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Florida lawmakers target personal pronoun use in schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Gaither High School students protest in 2022 against the Parental Rights in Education Act, a Florida measure that restricts the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation that critics derided as "don't say gay." The state Legislature is working to expand the law in 2023.
Gaither High School students protest in 2022 against the Parental Rights in Education Act, a Florida measure that restricts the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation that critics derided as "don't say gay." The state Legislature is working to expand the law in 2023. [ IVY CEBALLO | (Ivy Ceballo/Tampa Bay Times via ]
Published March 21, 2023

The big story: The Republican majority of Florida’s Legislature has decided it wants to restrict the use of peoples’ personal pronouns to those aligned with the sex assigned on their birth certificate. The lawmakers want to start in public schools.

Lawmakers said it did not matter whether parents have approved the different pronouns. The bill they’ve proposed asserts that sex is affixed at birth and cannot be changed, and therefore neither can pronouns.

The same bill also aims to further restrict the teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation into fourth through eighth grades. A Senate committee debated the measure for about an hour on Monday. Read more here.

It’s the Senate companion to HB 1069, which also includes wording that could prevent elementary girls from talking to their teachers about their menstrual cycle. The Senate version does not contain that provision, which has become a talking point nationally, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Meanwhile, the University of South Florida student government has adopted a resolution strongly urging the school’s administration not to bow to state demands for information about gender-affirming care it provides.

“I think it shows the average student is not fully on board with the changes and proposals that the state of Florida and our governor are making,” resolution author Jonathan Chavez said.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will review the chairperson’s budget recommendations when it meets at 9 a.m. • The Senate Education Appropriations Committee will take up four bills including SB 244 on teacher rights and responsibilities when it meets at 11 a.m. • The House Choice and Innovation Subcommittee will consider six bills including HB 773 to require a referendum for Hernando County schools return to an elected superintendent when it convenes at 11:30 a.m. • The House Postsecondary Education and Workforce Subcommittee will consider six bills when it meets at 2 p.m. • The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will consider SB 1110 on school board term limits when it meets at 2:30 p.m.

Hot topics

Teacher shortage: The Charlotte County school district will offer new incentives to recruit and retain teachers, the Charlotte Sun reports.

Special education: The Polk County school district is revamping its exceptional student education program, with officials saying the program has fallen short in recent years, Lakeland Now reports.

Superintendents: The Escambia County School Board is poised to vote on whether it will hold a referendum to return to an elected superintendent, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • The Broward County School Board has asked residents to offer ideas about what the district’s next superintendent should be like, WSVN reports.

Reading lessons: The Palm Beach County school district has launched a new program aimed at helping elementary students improve their reading levels, which have lagged because of the pandemic, WPEC reports.

New College: The provost at New College of Florida has stepped down, as the school undergoes a continuing shakeup, Florida Politics reports.

From the police blotter ... A Marion County second grade teacher was arrested on accusations of sexually abusing a girl, WKMG reports.

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

Before you go ... As one of the YouTube commenters said, these guys should start a band.

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