The big story: Efforts from the Governor’s Office to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs at the state’s universities continue to attract attention from a national audience.
On Thursday, the American Association of University Professors announced it would investigate the state of academic freedom in Florida, in light of the administration’s latest efforts.
The group cited a pattern of “politically and racially motivated” attacks on higher education. Read more here.
At the same time, the university system’s new chancellor, former state Sen. Ray Rodrigues, said some of the programs have value.
“There are programs in there that target populations that are important to everyone. So I just wanted to make sure that we communicate that and let our universities know that we hear them,” Rodrigues told WLRN. Read more here.
Vouchers: A bill to expand Florida’s school voucher system to all K-12 children in the state sailed through its first House committee. Some key questions relating to funding and required services went unanswered. More from the USA Today Florida Network.
African American studies: College Board officials said no lawmaker or state holds sway over its course content, Education Week reports. “This course has been shaped only by the input of experts and long-standing AP principles and practices,” the organization told its members. • The announcement came as prominent Democratic governors took aim at Florida’s ban of the new AP African American Studies course without changes. • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged the College Board not to give in to Florida’s “racist and homophobic laws” by changing the course, Chicago Sun-Times reports. • California Gov. Gavin Newsome also weighed in, NBC News reports. • Other national groups accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of attempting to “whitesplain” Black history, NPR reports.
More on culture lessons: Two Florida lawmakers — one Republican, one Democrat — filed legislation to require the teaching of Asian American culture and history, WKMG reports. A similar bill failed last year.
School books: A state Education official told lawmakers that references to felony charges for teachers who make unapproved books available to students was not intended to target teachers, Florida Politics reports. • As Florida educators and parents take a look at proposed new social studies textbooks, the state has provided guidelines for how it wants to keep “indoctrination” out, the Palm Beach Post reports. • Manatee County school district officials said they did not instruct teachers to cover their classroom libraries. Documents tell a different story, WUSF reports.
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Teacher vacancies: The Putnam County school district has revived its novice teacher retention program, helping it keep 98% of its teaching positions filled, WUFT reports.
Superintendents: Most, but not all, Leon County School Board members defended superintendent Rocky Hanna as he came under fire from the Florida Department of Education for espousing political views, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
Student discipline: Orange County teachers are talking about how to deal with students’ bad behavior, WFTV reports.
Attendance zones: A Palm Beach County advisory committee sent its final recommendation for revised high school boundaries to incorporate a new high school, WPEC reports. The effort has riled families that do not want change.
Other school news
Hillsborough County named its Teacher of the Year. It’s Oak Park Elementary’s Nicolette Barone.
Some Manatee County parents want to know if their children’s elementary school will remain open in August. District officials told them the school’s long-term future is up in the air, the Bradenton Herald reports.
A Brevard County fine arts group that has annually donated to the local schools cut its ties with the district. Group leaders said the district’s direction under a new conservative School Board majority does not align with its views on inclusivity, Florida Today reports.
From the police blotter ... A Miami-Dade County kindergartner had a gun in his backpack at school. His father was arrested, WPLG reports.
From the court docket ... Federal authorities have charged 25 people with running a fraudulent nursing diploma scheme in Florida, the Associated Press reports.
Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.
Before you go ... Movie special effects are so cool.
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