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Florida approves conservative PragerU lessons for schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
The Florida Department of Education has approved the use of PragerU lessons for K-12 schools. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, shown at a 2019 University of Florida protest, is among the right wing personalities featured in the group's videos.
The Florida Department of Education has approved the use of PragerU lessons for K-12 schools. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, shown at a 2019 University of Florida protest, is among the right wing personalities featured in the group's videos. [ KASAMBA KOKAYI | Special to the Times ]
Published July 25, 2023|Updated July 28, 2023

The big story: An unaccredited conservative non-profit organization known for its anti-immigration theories and downplaying of systemic racism has been approved to provide classroom materials to Florida schools.

PragerU, founded by radio host Dennis Prager, sent out a news release Monday saying Florida is the first state to allow its K-12 lessons, which it aims to get into as many states as possible.

“Thousands of American teachers and school board members have contacted PragerU desperate for wholesome, quality, engaging resources to help educate their students,” the release stated. “They are sick and tired of curriculum laced with radical political agendas — from Critical Race Theory and gender fluidity to overt anti-Americanism.”

The Florida Department of Education’s decision to allow the PragerU curriculum comes on the heels of a public dispute over the content of new African American history standards. A spokesperson for the department told Miami New Times that the lessons are available at district discretion, and that they align to the state’s new civics and government standards. Read more from the Miami New Times and Daily Beast.

Hot topics

Teacher unions: Florida’s new law restricting teacher union membership dues already is impacting the unions, News Service of Florida reports.

Superintendents: Mark Vianello, Charlotte County’s new superintendent, has been sworn in, the Charlotte Sun reports.

School safety: A newly released report shows Florida’s efforts to assess school threats and intervene before action have been widely successful, Education Week reports.

Enrollment growth: The Flagler County school district broke ground on a $22.6 million high school expansion to handle an influx of students, Flagler Live reports.

Book challenges: Moms for Libros has emerged in south Florida to oppose efforts to remove books from schools, Axios reports.

African American history standards: Teachers booed a Florida Department of Education official who explained the state’s new African American history standards during a training in Miami, WPLG reports. • Dr. William Allen, one of the state’s experts who helped write the standards, has blasted attacks against them as false, The News Desk reports. • Florida Black leaders say they aim to open 25 Freedom Schools in the state as part of an effort to stop Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education agenda, Florida Politics reports. • Read more about the standards controversy from the Tallahassee Democrat.

Other school news

Schools are still hiring as the new academic year approaches. The Lee County school district needs to fill about 350 teaching jobs before classes resume, WINK reports. • Kelly Education is working to hire about 600 more substitute teachers for the start of the school year in Hillsborough County, WFTS reports.

Florida A&M University will allow football activities to resume. The school had suspended use of its facilities while investigating the unauthorized recording of a rap video in the locker room, the Associated Press reports.

From the court docket ... The Florida Supreme Court reprimanded the judge in the trial of the Parkland school shooter for showing bias toward the prosecution, Associated Press reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is a click away.

Before you go ... Officially can’t wait for The Marvels. It even features the return of Goose the cat!

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