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 Education News

Bush sets off Pre-K scramble
With the stroke of a pen Sunday, Gov. Jeb Bush sent Florida's new prekindergarten program in a race against time. [1/3]

Chiropractic school angers FSU professors
Some threaten to resign over the proposed school. [12/29]

Lawmaker: Pre-K allows double billing
Under the new law, Florida would pay for services that a federal program covers. [12/27]

Schools struggle to get parents involved
ORLANDO - Pajama parties, gatherings at McDonald's and hiring school buses to round up parents for meetings are some of the methods schools are using to help parents become more involved with their children's education.

Suit challenges capital's control of universities
A lawsuit filed against Gov. Bush and lawmakers is the latest step in a fight for oversight of the university system. [12/22]

First class or baby step: Pre-K passes
The Legislature approves a program for 4-year-olds that Gov. Bush says he'll sign but that most agree needs fixes. [12/17]

Q&AAA: Prekindergarten
Who is eligible for the state's prekindergarten program?

Maybe they really shouldn't have
When tokens of esteem zoom from little to lavish, some question whether they belong in the classroom.

GOP balks at pre-K demands
Reality stands in the way of all the provisions advocates seek for prekindergarten, Republican leaders say. [12/14]

Critics pan first pre-K plan
Lawmakers say the plan is a good start; critics say it won't provide the high-quality program voters wanted. [12/9]

Bush aiming to repeal class size measure
The governor offers no concrete game plan to reverse the voter-approved amendment. [12/8]

Law forces schools into flag chase
ORLANDO - More than 15,000 American flags need to be replaced in public school classrooms in Central Florida by the end of the school year because they are smaller than a new state law requires. [12/7]

Pre-K debate: quality, hours, teachers, busing
State lawmakers are trying again to enact a prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds starting next fall. [12/3]

More students getting Bright Futures scholarships
TALLAHASSEE - Florida has more smart students than originally thought.

Campus becomes gay rights microcosm
The University of North Florida explores the possibility of religious adherence without creating discrimination. [11/29]

School bus death stirs debate on seat belts
WEST PALM BEACH - A school bus crash that killed a teenager has revived a debate about whether student passengers should be required to wear seat belts. [11/18]

High school graduation rates improve
After five straight years of gains, the state's rate now tops 71 percent. [11/17]

Low scores could cost schools
A new state law says schools would lose money for not meeting goals, but details still are being ironed out. [11/16]

Prepaid tuition may spark war
Stanley Tate is sure his "army" - hundreds of thousands of parents - will sway the tide in any skirmishes over the program. [11/15]

Principal named to Education Board
TALLAHASSEE - Donna G. Callaway, a middle school principal and former teacher of the year, has been appointed to the state Board of Education, Gov. Jeb Bush announced Tuesday. [11/10]

Expanding the college basics
Supporters say "learning compacts" will teach needed skills. Critics say they force colleges to spend money on remedial work. [11/9]

A life studying tobacco's hold on smokers
Dr. Thomas Brandon, Director of Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and University of South Florida psychology professor

USF professors get a raise
After a 22-month stalemate, the University of South Florida and its professors have tentatively agreed on a new contract that includes raises averaging 5 percent.

State schools continue quest for technology fees
TAMPA - Leaders of Florida's 11 public universities are again seeking to charge students fees that will pay for technology upgrades on their campuses. [11/1]

Board advances tuition autonomy
If approved by the Legislature, universities would have unlimited control of certain rates. [10/22]

UCF students report being tricked into party switch
ORLANDO - Students at the University of Central Florida and two community colleges claim they were duped into switching their party affiliations from Democratic to Republican, campus police officials said Tuesday.[10/20]]

Schools could get FCAT storm waivers
Some schools can be forgiven for lower grades due to hurricane havoc, officials say. Students' grades aren't affected.

Enrollment opens today for prepaid college plan
The new enrollment period for Florida's popular Prepaid College Plan opens today and expects to count its millionth customer during the three-month sign-up period. [10/18]

School bells beckon kids to normal
Four weeks after Hurricane Ivan slammed the Panhandle, 92,000 students in two counties have returned to school. [10/12]

Education chief supports pushing back science FCAT
ORLANDO - The state's top education official supports giving high school students another year to prepare for the science section of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, a move requested by teachers.

