The University of Florida has a new civics center. Its origin is murky.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
In this aerial view, Century Tower rises from the center of the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.
In this aerial view, Century Tower rises from the center of the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. [ University of Florida ]
Published July 14, 2022|Updated July 14, 2022

The big story: Florida Republican leaders lately have made a strong push to overhaul the way students learn about civics.

One new initiative creates an academic center for civic education at the University of Florida. Lawmakers approved $3 million to support the project.

When asked about where the idea came from, the bill sponsor had little information.

“I don’t know really much about that group at all,” Sen. Keith Perry, a Gainesville Republican, said in an interview. “I don’t know who they are.”

Yet the concept advanced with support at the highest levels. Read on for more details.

Hot topics

State control: Gov. Ron DeSantis has made education a key part of his agenda, and he’s exerting growing control over the state’s school system, NPR reports.

Parent involvement: Moms For Liberty is preparing for its first national summit in Tampa, the USA Today Florida Network reports.

Race relations: Several departments at the University of Central Florida removed anti-racism statements from their websites without explanation, the Associated Press reports.

Gender issues: Leon County’s superintendent defended the district’s new LGBTQ inclusivity guide, which has drawn criticism from groups including Equality Florida, WCTV reports.

School security: All Marion County schools open for summer classes have deputies assigned to them, so the County Commission wants the school district to pay the full cost of the service, WCJB reports.

Other school news

The Brevard County Commission agreed in the spring to place a school district property tax referendum on the November ballot. One commissioner wants the panel to rescind its decision, Florida Today reports.

Revenue from the Duval County school district’s local-option sales tax has been better than expected. It’s allowed the district to get ahead of schedule on several of the security and maintenance projects supported by the tax, WJXT reports.

Florida has an historic new statue in the U.S. Capitol. It represents educator Mary McLeod Bethune, and makes Florida the first state to have a statue of a Black person in the collection, the News Service of Florida reports.

Florida A&M University has run out of dorm space for incoming students. Officials pointed to a larger than usual freshman class and a rise in student transfers, WFSU reports.

From the court docket ... After lengthy jury selection and pretrial hearings, the sentencing trial for the Parkland school shooter is set to begin Monday, WPLG reports. • An administrative law judge ruled that the Bay County school district improperly expelled a student with disabilities who had been involved in a school fight, WJHG reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... There’s a micropig cafe in Japan. Are you ready to make the trip?

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