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Florida education news: Holocaust flap, contract talks, teaching evolution and more

A roundup of stories from around the state
 
A Holocaust memorial in Brooklyn, New York. A high school principal in Palm Beach County has drawn attention for telling a parent in an email that "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened" and that his position as a school district employee prevented him from saying the Holocaust was "a factual, historical event." The principal has since apologized. [Associated Press (2005)]
A Holocaust memorial in Brooklyn, New York. A high school principal in Palm Beach County has drawn attention for telling a parent in an email that "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened" and that his position as a school district employee prevented him from saying the Holocaust was "a factual, historical event." The principal has since apologized. [Associated Press (2005)]
Published July 8, 2019

QUESTIONING THE HOLOCAUST: The Palm Beach County School Board chairman weighs in after the principal at Spanish River High questioned the existence of the Holocaust in an email exchange with a parent, the Palm Beach Post reports.

MONEY TALKS: Teachers in Brevard County are not happy with the latest contract proposal from superintendent Mark Mullins, and a union vote is expected soon, Florida Today reports. ... Many Orange County teachers are calling on their colleagues to reject a contract offer from the school district as union members start voting on the deal this week, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

COMMENTARY: Columnist Gil Smart of TCPalm writes that this year’s state test scores make it clear that the number of kids who pass them “is a function not of how well the teachers or administrators are doing — but how impoverished the children/students are.” ...Florida Times-Union columnist Nate Monroe says a 2018 state law allowing school districts to use lower standards when building schools is “simply a bad idea,” working to “sharply bifurcate schools along lines of race and wealth more than they already are.” … Editorials in the Orlando Sentinel and Tampa Bay Times laud hotelier Harris Rosen for stepping away from his participation in a state school voucher program, which gives money to private schools that have discriminated against LGBTQ students.

PERFORMANCE PAY: Mike Martin, president of Florida Gulf Coast University, will get a $100,000 performance bonus and a $50,000 raise after a stellar annual review by the school’s board of trustees, the News-Press reports.

TEACHING EVOLUTION: A workshop next week at the University of Florida’s Thompson Earth Systems Institute aims to help teachers handle the controversial topic of evolution in their classrooms, the Gainesville Sun reports.

HAT IN THE RING: Miami Springs City Councilwoman Mara Zapata has announced that she plans to run for a seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board, the Miami Herald reports.

LAPTOPS AND MORE: Lake County Schools will get about $700,000 less this year for digital classroom expenses thanks to a state reduction, but every high school student in the district will still have access to an affordable laptop by the end of the year, the Daily Commercial reports. ... Also, according to the Daily Commercial, the Educational Foundation of Lake County has launched its annual Red for Ed school supplies and food drive for homeless students.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: The Volusia County School Board has agreed to borrow $100 million in order to build schools faster, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.