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Florida education news: Pregame prayer, commissioner’s authority and lessons in fishing

A roundup of stories from around the state.
 
Clearwater Central Catholic head coach Chris Harvey, on left, lowers his head along with his team as the school's chaplain Father Jonathan Stephanz leads them in prayer on the field after beating Calvary Christian 49-28 in Class 3A region quarterfinal playoff football at Calvary Christian, 110 N. McMullen Booth Rd., on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 in Clearwater.
Clearwater Central Catholic head coach Chris Harvey, on left, lowers his head along with his team as the school's chaplain Father Jonathan Stephanz leads them in prayer on the field after beating Calvary Christian 49-28 in Class 3A region quarterfinal playoff football at Calvary Christian, 110 N. McMullen Booth Rd., on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 in Clearwater. [ DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Dec. 17, 2019

COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE: Florida lawmakers continue to seek ways to consolidate more control over the public school system in the state education commissioner’s office. The latest proposal would take the power to hire and fire the Education Practices Commission executive director from the panel’s membership and grant it to the commissioner. The EPC decides how to deal with allegations of teacher misconduct.

A TIME TO PRAY: Education commissioner Richard Corcoran calls on the Florida High School Athletics Association to reconsider its policies governing public prayer at sanctioned sporting events, to ensure the greatest amount of religious freedom possible, the News Service of Florida reports. The FHSAA was sued after barring Christian schools from offering a prayer over the loudspeaker at a state football championship game.

ATTENDANCE ZONES: Families in eight eastern Hillsborough County neighborhoods gear up to fight plans to reassign their children to different schools as a way to relieve crowding.

CHARTER CLOSURE: Marion County’s only charter high school shuts its doors, citing financial difficulties, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

COLLEGE ATTENDANCE: Florida sees the nation’s largest decline in postsecondary education enrollment, Diverse Education reports. More from Florida Phoenix, National Public Radio.

ABOUT THAT TRUMP HAT: Reports that a Hamilton County student was beaten up by classmates because he wore a “Trump 2020” cap are misstated, Snopes.com reports.

SCHOOL SHOTS: The Volusia County school district enters a new agreement that provides free vaccinations to students with parental permission, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

GONE FISHIN': An Okaloosa County high school launches a new program to teach students about competitive bass fishing, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

SECURITY: Hernando County’s Powell Middle School gets a heightened law enforcement presence after one of its teachers receives a phone threat, WFLA reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup