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Will lessons on gender identity sink AP psychology course in Florida?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Students at Hillsborough High School protested in 2022 state legislation that would limit school lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in elementary schools, saying it would affect them as well. A year later, officials are discussing whether the law and related rules will prevent high schools from teaching AP psychology.
Students at Hillsborough High School protested in 2022 state legislation that would limit school lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in elementary schools, saying it would affect them as well. A year later, officials are discussing whether the law and related rules will prevent high schools from teaching AP psychology. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]
Published July 31, 2023|Updated July 31, 2023

The big story: First, the State Board of Education passed a rule saying that schools may not teach about gender identity and sexual orientation unless it’s explicitly called for in approved standards.

It told the College Board to remove that content from its AP psychology course, or face the possibility of having the course revoked for the thousands of Florida teens who take it annually.

Then the State Board quietly approved the AP psychology course. The seeming conflict has left school district officials seeking clarity, with students scheduled to start taking classes in less than two weeks. They’re hoping to get some answers as early as today. Read more here.

Hot topics

Bus rides: Tampa Bay area school districts continue to look for more bus drivers in their effort to make sure kids get to school and back home in a timely manner. Officials said the situation is looking better than it did a year ago, but some parents — particularly those with students in choice programs — have complaints about the changes. More from Bay News 9.

African American history standards: A member of Florida’s African American history standards work group says the majority of group members did not support all the standards that were ultimately presented and adopted, NBC News reports. • The Florida Legislative Black Caucus, which is primarily Democrats, has called on the state Department of Education to revise the standards, News Service of Florida reports. • Leading Black Republicans continued to criticize the standard suggesting slaves acquired some beneficial skills from their enslavement. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, spoke against the language, saying slavery had “no redeeming benefit, no redeeming value,” The Hill reports. • U.S. Rep. John James, R-Michigan, who also is Black, criticized the standards, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis had “gone too far,” Business Insider reports. • DeSantis meanwhile blasted efforts by the Congressional Black Caucus seeking a federal investigation into the standards, Washington Examiner reports.

Classroom indoctrination: Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly has said he opposes indoctrination in schools. His administration has approved the use of materials from PragerU, whose founder says his group is all about indoctrination and “changing minds,” the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times reports.

Feminine hygiene products: The Leon County school district will provide free tampons and other feminine hygiene products in middle and high school restrooms, in line with new state law permitting it, WCJB reports.

Security: More than 200 people applied to become armed guards in Lee County schools. Seven remain in training to start when classes resume, WFTX reports.

Vouchers: Applications to receive state-funded private school vouchers hit a record in Florida. Officials say so far it appears the cost will remain within the state budgeted amount, WFTV reports.

From the police blotter ... A Palm Beach County student whose alleged assault of another student at school led to the arrest of the principal and four other officials was a relative of one of the school’s assistant principals, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

In higher education

Florida Institute of Technology: New Florida Tech president John Nicklow took his post on July 1. In his first major public appearance, he encouraged students to think beyond their schooling to the impact they can make on their community, Florida Today reports.

New College: Interim president Richard Corcoran is under fire for offering $5,000 bonuses to staff if enrollment grew by at least 300 students. Federal law prohibits schools receiving federal financial aid from offering bonuses based on success in securing enrollments, Inside Higher Ed reports.

University of Florida: The UF Student Government is taking a stance against some of Florida’s latest legislation imposing restrictions on state colleges and universities, the Independent Alligator reports.

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

Before you go ... Rhiannon Giddens is coming out with a new album in August. Here’s a sneak peek at one of her new songs, with Jason Isbell.

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