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Florida has banned social-emotional learning. Schools still use it.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
This a page from "Social Studies Alive! Me and My World," a kindergarten text that was rejected by the Florida Department of Education. This student exercise appears to teach empathy, a value included in the now-controversial discipline of social emotional learning.
This a page from "Social Studies Alive! Me and My World," a kindergarten text that was rejected by the Florida Department of Education. This student exercise appears to teach empathy, a value included in the now-controversial discipline of social emotional learning. [ Teachers’ Curriculum Institute ]
Published June 8, 2023

The big story: What’s in a name?

When it’s “social-emotional learning,” it’s one that school districts across Florida have become cautious to utter. State officials have made clear they see SEL, as it’s also referred to, as part of an unacceptable liberal agenda.

They’ve banned mention of it from books and programs.

But school districts still face the responsibility of teaching children about proper behavior, and dealing with mental health concerns. They’re calling the approach something else. Read more here.

Hot topics

DeSantis agenda: Gov. Ron DeSantis frequently touts Florida’s education system as top in the nation. How much can be attributed to his efforts? It’s a mixed bag. • Miami-Dade County superintendent Jose Dotres said his district is grappling with how to implement new state laws and still have students feel welcome at school, WTVJ reports.

Gender issues: Close to 100 Seminole County residents had something to say about the school district’s decision to remove two pages about LGBTQ+ youth from one high school’s yearbook, WOFL reports. • A judge ruled in February that parents, students and teachers challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s “parental rights in education” law lacked standing to bring their lawsuit. Their lawyers are asking an appellate court to reinstate the case, the News Service of Florida reports. • As conservatives target equity and inclusion policies in schools, some students say they feel less safe, the Associated Press reports.

Cost of living: The Pinellas County school district selected a developer to build affordable housing for teachers and staff, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports.

Moms for Liberty: Florida-based leaders of the national parental rights group rejected being labeled an extremist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Online education: Florida Virtual School is scaling back its offerings as course completions decrease, the News Service of Florida reports.

Superintendent searches: The Collier County school district will try to get a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the School Board violated state Sunshine Laws during its superintendent search, the Naples Daily News reports. • Some Sarasota County community members are critical of the district’s choices for superintendent, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Security: Palm Beach County school district officials are preparing to roll out a plan for using metal detectors, as the system expelled double the usual number of students for bringing weapons to campuses, WPTV reports.

Student behavior: Alachua County School Board members raised questions about equity issues in a district report on attendance, behavior and core academics, Main Street Daily News reports. • Escambia County has one of the state’s highest juvenile arrest rates. The school district and jail work to ensure that incarcerated children still get an education, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

College leadership: A state lawmaker with ties to Gov. Ron DeSantis and no higher education leadership experience was named the president of South Florida State College, the News Service of Florida reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is right here.

Before you go ... Can “Across the Spider-Verse” be even better than the original?

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