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Florida university ‘intellectual freedom’ law under fire in court

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Students walk through the University of Florida campus on the last day of regular classes for the semester in December. A federal judge is hearing testimony on whether state university students may record their professors' lessons without permission.
Students walk through the University of Florida campus on the last day of regular classes for the semester in December. A federal judge is hearing testimony on whether state university students may record their professors' lessons without permission. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | Orlando Sentinel ]
Published Jan. 11, 2023|Updated Jan. 11, 2023

The big news: Some of Florida’s most contentious new laws have landed in court, where the federal judiciary is considering whether certain actions highly touted by Republican lawmakers and the governor meet constitutional muster.

A measure governing intellectual freedoms at public colleges and universities is in the testimony phase, with the critics attempting to demonstrate the problems with the law.

On the first day, a University of Florida faculty senate leader took issue with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request that all universities provide lists of resources used for diversity, equity and inclusion, the News Service of Florida reports.

The next day, a University of Pennsylvania expert witness discussed the pitfalls of allowing students to record lessons without the instructor’s consent. Read more from Florida Phoenix.

Hot topics

Teacher recruitment: The Broward County school district has struggled to attract military veterans into a new certification program promoted by the state, Miami New Times reports. • The Martin County school district is holding another job fair as it seeks to overcome an “unprecedented” shortage of teachers and other employees, WPTV reports.

School board politics: National politics played a key role in local school board races in Florida and elsewhere, and appears likely to continue going forward, NPR reports.

Education funding: The University of Miami’s new Teaching and Learning department chairperson, education funding expert Bruce Baker, says Florida should target its money where student needs are greater, the University of Miami News Service reports.

School leadership: Two Hillsborough County middle schools — Giunta and Sligh — will get new principals. • Teachers at an Escambia County elementary school are criticizing the superintendent’s selection of a new principal for their campus, WEAR reports.

School repairs: A 97-year-old Volusia County elementary school will get a $2.3 million repair of its water-damaged walls, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • A Citrus County charter school is seeking added funding from the city of Crystal River to support a construction project, without which the school might close down, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Student news

Bullying: A St. Johns County parent accused staff at her daughter’s high school of bullying her child, who died by suicide. District officials are investigating, WTLV reports.

Enrollment: Miami-Dade County school district officials hope magnet offerings will attract students back into classrooms, reversing enrollment declines, WLRN reports.

Dropout prevention: The St. Lucie County school district is expanding a non-traditional program aimed at giving struggling high school students a second chance to succeed, WPEC reports.

Special education: Volusia County students with special needs can get workplace internships to help them prepare for jobs, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

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

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