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Didn’t finish college? Florida ‘completion coaches’ try to help.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
Tansheka Riggins, a student at St. Petersburg College, meets in person for the first time with her completion coach, Matt Smith, who works for local nonprofit LEAP Tampa Bay.
Tansheka Riggins, a student at St. Petersburg College, meets in person for the first time with her completion coach, Matt Smith, who works for local nonprofit LEAP Tampa Bay. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Nov. 27, 2023

The big story: Close to 3 million Floridians entered a higher education degree or certificate program, but for some reason never completed it.

Seeing the economic value in having them finish, the state of Florida invested millions of dollars into a counseling and scholarship program to assist these students. In 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the budget item, all but killing the initiative.

Still, pieces of it remain. And the Floridians who it’s helping are grateful. Read more here.

More in higher ed

South Florida Bulls Tight End Gunnar Greenwald, left, assists Djimtry Gerard, 16, right, with a lab exercise during a biology class at Wharton High in Tampa on Monday, October 9, 2023.
South Florida Bulls Tight End Gunnar Greenwald, left, assists Djimtry Gerard, 16, right, with a lab exercise during a biology class at Wharton High in Tampa on Monday, October 9, 2023. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Teacher training: Gunnar Greenwald has a choice to make at the University of South Florida — he’s a starting tight end on the football squad, and also a high school science teacher in training.

Free speech: A second chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine filed suit against state officials over an order to disband the organization, this time at the University of South Florida.

Diversity: The University of North Florida is seeing an exodus of diversity-related employees as the state moves to eliminate such jobs from the university system, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Discrimination: The University of Tampa faces allegations that it ignored a student’s claim of facing antisemitic bullying on campus. The federal government is investigating.

Campus leadership: Ben Sasse has been in charge at the University of Florida for nearly a year. Some still wonder if he’s right for the job, the Gainesville Sun reports. Questions continue to swirl around Dr. Joseph Ladapo’s role at the university, as well, Politico Florida reports.

K-12 hot topics

Evan Rowlands, 10, left, listens as his mother Jessica Rowlands, right, asks him a question while completing schoolwork at Riverview Public Library in Riverview on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
Evan Rowlands, 10, left, listens as his mother Jessica Rowlands, right, asks him a question while completing schoolwork at Riverview Public Library in Riverview on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Vouchers: Families of children whose children have special education requirements worry their needs might be overlooked or downplayed as the state expands vouchers for all.

School board politics: A group of Pasco County residents urged the School Board to end any financial support of the American Library Association, which they accused of promoting left-wing ideology. • School boards in Florida and elsewhere long have been on the front lines of political controversy, The Hill reports.

Religious clubs: A Broward County elementary school planned to allow a religion-based club to operate, until PTA members raised questions, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Personal pronouns: The Orange County school district said it would honor parental requests to call their children by their requested pronouns, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Pay raises: The Sarasota County School Board is poised to approve an employee contract that includes raises and one-time supplements, the Herald-Tribune reports. • The Hernando County School Board approved an agreement with non-instructional workers that provides raises and increased health insurance benefits, Hernando Sun reports.

Communications: The Flagler County school district spokesperson will depart at the end of the year, adding to the list of veteran officials who are leaving, Flagler Live reports.

Charter schools: An Alachua County charter school applicant adopted a new name as it takes a new approach to its plans, Main Street Daily News reports.

Campus names: The Palm Beach Post took a closer look at the history behind the people who have local schools named after them.

Calendars: Treasure Coast school districts have adopted their 2024-25 academic calendars to give families a year in advance for planning, TC Palm reports.

Book bans: A new documentary about book bans in Florida schools used students as its primary experts, NPR reports.

From the court docket ... A judge dismissed criminal charges against a Palm Beach County high school assistant principal accused of not reporting a suspected case of sexual assault between two students, WPTV reports. The alleged assailant was the administrator’s son.

Before you go ... Octopi are so cool.

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