Black parents laud school summit
Parents, organizers say the event gives key tools to addresses the achievement gap for black students.[10/3]

NAACP: Education fight isn't over yet
Florida members are asked to rally their communities and school districts to help close the achievement gap. [10/1]

FAMU trustees vote to fire president
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida A&M University board of trustees fired president Fred Gainous on Tuesday, citing two tumultuous years riddled with financial and administrative problems. [9/29]

Bush orders FCAT to go on
Missed school days due to storms may delay the test, but all students must take it. [9/22]

Days off may put delay on FCAT
Some school districts are given the option to defer the test because of worries the downtime could affect scores. [9/14]

Audit has new concerns about FAMU's finances
A state audit details new management and financial problems at Florida A&M University, less than a year after the school was criticized for a wide range of improper practices.[9/10]

FAMU president: Alumni likely to seek resignation
Florida A&M University president Fred Gainous said Wednesday that he expects alumni to demand his resignation next week after two tumultuous years at the historically black school. [9/9]

Talking tough in UF's hot seat
High expectations greet the new president, who has goals of his own - such as diversity - for which he aims to crack the whip undeterred. [8/30]

Report suggests options to cut cost of college
Cheaper tuition for classes at less popular times is among several alternatives proposed. [8/27]

Most schools cleared in FCAT score review
State education officials have all but ended their scrutiny of scores of Florida schools, including more than 20 in the Tampa Bay area, that aroused suspicion because of a high number of pre-FCAT student transfers. [8/24]

School workers to help recovery
LARGO - Two dozen school maintenance workers were to leave Pinellas just after dawn today on a mission to help repair schools in Charlotte County. [8/20]

Schools chief named swiftly
The vote naming John Winn as Florida's new education commissioner was quick and quiet. He will replace Jim Horne, who retires Aug. 31. [8/18]

400,000 students still out of school
At least 12 districts are dealing with problems from tree debris to leaky roofs to power outages. Most hope to resume classes Monday.

Court rules against vouchers
An appeals court calls them unconstitutional, but sends the case to Florida's high court. [8/17]

Interim replacement for Horne to be chosen by Education Board
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Board of Education is expected to name an interim education commissioner today while outlining its process for replacing Jim Horne, who announced his resignation last week.

Education chief leaves a legacy
Education Commissioner Jim Horne, who is resigning, was a catalyst for school reforms: vouchers and FCAT. [8/11]

Few take school transfer option
New rules could have meant turmoil for state educators. But only a few of the thousands of students eligible to transfer did so. [7/31]

Fort Pierce teacher wins state's top prize
ORLANDO - A Fort Pierce reading specialist who created "Book Buddies," a community outreach program for her students, was named Florida Teacher of the Year on Tuesday. [7/21]

Plan would force changes in failing schools
If the affected districts don't act, the state board's plan may impose teacher transfers, even private takeovers of schools. [6/16]

Schools graded a success by state, a flop by feds
Some schools get an A grade under one system and an F under the other. And the poor marks open the doors for mass student transfers, a demand local districts are ill prepared to meet. [6/16]
Racial gap remains problematic
According to new statistics the racial disparity would not be solved for about another 30 years by current growth rates. [6/16]

Graduation tests called easy
TALLAHASSEE - High school graduation tests in Florida and five other states are not "overly demanding" and measure only a small part of the skills considered essential by colleges and employers, concluded a report released Wednesday. [6/10]

Web site will track state schools' progress
Education officials say the site will show parents how their children's schools rate under both state and federal systems. [6/3]

Graduation spells relief for overtaxed school
Charles W. Flanagan High loses its title as the state's most jammed school Tuesday, making it the envy of districts in the throes of growing pains. [6/2]

Better is cheaper
A word of advice to cost-conscious parents: Make sure your child takes Advanced Placement classes in high school. [6/1]

Party-minded
An increasing number of college freshmen are showing an interest in politics, reversing a trend that has lasted more than three decades.

Board backs away from power play
The Board of Governors declines to stop an FSU chiropractic school, even though it wants to. [5/28]

Revival of the blues
University of Florida scientists are trying to bring back the Miami blue butterfly.

Group blasts school rating measures
Florida's accountability system and No Child Left Behind give conflicting assessments.

