Following the controversy and technical difficulties associated with administering the Florida Standards Assessment exam some state lawmakers are looking at replacing the test with existing national exams. Although the move to a national test was originally nixed by the state education commissioner the idea is gaining traction with some legislators.
In other states the transition to new standards has been met with parent and teacher complaints as well as drops in test scores. If those experiences are any indication Florida may be in for a rocky roll out of new academic standards, especially following the technical errors that occurred with computer-based testing last spring.
The state of Florida has been granted a waiver on federal No Child Left Behind requirements. The waiver allows schools to wait to count students who are learning English. But upcoming changes in Florida’s waiver request will likely mean the state will agree to include these students in education counts by year’s end.
As schools open for a new school year, they’ll also start encountering student poverty and homelessness. At last count — the 2013/2014 school year – the number of homeless students had risen to more than 71,000 in the state’s public schools. For many of these children, a brand new school uniform may be out of reach, though school officials say it makes a big impact on their attitude. One longtime charity in Lakeland is quietly helping to fill that need.
Lady Wolverton started the Needlework Guild in England in 1882, when she asked her friends to knit clothes for orphans of a Welsh mining disaster. Reports of the group’s good works filtered back to the States, and a few years later, an American woman in Philadelphia reproduced the Needlework Guild there.
There are only two branches in Florida, both in Polk County. One is in Bartow, and the Lakeland branch — founded in 1935 — is celebrating its 80th anniversary. Many of the volunteers have mothers or grandmothers who raised money for Needlework Guild.
Higher education is poised to be a bigger issue in the 2016 presidential race than K-12. And as presidential candidates pledge to make college more affordable, many of them has ties to for-profit colleges which tend to charge much more to earn a degree.
For the first time in decades, the majority of U.S. school children come from low-income families.
Florida has one of the highest rates in the country — federal data shows just seven states have a higher percentage of low-income students.
That means more students qualify for — and depend on — free meals provided by school districts. And meal service is now a year-round job instead of just when school is in session.
Ever planned Thanksgiving for a dozen relatives? Now imagine planning 200,000 lunches daily.
In Miami-Dade County schools, those meals starts in the district’s test kitchen, where Donna Drummond demonstrates how she makes spinach lasagna, a new addition to menus this year.
She ladles sauce into a pan. Then she places the frozen lasagna rolls — made with whole grain pasta and mozzarella cheese — into the pan.
The dish is designed to be easy and quick to make for hundreds of students. It comes with a salad and a breadstick spiked with low-fat mozzarella cheese.
A new breakfast choice is the guavalito, a lower-sugar version of Miami’s ubiquitous guava-and-cheese pastry. It’s just 100 calories.
These new choices are part of a menu this year featuring more vegetarian options.
Many of Florida’s 2.7 million public school students are already back in class but their schools still don’t have the results of last year’s state assessment exams. The inability to access the scores leaves schools guessing on how to promote students and evaluate teacher’s performance.
The recent viral video of a Kentucky deputy handcuffing a 6-year-old elementary school student raised questions about police presence in public schools. Supporters say the presence of a law enforcement officer deters school violence, fosters respect for the police and calms fears of parents. Opponents believe officers inappropriately take on the role of school disciplinarian and often criminalize children.
Seminole County school leaders want to get rid of the Florida Standards Assessments and replace them with commonly-used national exam. The district lined up some arguments at their school board meeting Tuesday. The state has said the exams are not a suitable replacement.
The Diane Rehm show spent an hour discussing the state of teaching, and why some districts are struggling to find enough teachers.