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Don’t follow Biden’s gender identity rules, Florida tells schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Florida education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. has told school districts to ignore the Biden Administration's recommendations on how gender discrimination might affect their federal school lunch funding. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
Florida education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. has told school districts to ignore the Biden Administration's recommendations on how gender discrimination might affect their federal school lunch funding. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) [ PHIL SEARS | AP ]
Published Jul. 29|Updated Jul. 29

The big story: Florida continues to rebel against the Biden Administration’s efforts to protect LGBTQ youth.

This time, it’s all about the federal guidance telling schools their free lunch status could be at risk if they don’t comply with the administration’s interpretation of Title IX on gender discrimination.

Education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. told Florida districts to ignore the guidelines, which he argued stretch the definition of discrimination beyond its legal bounds by including gender identity. He warned that following through could lead to violations of state law.

“Specifically, for example, nothing in these guidance documents requires you to give biological males who identify as female access to female bathrooms, locker rooms, or dorms; to assign biological males who identify as female to female rooms on school field trips; or to allow biological males who identify as female to compete on female sports teams,” Diaz wrote.

Read the story from the News Service of Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to stir up the issue, claiming without proof that school teachers are “instructed to tell kids” to change genders, Orlando Weekly reports.

Amid all this, schools across Florida are trying to figure out how to implement the state’s new laws regarding the instruction of gender identity and race matters. The Palm Beach County district provided some direction to its teachers this week, WPTV reports.

Hot topics

Nicole Teagarden, a teacher at Heritage Elementary; and Emily Griest, a teacher at Riverview High School, attended a union bargaining session at Chamberlain High School on July 28, 2022. They made their shirts to draw attention to the large number of staff vacancies as schools prepare to re-open for students.
Nicole Teagarden, a teacher at Heritage Elementary; and Emily Griest, a teacher at Riverview High School, attended a union bargaining session at Chamberlain High School on July 28, 2022. They made their shirts to draw attention to the large number of staff vacancies as schools prepare to re-open for students. [ MARLENE SOKOL | Times ]

Teacher pay: Displeased with the district’s offer of supplements instead of raises, the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association declared contract negotiations had reached an impasse. The sides will try to resolve their differences at an Aug. 6 session. • Orange County teachers ratified a contract offering what officials called historic level raises, WESH reports.

College prep: Pinellas County’s Elevating Excellence program has helped high-achieving students with limited resources achieve greater academic success, WTSP reports.

Sex education: The Miami-Dade County School Board reversed course again, approving the sex education curriculum it had rejected, Florida Politics reports. One board member flipped her vote after recognizing the district would have been violating state law by not providing the lessons, the Miami Herald reports.

School lunches: All students at 33 Alachua County schools will continue to receive free cafeteria meals despite changes to federal funding changes, WUFT reports.

School board politics: The Florida Charter School Alliance ended its relationship with the education lobbyist attached to an ad implying a Miami-Dade School Board candidate is endorsed by DeSantis, Politico Florida reports.

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Veterans as teachers: Florida’s new law granting temporary certification to military veterans without bachelor’s degrees has drawn criticism. The Gainesville Sun offers some details about the program.

Other school news

Some residents found dozens of library books in a dumpster outside a Lee County school. Officials said the books hadn’t been checked out in years, and they were being recycled, WBBH reports.

The state issued a new audit on Volusia County schools. It described hundreds of thousands of dollars being sent to unverified accounts, WFTV reports.

The Collier County School Board has launched a search for its next superintendent. Some residents have argued the board should wait until after elections to seek a replacement for retiring Kamela Patton, WBBH reports.

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

Before you go ... St. Petersburg’s Rod Wave is trending with his newest release, “Stone Rolling.” Take a listen.

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