The big story: Can math lessons be racist?
The Florida Department of Education has suggested they can be, rejecting dozens of textbooks from adoption for use on the grounds that they included “critical race theory,” “social-emotional learning” and other “impermissible” subjects that the Republican-led government has sought to excise from the public schools.
Some of the books also did not meet the state’s new academic standards, which were intended to move away from the Common Core, according to the department.
The department included quotes from officials about “indoctrination” in its statement about the books, which came out late Friday. It provided no specific examples.
Asked for examples, the department sent links to lists of reviewed and approved books, and issued this response: “We were very clear in the specifications what expectations needed to be met for materials to be added to the state adopted list. Bids that met those specifications were included. Bids that did not meet those specifications were not included.”
More hot topics
School board elections: The seats are nonpartisan, but political parties have begun vetting candidates for school board seats across Florida. The goal is to find like-minded people to sit on the governing boards.
Book challenges: Two more books survived parent objections as review committees recommended keeping “Thirteen Reasons Why” and “Real Live Boyfriends” on middle and high school shelves, the Ledger reports. The district had removed the books from circulation while taking a closer look at their content.
Student walkouts: The Flagler County teen who organized statewide protests against HB 1557 on gender lessons said his district penalized him for his activity after stating it would not discipline him any further, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. He already had been suspended for handing out Pride flags after being told not to do so.
Physical restraint of students: Palm Beach County schools recorded among the highest use of the practice as state officials move to curtail it, the Palm Beach Post reports.
School security: The Palm Beach County School Board approved spending $500,000 for municipal police forces to patrol schools where district officers are not available, WPEC reports.
School staffing issues
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Teacher, staff pay: Representatives for the Pasco County school district rejected employee requests for raises this year, but offered to quickly reconsider the idea when the next budget cycle begins. Negotiations continue Monday. • The Broward County school district is looking to voters to approve a tax increase that would help improve salaries, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Teacher shortages: Florida schools started the academic year with thousands of teacher vacancies and struggles to find enough substitutes. The situation has worsened over time, WFTS reports.
Bus driver shortages: Drivers for southwest Florida school districts are calling for increased wages as they face critical shortages, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • Several central Florida school districts reported bus delays as drivers called in sick for Good Friday, WKMG reports.
Leadership changes: Volusia County’s new interim superintendent said one of her key roles will be to improve morale within the district, WKMG reports. • An Escambia County activist group contended that the school district repeatedly has overlooked Black candidates for administrative jobs, and it is calling for change, WEAR reports. • The Manatee County school district announced several administrative shifts as longtime staffers planned their retirements, the Bradenton Herald reports.
Before you go ... Brett Goldstein, who plays the usually potty-mouthed Roy Kent on Ted Lasso, showed up on Sesame Street to teach about the f-word. No, not that one. It’s a kids’ show.
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