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Education grabs Florida lawmakers’ attention

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers his State of the State address in the House chamber at the Capitol in Tallahassee during Opening Day of the Florida Legislature on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Lawmakers have advanced several education-related bills in the first two weeks of session.
Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers his State of the State address in the House chamber at the Capitol in Tallahassee during Opening Day of the Florida Legislature on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Lawmakers have advanced several education-related bills in the first two weeks of session. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Mar. 11, 2021|Updated Mar. 11, 2021

We’re two weeks into the Florida legislative session, and already several education-related measures have moved quickly through the process. Some are poised for floor action. Many are controversial, such as legislation to govern speech on university campuses and to require moments of silence in public K-12 schools. Read on for news of the latest action in Tallahassee, and other Florida education stories.

Some Florida lawmakers say they’ve heard college students fear expressing conservative views on campus. They’ve proposed legislation to allow recording of professors’ classes when students feel a political view is being pushed upon them, the Associated Press reports.

More than 40 percent of children entered kindergarten unprepared for the work. Several initiatives have been proposed to improve their readiness, Florida Phoenix reports.

Some children have struggled throughout the school year to make progress. A bill allowing their parents to have them repeat a grade advanced in the Senate, the News Service of Florida reports.

Florida is one of several states contemplating restrictions on transgender students’ participation in school sports. Equality Florida held a Pride Day press conference to defend the rights of transgender children, Florida Politics reports.

“Every child will benefit from this time to be centered.” A bill to require public schools provide a daily moment of silence passed its final House committee stop, Florida Politics reports.

Today in Tallahassee. The Senate Appropriations committee will consider legislation revising dual enrollment requirements when it meets at 11:30 a.m. • The House Early Learning and Elementary Education subcommittee unveils a proposed committee bill on closing the achievement gap for boys when it meets at 2:30 p.m.

Testing, testing

Will remote-learning students show up for in-person testing? Some people in Volusia County have their doubts, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

“My kids aren’t going to school for this.” A growing number of Orange County parents are looking to the opt-out movement for this year’s assessments, WKMG reports.

Cut the consequences. The St. Johns County school district lent its voice to the growing call to not use test results for high-stakes decisions this year, WJXT reports.

From the school board chambers

Seminole County School Board members didn’t address the controversy over their flip-flop in picking a superintendent. The district did submit a response to the legal challenge to its move, WKMG reports. • Chad Farnsworth, the board’s first pick for the job, called the process a fiasco and has demanded the board stop misrepresenting his experience as it attempts to justify its actions, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

A group of anti-mask advocates urged everyone to remove their masks at a Collier County School Board meeting. The board recessed its meeting to have the protestors escorted from the room, WFTX reports. More from the Naples Daily News.

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The Volusia County School Board considered a resolution supporting LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week. After hearing residents compare the measure to supporting pedophilia, the board rejected the proposal, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The board approved the same resolution a year ago.

Speaking of LGBTQ rights ... Critics of the Brevard County School Board’s new anti-discrimination guidelines vowed to keep fighting the board on the issue, Florida Today reports.

A new charter school operator is coming to Polk County. School Board members had some initial concerns with Texas-based IDEA, but ultimately approved the charter, the Ledger reports.

The Lee County school district has an aging school bus fleet. It plans to buy several new ones at a “deeply discounted” price, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Leon County students have a demand. They want feminine hygiene products provided in school bathrooms. The School Board and administration sounded supportive, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Students might need more help to overcome missed learning. The Indian River County school district is preparing to expand its summer programs, TC Palm reports.

Back to the classroom for you. Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie announced his district will end its remote learning option in the fall, WPLG reports.

In other news

A court recently ruled the Palm Beach County school district had to share revenue from a voter-approved tax with charter schools. The outcome could affect the credit worthiness of charter schools throughout Florida, The Bond Buyer reports.

The collapse of a school library roof prompted the Broward County district to look at other identically-built buildings. It has closed four other school libraries as a precaution, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

A social media account accusing Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho of infidelity has rocked the district. School Board members said they had concerns and would examine whether any steps need to be taken, the Miami Herald reports.

Citrus County school district officials are closely watching enrollment for the fall. They said they might have to readjust attendance zones if enough students return from distance learning, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... It’s still Women’s History Month. What do you know about Thelma Waters of Indiantown? She’s in the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.


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