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Another day, more ‘critical race theory’ debate in Florida

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Audience members joined Ben Frazier, the founder of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, in chanting "Allow teachers to teach the truth" during public comments June 10 on the state's plans to ban the teaching of critical race theory in state public schools.
Audience members joined Ben Frazier, the founder of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, in chanting "Allow teachers to teach the truth" during public comments June 10 on the state's plans to ban the teaching of critical race theory in state public schools. [ BOB SELF | AP ]
Published Jun. 16
Updated Jun. 16

“Critical Race Theory” remains the buzz for another day, as the state government’s push to bar it from schools has sparked a statewide conversation. Residents who previously had blasted school boards over their mask rules have turned their attention to the issue, while district officials point out that the approach isn’t in the curriculum or standards and hasn’t been taught in their classrooms. It looks like this political debate has legs.

School districts are saying they don’t teach it. Citrus County school district officials say Florida’s new rule on the subject won’t affect their schools, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Same for Brevard County schools, Florida Today reports.

The topic is coming up at board meetings. Some Sarasota County School Board members were critical of colleague Bridget Ziegler’s appearance on Fox News to discuss the issue, the North Port Sun reports.

Criticism of the state action is rising. A coalition of dozens of scholarly groups has come out in opposition to the actions that Florida and other states have taken to bar ‘critical race theory’ and the 1619 Project, the NY Times reports.

State officials aren’t backing down. Gov. Ron DeSantis stayed on message in another Fox News interview, Florida Politics reports.

Meanwhile ... The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to make Juneteenth Day a legal public holiday, NPR reports.

Other hot topics

Racism in schools: The salutatorian of a Broward County high school used her graduation speech to call out racism she and others experienced during the pandemic. The response: Racist messages and comments on social media, Al Dia reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel.

Dress code: The federal government has launched an investigation into complaints of dress code discrimination in the St. Johns County school district, WJXT reports. More from the St. Augustine Record.

Corporal punishment: The Hendry County principal who caused a stir by paddling a student was reappointed to the job despite facing possible state discipline, WINK reports.

School board member homes: A Palm Beach County School Board member faces questions about her residency. The state board of ethics took a pass on investigating, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • A judge ruled that an Alachua County School Board member may continue to cast votes on the board as her residency status is reviewed, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Another mask mandate bites the dust. The Volusia County School Board ended its requirement effective immediately, WOFL reports. • The Citrus County School Board rescinded its mask rule, too, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

The pandemic didn’t provide the best learning environment for many students. About a third of Alachua County students fell behind, WUFT reports.

How will Florida use its next round of federal stimulus money? It missed the deadline for submitting a plan, the News Service of Florida reports.

School news

Some students learn better by doing. A new private high school aims to provide hands-on opportunities for teens living in some of Pinellas County’s most under-served areas.

Some Collier County middle and high schools don’t offer performing arts. The district is working with local theaters to rectify the situation, WFTX reports.

The Monroe County School Board issued a contract for a new stadium at Key West High. A local construction company is protesting, the Florida Keys Weekly reports.

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

Before you go ... Who says that bigger is always better? (Sumo has no youth weight categories.)