The big story: Florida has plenty of expectations of its children as they strive to graduate from high school.
They must pass Algebra I and civics, for instance, and take at least one course offered online. The state does not mandate teens successfully complete a half-credit class on financial literacy, though.
That’s despite years of attempts to insert the course into graduation requirements. Ask many teens, and they’ll tell you they could use such lessons much more than some of the other things they’re told to sit through.
Perhaps this year that might change.
A House committee on Wednesday unanimously advanced legislation (HB 1115) to add the elective requirement to the curriculum. The Senate companion (SB 1054) is ready for consideration by the full chamber.
“I think this would have been better for my daughter than taking PE online,” said state Rep. Robin Bartleman, a former Broward County educator and School Board member.
School districts have started tallying which positions would be targeted if the Legislature cuts their funding because of their past mask mandates. Leon County’s superintendent says the action would effectively defund the district’s security chief and other high-level decision makers, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • The full House approved the provision Wednesday as part of its education budget, the Associated Press reports. • A group of parents from the potentially affected districts held a press conference to oppose the proposal, WCJB reports. More from WMFE.
It took lawmakers more than a decade to scale back rules on restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities. Now they’re moving closer to further reforming the laws, Florida Politics reports.
Gov. Ron DeSantis called for cutting back spring testing, in favor of more regular progress monitoring. The Florida House took a step toward that goal, with HB 1193 passing it second committee, Florida Politics reports.
Today in Tallahassee ... The Senate will meet in full session, where it will consider several appropriations bills. • The House Education and Employment Committee will meet at 3 p.m., when it will take up 13 bills. • The House Judiciary Committee meets at 3 p.m., where it is to take up a proposed committee substitute for HB 1557, which has come to be called the ‘don’t say gay’ bill. Among the changes, it would clarify that lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation would be barred in kindergarten through third grade, or in a manner that is not age appropriate.
Parent involvement: Parents supportive of their public schools are organizing to counter other parent groups that have emerged to fight for a more conservative approach, WFTS reports. • Leon County parents are fighting over the makeup of the school district’s new LGBTQ+ advisory committee, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • The St. Johns County school district implemented new rules on dealing with students’ preferred pronouns in order to comply with the state’s Parent Bill of Rights law, the St. Augustine Record reports.
Employee pay: Hillsborough County’s superintendent announced plans to boost bus driver pay as a way to attract more drivers, WUSF reports. • The Osceola County School Board approved one-time bonuses and a pay raise for employees in hopes of retaining current workers and attracting new ones, WMFE reports. • The Sarasota County school district raised its base teacher salary to $50,000, the North Port Sun reports.
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School threats: The family of a Broward County teen falsely accused of making a school bomb threat has filed a lawsuit against the school and two social media companies, WPLG reports.
Other school news
Pasco County’s Gulf High School was slated for renovations. Officials determined it would be more cost effective to rebuild instead.
The Pinellas County School Board announced its next steps for taking input on its superintendent search. Residents can answer a survey here, or attend one of three community forums. They are scheduled for Feb. 23 at Pinellas Park High, Feb. 24 at Countryside High and Feb. 28 at St. Petersburg High. Each will begin at 6 p.m., and also will offer remote access for participation.
Alachua County parents have asked for years to have school spring break coincide with the University of Florida’s. It’s on track to happen in 2023, Mainstreet Daily News reports.
Flagler County students will have new school start times next year. High schools will have an added 15 minutes daily, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.
A Palm Beach County high school football coach was abruptly fired after one year on the job. Parents and students are protesting, WPTV reports.
The Orange County school district had plans to create a new bus depot at its Technical College West Campus. The idea is not going over well in the community, WFTV reports.
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Before you go ... What’s in heavy rotation in your music selection these days? This classic can’t get enough play time over here.
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