Florida students again had problems taking Florida’s new online exam on Monday. State education officials say the problem was created by test contractor American Institutes for Research.
A new program at Broward College has just eight students and seeks to train the next generation of South Florida artists and designers.
The school hopes to earn a national certification for the Visual Arts and Design Academy this spring – becoming the first community college in the South to have that.
Florida’s higher education system has put a focus on training workers for health care and other high-demand fields in recent years. And lawmakers have encouraged school districts to start career-training programs.
But the National Endowment for the Arts estimates the arts contribute $500 billion to the nation’s economy each year. And leaders of the Broward College program argue the arts and technology are tied together.
“People don’t realize the relationship, frequently, between science and art,” said Broward College art professor Leo Stitsky. “If we do away with pure science there would be no computer. If we do away with art there would be no Apple.”
Parents and teachers who have publicly criticized the Miami-Dade school district say they feel the district has tried to squelch dissent. The school district regularly calls people who have signed up to speak at school board meeting. District staff says they’re trying to address concerns.
Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill eliminating some 11th grade tests and capping the total testing time for all students. Critics of testing say the bill doesn’t go far enough, and that this year’s test results should have no consequences.
Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of students schools refer to police and courts, according to an analysis from the Center for Public Integrity. While students aren’t always arrested, the referrals can mean missed school time and have lasting consequences.
Florida’s attempt to fund universities based on objective goals is sometimes a little less than objective, Inside Higher Ed reports. The one-size-fits-all formula has judged the state’s highly-rated liberal arts school and its historically black university the harshest.
The percentage of students who are black has declined at Florida universities since then-Gov. Jeb Bush eliminated race-based admission policies in 2000. Universities say there are too few black students on campus. But, the percentage of Hispanic students has more than doubled over the same period.
Three months ago Kent Fuchs became president of the University of Florida, leaving New York’s Cornell University.
Fuchs says Florida universities are adding new faculty, but opposition to higher tuition means more pressure to find private donations.
The University of Florida is also expanding a new online program, with a goal of eventually enrolling 24,000 students.
Fuchs sat down with WLRN’s StateImpact Florida reporter John O’Connor to talk about the issues in higher education.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the state right now. You’ve been here three months. What have you learned so far? Where do you think things are? And where do you think they’re going?
A: When I look at the national landscape, the University of Florida, and indeed the state universities across our state, are in a different place than many of our peers.
The Florida Senate is requiring an outside review of the state’s new Florida Standards Assessments exam before the results can be used to judge school or teacher performance. So far, the House has refused to support a similar proposal.
The time it’s taking publishers to produce Common Core-aligned textbooks is giving independent groups an open door to create curriculum for schools. Some schools are choosing free, web-based curriculum written by non-profits over traditional textbooks.