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7:13 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Lawmakers Ban Biometric Data Collection In Florida Schools

Kids won't get their eyes scanned or any other other biometric information collected at school under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature.
Credit dash.null/flickr

Schools won’t be able to collect the fingerprints or other biometric information of students under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature.

The new requirement is part of a broad package designed to protect kids’ privacy.

When lawmakers in Tallahassee talk about biometrics, they’re talking about hands and eyes being scanned or fingerprints being collected.

For Senator Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, it’s a slippery slope.

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Obituary
7:56 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Remembering FCAT, 1995-2014

Florida students sit through their last FCAT this year.
Credit Photo by Norm Robbie (Flickr) / Illustration by Sammy Mack

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is dying, say Florida education officials. By this time next year, the FCAT will be replaced with a new, Common Core-aligned assessment.

FCAT was born in 1995 in the humid June of a Tallahassee summer.

The Florida Commission on Education Reform and Accountability under Gov. Lawton Chiles gave birth to the test. It was part of a series of recommendations that were meant to give local districts more control and a better sense of how their schools were doing.

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StateImpact Florida
9:26 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Checking In On Education Bills As Florida Legislature Reaches Halfway Point

The 2014 Florida legislative session has reached the halfway point.
Credit STEVENM_61 / Flickr.com

The 2014 Florida legislative session reached the halfway point last week, so we thought we’d check in on some of the big education bills.

THE BUDGET

The House, Senate and Gov. Rick Scott mostly agree on education spending based on their proposed budgets.

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Common Core
6:02 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Florida Watches New York Parents Organize Against Common Core Tests

Parents at a Brooklyn school opt out of state tests earlier this week.
Credit Girlray / Flickr.com

The civil disobedience taking place during New York's statewide testing season may offer a preview of what's to come when Florida unveils new Common Core-tied tests next year.

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Sunshine Economy
6:00 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Charter Schools CEO Started As A Janitor

Credit Courtesy of Jon Hage

Jon Hage heads the for-profit charter school management company, Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), based in Fort Lauderdale. The company operates 58 schools in seven states across the country, including Florida.

Hage grew up in middle-class Oakland Park near Fort Lauderdale. He served in the United States Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves as a commissioned officer in the Special Forces (Green Berets). After then doing policy work in Washington D.C. and Tallahassee, he founded CSUSA in 1997.   

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StateImpact Florida
4:46 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Why Police Support Common Core Standards In Florida

Chief Ian Moffett of Miami-Dade County Public Schools supports the state's new standards.

National anti-crime group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a position paper last week in favor of Florida’s new standards for English language arts and math. The group argues assessments and higher standards can prevent crime.

Here’s the paper’s summary of the connection:

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Immigration
5:46 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Uh, Senators? You Know We Already Get In-State Tuition At Miami's FIU, Right?

FRIDA'S SURPRISE: Senators learned from Miami resident and FIU grad Frida Ulloa that state resident tuition is already available for some undocumented immigrants.
Credit The Florida Channel

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee got a big surprise this morning. Turns out in-state university tuition rates are already available for some undocumented immigrants, at least at Florida International University.

It may have strengthened the hands of opponents of the in-state tuition bill, but not enough to defeat it.

Click to hear the full story.

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Education
6:09 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott Talks Preschool Budgets, Preschoolers Respond

Rick Scott talked preschool budgets with preschoolers.
Credit @FLGovScott / Twitter

Gov. Rick Scott visited the Miami Children’s Museum Monday to promote the state’s preschool program.

The governor stood against a backdrop of finger paint and glitter and talked about increasing funding for early learning.

StateImpact Florida was there. You can listen to the full report:

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StateImpact Florida
9:37 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Mining Student Data To Keep Kids From Dropping Out

Natasha Santana-Viera and Mack Godbee talk grades and goals at Miami Carol City Senior High.
Credit Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

It’s report card day at Miami Carol City Senior High, and sophomore Mack Godbee is reviewing his grades with his mentor, Natasha Santana-Viera.

The first quarter on Godbee’s report card is littered with Ds and Fs. This quarter, there are more Cs and Bs. He’s got an A in English.

“Congratulations on that,” says Santana-Viera. “When you need help, do you know where to go?”

“Straight to y’all,” says Godbee.

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Sunshine Economy
3:35 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Interviewing By Eating: 5 Questions for CEO Felecia Hatcher

Credit Tom Hudson

Felecia Hatcher is co-founder and “chief popsicle” of Feverish Pops, a gourmet popsicle company based in Miami. Hatcher says she is “obsessed with desserts” and, as proof of that passion, she points out that she was married at a donut shop in Portland, Oregon.  

Hatcher began the popsicle company after getting fired from her marketing job with Nintendo.

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StateImpact Florida
9:50 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Follow-Up: State Rejects Miami Jackson High School's Grade Appeal

Miami Jackson High School's grade will remain a B, after the Florida Department of Education rejected the school's challenge.

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 7:54 am

Miami Jackson High School's grade will remain a B, after the Florida Department of Education rejected the school's challenge.
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The President In Miami
2:51 am
Mon March 10, 2014

How A Presidential Visit Affected Coral Reef High School

President Obama was accompanied by his wife to meet select students before he came out and spoke in the gymnasium.
Credit Walter Michot / Miami Herald

Students and teachers at Coral Reef High School can't pinpoint when they first heard the news that President Obama was coming to speak. He and the First Lady visited the south Miami-Dade school on Friday to ask students to apply for free federal student aid before they graduate.

Rumors had been floating around the high school since the previous week because of some strange things they saw. 

"Students started observing secret service around the building, so they started making comments, asking teachers," says chemistry teacher Stefano Pagani. 

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FAFSA For Florida
2:48 am
Mon March 10, 2014

President Obama Urges Miami Students To Apply For Federal Aid

President Obama says he and his wife are successful because of the education they received after high school.
Credit Walter Michot / Miami Herald

President Obama told Coral Reef High School students Friday that last year, Florida left one-hundred million dollars in federal pell grants untouched.

"A hundred million dollars that could've helped Florida students help pay for college was just left on the table," says the president. 

He says it was the result of Florida's graduating seniors last year who failed to fill out the free federal financial aid form, which was about half.

This was news to Coral Reef chemistry teacher Stefano Pagani.

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