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Florida spring testing might carry fewer high-stakes consequences

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
A bill to hold students, teachers and schools harmless from the consequences of the Florida Standards Assessments made its way through its first state Senate stop on March 2. Senators signaled changes are needed to the measure.
A bill to hold students, teachers and schools harmless from the consequences of the Florida Standards Assessments made its way through its first state Senate stop on March 2. Senators signaled changes are needed to the measure.
Published Mar. 3
Updated Mar. 3

The main part of Florida’s spring testing season is just four weeks away, and advocates on all sides are attempting to influence the way things go. The Department of Education has given schools more time to administer the exams, while some parents and educators have pressed to call off the tests for a second straight year because of the pandemic. A middle ground appears to be emerging, but the details need to be ironed out. Quickly. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

No lawmakers are trying to stop state testing. A proposal to pause the consequences associated with the outcomes made its way through its first legislative committee stop, though, despite some initial reservations. Watch for amendments as the bill advances.

Are students in Florida’s universities exposed to a wide range of viewpoints? A state lawmaker wants to require a survey to gauge the expanse of philosophies among faculty members, Florida Politics reports.

Last year, school security legislation died amid debate over the issue of arresting children in schools. This time around, a bill to prevent arrests of children younger than 7 years old is gaining wider support, Florida Politics reports.

“Who is anyone to say that one degree is better than another?” Students and parents decry an effort to change the rules governing Bright Futures scholarships, WTLV reports.

Today in Tallahassee. The House Early Learning and Elementary Education subcommittee will consider bills on literacy when it meets at 10 a.m. • The House Post-Secondary Education and Lifelong Learning subcommittee will review bills on charter school sponsorship and out-of-state student fee waivers when it meets at 1 p.m.

Coronavirus concerns

They’re still looking. Florida school officials try to find students who were expected to show up this year but didn’t, as lawmakers talk about reducing funds for the “missing” children, Florida Phoenix reports.

Enrollment declines aren’t happening only at K-12 schools. Community colleges are feeling the pinch, too, WUFT reports.

Teaching is stressful these days. A group of Bay County volunteers aimed to take the edge off with a bunch of snack donations, the Panama City News Herald reports.

Want prom? One Duval County high school says seniors and juniors can attend an outdoor celebration if they self-isolate from school activities a week afterward, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Some parents want vaccines for their children before sending them back to school. One might be ready in time for the fall semester, WFLA reports.

Race relations

A Tampa school resource officer was fired from his post. Recordings from his body-worn camera captured him using the N-word. The officer, who is Black, said he did not use it in a derogatory way.

A Duval County private school dropped its diversity curriculum under pressure from donors. Five past trustees told the school that financial support was in jeopardy if it kept the program in place, WJXT reports.

The 1920 Ocoee Election massacre soon could be taught in Florida schools. Guidelines for the curriculum have begun to emerge, WFTV reports.

In other school news

More school choice is on its way to Pasco County. The district is preparing to convert to elementary schools to magnet programs.

The publisher of Dr. Seuss books announced it would stop producing six titles. Central Florida school districts said they would review each one to determine whether it should stay on the shelves, WKMG reports.

A Jefferson County charter school operator wants to offer a virtual education program to students. The School Board has rejected the proposal twice, the Jefferson County Journal reports.

Gulf County voters overwhelmingly supported renewal of a school property tax. The question has gained more backing each time it has appeared on the ballot, the Port St. Joe Star reports.

A Broward County teacher was arrested on allegations he inappropriately touched female students. He is not being prosecuted, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

From the police blotter ... A Collier County fourth-grader was arrested on allegations of bringing an unloaded gun to school, the Naples Daily News reports.

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

Before you go ... Pasco County resident Alanis Sophia has high hopes for her musical career. She won a “golden ticket” this week to perform on American Idol. We met her two years ago, when she performed at her graduation from Pasco eSchool. Check out her Idol performance.