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Academic freedom disagreement rises at the University of Florida

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
UF Board of Trustees chairman Mori Hosseini emphatically stated the university's recent actions were not about academic freedom. (Photo courtesy UF livestream).
UF Board of Trustees chairman Mori Hosseini emphatically stated the university's recent actions were not about academic freedom. (Photo courtesy UF livestream). [ University of Florida ]
Published Dec. 6, 2021|Updated Dec. 8, 2021

By now you’ve probably heard how upset some University of Florida faculty members have become over what they see as infringements on their academic freedoms. But have you taken note of university leaders’ responses? Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

UF trustees contend the university did nothing wrong. They expressed dismay that the media and public would pay attention to the complaint.

Awards of note

Pasco County named its 2022 teacher of the year. Longleaf Elementary theater teacher Ryan Bintz gets rave reviews from students and colleagues.

The University of Florida has made Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down a school anthem. Now the university has posthumously awarded the Gainesville native a honorary doctorate in music.

Stimulus funds

Polk State College students got a surprise holiday gift from the school. The college wiped out their student debt, using money from federal coronavirus relief funds, the Associated Press reports.

Congress set aside $800 million to help homeless students. Florida is among the states that has yet to spend the money, Chalkbeat reports.

University of Central Florida employees want to know what the school is doing with its $112 million allocation. The faculty union accused the administration of sitting on the funds while faculty turnover mounts, the News Service of Florida reports.

School districts are preparing to receive their next round of federal money. The Alachua County school district is surveying the public for input on how to use it, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Hot topics

Gender issues: The Florida Department of Education removed links on its website to LGBTQ organizations after a conservative news website asked questions about their appearance, Florida Capital Star reports.

Race lessons: Palm Beach County superintendent Mike Burke told lawmakers his district doesn’t teach “critical race theory,” but it also does not shy away from teaching the truth about U.S. history, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Masking: A Brevard County parent has filed a $100 million federal lawsuit against the school district over what he said was forced masking of his stepdaughter, Florida Today reports. Local law enforcement have not corroborated some of the parent’s allegations.

Literacy: The Alachua County school district is launching a new K-2 literacy program in its effort to close the achievement gap, the Gainesville Sun reports.

School safety: Florida lawmakers are advancing legislation to improve enforcement of school speed zones, Florida Politics reports.

Before you go ... Take a half-hour of your day and enjoy a new Sting performance.

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