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DeSantis keeps focus on education politics over performance, critics say

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Gov. Ron DeSantis shows an image from the children’s book Call Me Max by transgender author Kyle Lukoff moments before signing the Parental Rights in Education bill in March. Critics say DeSantis should spend more time supporting public education than creating divisive policies.
Gov. Ron DeSantis shows an image from the children’s book Call Me Max by transgender author Kyle Lukoff moments before signing the Parental Rights in Education bill in March. Critics say DeSantis should spend more time supporting public education than creating divisive policies. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Sep. 22

The big story: Hillsborough County regularly has among the highest number of persistently low-performing schools in Florida, according to state metrics.

Across the state, dozens more schools struggle to meet adequate achievement standards set by the State Board of Education.

Yet when it comes to talking about Florida’s education needs, the fate of these low-performing schools doesn’t grab much attention from Gov. Ron DeSantis, who spends more time focused on cultural and political issues, Florida Phoenix reports.

“I’ve never seen him go to these schools,” state Sen. Tina Polsky told Florida Phoenix. “If he doesn’t care, why should anyone else care?”

South Florida and national teacher union leaders held a press conference to blast DeSantis for promoting divisive education politics rather than supporting public education, the Miami Herald reports. More from Florida Politics.

Hot topics

Book challenges: The Brevard County school district has named a committee to review several titles challenged by the local Moms for Liberty chapter as too sexually explicit, Florida Today reports.

Gender issues: A dispute over a flyer promoting an LGBTQ event to students in a Sarasota County school spilled into the district’s School Board meeting, the Herald-Tribune reports. More from the North Port Sun.

Lunch plans: The Bay County school district will end a free lunch program started after Hurricane Michael, the Panama City News Herald reports. Eligible students still may apply for federally subsidized meals.

School safety: The Volusia County school district announced plans to purchase metal detectors for use at high schools, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The move comes shortly after a gun threat that proved to be false at one of the high schools.

Teacher discipline: A Palm Beach County math teacher faces dismissal over accusations he placed students in chokeholds, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Teaching vacancies: The Florida Department of Education reported a decrease in teacher job openings across the state, to 4,442, WFLA reports. Officials noted that equates to about 2.4% of all teaching positions in the 67 districts. • The department also reported that 383 military veterans have applied to a new program making it easier for them to become teachers, WJXT reports. • Palm Beach County school district records showed the number of teachers resigning nearly doubled from 2019 to 2022, WPTV reports.

In higher ed

Leadership: Florida International University’s new president is the man who took the interim post and said he didn’t want to serve long term, the Miami Herald reports.

Name, image and likeness: College sports boosters are pushing to change Florida laws that allow student-athletes to be paid for endorsements, so schools can help students find such opportunities, the News Service of Florida reports.

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

Before you go ... They made a Beetlejuice musical. Who knew?

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