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Parent activists turn attention to Florida school boards

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
In this image from a livestream, members of the Pinellas County School Board listen to parents during a public hearing regarding the district's mask rule on June 8, 2021. Some of the speakers said they would work to change the board makeup.
In this image from a livestream, members of the Pinellas County School Board listen to parents during a public hearing regarding the district's mask rule on June 8, 2021. Some of the speakers said they would work to change the board makeup. [ Pinellas County Schools ]
Published Jun. 15
Updated Jun. 15

School board politics got a much closer look in the past year, as parents and others paid attention to the decisions being made about school reopening, mask requirements and more. Some people decided they need to keep a closer eye on the agencies than they have in the past. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

‘We’re coming for your seats.’ Parents have said they plan to focus on school board seats they previously had taken for granted. Even Gov. Ron DeSantis is paying attention. • Energized by their pandemic experiences, parents in Florida and elsewhere have organized and, with the backing of think tanks, law firms and media reports, turned their attention to race and equity issues in the schools, NBC reports.

Race relations

‘Critical race theory’ has become the latest focal point. State Sen. Shevrin Jones accused DeSantis of “ginning up faux outrage” over the issue, Florida Politics reports. • Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Fried accused DeSantis of seeking a culture war, Florida Politics reports. • Meanwhile, the Collier County School Board refused to reject books that some residents claimed contained critical race theory lessons, WINK reports. • And Duval County superintendent Diana Greene said her district will continue to teach African American history as in the past, WJCT reports.

The University of South Florida will have its most diverse incoming class in years. Its recruiting effort was deceptively simple.

A Lee County mom is upset over the punishment students received after jumping her son and calling him racial slurs. The teens were suspended, and she wanted more, WINK reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Prekindergarten providers struggled financially during the pandemic. The Polk County early learning coalition offered grants to help keep them afloat, the Ledger reports.

A Palm Beach County elementary school lost about 10 percent of its students to home schooling during the pandemic. It’s trying to convince families to return, the Palm Beach Post reports.

School news

That’s a wrap. Four Putnam County schools closed their doors for good, WUFT reports.

Who’s No. 1? Escambia County high schools will continue to name class valedictorians, after the district dropped a proposal to move to a graduation honors system instead, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Let us pray. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a requirement that public schools provide students a daily moment of silence, WFTX reports. More from the Herald-Tribune.

Now hiring. The Santa Rosa County school district is trying to replenish its substitute teacher pool after half quit during the past year, the Pensacola News Journal reports. • Duval County schools are looking for hundreds of new teachers and several school safety guards, WTLV reports.

Leadership issues

An Alachua County School Board member doesn’t live in the district she was elected to represent. A judge will decide what to do about it, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Moving on up. The Lee County school district’s chief operations officer is now its interim superintendent, WINK reports. Outgoing leader Greg Adkins reflected on his tenure before his departure, WFTX reports.

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

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