1. News
  2. /
  3. The Education Gradebook

Do Florida schools face a crisis, or not? It depends who you ask.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

The State Board of Education met at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg on Wednesday to highlight the state’s increased commitment to teaching children about the Holocaust and related history. At the meeting, most board members and education commissioner Richard Corcoran painted a picture of an “amazing” school reopening, approved a budget request to increase funding, and discussed the state’s efforts to tackle the coronavirus without bending to it. The positivity didn’t extend to everyone, though. Read on for the latest Florida education news.

Florida’s education budget outlook has school officials worried. The State Board of Education offered some cause for optimism, proposing an increase in spending for fiscal 2022. • The board also had a lively discussion about the state’s reopening lawsuit and COVID-19 reporting, with one member challenging the positive take offered by education commissioner Richard Corcoran, the News Service of Florida reports. More on the State Board meeting from the Orlando Sentinel.

‘The school districts are doing an amazing job.’ Commissioner Corcoran said Florida serves as a model for the nation for reopening schools, WOFL reports. Not everyone agrees. • Corcoran took media reports on Florida’s reopening to task, saying they were misleading, and urged people not to read the Washington Post and New York Times, the Florida Phoenix reports.

These parents don’t like mask mandates. They’re suing the Lee County school district, saying the requirement creates a separate and unequal education system for children who cannot wear masks, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Some Palm Beach teachers are trying to get a judge to decide whether it’s safe to open schools. After a lengthy hearing, the judge sounded as if he supported having school districts make that call, the Sun-Sentinel reports. A ruling is due soon. More from the Palm Beach Post.

Districts continue to look for ways to best serve their students. In Charlotte County, teachers said they were not consulted about a new model offered to families, the Sun reports. • Bay County school officials are looking into a decline in the numbers of students logging in for their online classes, the Panama City News Herald reports. • Leon County schools are reaching out to about 500 children who have yet to participate in class, seeking ways to get them engaged, WTXL reports.

Avayah Sharp works on a lesson with her mom, Janelle, during distance learning in the spring. Some parents have been seen in the background of their children's classes, and they've not been helping.
Avayah Sharp works on a lesson with her mom, Janelle, during distance learning in the spring. Some parents have been seen in the background of their children's classes, and they've not been helping. [ Courtesy of Janelle Sharp ]

Please behave. The Marion County school district rolled out a four-minute video teaching parents about online etiquette, after some had been spotted wearing only underwear and swearing in the background of their children’s remote courses, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

It’s almost that time when school districts told students they could switch their schooling choices. More than 15,000 Orange County students have said they want to return to classrooms from online learning, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Teacher shortages are having an impact. The Florida State University School sent hundreds of students back to virtual classes because it didn’t have enough teachers to go around, WCTV reports.

Some traditions don’t last. A Duval County high school’s football team started running onto the field behind a Thin Blue Line flag to honor a player’s father. Some people viewed the flag as racist, prompting the school to ban it, WJXT reports.

Officials are taking close looks at who to quarantine, and for how long. An Orange County high school, shuttered by a large quarantine, received permission to return to in-person classes four days earlier than planned, WKMG reports. • Coronavirus cases appear to have plateaued in Orange County, WKMG reports. • By contrast, Duval County doctors are seeing a continual increase in COVID-19 cases at schools since they opened, WJXT reports. • A Brevard County elementary school returned to online classes only as it experienced ‘expanded cases,’ Florida Today reports.

He is outta there. A Marion County deputy superintendent tendered his resignation amid an investigation that found he used his position for personal gain, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Make way for a charter school. The site of a controversial nursery business is proposed for a new classical charter in Collier County, the Naples Daily News reports.

Stay healthy. Six Manatee County schools will house medical telehealth services for close to 4,000 students, the Herald-Tribune reports.

From the police blotter ... A Hillsborough County middle school teacher was arrested on allegations of sending sexually explicit messages to students.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... Did you ever wonder what Hogwarts might be like if operating during today’s pandemic? The Warp Zone did.