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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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Students in south St. Pete learn about healthy eating while growing their own food listen

05/09/12 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Students at two south St. Petersburg schools are learning about healthy eating by growing their own food. Organizers hope the knowledge the kids get will help them continue to make smart food choices as they grow up.

An organization called The Edible Peace Patch has helped to create gardens at Lakewood Elementary and Sanderlin IB World School in areas of south St. Petersburg facing economic challenges. The gardens manager, Erin Mattick, says students don’t normally get a chance to grow t...

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Documentary about teachers affected by low pay is tear jerker, conversation starter listen

04/27/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Funding for public education nationwide is taking a hit. In Florida, educators saw $1.3 billion in cuts last year; $1 billion were restored this year. The shrinking budgets mean fewer teachers with lower pay. At a screening of a film in Tampa last night that documents how low salaries affect teachers nationwide, a panel of professionals answered the question, ‘why is paying teachers more so important?’

American Teacher, a documentary featuring several current and former teachers n...

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Democrat Rick Kriseman not running for re-election in Florida House; undecided on future in politics listen

04/26/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Democratic State Representative Rick Kriseman announced this week that he will not seek another term in the Florida House of Representatives. Despite speculation that he may be considering a bid for mayor of St. Petersburg, the 12-year politician says he’s not making any decisions yet.

Kriseman said this past legislative session was the first time his family really expressed their distaste at his leaving for an extended trip to Tallahassee. Running for mayor would alleviate that, but Kr...

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Community Stepping Stones offers classes for at risk teens listen

04/16/12 Andrea Lypka
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Recent budget cuts have prompted some nonprofit organizations in Tampa Bay to scale back on their programs. But one organization in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood of Tampa instead offers more classes and extends their urban arts program to youth and adults.

Until the recent budget cuts at Hillsborough County public schools, for the past 15 years, artist Terry Klaaren has been transforming the walls of public schools into community mural projects.

"And the schools had better budgets a...

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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor to the GOP: when education funding opportunity knocks, they won't answer listen

04/12/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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The United States House of Representatives passed a budget that slashes spending while giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Education expenditures are on the long list of cuts in Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s plan. U.S. Representative Kathy Castor vowed to fight against it today at a press conference at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

It’s safe to say Kathy Castor isn’t happy with some of her colleagues.

“When opportunity knocks, the GOP is not going to answer.” ...

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Florida's Amendment 8 could give more funding to faith-based charities; opponents worry it'll increase school vouchers listen

04/04/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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A proposed amendment appearing on the ballot this fall would overturn the part of Florida’s Constitution that forbids public funds from going to religious organizations. A group called Citizens for Religious Freedom and Non-Discrimination is starting a coalition in support of Amendment 8. At a press conference Wednesday morning in Tampa, one of the amendment’s original authors, former state Representative Juan Zapata said it would allow faith-based charities to better provide public ser...

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Alex Sink still undecided about second bid for Governor listen

03/22/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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The big question on the minds of Suncoast Tiger Bay Club members was, ‘Will Alex Sink run for Governor again?’” And Thursday, Sink’s answer at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club was the same as it has been for months: never say never. Sink said right now she’s focused on making a difference in Florida as a private citizen.

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink told attendees of the packe...

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Florida Senate barely kills parent trigger bill listen

03/09/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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A deadlocked vote in the state Senate this afternoon has killed the controversial parent trigger bill. Supporters of the bill tried to revive the pro-charter school legislation after an onslaught of opposition from teacher and parent groups.

Republican Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto told of woman who felt helpless for her child attending a failing school. Benacquisto, the bill’s sponsor, urged Senators to vote for what she named the [Parent Empowerm...

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Parent trigger vote expected Friday; opponents hopeful it will fail listen

03/08/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Update: the parent trigger / parent empowerment bill failed 20-20 Friday

A final state Senate vote on the "parent trigger" bill has been postponed until Friday; it would allow parents to have a say in how to improve a failing school including turning it into a privately run charter school. The bill has already passed in the House, but Jean Clements, president of the Hillsborough Classroom Teacher’s Association, said she’s confident there is enough opposition to leave the measure dea...

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