Moms for Liberty brings its message to Tampa summit

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Maddie Pellicer (left) and Angela Dubach (center) help register participants arriving for the first annual Moms for Liberty national summit on July 14, 2022, at the Tampa Marriott Water Street.
Maddie Pellicer (left) and Angela Dubach (center) help register participants arriving for the first annual Moms for Liberty national summit on July 14, 2022, at the Tampa Marriott Water Street. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times ]
Published July 15, 2022

The big story: Less than two years ago, a small group of conservative Florida school board members launched their organization aimed at activating like-minded parents to steer the direction of their local schools.

Moms for Liberty now boasts chapters across the nation, with its leaders having the ear of influential politicians who are driving an agenda that focuses on concepts such as “education not indoctrination.” This week, the group takes its message to the big stage.

Members began arriving Thursday in Tampa for the Moms’ first ever national summit, which kicks off Friday morning with a speech from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential presidential candidate who shares many of the organization’s ideals. Speeches and seminars on topics such as “Gender Ideology in Our Schools” and “Enforcing Your First Amendment Rights” will take place over two days. (Livestream here)

As attendees were picking up their nametags, DeSantis announced his endorsement of 16 school board candidates from across the state. Those included from the Tampa Bay area Al Hernandez in Pasco County, Chad Choate and Richard Tatem in Manatee County and Robyn Marinelli in Sarasota County.

“These candidates will ensure our students succeed, protect parental rights in education, and combat the woke agenda from infiltrating public schools at the local school board level,” DeSantis said.

About 450 to 500 people are expected to attend the summit, which is taking place in the same hotel complex where the Florida Democratic Party is hosting its summer Leadership Blue conference this weekend. Some protesters are planning to rally outside the hotel, as well. Check back with throughout the day for news from the activities.

Hot topics

Teacher of the Year: Clay County seventh grade math teacher Melissa Anne Matz was named Florida’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, WJAX reports.

Sex education: The group Parents Defending Freedom criticized the sixth grade sex education curriculum at the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville for its gender-neutral terminology, which states that sometimes people have reproductive parts that “don’t match who they are,” Fox News reports.

Math lessons: Buchholz High School in Alachua County has built a math powerhouse, winning 13 of the last 14 national math championships, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Social studies: Florida has given strict instructions to publishers about what not to put into its new social studies textbooks, Education Week reports.

Book selection: The Brevard County school district tried to reassure parents that teachers will continue to have classroom libraries even as the district reviews which books may be included in them, Florida Today reports.

Other school news

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida should expect his ‘boldest set of proposals’ for next year’s budget. Education is near the top of the list, the News Service of Florida reports.

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The Sarasota County school district owns property where the county government a green demonstration house. The two governments are at odds over the future use of the site, the Herald-Tribune reports.

The Gadsden County school district is offering bonuses for teachers to return to their jobs. They would get $2,500 a year over two years, WCTV reports. The money is coming from grants and federal money.

The Brevard County school district offered teachers a 4% raise package. Union representatives rejected the proposal, saying the district also raised insurance premiums so high as to make the increase meaningless, Florida Today reports.

A Duval County assistant principal was removed from his school and placed in a job without student contact. He was disciplined after a district investigation found he improperly grabbed and pushed a student while breaking up a fight, WJAX reports.

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

Before you go ... Clearly, this drummer had more in mind than a performance for kids.

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