Students’ Return on Investment

The Department of Education serves as a data repository for a variety of information allowing us to track student performance across time and in varying education sectors. Starting this month, the Department will embark upon a joint project with the Florida Council of 100 to determine the state’s return on investment for students attending various postsecondary educational institutions. The goal of this project is to track graduates of Florida’s public schools as they transition from colleges and universities into the workforce. The data analysis will examine the various jobs and wages these students obtain and compare them with the state’s costs of providing those same students with the postsecondary training and education they received within our education system. This unique opportunity will pull from existing data sources including the Department’s Education Data Warehouse as well as the Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP).

Giving Florida students an edge in the global economy

Guest post by DOE Educational Policy Development Director Lydia Southwell

In today’s marketplace, we are not just working with and competing with the person next to us, we are a part of a global economy and need to ensure our students are prepared for the challenge.

As we celebrate International Education Week this year, it is a good opportunity to reflect and promote the importance of “Inspiring Students Locally to Succeed Globally,” the theme for this year’s celebration.

So what is Florida doing to prepare its students?

Many Florida school districts offer dual language programs, which means part of the school day is taught in another language.

Some districts also offer special exchange programs, such as Palm Beach County’s relationship with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kingdom of Spain. The effort allows some Florida teachers to teach in Spain and some Spanish teachers to teach in Florida. The experience is beneficial for both the students and the teachers. The district’s students also have the opportunity to hold live online chat sessions with Spanish students.

Colleges and universities throughout the state also offer study abroad programs that are extremely beneficial in two ways:

  1. When American students study in other nations they learn more than what is in their syllabi, they learn the culture, something that cannot be taught in a classroom.
  2. International education is a vital service industry, bringing more than $20 billion into our country in 2009-10. According to Open Doors, 260,327 U.S. students studied abroad in 2008-09, and 690,923 international students from more than 200 countries studied in the U.S. in 2009-10.

But we are not stopping there.

Before full implementation of the Common Core State Standards, Florida is gathering information about how our students compare internationally in reading, mathematics and science. We are participating in Trends in the International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).  Adjustments to Florida standards will be made based on the results of these studies.

Do your children participate in dual language or study abroad programs? What has their experience been?


Stick with Education

 Guest post by Bureau Chief of Family and Community Outreach Joe Davis

I recently had a chance to hear from two accomplished individuals – one a professional, one a student – who each shared with us their stories of motivation. Both highlighted their studies in the field of engineering, and they were able to articulate their inspiring words to encourage kids to do well in school. 

Their messages really resonate with me. Student Andres Gutierrez talked about how he went from living in Colombia and not caring about school to now being a chemical engineering major and interning at a Fortune 500 company. Professional Allan Morales talked about his travels around the nation and how his education laid the foundation for his engineering career. 

Check out Andres’ video  and Allan’s video – they are exactly the types of role models our young students need.

Are you or your children on the path for a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) career? What motivates you or your children to stay in school? How do you think education affects career development? Does your child learn about STEM at their after-school programs?

Sneak peeks at college life – including how to pay for it!

Guest post by Reyonna Parrish, DOE Office of Student Financial Assistance

What takes the fear out of doing something for the first time? Giving it a trial run. And that is exactly what more than 500 Florida middle school students did during the second annual Florida Department of Education College & Career Day . From campus tours and presentations to meeting face-to-face with college and university recruiters, students walked away with information on financial aid, scholarships, advanced coursework and many other tools to help them succeed as they prepare for high school and beyond. The on-campus experiences and the real-world discussions with those who have been there and done that left an impression on these young minds.

Now, how to pay for the real experience? That is where we come in. DOE’s Office of Student Financial Assistance has tons of info, scholarships and assistance for you. Check us out online!

Did you go to college? If so, what memories do you have of college life? What hopes do you have for incoming college freshmen or other students today? How did you pay for college?

Commissioner Talks Higher Education

Commissioner Robinson speaks with Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Commissioner Robinson

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Florida Board of Governors meetings in Miami. It was great meeting my fellow members and discussing on how we can improve and streamline our K-20 system. We also had good conversations around the challenges our higher education system is experiencing, including increased defaults on student loans and very lean budgets. On a lighter note, I was pleased to hear how Florida A & M University was ranked one of the best historically black universities on the U.S. News and World Report list. 

Whether it’s the BOG, Council of Presidents or Higher Education Coordinating Council, having an active role in these meetings is critical in our work to align our education resources and create graduates and programs that not only complement each other, but work to grow our economy. 

The State Board of Education is set to meet tomorrow in Orlando where we will continue these types of discussions. I encourage you to tune in to that meeting so you can stay informed about all facets of our education system.

A Motto Matters


 Video of Commissioner Robinson’s back-to-school message, including information about the new motto.

A motto is a good way to convey an ethos of any organization.  As Florida’s new Commissioner of Education, I am implementing a new motto in support of the strategic plan approved by the State Board of Education and to guide the spirit of our work at the Department:

Supporting Colleges, Careers, Commerce & Creativity

 Everything we do as a FLDOE team must support the essential building blocks of our state and national economy. This means:

  • Preparing high school graduates for the rigor of a quality postsecondary education.
  • Equipping young people and adults with employable skills in high-wage earning careers.
  • Creating public-private partnerships to encourage economic development and strengthen local and statewide commerce.
  • Thinking creatively about how best to deliver and manage our seamless system of education.

In closing, I am honored to be part of the Florida Department of Education. These are exciting times for our state, and I want you to know that your Department of Education is Supporting Colleges, Careers, Commerce & Creativity.

University Dreams Now a Reality for More Floridians

Guest post: Florida College System Chancellor Will Holcombe 

For decades, students have had an opportunity to pursue their higher education dreams through a cost-effective partnership our Florida Colleges share with the State University System. This type of program allows students to attend their university of choice and obtain a high-caliber university education, without the worries of relocating. The 2+2 Pathways to Success program is just the solution for any student who wants to pursue their college dreams – all with the help of a local Florida college campus within their community. 

Take for instance the University of Central Florida. Here, a student can become a Golden Knight by earning credits and taking coursework at any one of the 28 colleges inFlorida. But for those students who prefer to stay within the Central Florida region, UCF has worked closely with six Florida colleges specifically, including Brevard Community College,College of Central Florida, Daytona State College, Lake-Sumter Community College, Seminole State College of Florida and Valencia College.

Does it sound like this program can help you reach your university dreams? What is your dream university in Florida?