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How should Florida schools teach about race? Ask these students.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Travis Flowers stands with Mayor Ken Welch at the closing of a 2022 Black history celebration at Melrose Elementary School in St. Petersburg. Questions have arisen over the extent to which issues about race can be discussed in schools after Florida adopted new rules.
Travis Flowers stands with Mayor Ken Welch at the closing of a 2022 Black history celebration at Melrose Elementary School in St. Petersburg. Questions have arisen over the extent to which issues about race can be discussed in schools after Florida adopted new rules. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published May 20|Updated May 20

The big story: For several months, Floridians have argued over how race should be taught in the public schools.

Adults have done much of the talking.

Several Hillsborough County students participated in an essay contest asking them the question. They have some pretty strong views of their own. Here’s a sample:

“If lawmakers are really so concerned with students learning an unbiased history, they should start teaching the FULL history, not the one that they’re comfortable with. Because let’s face it: race IS uncomfortable,” wrote Ryan Kelly of Tampa Preparatory School.

Read more here.

Florida’s new laws about instruction on race, gender and other topics were discussed during a hearing in the U.S. House, Florida Phoenix reports. U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican, defended his home state’s actions, saying students are a captive audience who deserve protections, Fox News reports.

Hot topics

Florida will be adopting science and math textbooks in the coming two years. Heated debates are anticipated.
Florida will be adopting science and math textbooks in the coming two years. Heated debates are anticipated. [ AP (2012) ]

Textbook adoption: Next on Florida’s list are social studies and science, and Floridians already are getting ready for divisive debates over the content — including preparing to become reviewers themselves. • The state has again made clear to publishers that certain topics such as “critical race theory” and “social emotional learning” aren’t welcome in the social studies books, the News Service of Florida reports.

Graduation season: Brevard County seniors and their families are celebrating commencement without pandemic restrictions, and they like it, Florida Today reports. • Caps and gowns arrived on time for two Lee County high schools whose seniors worried they might have to graduate without them, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Teacher pay: The Miami-Dade County School Board is the latest to call a referendum to raise property taxes as a way to boost teacher salaries and improve campus security, WLRN reports. • Former House speaker and FSU president John Thrasher called on local school districts to take more steps to increase teacher pay, Florida Politics reports.

Yearbooks: A Lee County School Board member criticized a local high school for allowing photos in its yearbook from a student protest against the law relating to the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation, WINK reports.

Other school news

The state continued to introduce its 2023 teacher of the year finalists. They included Trinity Whittington, a fourth grade teacher from Gilchrist County, and Melissa Matz, a seventh grade teacher from Clay County.

The Miami-Dade County School Board approved 35 administrative moves. One of them was the hiring of the superintendent’s wife with a six-figure salary, the Miami Herald reports.

Flagler County school bus drivers got a surprise when they arrived at work Thursday. TSA officials were there to provide a safety training drill, Flagler Live reports.

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The Martin County school district concluded its investigation into student use of a racial slur. Officials said counseling will be provided and the issue will otherwise be addressed, offering few additional details, WPTV reports.

The Seminole County school district reported an increase in student truancy. Administrators said they are pursuing several initiatives, including talking to the students friends, to get the children to return to classes, WFTV reports.

Thousands of Alachua County parents got an alert of an active shooter at a school. It was a accidental message that the district has apologized for, the Gainesville Sun reports.

From the police blotter ... A Miami-Dade County middle school teacher was arrested on accusations of pursuing a romantic relationship with a former student, who is a minor, WTVJ reports. • A Lake County middle school teacher was arrested on accusations of sexual battery on a minor child, the Daily Commercial reports.

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

Before you go ... Be sure to watch what you eat. Check out this trending video on the problems some NBA players ran into because of diet.

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