DeSantis says ‘no’ to indoctrination. PragerU brings it to Florida schools.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
PragerU CEO Marissa Streit, shown in a video introducing her group's new lessons for kids, says the content is intended to "create an even playing field" in schools.
PragerU CEO Marissa Streit, shown in a video introducing her group's new lessons for kids, says the content is intended to "create an even playing field" in schools. [ PragerU ]
Published Aug. 1, 2023|Updated Aug. 4, 2023

The big story: If you’ve heard Gov. Ron DeSantis say it once, you’ve heard him say it dozens of times: “We want education, not indoctrination.”

He’s said it when speaking against adoption of the College Board’s AP African American studies course, when supporting the State Board of Education’s ban on materials such as The 1619 Project, when backing legislation to remove diversity and equity programs from the state’s colleges and universities. It’s a staple of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The governor’s administration recently approved PragerU materials for K-12 classrooms. PragerU’s founder has said those lessons are designed to indoctrinate.

“It’s true we bring doctrines to children,” Dennis Prager told the Moms for Liberty group over the summer. “But what is the bad of our indoctrination?” Read more here.

Hot topics

African American history: Gov. Ron DeSantis invited Vice President Kamala Harris to Florida to debate the state’s new African American history standards, NBC reports. Harris is headed to Orlando today, the Miami Herald reports. • A social studies expert with the Palm Beach County school district says portions of Florida’s new African American history standards blatantly distort history, WLRN reports.

Agriculture lessons: A Polk County elementary school is leading efforts to have Florida add an elementary agriculture course to its official offerings, the Ledger reports.

Cell phones at school: The Orange County School Board is set to decide whether students may keep cell phones in their pockets during the class day, or if they must stash them in backpacks and purses, WKMG reports.

Math instruction: The Florida Department of Education has proposed a new rule that would pave the way for elementary students who struggle in math to get individualized education plans, WJAX reports.

Student discipline: Florida teachers return to work this month with more authority to control their classrooms, WCJB reports. • Disability advocates are calling on the Palm Beach County school district to put more protections in place for students detained under the Baker Act, WLRN reports. • The Broward County school district is considering whether to create its own police force rather than rely on outside agencies, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Teacher vacancies: Monroe County schools are touting some of Florida’s highest teacher salaries as they launch a campaign seeking more classroom educators, the Miami Herald reports. • The Miami-Dade County school district has proposed a plan to offer teachers school choice priority for their children, as an incentive to take or keep jobs in the system, reimaginED reports. • About 65 people applied to become Hernando County associate teachers, Suncoast News reports. • Escambia County schools are seeking 47 more teachers to fill classrooms, WEAR reports.

From the court docket ... A federal appeals court rejected a claim that the University of Miami should refund student fees collected as the school closed down campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, News Service of Florida reports.

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

Before you go ... RIP Paul Reubens. A Sarasota native, Reubens was both famous as a comedian and infamous for some other activity. Remember why he made you laugh.

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