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Florida education news: Teacher rally (or is it a strike?), superintendent politics and a/c repairs

A roundup of stories from around the state.

ARE THEY RALLYING? OR STRIKING? Teachers from across Florida plan to descend on the state Capitol today. They want their voices heard as lawmakers enter their 2020 legislative session. But school district leaders also want those voices in front of students, teaching on a class day. Different districts balanced the concerns in different ways. In Polk County, the district’s response was seen as a threat to teachers. Polk district leaders held a hastily called press conference Sunday to discuss their situation, the Ledger reports. Even presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have weighed in. More from the Ledger, WFTS, Spectrum 13, Florida Today

BEHIND THE SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: On its face, Hillsborough County’s superintendent search appears professional enough, with a headhunter reviewing resumes and bringing forward top applicants. But backroom politics are also at play, with furious campaigning and jockeying for School Board members’ attention. Throw in the racial factors of a push for the district’s first superintendent of color, and things just get more and more interesting. See some of the letters the board has been receiving for a taste.

TAMING THE BAKER ACT: Investigations found that Florida students were being involuntarily committed under the state’s Baker Act. Lawmakers want more controls, and they’ve filed legislation to put some restrictions on the 1970s law.

UNDER THE WIRE: There was a flurry of last-minute education bills as the filing deadline approached.

IF YOU DIDN’T GRADUATE, ARE YOU A DROPOUT? Florida’s formula for calculating its graduation rate also has a category for non-graduates, making the delineation a little more complicated than a simple split between graduate and dropout. • One Alachua County high school reported having 100 percent graduates, WCJB reports.

BRANDING CAMPAIGN: The Hernando County school district launches a new marketing effort, complete with logo and slogan, in an effort to win over community support.

NATIVE-LANGUAGE TESTING: Florida’s insistence on testing all students in English raises questions of fairness, TC Palm reports.

TOP TEACHERS: The Orange County school district names its 2020 teacher of the year, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The Sarasota County school district rounds out the Tampa Bay-area districts adopting a medical marijuana usage policy, WTSP reports. The board also took other actions, including approval of a contract for now superintendent Mitsi Corcoran, the Herald-Tribune reports.

MENTAL HEALTH: Volusia County middle and high school students will begin receiving monthly mental health lessons, as the district implements a new state requirement, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

FUNDING: State Sen. Kelli Stargel seeks to make permanent certain added temporary funding that 29 school districts received over the past two years, the Ledger reports.

COOL IT: The Palm Beach County school district kicks its air conditioning repair efforts into high gear, but some problems still remain, the Palm Beach Post reports.

VAPING: The Lee County School Board considers joining a growing lawsuit against e-cigarette maker Juul, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

HACKED: A Seminole County high school gets an unwanted new name in Google searches, Fox 35 reports.

TODAY: House Education, joint committee meeting to discuss payments to college athletes, 11:30 a.m. • Senate Education, 1 p.m. • FEA rally in Tallahassee, 1:30 p.m. • Senate Infrastructure and Security, 3:30 p.m.

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