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First Coast Connect

2/18/19: Teachers’ Pay; Science Education; What It’s Like; Cole Pepper

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All over Florida, there are examples of underpaid, overworked teachers quitting the classroom. And fewer college graduates are deciding to become teachers. 

Against this backdrop, Governor Ron DeSantis recently proposed a teacher bonus plan, saying he would ask the legislature to put $422 million into a program that could provide about 45,000 “best & brightest” teachers in Florida with a one-time bonus of more than $9,000.

So how do teachers feel about that? Chris Guerrieri is a Jacksonville teacher in his 18th year in the classroom and an education blogger. He joined us for a closer look.

Science Education

A bill was recently filed in Tallahassee that would require Florida schools to teach “alternatives” to climate science and evolution. Monday night, Brandon Haught of the group Florida Citizens for Science is speaking about science education in schools at a meeting of the First Coast Freethought Society. He joined us with a preview of his talk, which is titled “A War That Won't End: The Battle for Science Education in the Sunshine State.”

What It’s Like

The new WJCT podcast “What It’s Like,” which examines what it’s like to go through life-changing experiences, has officially launched.

Season One dives deeper into some of the most compelling conversations – and the stories behind them –  that the national story-archiving nonprofit StoryCorps recorded in Jacksonville.

Host and producer Lindsey Kilbride joined us to tell us all about it.

Cole Pepper

Cole Pepper joined us with a recap of the wild finish at the Daytona 500, and a preview of all the upcoming sports action taking place in March here on the First Coast, including:

Photoused under Creative Commons license.

Heather Schatz can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @heatherschatz.

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Heather is the senior producer of WJCT 89.9 FM talk shows including First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, the Florida Roundup and What's Health Got to Do with It?