News & Public Affairs


More problems with standardized tests; discussion of education issues in Florida listen

04/20/15 Seán Kinane
MidPoint with WMNF News Monday
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Tags: education, Florida, Florida Legislature, Susan Smith, schools, charter schools, standardized tests, vouchers, Alan Grayson


There was a new round of problems around the state Monday with Florida's standardized tests; we spoke about this and several other state education issues with Susan Smith, the president of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida.

We also spoke about the state's class size amendment, education funding, charter schools and private school vouchers.

Here's The Associated Press story on Monday's testing problems:

Florida school districts are suspending testing amid a new round of ...

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Hillsborough School Board fires district superintendent listen

01/21/15 Seán Kinane
MidPoint with WMNF News Wednesday
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Tags: MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough County, Hillsborough County Schools, Kathleen Shanahan, education, schools, April Griffin


Tuesday night the Hillsborough County School Board narrowly voted to fire the district’s superintendent.

MaryEllen Elia will get more than a million dollars in compensation and her last day will be March 5.

Even though the school board voted 4-to-3 to terminate Elia’s contract, many members of the public spoke in favor of keeping her.

That includes Kathleen Shanahan who is the former chief of staff to Governor Jeb Bush.

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US Dept of Education investigates whether black students are discriminated by Hillsborough Schools listen

06/26/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: Hillsborough County Schools, education, schools, civil rights, African-American, FCAT


The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education is investigating whether the Hillsborough County School District discriminates against black students when it comes to effective teaching and discipline.

In a letter dated 4 June, the Office of Civil Rights asked Hillsborough Schools to turn over dozens of documents about things like disciplinary policies, the role of law enforcement officers in schools and teacher experience.

The investigation stems from a letter by Tamp...

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Free gun training offer attracts over 200 Pinellas County teachers listen

02/11/13 Lisa Marzilli
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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This Saturday, when most folks will be sleeping in, doing chores or taking the kids to soccer, a group of Pinellas County school teachers will be learning how to handle a gun.

Lenny Bogdanos is president of International Executive Protection, a Clearwater firm that provides body guard, self-defense and firearms training. He’s waiving the $75 fee he normally charges for a four hour class for Pinellas County school teachers. The class covers everything fro...

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Arming Hillsborough County schools

01/10/13 Mitch Perry
Last Call Thursday
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Hillsborough County School Board chair April Griffin joined the program to talk about a variety of issues, but our callers mostly wanted to talk about Superintendent MaryEllen Elia's plan to expand an armed security force so it can guard every elementary school.

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Education advocate rips Florida's choice for education commissioner

12/12/12 Seán Kinane
Last Call Wednesday
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Florida has a new Education Commissioner, but not everyone's happy about Wednesday's selection.

The state Board of Education chose ousted Indiana Schools superintendent Tony Bennett.

In November he lost his re-election bid.

Joining me is public education advocate Susan Smith, she was at the interviews for the three finalists Tuesday.

*Part 1 of the intervie...

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In south Pinellas, Flowers and Gilzean face off in school board election listen

10/19/12 Samuel Johnson
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Yesterday candidates for Pinellas County School Board election debated each other at a candidate forum at 5th Avenue Church of Christ. Rene Flowers and Glenton Gilzean laid out their plans for the common problems facing the schools in South Pinellas’ District 7.

Rene Flowers, a former St. Pete City Council member, is seeking re-election to the nonpartisan school board. Both candidates told the thirty attendees about their plans to improve educational perform...

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Hillsborough School Board member April Griffin criticizes high-stakes testing

07/18/12 Seán Kinane
Last Call Wednesday
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Today on Last Call we talked about education with Hillsborough School Board member April Griffin.

There are four School board races on next month’s primary ballot, incumbents Susan Valdes, Jack Lamb, Doretha Edgecomb and Carol Kurdell face opposition.

We spoke about how the expected low turnout of a primary election might affect those races.

Griffin has been critical of high-stakes testing like the FCAT.

On Tuesday the board took shots at the way grades are passed out to school...

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WorkNet Pinellas holds 5th Annual Business & Education Summit listen

09/16/11 Josh Holton
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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One reason it may be hard for people to find work is because many job skills are not taught in school curricula. Today was the 5th annu8al business and education summit, which sought to give local school curricula guidance from the Pinellas business community.

Many businesses believe that they can help provide students with skills that will get students in the jobs they want by summits like today. WorkNet Pinellas held the summit along with several other corporate sponsors. Tony Leisner i...

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Hillsborough weighs in again on cell phone towers at schools listen

02/18/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday

The continuing saga of what to do about cell phone towers located on Hillsborough County School campuses came back before the Hillsborough County Commission today.

Last week, the School Board rejected a request sent in a letter by County Commission Chair Ken Hagen to delay approving any further towers until the issue could be dealt with. Hagen asked County Attorney Adam Gormly today if a change could be made in the County’s Land Development Code to require that a community meeting be he...

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