Can Florida have free speech at universities, schools?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
The Florida Board of Governors, shown at a 2022 meeting, this week will discuss a proposal to limit discussions about social issues at state universities. Free speech advocates are crying foul. (The Florida Channel)
The Florida Board of Governors, shown at a 2022 meeting, this week will discuss a proposal to limit discussions about social issues at state universities. Free speech advocates are crying foul. (The Florida Channel) [ The Florida Channel ]
Published Nov. 8|Updated Nov. 8

The big story: Gov. Ron DeSantis and key members of his administration have said they support free expression in public education.

His critics call him a hypocrite whose actions belie his words.

The debate arises again this week as the State University System Board of Governors takes up a proposal to restrict discussion of social issues on campuses. Read more here.

Hot topics

Vouchers: Florida lawmakers are poised to approve special session legislation expanding the state’s school voucher system for students with special needs. Next up in January: Tackling mounting complaints about lengthy voucher payment delays.

Textbooks: Dave Ramsey’s personal finance textbook is headed to Pasco County high schools, after the school board rejected a challenge to the materials.

Teacher pay: The Pasco County School Board approved raises for teachers and other school employees. Union officials said the added pay makes the district more competitive for new employees.

Taxes: A Republican state House member from Orlando says her family’s private school should not have to pay taxes on a $1.6 million home it owns, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Security: The Florida House approved a measure providing added funding for security at Jewish preschools and day schools, Florida Phoenix reports. The full Senate still must take up the legislation. • The Volusia County Council rejected a school district request to add more officers to area middle schools, WFTV reports.

Parental consent: Transgender students say they feel targeted by Florida’s law requiring parental consent for teachers to use their nicknames rather than legal names, Teen Vogue reports.

Home schooling: An Alachua County family that home schools has struggled to find a home-schooling community for older teens, WUFT reports.

Contracts: The Broward County School Board will consider ending the contract of a vendor who’s also a district teacher, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Duval County school district might end its contract with a bus contractor that has too many late routes, and hire another to take over, First Coast News reports.

Book bans: Comedian Steve Martin is celebrating the fact that Collier County schools banned his book “Shopgirl,” saying it should help boost sales, The Hill reports. District officials said the book was removed from school shelves but not banned, the Naples Daily News reports.

Board politics: An Alachua County School Board member once removed from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis was named board chairperson, Main Street Daily News reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The full Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. to take up five bills presented for special session, including 4C on voucher expansion and 6C on security for Jewish schools. • The House Education Quality subcommittee meets at 3 p.m. to discuss repeals and revisions to the Education Code.

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From the police blotter ... A Lake County high school student was arrested on accusations of having a weapon and ammunition in his car on school grounds, WKMG reports. • A Charlotte County mom was arrested on allegations of attempting to run over a school security guard in the campus parking lot, WBBH reports.

From the court docket ... A federal judge has rejected a challenge to Florida’s law that bans transgender girls and women from participating in school sports, the News Service of Florida reports.

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

Before you go ... Nearly 50 years later, and the guard’s still there.

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