Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

Audio

A Q & A With Activist And Algebra Project Founder Bob Moses

Algebra Project founder Bob Moses.

miller_center / Flickr

Algebra Project founder Bob Moses.

Fifty years ago Bob Moses organized volunteers to register voters in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer.

And for decades, Moses has been fighting for civil rights as an educator.

He’s won a MacArthur Genius Grant to develop a new way to teach algebra in largely low-income and minority schools.

The Algebra Project shows students how to translate mathematics into common language and back — to simplify algebra.

Continue Reading

What We Learned This Year Watching Schools Prepare For Florida’s New Standards

Darlene Paul, principal of West Defuniak Elementary, speaks to a student during a visit to a third-grade classroom. Paul says she has been impressed with the academic success of young students who have been taught only using the new Florida Standards.

Jackie Mader / The Hechinger Report

Darlene Paul, principal of West Defuniak Elementary, speaks to a student during a visit to a third-grade classroom. Paul says she has been impressed with the academic success of young students who have been taught only using the new Florida Standards.

For the past year The Hechinger Report and StateImpact Florida have taken you into two schools to hear what preparations for Florida’s new Common Core-based standards sound like. The standards outline what students should know in math and language arts. When classes start this fall every grade in every Florida public school will use them. But are schools ready?

The Hechinger Report’s Jackie Mader and StateImpact Florida’s John O’Connor tell us what they’ve learned.

The teachers at Tampa’s Monroe Middle School are confident that the transition to Florida’s new standards will go well. They’ve got a principal and superintendent enthusiastic about Common Core, and say that they’re on track for the changes.

“A lot of times in education they put things under different names when it’s something you’ve been doing all along, so I think we’re probably doing mostly what we need to do already,” said gym teacher Shane Knipple. Civics teacher Tony Corbett agreed. “It just gives us 10 things to focus on that we’ve already been focusing on.

Although the teachers at Monroe Middle School are optimistic, many teachers and school leaders think the switch to Common Core is the biggest change in education now, and it’s taken a lot of work.

Continue Reading

Students React To The Closure Of A Giant For-Profit College

Corinthian Colleges, the parent company of Everest University, has agreed to sell or close all its campuses. This campus is Boston will close. Florida campuses will be sold.

Kirk Carapezza / WGBH

Corinthian Colleges, the parent company of Everest University, has agreed to sell or close all its campuses. This campus is Boston will close. Florida campuses will be sold.

After a long reign as the fastest-growing and most problematic sector in higher education, for-profit colleges are on the ropes.

This week the U.S. Department of Education announced that it will review how federal student aid is administered at one of the country’s largest for-profit colleges, the University of Phoenix. Owned by the publicly traded Apollo Group, the University of Phoenix enrolls over 200,000 students, rivaling the size of the nation’s largest public university system.

Between 2000 and 2010, enrollment at the nation’s for-profit colleges quadrupled, peaking at 1.7 million — or about 1 in 10 college students. These colleges benefited from both the Internet boom and the relaxing of credit in the run-up to the financial crisis. They spent serious money on advertising and marketing, targeting working and low-income adults with convenient online programs and the promise of job opportunities, and sometimes lending them private student loans. But the sector has been plagued by repeated allegations of financial mismanagement, fraud and abuse. For-profit colleges have been the target of class action lawsuits, congressional investigations and probes by state attorneys general.

The Department of Education controls the purse strings for these institutions, because they’re highly dependent on federal student aid for revenue. to another big for-profit, Corinthian, after that college reported errors in enrollment and job placement figures and failed to comply with record requests. Unable to operate with even a temporary cash freeze, Corinthian struck a deal with the Department of Education earlier this month to sell or close all of its campuses.

 

The Department of Education controls the purse strings for these institutions, because they’re highly dependent on federal student aid for revenue. Last month the department halted funding to another big for-profit, Corinthian, after that college reported errors in enrollment and job placement figures and failed to comply with record requests. Unable to operate with even a temporary cash freeze, Corinthian struck a deal with the Department of Education earlier this month to sell or close all of its campuses.

Continue Reading

The Science Supporting Starting High School Classes Later In The Morning

 

New research provides some support for Florida school leaders who want high schools to start later.

Diana Schnuth / Flickr

New research provides some support for Florida school leaders who want high schools to start later.

Blame science – and not your teenager – if they’re slow starters in the morning.

Teenagers just can’t get eight hours of sleep if high schools starts much before 8 a.m.

University of Minnesota researcher Kyla Wahlstrom said that’s because adolescents go through something called the sleep phase shift.

“Teenagers are basically unable to fall asleep on a regular basis every night, say, before 10:45 or 11,” Wahlstrom said. “It’s just a biologic almost impossibility.”

It’s why Wahlstrom and others said high schools should start later to allow students to get eight hours of sleep. She studied 9,000 high school students in three states.

The debate about when high school classes should start has gained steam across the state. Last year, state Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a bill which would prevent classes from starting before 8 a.m. Gaetz withdrew his bill, but lawmakers have asked a state agency to study the idea.