10 voucher schools unaccredited, newspaper says
But state officials say the private schools getting taxpayers' money don't have to be. [5/27]

School helps aspiring candidates
TAMPA - Registration for a June 5 political candidate school has been extended to June 3. [5/26]

Orlando big draw for black college grads
ORLANDO - Orlando is the country's fourth-most popular destination for college-educated blacks, who are increasingly leaving the North and Midwest, according to a demographer's study. [5/25]

Education board says pre-K plan misses target
TALLAHASSEE - Stopping short of asking Gov. Jeb Bush to veto a prekindergarten bill, state Board of Education members expressed concern Tuesday over a measure they said is inconsistent with the quality pre-K program voters thought they'd get when they put it in the Constitution. [5/18]

FCAT 2004
Elementary students outshine the rest on Florida test scores
Florida students in most grades fared a little better on this year's FCAT, but middle and high school students continue to lag far behind their elementary school counterparts. [5/11]

UF team tries to predict formation of rip currents
GAINESVILLE - A team of Florida engineers is conducting a six-year study to try and learn how to predict when and where rip currents will occur. [5/10]

Campus life: God in college
A recent survey of 3,680 college students found that religious commitment runs strongest among fine arts, education and humanities majors, and lowest among biology, history and sociology majors. [5/4]

The last words: Graduation headliners
Most Florida universities just completed their spring graduation exercises, filled with the usual speeches and awarding of honorary degrees.

School voucher overhaul left to governor's office
State education officials do not have a timeline for implementing accountability standards, which are undetermined.

School fund boost goes to class size
Foes of the class size amendment say it eats up new money for education. Others say more funds can be found.[4/29]

Officials insist that prepaid tuition plan change, but how?
TALLAHASSEE - State education officials said Thursday that Florida's popular prepaid tuition program has a stranglehold on university tuition policy and has to be changed. [4/23]

Ready for a degree? Prove it
Under a state plan seeking more accountability, students face a more rigorous review to see if they have mastered their major. [4/22]

FCAT 2004
FCAT reading scores inch up
Still, more than 45,000 third-graders may face repeating the grade next year. Statewide reaction is mixed. [4/20]

Review is mixed for FAMU president
FAMU's board says Fred Gainous did an "okay" job and failed to make the school's problems a priority. [4/14]

Fight against obesity in schoolkids delayed
TALLAHASSEE - Florida's 2.6-million public school students won't be required to take physical education and nutrition classes until at least the fall of 2005, a delay that may give school districts time to better identify ways to fight a growing obesity epidemic among schoolchildren.

UF breaks ground on research hub
GAINESVILLE - With two towering mounds of sand nearby, Gov. Jeb Bush and University of Florida leaders opted for a small sandbox to officially break ground for a $85-million building which will house researchers in cancer, genetics and biotechnology. [4/6]

Schools await fate on pay plan
Educators are anxious to learn from the Legislature who will pay for the "career ladder" program tested in Hillsborough this year. [4/5]

Military drives state university's study of brain injuries
Using a grant from the Department of Defense, UF researchers are developing a blood test that would quickly diagnose brain injuries. [3/25]

Panel favors drug tests of high school athletes
TALLAHASSEE - Concerned about growing steroid use at the high school level, a House panel voted Monday to require random drug testing for prep athletes. [3/23]

Two universities appeal to set up medical schools
The Board of Governors faces what many in higher education view as a test of political independence. [3/18]

A sobering image of spring break
A new AMA newspaper ad warns college revelers that if they party too hard they could end up in a hospital instead of on the beach. [3/9]

To prod slowpokes, state may hike tuition
Florida universities might return to block tuition, where students pay for a full load even if they take less. [3/4]

Poll: Floridians support class size cap
The amendment, passed in 2002, orders the state to give schools enough money to lower class sizes. Gov. Bush says the plan is too costly.[3/2]

The art of the elective
Are they easy A's, or a vital complement to more traditional studies?

Tax for schools swivels on trust
SPRING HILL - John Druzbick stood before the room full of retirees and asked for their money.

Minorities reach majority in state schools
For the first time, ethnic minorities outnumber whites in public schools. Hispanics showed the most growth. [2/27]

Universities buck under board's rule
TAMPA - Two years ago, the state universities were given the responsibility to set budgets, search for presidents and bargain with unions.

