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Social issues take center stage in Florida schools, universities

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

Coping with the coronavirus has turned much attention away from other issues facing Florida education over the past months. But that doesn’t mean they’ve gone away. Teachers continue to seek ways to assert their role, while students find their footing on topics critical to them, and parents protest. The subject matter includes LGBTQ rights, race relations, Holocaust education and straight up politics. Read on for the latest.

Teacher voices make a difference when setting schools' direction. Hillsborough County’s superintendent says he wants to set up an advisory council to hear them. Union leaders contend he’s trying to “cherry pick an echo chamber.”

It’s time to educate, not discriminate. One of the state’s largest LGBTQ rights groups has joined with the biggest scholarship funding organization to teach private schools how to better deal with LGBTQ youth. Some have been accused of having discriminatory admission and discipline policies. • The debate isn’t limited to private schools, though. A proposal to recognize LGBTQ History Month in public schools brought out strong reactions from Lee County residents, WFTX reports. • The Martin County School Board has agreed to consider a proclamation for LGBTQ+ History Month at its next meeting, after initially resisting the idea, TC Palm reports.

‘She’s a troll.' The appearance of a gun rights activist known as “Gun Girl” leads to a tense protest on the University of South Florida Tampa campus.

Students demand attention to campus racial inequities. Some want the University of Florida to rename the Reitz Union, the Gainesville Sun. Reitz was considered a racist because of his support of segregation, WUFT reports.

Large groups have protested masks and Black Lives Matter curriculum at recent Sarasota County School Board meetings. The board has granted its superintendent authority to boost security at meetings as a result, the Herald-Tribune reports.

He’s back. A reluctant Palm Beach County School Board rehired the principal it fired after comments he made about the Holocaust, saying a judge’s recommended order gave it little choice, the Palm Beach Post reports.

John Laughman helps students cross the street outisde Barrington Middle School in Lithia on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.
John Laughman helps students cross the street outisde Barrington Middle School in Lithia on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

What’s next? The Manatee County School Board surveyed parents to learn more about their education preferences before a debate over whether to make changes, the Bradenton Herald reports. More than 70 percent said they don’t want to switch their current choice. • Lee County students have until Oct. 17 to decide if they want to change their schooling model, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • Miami-Dade County schools welcomed back about 70,000 more students as they continued to reopen. A main stress point was parents who asked to change their children’s assignment at the last minute, the Miami Herald reports. • The St. Johns County school district has stopped letting students switch back to online learning, WJXT reports. • The Indian River County school district has extended its e-learning system, which had been set to end after the first quarter, TC Palm reports.

The simultaneous teaching of in-person and online students isn’t winning much support. It’s being used much more widely than initially planned in Alachua County schools, WUFT reports.

Some Palm Beach County teachers have installed their own classroom partitions. Confusion has reigned since, as different messages about whether they’re allowed or not have emerged, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Rapid tests are coming to schools. Palm Beach County nurses will learn how to use them starting Monday, WPTV reports.

Many teachers still worry about the working conditions they face inside schools. Hundreds are walking away, WFTS reports. • The stakes are high, particularly for older educators, the Herald-Tribune reports.

More funding might help. The Alachua County school district requested an additional $13 million in CARES Act funds. The county government has offered $1.3 million, the Gainesville Sun reports.

The Legislature meets soon. The Lake County School Board has started drafting its priorities for the session, the Daily Commercial reports. Equitable funding tops the list.

Let’s make a deal. Brevard County teachers reached a tentative contract agreement that increases minimum pay by more than $7,000 and gives others $850, Florida Today reports.

From the campaign trail ... Much of the conversation about the Pinellas County School Board District 7 race has been about race. The candidates want to change that. • Several central Florida board seats are up for grabs in November, WKMG reports.

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

Before you go ... New math vs. old math. You decide.

NEW MATH VS OLD MATH 🤣

New Math Vs Old Math. LOL 😂

Posted by Math Major Be Like on Thursday, July 30, 2020

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