Florida’s New College experiment continues to grab national attention

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Incoming students and their families navigate campus during New College of Florida's move-in and orientation on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023 in Sarasota.
Incoming students and their families navigate campus during New College of Florida's move-in and orientation on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023 in Sarasota. [ CHLOE TROFATTER | Times ]
Published Sept. 19, 2023

The big story: Though tiny in size, New College of Florida has captured national attention for the conservative transformation that Gov. Ron DeSantis has brought to the campus.

People across the nation are watching as the school has turned to political operatives rather than academics to run its core operations, from the president’s office on down, Inside Higher Ed reports.

US News & World Report dropped the once highly rated school by 24 places in its latest rankings, the Herald-Tribune reports. New College officials responded by saying they are using the criteria as a roadmap for change, blaming the problems on past administrations.

During a speech Friday at the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa, interim president Richard Corcoran repeatedly pointed his finger at what he called the failures of those who preceded him. “The school’s leadership was absolutely and totally, politely said, a mess,” he said during prepared remarks.

Over the next three days, Corcoran and two other candidates will have a chance to tell students, faculty and staff why they should be named the next New College permanent president. The presidential search should conclude soon afterward.

Hot topics

Book challenges: The Hillsborough County school district’s first book challenge of the year resulted in a Plant High committee’s decision to leave “Blankets” by Craig Thompson on its shelves, WUSF reports.

Cost of living: A Democratic state lawmaker has filed a bill to increase minimum annual teacher pay to $65,000, WJXT reports. Teacher union leaders give the legislation little chance of passing. • The Volusia County school district is considering an affordable housing project as a way to attract more teachers, WKMG reports. • The Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association has asked the school district to pay employees at least $18 an hour, or give them a 7.3% raise, WFTS reports.

Race relations: An investigation showed the former principal of a Flagler County middle school knew and approved of holding assemblies segregated by race, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. More from Flagler Live.

Restrooms: The State University System is considering a rule that would make it fireable offense for transgender employees to use a restroom that conforms with their gender identity, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

School zones: Several south Florida governments are considering the addition of cameras to catch speeders outside schools, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Security: A Sarasota County school district police officer is under investigation for amid accusations of kicking and hitting security guards at a work-related training trip on school safety, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Vouchers: A Palm Beach County private school is struggling while waiting for payment from the state for its voucher students, WPTV reports.

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

Before you go ... Animal has hit it big with a real live band. Check out his set from this summer’s Newport Folk Festival.

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