Putting Education Reform To The Test


Take An Audio Tour Of Florida’s Newest University

The distinctive facade of the main building on Florida Polytechnic's campus.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

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.

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How Florida Teachers Learned Technology Connects With Students

Last week Orlando hosted one of the oldest and largest education technology conferences in the country.

Technology is an important issue in Florida schools because lawmakers have required half of all classroom instruction is delivered digitally when classes begin in 2015. Lawmakers are working on a bill which would pay for new bandwidth and devices, but also require schools to write technology plans with measurable goals.

We spoke to a few teachers presenting at and attending FETC to ask them when they first made the connection about using technology in the classroom.

Here’s what they told us — with some sights and sounds from FETC.

Visit Sarasota County’s Classrooms Of Tomorrow

We recently told you about the high-tech math and science classrooms in Sarasota County.

That story was this week’s StateImpact Florida feature on state public radio stations.

Listen to the story and check out some of the photos of actress Mayim Bialik working on algebra problems and science experiments with students.

Custodians Are More Likely to Get Injured on the Job Than Other School Employees

Undocumented Immigrant Students Line Up To Apply For Temporary Status

More than 140,000 Florida undocumented students can now apply for a temporary work visa and a stay from deportation.

Both are part of a new federal initiative which makes its easier for young immigrants to remain in the United States legally. President Barack Obama ordered the change a year and a half after the failure of the DREAM Act in Congress. That bill would have eased citizenship requirements for young undocumented immigrants.

The program is known as deferred action.

You may request to be considered for deferred action if you: Continue Reading

How Students Knew to Expect Tuition Hikes … and Protest

So far, all but three Florida colleges are raising tuition this fall.

Students from around the state suspected this would happen.

That’s why they “occupied the Capitol” during the Legislative Session earlier this year to protest the tuition hikes they saw coming miles away.

Broward College, Palm Beach State College and Valencia College – the second largest community college in the state – voted not to raise tuition. Continue Reading

Some Florida Students Make The Paddles Used To Discipline Classmates

The late comedian Richard Pryor had a classic bit about being forced to find and strip a “decent switch” so that his grandmother could administer a “decent whippin.'”

Florida students in school districts that still use a paddle to spank misbehaving pupils know the feeling.

At Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Fla., students make the paddles in woodshop class.

“You can’t buy them anywhere,” said Eddie Dixson, the school’s principal. “There’s not a market for them, so yeah, students make it.”

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Broward Schools Face Largest Budget Deficit in State; Effect on Other Districts Unclear

Every school district in Florida is dealing with layoffs and budget cuts. But Broward County in South Florida is facing the largest budget deficit in the state—more than $140 million. And its forced teachers and students in the nation’s 6th largest school district to get creative about spending money.

Students at South Broward High in Hollywood waited in the rain during the first week of school to get inside what used to be the video production classroom. Only, the video production program was cut last school year.

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