Gender-affirming care not major part of Florida universities, despite rhetoric

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
People hold signs during a joint board meeting of the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine gather to establish new guidelines limiting gender-affirming care in Florida, on Nov. 4, 2022.
People hold signs during a joint board meeting of the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine gather to establish new guidelines limiting gender-affirming care in Florida, on Nov. 4, 2022. [ RICARDO RAMIREZ BUXEDA | Orlando Sentinel ]
Published March 15, 2023

The big story: Gov. Ron DeSantis and his staff have argued that Florida institutions of higher education have replaced academics with radical gender ideology as a guiding philosophy.

They demanded that universities and their medical facilities provide details about the gender-affirming care they provide.

The collected data indicate that the rhetoric over the issue does not match reality. The information shows that the number of treated cases are small, and most involved more complex medical considerations than politics would convey. Read more here.

Florida’s entire higher education system faces an overhaul driven by DeSantis and the Florida Legislature. The Chronicle of Higher Education takes a look at how state college presidents came to endorse the government’s stance against diversity, equity and inclusion.

The measures to enact these changes are advancing despite student pleas against them, Orlando Weekly reports.

Hot topics

Vouchers: A recent national report on education funding found Florida to be the leader in subsidizing private schooling, increasing its voucher and related programs by 313% at the same time it decreased per-student funding for public education by 12%, K-12 Dive reports.

New College: Two small liberal arts colleges outside Florida are opening their doors to students and faculty looking to leave New College as it undergoes a conservative transformation, the Miami Herald reports.

Mental health: Leon County schools have seen an increase in Baker Act cases since the pandemic, as more children struggle to cope with life issues, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Gender lessons: A state House committee advanced legislation to expand Florida law that restricts instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, Florida Politics reports. The bill also would place limits on use of preferred pronouns in schools, the News Service of Florida reports.

Cars in school zones: State lawmakers introduced a new study that showed a majority of cars speed through active school zones, as they pushed their bill to allow speed detection zones around schools, Florida Politics reports.

Campus safety: Some Palm Beach County parents are questioning why some district schools are placed on lockdown when weapons are found, and others are not, WPTV reports. • The Escambia County school district announced it will hire additional campus security officers, WEAR reports.

Book reviews: The Florida Education Association celebrated the importance of reading and defended teachers’ ability to select appropriate books for students, in the face of added restrictions and requirements coming out of Tallahassee, WTXL reports. • Author James Patterson is the latest to criticize Florida’s approach to school books after his “Maximum Ride” series was removed from Martin County schools, the Palm Beach Post reports. He encouraged Floridians to send a note to Gov. DeSantis questioning “this mindless book banning.” • Duval County school officials said they did not prolong book reviews that kept titles off shelves for political reasons, as DeSantis alleged, Jacksonville Today reports.

Board elections: A resolution to have voters decide whether school board elections should again be partisan is headed to the House floor, the News Service of Florida reports. The Senate is advancing a similar resolution.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House Higher Education Appropriations subcommittee meets at 8 a.m. • The House Appropriations Committee will take up HB 257 on higher education facilities funding when it meets at 11:30 a.m. • The Senate Education Postsecondary Committee meets at 1 p.m. • The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will take up SB 668 on governmental display of flags when it meets at 1 p.m. • The House Education Quality subcommittee will consider seven bills including HB 1069 on sex education and HB 1537 on teacher certification and professional development when it convenes at 3 p.m. • It’s also Florida School Boards Association Day in the Capitol.

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

Before you go ... Cute bunnies!

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