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After a year off, Florida resumes its annual testing

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Florida students begin their state writing and reading tests this week. Worries remain among some about in-person testing.
Florida students begin their state writing and reading tests this week. Worries remain among some about in-person testing.
Published Apr. 5
Updated Apr. 5

Students across Florida in third through tenth grades begin their in-person Florida Standards Assessments today, with question marks still surrounding how state officials intend to use the results. They’ve said they will reveal their plans imminently, so keep an ear open for their announcement. In the meantime, some other students have other testing concerns on their minds. The exams for rigorous Cambridge, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses are fast approaching, and some teens are saying that they don’t feel comfortable with taking those in person, either. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

Some Pinellas County IB students are advocating for cancellation of their senior exams. They noted that students in Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties aren’t taking the tests, and contend they shouldn’t have to, either.

Coronavirus concerns

As coronavirus vaccinations become more available, colleges and universities are contemplating whether to require them. Nova Southeastern University told students to get the shots by August, while schools in the state university system are encouraging but not mandating them.

School districts face a similar question. Leon County schools are strongly supporting the idea that everyone eligible should get inoculated, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Bay County’s superintendent halted his regular meetings with students when the pandemic began. He recently resumed the sessions, the Panama City News Herald reports.

Private school enrollment is surging. Families are relocating from the northeast to the state, where schools are open during the pandemic, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Many teachers have taught in-person and online students at the same time for the past year. In Palm Beach County, parents and teachers alike say it needs to stop, WPTV reports.

Hundreds of Brevard County kindergartners didn’t enroll this year. District officials anticipate a surge in the fall, Florida Today reports.

School news

Undocumented on campus. University of South Florida students whose immigration status is in legal limbo have created an organization to support one another.

“No one should have to choose between their health and their job.” Teacher union leaders are calling for changes to Florida’s medical marijuana rules after a Brevard County educator was fired for using the drug, WKMG reports. More from Florida Today.

Getting there is half the battle. The St. Johns County school district is reevaluating walking routes to school after some parents complained their children were unsafe, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Alachua County schools are facing crowding on some campuses, empty seats on others. The superintendent says rezoning is coming, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Tending fields. The Clay County School Board reached deals with two companies to care for sports fields, alleviating concerns among residents who feared the fields would fall into disrepair, WJXT reports.

New digs. Faculty and staff at an Okaloosa County preparatory school got a sneak peek at their school’s new campus, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Tallahassee action

Thanks for proposing $1,000 bonuses for teachers and principals. Charlotte County school educators and officials want to know what Gov. Ron DeSantis has in mind for other school employees, the Charlotte Sun reports. • Lee County teacher union leaders agree that all staff should get a boost, not just some, WINK reports.

The “parent bill of rights” is proving controversial as it moves through the Legislature. The bill has made it through the House, as it did last year, and is awaiting action in the Senate, TC Palm reports. LGBTQ advocates contend the measure could force schools to out students to their parents, regardless of the students’ wishes, WMFE reports.

A bill that could reduce Bright Futures scholarships remains alive in the Senate. North Florida students are lending their voices to the opposition, the Panama City News Herald reports.

From the court docket ... A judge rules that a Broward County teacher who called students names such as “dummy” should not have been fired, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Case closed. No one will face charges for ‘kidnapping’ a Santa Rosa County Montessori school’s guinea pig, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. The three children suspected will have to write apology notes, though.

Before you go ... For everyone who loves an exciting buzzer beater. The championship game comes tonight.