Lily Eskelsen Garcia asks students what they want from the president on a visit to Allapattah Middle School last week.
At a Spanish restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, one of the most powerful women in education, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, pumps up union members by telling them where her career started – the cafeteria.
Ivan Bertaska, Anderson Lebadd and Edoardo Sarda run their robotic boat through the motions on the Intracoastal Waterway near Dania Beach.
On the Intracoastal Waterway near Dania Beach, Ivan Bertaska was getting ready to captain his vessel.
Bertaska wants to check the boat’s capabilities by having it speed up and slow down as it carves a wavy wake across the Intracoastal.
“The wave pattern actually gives me a good range of velocities,” he said, “so at first we go about two knots and then we get to the top corners where we’re making sharp turns we’re going about one knot. So I get a good operational range of the vehicle.
“We get a lot of funny looks from boaters.”
Funny looks because Bertaska and a team of other engineers are building a boat that can drive itself.
The distinctive facade of the main building on Florida Polytechnic's campus.
Florida’s 12th university, Florida Polytechnic University, is an architectural marvel that sits right next to Interstate 4 in Polk County.
The main building features a swooping veil-like facade designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
The public can get a peek of the new campus when it opens on Saturday. But WUSF reporter Steve Newborn took a tour with university spokesman Crystal Lauderdale to talk about the features and Calatrava’s intent.
“It was designed to inspire innovation,” Lauderdale said of the design, which she said people have described as looking like a spaceship, a fountain, or less impressively, a football.
Ryan Seashore starts off every CodeNow workshop with a simple request — write out step-by-step instructions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
A CodeNow teacher pretends to be a robot, and follows the students’ orders exactly as they’re written.
Students quickly find that asking a computer to perform an everyday task isn’t so easy.
John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida
CodeNow's Kareem Grant works with students during a June coding camp in Miami. Grant likes that coding requires disciplined thinking.
“They basically follow every instruction,” said Seashore, who founded CodeNow. “And so if it’s ‘Hey, take out bread from a bag,’ they will tear the bag of bread open. If it’s like ‘Spread the peanut butter’ and they didn’t say ‘Hey, twist the lid off’ it’ll spread the jar on it.
“This is a really amazing exercise because it teaches students the importance of logic.”
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.