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Florida preschools help parents teach their children to learn

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Ulas Butler, United Way Suncoast’s senior manager of early learning and family engagement, passes out pizza during a Campbell Park Network for Early Learning program at the Campbell Park Resource Center on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in St.Petersburg. Parents bring their children to the center for learn-and-play sessions which encourage brain development and improve school readiness.
Ulas Butler, United Way Suncoast’s senior manager of early learning and family engagement, passes out pizza during a Campbell Park Network for Early Learning program at the Campbell Park Resource Center on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in St.Petersburg. Parents bring their children to the center for learn-and-play sessions which encourage brain development and improve school readiness. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]
Published Dec. 8, 2022|Updated Dec. 8, 2022

The big story: For children to succeed in school, they need to know how to learn.

Experts say those skills develop at young ages. And parents play a key role in making it happen.

Yet many parents don’t know how to help their children in that key area. Some Tampa Bay area early education centers are helping.

“If you’re not talking to your child, if you’re not helping your child learn and grow and become familiar with language in those years, then when they enter kindergarten, they’ll already be at a disadvantage,” said Ulas Butler of the United Way. Read more here.

Hot topics

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis displays the signed Parental Rights in Education, aka the Don't Say Gay bill, flanked by elementary school students in March. State Rep. Joe Harding, the bill sponsor, applauds behind DeSantis.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis displays the signed Parental Rights in Education, aka the Don't Say Gay bill, flanked by elementary school students in March. State Rep. Joe Harding, the bill sponsor, applauds behind DeSantis. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | AP ]

Gender issues: The Florida Department of Education is taking issue with LGBTQ protections provided by several school districts across the state. The Hillsborough County school district has been revising its rules as a result of state criticism. The Palm Beach County school district is reviewing its policies after being identified as potentially breaking the law, the Palm Beach Post reports. • State Rep. Joe Harding, who spearheaded the Legislature’s push for restrictions on teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation, was indicted on federal money laundering and wire fraud charges.

Sex education: The Miami-Dade County chapter of County Citizens Defending Freedom has sued the school district, claiming its adoption of sex education curriculum did not follow state law, the Florida Standard reports.

Book challenges: One person has filed all the book challenges made in St. Lucie County schools, and she’s not a district parent, WPEC reports. • Three authors traveled to Duval County to protest the removal of their books about Jewish culture from school shelves, Forward reports. Several free speech groups rallied to urge the Duval district to return 176 titles to the schools, WJXT reports.

Board politics: Two Flagler County School Board members say they will not seek reelection in 2024, citing the nasty political environment as a motivating factor, Flagler Live reports. • A former Broward County School Board member was cleared after an ethics investigation into her stay at a vendor’s beach house, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Superintendents: Sarasota County superintendent Brennan Asplen signed a separation agreement with the district after the School Board’s new conservative majority pushed for his ouster, the North Port Sun reports.

Other school news

The Hillsborough County Commission is considering whether to ban the sale of vaping equipment within 500 feet of schools.
The Hillsborough County Commission is considering whether to ban the sale of vaping equipment within 500 feet of schools. [ [Associated Press (2018)] ]

Vaping: The Hillsborough County Commission will look into banning the sale of e-cigs within 500 feet of schools.

Testing: Palm Beach County schools suspended their state testing for the remainder of the week, as they experienced internet connection problems, WPBF reports. The testing window remains open into January.

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Enrollment: A surge in private and home schooling has prompted the Flagler County school district to delay its plans for a new middle school, Flagler Live reports.

Teacher pay: The Escambia County school district and teachers union reached a salary agreement that increases minimum pay to $45,500 and provides a one-time bonus, WEAR reports.

In higher education

University tenure: The University of Florida faculty senate passed a resolution urging the Board of Governors to delay implementation of a new post-tenure review process, the Independent Alligator reports.

College costs: The Osceola County Commission extended a program offering free tuition at Valencia College or Osceola Tech to all 2023 county high school graduates, WKMG reports.

Branding: Florida Gulf Coast University unveiled a new logo, WFTX reports.

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

Before you go ... Look who got the 2022 Legend Award from Soul Train Awards.

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