FCAT answers to get cheater checks
State officials react to a report that some Broward and Miami-Dade schools' scores showed suspicious jumps after the 2003 tests. [2/25]

UF chief wants state to back off
UF president Bernie Machen says the school won't join the top 10 unless the Legislature stops "meddling." [2/24]

Plan zapped; finger exercise won't be PE
FORT WALTON BEACH - A plan to let students play video games such as Big League Slugger and NFL Blitz in gym classes has been scrapped by Okaloosa County's school superintendent. [2/19]

Schools' matching funds to return
Legislative leaders say they'll budget paying off a backlog of matching gifts withheld from colleges and universities recently. [2/18]

Amendment would expand parents' rights
The proposal would give them authority to keep track of their children, but critics say it would allow invasion of privacy. [2/17]

Obesity advice praised, derided
School officials say keeping students trim will be costly. Medical professionals say the guidelines are a start.[2/14]

Class size criticism has reached an impasse
Many House and Senate leaders are saying the Legislature will not overturn the voter-approved amendment, at least for now.[2/14]

Cameras to go aboard all Duval school buses
JACKSONVILLE - Duval County's school superintendent said Friday he was outraged when he saw a video of seven students beating up another youngster on a school bus and pledged to put video cameras and recorders in each of the district's 1,000 buses.[2/14]

Bush names education activist to state board
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush named a Fort Myers woman to the state Board of Education, filling a vacancy that opened last fall when former aide Sally Bradshaw resigned. [2/11]

Class sizes picture better
Only 16 of 67 districts failed to make mandated reductions - not 32 as a mid December report indicated, an official says. [2/6]

Student leaders dubious about tech fee proposal
University presidents want the Legislature to okay a per-credit-hour fee for such technological needs as new computers. [2/4]

Fancier perks of higher ed
A war of amenities escalates among universities. Student fees rise to meet the challenge. [2/3]

Mortar fire and mosquitoes don't stop class
Though he was stationed in Iraq, an Air Force master sergeant stayed a student in Saint Leo University's distance learning program. [2/2]

Schools ask to block the Sunshine for land deals
MELBOURNE - Some public school officials want an exemption from Florida's open government Sunshine Law to allow districts to negotiate property deals in secret, saying land owners hike prices when they hear school districts are property hunting. [1/26]

Colleges may get FCAT-like test
A standardized test is one idea Florida's Board of Governors suggests to evaluate the progress of the state's university students. [1/23]

FAMU reveals financial accountability plan
Members of the state's Board of Governors say strides have been made toward ending the school's crisis.

Board broaches idea of more med schools
GAINESVILLE - The state Board of Governors had a workshop Thursday on whether there is a need for more doctors in Florida.

Higher ed tuition shift would sort out lingerers
GAINESVILLE - As part of a plan to accelerate graduation rates, state higher education officials on Thursday endorsed several radical changes to the way Florida university students pay for school.

Stability key to quality, school study panel told
The bipartisan panel begins a year of looking at the question: Is the state meeting its constitutional obligation to schools? [1/22]

Study: Students may suffer if subs lack credentials
A review by the Orlando Sentinel found that few Florida counties require college degrees. [1/19]

Does state support of schools fulfill law? Panel to study issue
TALLAHASSEE - Florida's school boards want to know what the state Constitution means when it says the state has to provide a "high quality system of free public schools."[1/17]

Millions possible for small colleges
Gov. Jeb Bush will push $104.5-million for community colleges. Cautious legislators say they'll do what they can. [1/16]

Corporate scholarship provider dropping role
TALLAHASSEE - FloridaChild, the state's largest distributor of corporate-funded private school scholarships, is getting out of the business, citing uncertainty in how much money is available each year.

Student sues schools over ban on religious fliers
PEMBROKE PINES - A student is suing public school officials who stopped her from handing out fliers on campus promoting a church youth group, arguing that the ban violates her freedoms of speech and religion.

Bush pushes measures to boost reading skills
ORLANDO - Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday proposed legislation that would require every sixth-grader who scores poorly on the reading FCAT to get a personalized plan to improve reading skills. [1/13]

Internet schools get their bailout
$1.1-million goes to schools, but funding requests for health insurance and Medicaid for low-income children get passed over. [1/9]

Lawmaker scolds FAMU's leaders
TALLAHASSEE - A lawmaker told Florida A&M president Fred Gainous on Thursday to fix the school's accounting and bookkeeping problems soon and make sure they never happen again.

Student complaints greet new UF leader
But the governor called to welcome the university president to Florida on his first day. [1/6]

Machen takes the reins at University of Florida
After a protracted national search, the former president of the University of Utah replaces Charles E. Young. [1/5]

School district grades offer governor new data
Unlike FCAT grades, the district scores have no consequences, but some observers are wary. [1/2]

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