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Did Florida influence changes to AP’s African American studies course?

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
The College Board released the final framework for its AP African American studies course, including some changes that Florida Republican officials demanded if the course were to be taught in the state. The Rev. Al Sharpton demonstrated in Tallahassee against Gov. Ron DeSantis's rejection of the course in February.
The College Board released the final framework for its AP African American studies course, including some changes that Florida Republican officials demanded if the course were to be taught in the state. The Rev. Al Sharpton demonstrated in Tallahassee against Gov. Ron DeSantis's rejection of the course in February. [ ALICIA DEVINE | AP ]
Published Dec. 7, 2023

The big story: College Board took a lot of heat from Florida Republicans for the content of its African American studies Advanced Placement course. Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wouldn’t allow it in the state’s public schools without changes.

The organization released its final version on Wednesday. Some of the materials DeSantis objected to were gone, while some remained.

The group said educators, not politicians, decided on the course lessons and materials. It remains unclear whether it will be widely available in Florida high schools next fall. Read more here. More from USA Today.

Arkansas officials, who also barred the course initially, are taking a look at the changes to see if they will permit it now, too, Arkansas Advocate reports. Former Florida K-12 chancellor Jacob Oliva now leads the Arkansas education department.

Hot topics

Academic freedom: The American Association of University Professors blistered Florida’s higher education system, saying it is under assault by Republicans intent on undermining academic freedom. Gov. Ron DeSantis ridiculed the report. Read the report here. • Many faculty members are fleeing Florida, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Book challenges: A federal court judge heard arguments over whether to dismiss a case challenging the Lake and Escambia school districts’ authority to remove books from student access, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • A review committee for Broward County’s superintendent unanimously recommended keeping the Bible available in district schools, following a challenge from an atheist blogger, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • The Hernando County School Board will consider eight book challenges submitted by Moms for Liberty when it meets next week, Suncoast News reports.

Campus safety: Brevard County school district leaders say they want to expand the school guardian program on campuses. They haven’t offered many details, Florida Today reports.

Cell phones: The Orange County school district is seeking feedback from parents and students about the effects of its cell phone ban, WKMG reports.

Charter schools: An investigation determined that a Seminole County charter school’s board did not violate the state Sunshine Law with group text messages, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

COVID relief funds: The Alachua County School Board discussed the possibility of seeking permission to use grant funds targeting air conditioner repairs for classroom technology instead, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Deregulation: As Florida lawmakers look to eliminate some “onerous” restrictions placed on public schools, some school district officials wonder how many new regulations the Legislature will add at the same time.

Sarasota scandal: Sarasota County School Board chairperson Karen Rose said she will introduce a resolution on Tuesday asking board member Bridget Ziegler to step down. • Calls are mounting for Ziegler to resign, the Herald-Tribune reports. • The story is starting to reverberate nationally, with some chapters of Moms for Liberty starting to break away over the group’s defense of Ziegler, NBC reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House Education Quality Subcommittee meets at 10 a.m. to hear a presentation on chronic absenteeism.

From the court docket ... A former St. Johns County preschool employee pleaded guilty to molesting several children in his care and will be sentenced to at least 35 years, WJXT reports. • An administrative law judge has recommended that a Palm Beach County teacher who put a child in a choke hold should be suspended, not fired. The district superintendent disagrees, the Palm Beach Post reports.

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

Before you go ... The new Grand Theft Auto game has a distinctly Florida vibe. Check out the first look, which highlights Miami and Miami Beach scenes. Wonder where else in the Sunshine State will be featured.

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Spotlight on education

The public is invited to a community conversation about the future of Florida public schools on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the Tampa Theatre, hosted by the Tampa Bay Times. In the second installment of the Spotlight Tampa Bay series, Times journalists will moderate a discussion by experts, followed by a panel featuring students. Tickets are $20; $10 for students. Proceeds benefit the Times’ Journalism Fund. To purchase tickets, click here.