The big story: Florida made headlines when education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. told school districts to ignore the Biden Administration’s nondiscrimination guidelines in relation to federally funded cafeteria meals.
Following the federal rules could find schools in violation of state law, Diaz warned.
Florida Agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, on Thursday accused Diaz and Gov. Ron DeSantis of perverting the federal instructions for political motivations.
“The National School Lunch Program has nothing to do with bathrooms, locker rooms or sports,” Fried said, calling DeSantis a “liar.” Read more from Florida Politics.
Whether school lunch funding is actually on the line remains they key question, WJAX reports.
Teacher pay: Negotiators for Hillsborough County teachers and the school district met Thursday to see if they could resolve their impasse in money talks. They didn’t make much progress.
School board politics: A group of LGBTQ-friendly youths are joining forces with the Florida Democrats to push for the ouster of two conservative Flagler County School Board members, the Blade reports. • The race for nonpartisan school board seats has generated hotly partisan debate in Duval County, the Florida Times-Union reports. • The Okaloosa County school district issued an apology to a School Board candidate whose child’s personal information was released publicly, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.
Gender issues: The Collier County school district has asked the state department of education whether teachers must inform parents if they see their children dating someone of the same sex, WINK reports. It’s waiting for an answer.
Coronavirus concerns: Tampa Bay area school districts have scaled back their COVID-19 protocols, but still expect students who are ill to stay home, WUSF reports.
Bus driver shortage: Duval County schools are offering hiring bonuses and considering options such as allowing drivers without commercial licenses to drive vans for students with special needs, WJXT reports.
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Veterans as teachers: The president of the Escambia Education Association, who is a military veteran, suggested state officials spend more time examining why young people don’t want to get into teaching instead of insulting educators already in classrooms, WEAR reports.
Vouchers: The consolidation and expansion of Florida’s voucher and scholarship programs is diverting millions more dollars away from public school districts, WFSU reports.
School security: Polk County schools will conduct random weapons checks as students return to classes, the Ledger reports. • The Palm Beach County School Board approved $6.7 million to contract with outside law enforcement who will fill security gaps within the district police force, the Palm Beach Post reports.
School construction: Flagler County government officials were at loggerheads about how to finance new school construction, until the School Board chairperson came up with a proposal that everyone seemed to like, Flagler Live reports. Without an agreement, several developments could be forced to stop. With sidebar.
From the court docket ... Prosecutors rested their case in the sentencing phase of the Parkland school shooter, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.
Before you go ... What did you do this summer? This Pinellas Park High School criminal justice teacher spent an externship learning more to teach her students.
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