts of America, getting spanked at school with a wooden or fiberglass board is just part of being a misbehaving student.

"I been getting them since about first grade," says Lucas Mixon, now a junior at Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Fla. "It's just regular. They tell you to put your hands up on the desk and how many swats you're going to get."

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Students With Disabilities
6:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

School Board Member Says Her Special Needs Daughter Was Forced To Leave A Charter School

Isabella, 8, was forced to leave Miami Children’s Museum Charter School after her mom, Miami School board member Raquel Regalado, learned Isabella has autism.
Sarah Gonzalez StateImpact Florida

Earlier this month, an investigation by StateImpact Florida and the Miami Herald revealed that most Florida charter schools are not enrolling students with severe disabilities, like autism or cerebral palsy.

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Students With Disabilities
12:00 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Can Charter Schools Legally Turn Away Kids With Severe Disabilities?

Tonya Whitlock and her son Tres, 17, say they have not been able to get Tres into Pivot Charter School near Tampa. Tres has cerebral palsy, and the family said the charter school is concerned they cannot provide all the services Tres needs.
Sarah Gonzalez StateImpact Florida

This month, an investigation by StateImpact Florida revealed that more than 86% of Florida charter schools don’t serve a single student with a severe disability, compared to half of traditional public schools.

State education officials say no school is required to take every student with every disability. But lawyers are divided on whether charter schools can legally turn kids away.

No one person decides where a student with disabilities can go to school.

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Students With Disabilities
12:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

No Choice: Florida Charter Schools Failing To Serve Students With Disabilities

Tres Whitlock, 17, has been trying to enroll in a Hillsborough County charter school, but has yet to enroll because of concerns about the therapy and services he needs.

Tres Whitlock is stuck in a public school where he feels ignored. He wants out.

The 17-year-old would-be video game designer researched his options online and found his perfect match – Pivot Charter School.

“It’s computer-based and I think I will do better,” he says.

But when Whitlock tried to enroll in the school he found a series of barriers in his way.

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Charter Schools
12:00 am
Wed October 12, 2011

Loopholes In Florida Law Mean Little Oversight Of Charter Business Deals

The Academy of Arts and Minds in Coconut Grove used to be a shopping mall. But no one was buying space. That’s when the owner of the property started up a charter school and now rents the property to his school.
Sarah Gonzalez StateImpact Florida

This story is a collaborative investigation between The Miami Herald and StateImpact Florida. Read the Herald’s story.

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Funding Social Sciences
12:00 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Explaining Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s War On Anthropology (And Why Anthropologists May Win)

Gov. Rick Scott has been singling out the anthropology field as an inefficient use of higher education budgets.
JOE RAEDLE GETTY IMAGES NEWS

It’s been a rough week for anthropologists with Gov. Rick Scott singling out the field as an inefficient use of higher education budgets.

Why should taxpayers foot the education bill for an anthropologist who can’t find a job? Scott asked a business group last week. Colleges should “drive” students into science, technology, engineering or math — known as STEM — programs, he said.

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School Budget Cuts
12:00 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Broward Schools Face Largest Budget Deficit In State; Effect On Other Districts Unclear

Taylor Drake, Kevius Morgan and Cristinne Paneit, seniors at South Broward High, say some teachers give them extra credit for bringing in items like markers, rulers, paper and tissues.

Every school district in Florida is dealing with layoffs and budget cuts. But Broward County in South Florida is facing the largest budget deficit in the state—more than $140 million. And its forced teachers and students in the nation’s 6th largest school district to get creative about spending money.

Students at South Broward High in Hollywood waited in the rain during the first week of school to get inside what used to be the video production classroom. Only, the video production program was cut last school year.

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Immigration
12:00 am
Sun August 21, 2011

New Policy Gives Hope To Some Facing Deportation

Melissa, 18, fled gang violence in her native Honduras when she was 7-years-old. Because she has attended U.S. schools and has no criminal record, her deportation has been deferred for one year.
Courtesy of Melissa

The Obama administration on Thursday said it would review the deportation cases of 300,000 illegal immigrants. The administration wants to put high priority on removing convicted criminals, and low priority on cases that involve people who pose no security threat.

That might make a big difference for thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

New Hope For One Student

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Under the Sun
4:24 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

Flip The Script: The Past And Present Of North Miami Senior High School

Ted Grossman

Fifty years ago, North Miami Senior High School students lived in neighborhoods where most kept their doors unlocked at night. They say they felt safe riding their bicycles throughout town – some streets weren’t even paved. Today, many students at the school say they don’t feel safe in their school or their neighborhoods.

North Miami Senior High’s demographics have also changed. In 1960, the segregated school was all white. Today, most students are of Haitian descent. According to the school, 31 out of 2,700 students are white.

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