During its most recent session the Florida Legislature approved a plan to tie teacher bonuses to ACT and SAT scores, the teachers themselves took in high school. But some teachers are questioning how their pay can be tied to something they did before they became teachers.
Earlier this week we told you about AMskills, a program bringing German-style apprenticeships to Tampa-area students.
Another way Florida has tried to help school prepare students for jobs is the Career and Professional Education Act. The law helps businesses create academies within public schools to train students and help them earn professional certifications. Those certifications can help students find a job or earn college credit.
So what kinds of certifications are Florida students earning?
Computer skills are a top choice, with students learning how to edit and manipulate images, create web sites and use basic office software. Food protection is the top career-specific certification, followed by several medical certifications.
An update to the federal No Child Left Behind law is finally hitting the Senate floor for debate. The bill has support of Republicans and Democrats, but there is still much disagreement over what the federal government’s role in education should be.
Not every high school student wants to or even needs to go to college, but graduating students without a college degree may have a hard time gaining entry or experience at companies hiring for high paying, high skilled jobs. A local program is trying to bring that experience to graduating students.
Seven years in the making, AMskills was designed to be a German style apprenticeship program where tenth grade students apply to get in, just like applying for a job, and train on the job while earning good money. After graduation, they have experience and sometimes a job waiting for them.
“We’re always looking for a skilled workforce,” Juergen Borsh, general consul for Germany, said. ”This is one of the big obstacles when a decision is being made in a German company- where do we want to go and invest?”
Borsch said German businesses in the US want to expand their operations but they can’t find enough workers who have the skills they need.
“I have learned here in Florida, I have been here for two years now, that many companies say we would love to expand,” Borsch said, “We could expand– we need the people, and I hear this in so many different fields.”
This week, the education advocacy group started by former Gov. Jeb Bush released a detailed list of donors for the first time. The Foundation for Excellence in Education posted the list on its website.
The Foundation for Excellence in Education conducts research and advocates for states to adopt education policies, including expanding school choice, measuring student, teacher and school progress and adopting the Common Core math and language arts standards. The group has raised $46 million since 2007.
The donor list does not reveal exact amounts, but lists each gift within a range — such as from $10,000 to $25,000. Gifts of more than $1 million did not have an upper range. More than 180 donors have given to the group.
Foundations were the biggest givers, with the Walton Family Foundation donating between $3.5 million and more than $6 million. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave between $3 million and more than $5 million over five years.
While Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships no longer pay the entire tuition bill at the state’s public universities as they once did, they are still a valuable source of financial support for thousands of students.
Recent increases in the minimum scores on SAT and ACT college entrance exams required for Bright Futures eligibility have sparked some discussion and an investigation – now closed – by the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.
But aside from the test score requirements, the only high school courses required for Bright Futures eligibility are those required for high school graduation. In math, that means that only Algebra 1 and Geometry are presently required to earn a Bright Futures scholarship.
The conventional wisdom among education policy-makers and scholars has been that Algebra 2 is the high school math course that makes a student “college-ready,” and by that standard the math course requirement for Bright Futures falls short.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has disclosed donors to the education-focused non-profit for the first time. It’s part of Bush coming clean with tax returns and other records as part of his presidential campaign.
Colleges around the country are preparing for the possibility of changing their race-based admissions policies. The United States Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider a challenge to affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin that could mandate such changes.
The first time some students learn about finances is during a high school economics class. Others learn by trial and error, but one program in the Tampa Bay area already has a history of helping students get an early start on making sense of their finances.
Here in central Pinellas County, just like any community in America, it’s early morning and everyone is beginning to show up for work.
Buses are unloading and students are heading to businesses like Verizon, Duke Energy and CVS Pharmacy which are getting ready to open.
But here on Enterprise Avenue all of these businesses are being run by fifth graders.
The students line up and shuffle their way impatiently into a building where the inside looks like a cross between a small town Main Street and a shopping mall. There’s a city hall decorated with patriotic bunting at one end and the local newspaper office at the other.
This is all part of Enterprise Village, a self-contained small town. It’s where elementary students get first-hand experience as business owners, employees and consumers.
Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of $3 million to study school technology may prevent the state from spending $60 million set aside in the budget for technology.