Florida lawmakers have challenged federal government requirements that students learning English be tested after one year in school. The U.S. Department of Education could revoke flexibility Florida was granted from No Child Left Behind rules.
The State Board of Education denied requests from three charter schools that they remain open despite earning failing grades in consecutive years. The board shut down schools in Broward, Columbia and Miami-Dade counties on the first day of classes.
Public support for Common Core math and language arts standards dropped in the past year, and less than half of teachers now say they support the standards, according to an annual back-to-school poll Education Next.
Just over half of the general public — 53 percent — said they support Common Core. That’s down from 65 percent in 2013. And just 46 percent of teachers said they support the standards. Last year, more than three-quarters of teachers said they supported Common Core.
The standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade but have been facing rising political opposition for more than a year. A handful of states — Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina — have repealed the standards and other states are studying whether to rewrite or repeal Common Core.
“Opinion with respect to the Common Core has yet to coalesce,” poll authors Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Martin West wrote. “The idea of a common set of standards across the country has wide appeal, and the Common Core itself still commands the support of a majority of the public. But proponents probably need to clarify their intentions to the public if they are to keep support from slipping within both the nation’s teaching force and the public at large.”
Jessica Gaspar was born in the U.S. and grew up speaking English at school — but at home, she speaks Q’anjob’al.
That’s the Mayan language spoken by her Guatemalan parents.
She said she and her brother struggled to practice their English once the school day ended. It’s why Gaspar volunteers at a community center on a back street lined with body shops in Lake Worth.
She’s helping new, young immigrants at the Guatamalan-Maya Center learn the basics – the ABCs and colors. She’s helping them get ready for school in Palm Beach County.
“I just want them to feel like they’re wanted and not to be afraid or anything,” Gaspar says, “and hopefully in class they won’t be put aside because ‘Oh, they’re behind.’”
Monday is the first day of school in many Florida school districts. Schools are expecting hundreds – if not thousands – of Central American students to enroll in the coming weeks.
And schools across the country are expecting as many as 50,000 immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. This year more than 3,000 children have already been released to sponsors in Florida.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hit the campaign trail with current Gov. Rick Scott on Friday.
Bush has been one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of the Common Core math and language arts standards adopted by dozens of states, including Florida.
Scott? Not so much.
After initially supporting the standards, Scott withdrew support for the federally-funded exams designed by multi-state coalitions. Last fall, under pressure from conservative and liberal Common Core critics, Scott asked the state Department of Education to hold public meetings and tweak the standards.
Eventually, the state added calculus, tweaked a few other things and renamed them the Florida Standards. But, the changes left Common Core largely untouched.
So how does that jibe with Bush’s support of Scott?
As he has in the past, Bush said Friday he supports the alterations. But Bush conceded not much changed about the standards besides the name.
“They’re not substantially different, but they’re Florida-based,” Bush said, “after listening to a whole lot of people express concerns and support.
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.
Does adding an extra hour of reading instruction help students? WJCT reporter Rhema Thompson finds, like many things in education, the evidence is mixed. Experts said success depends on how the addition instruction is implemented.
Students receiving tax credit scholarships to private schools are keeping pace with national norms, according an annual review of student test scores redefinED reports. The report found tax credit scholarship students are typically among the lowest-performing and most economically disadvantaged students.
The Lee County school board is considering opting the entire district out of standardized tests — and would be the first school district in Florida to do so. Board members said the tests are too expensive and are designed for kids to fail.
School districts across the country are running into roadblocks as they try to update technology and teaching methods in classrooms, MindShift reports. Florida schools are required to add digital curriculum, but not every district has added the high-speed Internet capacity needed to make it work.