Continue Reading

Florida Students Talk About The State’s Race-Based Education Standards

Students and civil rights activists are still asking Florida to hold black and Hispanic students to a higher standard.

It’s been a little more than a year since the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County filed a federal civil rights complaint against the state’s race-based academic goals.

There have since been a number of protests by activists who oppose lower expectations for minorities.

But to understand how the race-based goals play out in the classroom, StateImpact Florida sat down with a panel of high school students to talk about the expectations:

We spoke with a panel of students about Florida's race-based education goals.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

We spoke with a panel of students about Florida's race-based education goals.

Continue Reading

How A Federal Program Will Help Florida Schools Go Wireless

Curtis Lanoue teaches music in a trailer behind Oliver Hoover Elementary School in Miami. His colleagues have interactive smart boards in their classrooms.

Those are like 21st-Century chalk boards that can can plug into the school’s network — and the Internet.

Schools are switching to mobile carts like this, loaded with iPads, and Wi-Fi hot spots for new online tests and high-tech lessons.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Schools are switching to mobile carts like this, loaded with iPads, and Wi-Fi hot spots for new online tests and high-tech lessons.

But Lanoue doesn’t have a smartboard — or the Internet — in his portable classroom.

“YouTube might not be the greatest thing to let a kid use unattended,” he said, “but for the teacher to use it there’s a ton of resources on there.

“It would help a lot to show performances; to show historic stuff would be great.”

Miami-Dade schools are finishing a $1.2 billion overhaul of schools across the district. Most now have fast wireless networks — as of the end this school year. Others will soon – like Oliver Hoover Elementary.

Florida schools are in the middle of a high-tech transformation.

Continue Reading

Essay: How To Teach Brown V. Board To A Class Of All Black Students

Sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, not all classrooms reflect the dream of desegregation.

stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

Sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, not all classrooms reflect the dream of desegregation.

Here’s a question: How do you teach a class of all black students in an all black school that Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation decades ago?

That isn’t a hypothetical question, but one I remember clearly asking myself. I was teaching American History for the first time in one of our nation’s many embarrassingly homogeneous schools. I could not, with a straight face, teach my students that segregation had ended.  They’d think that either they or I didn’t know what the word segregation meant.    Continue Reading

Summer Boot Camp Might Solve A Ninth Grade Algebra Problem

Dywayne Hinds, Pinellas County schools director of middle school education, is helping target incoming ninth graders for a summer Algebra 1 boot camp.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Dywayne Hinds, Pinellas County schools director of middle school education, is helping target incoming ninth graders for a summer Algebra 1 boot camp.

About half of Florida ninth graders failed the state’s Algebra 1 exam on their first attempt last year.

The class — and passing the exam — are a high school graduation requirement.

We’ll find out today if those numbers improved when the Florida Department of Education releases this year’s end-of-course results.

But Pinellas County schools aren’t waiting. Hundreds of incoming ninth graders will return to class this week to begin a six-week summer Algebra 1 boot camp.

About two-thirds of Pinellas County ninth graders did not pass the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam given last spring.

Students will use a computerized curriculum which will let them spend less time on concepts they understand, and more time on lessons they struggle with.

Continue Reading

The Sunshine Economy: Common Challenges, Changing Classrooms

Our partners at WLRN put together a special education hour of the Sunshine Economy this week. The conversation ranged from a talk with Broward County’s superintendent about Common Core to a chat with a group of high school students about diversity in the classroom:

School's out for summer.

stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

School's out for summer.

In this edition of The Sunshine Economy:

The school year may be over, but the next chapter in public education begins in less than three months: Common Core State Standards.

However, Florida public school kids won’t follow Common Core, at least not in name. The state has dubbed the standards “Florida Standards.” Still, the principles of Common Core remain: more rigorous education standards to better prepare students for college and careers.

The employment stakes of education are huge. In May, the U.S. job market marked a milestone. The number of jobs created since the recession ended is now equal to the number of jobs lost during the economic collapse. But the recovery is lumpy to say the least. The job gains are concentrated among those with at least some college education. The number of people who have solely a high school diploma or less and a job remains well below what it was before the recession. Continue Reading

Working This Summer For College? It’s Probably Not Going To Cover What It Used To

A summer job used to cover more of college than it does now.

stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

A summer job used to cover more of college than it does now.

A summer job for a college student isn’t what it used to be.

Anya Kamenetz from NPR’s education team explored the economics of rising college costs over the years—and the comparatively creeping change in minimum wage. What she found is that a summer job just doesn’t cover what it used to:

“Let’s look at the numbers for today’s public university student. They’ve all changed in the wrong direction. In 2013-2014, the full cost of attendance for in-state students was $18,391. The maximum Pell Grant didn’t keep pace with that. It’s $5,550. That leaves our hypothetical student on the hook for $12,841.”

You can read the full story here and listen to the conversation from All Things Considered:

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education