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College Board escalates fight with Florida over African American studies

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. DeSantis' administration has blocked a new Advanced Placement course on African-American studies from being taught in high schools, saying the class violates state law and that it is historically inaccurate. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. DeSantis' administration has blocked a new Advanced Placement course on African-American studies from being taught in high schools, saying the class violates state law and that it is historically inaccurate. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) [ LYNNE SLADKY | AP ]
Published Feb. 13, 2023|Updated Feb. 13, 2023

The big story: Education news doesn’t tend to break on Saturday evenings, when most people are relaxing and not thinking about school or work.

But the College Board, which has been in a public spat with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Department of Education over its Advanced Placement African American studies course, said it couldn’t wait. So at 8 p.m. Saturday, it issued a scathing statement accusing the department of using vague and sometimes false criticisms of the course to advance the governor’s political agenda.

“In Florida’s effort to engineer a political win, they have claimed credit for the specific changes we made to the official framework,” the group wrote. “In their February 7, 2023, letter to us, which they leaked to the media within hours of sending, Florida expresses gratitude for the removal of 19 topics, none of which they ever asked us to remove, and most of which remain in the official framework.”

The governor’s office and the department have not responded. Read more here.

The path toward getting the African American studies course implemented has been complicated, NY Times reports.

Hot topics

Bell schedules: Florida House lawmakers are talking about whether to require high schools to start classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m. They said teens need more sleep.

Choice regulations: The state Senate’s version of a proposal to create universal education savings accounts also included a section aimed at revising Florida’s education statutes to remove some of the “onerous codes” placed on public but not private schools.

College athlete sponsorships: The Legislature unanimously approved legislation to eliminate the state’s name-image-likeness laws, which have put Florida’s students-athletes and universities at a competitive disadvantage. The measure awaits the governor’s consideration.

High school sports: A Lee County School Board member who sits on the FHSAA board of directors explained why she voted in the minority to keep questions about girls’ periods on the group’s annual participation questionnaire, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Library books: A St. Johns County teacher says just because a book contains mature material doesn’t mean it lacks merit, WTLV reports.

Student transportation: The Brevard County school district faces a bus driver crisis, with about 25% of its positions vacant, Florida Today reports.

Teacher shortage: The Putnam County school district has developed a program to help its paraprofessionals become teachers, WUFT reports.

University presidents: Five finalists were announced in Florida Institute of Technology’s president search, Florida Today reports.

Youth risk survey: The Duval County school district canceled its plan to administer the CDC’s 2023 youth risk behavior survey after the Florida Department of Education raised concerns, the Florida Times-Union reports.

From the police blotter ... A Leon County middle school student was arrested on accusations of having a loaded gun on campus, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • A Volusia County high school teacher was arrested on allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor student, WKMG reports. • A Walton County school resource officer was fired and and arrested on accusations of attempting to engage in a sexual relationship with a student, WEAR reports. • A St. Lucie County school custodian was arrested on accusations of possessing drugs at school, TC Palm reports.

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