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Get the racism out of our schools, Florida students demand

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.

Since the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, the nation’s attention has focused on racial justice in society. That includes in the schools. Leaders of several Florida school districts have pledged to take steps to ensure equity and eliminate any racist practices. Some Pinellas County students say change is needed. Read on for that and more Florida education news.

Three Pinellas County teens have started a petition to remove racial bias from their schools. They’re calling it “Decolonialize Pinellas County Schools Curriculum.” • Florida education leaders say one thing the state could do is add Juneteenth to the history standards, WTVJ reports.

The city of Tampa wants to require masks in all indoor businesses outside the home. That’s raises some question about whether the order can include schools.

The latest COVID-19 testing trends have steadily risen throughout Florida. The state is closing in on 100,000 cases. And the median age of people with positive results is going down.

Maybe the Hillsborough County School Board could benefit from masks. Board chairwoman Tamara Shamburger is among those to come down with the virus.

High school graduations have been a source of contention for the Class of 2020. [Times (2006)]

Marion County’s superintendent addressed the graduates of the district’s first integrated high school, on the 50th anniversary of that momentous event. The speech went so poorly, she was uninvited from the next graduation she was scheduled to attend, WCJB reports. • Several Marion seniors have taken a knee at graduation to signal their concerns about racial justice, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

The spike in COVID-19 cases led Major League Baseball to close all spring training sites. Three Polk County high schools have to scramble to move their graduation ceremonies, the Ledger reports.

Will other districts continue with plans for in-person commencements? Lee County is still calling its plan “tentative,” the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBTQ employee rights. The case might not protect teachers in private schools, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

How many times can we say it? People see what you say on social media. Five Santa Rosa County teachers are placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into racist comments on Facebook, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. • A Broward County School Board member says her Facebook page was hacked and someone placed a “white privilege” meme there. She has apologized, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Backing the tax. The Duval County school district’s tax referendum continues to gain support from influential community leaders, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Florida’s budget deadline is looming. A coalition of 35 organizations urges Gov. DeSantis to protect several items including teacher raises, Florida Phoenix reports.

The U.S. education department has approved Florida’s career-technical education plan. It includes an expansion of apprenticeship programs, Florida Politics reports.

Before you go ... In its annual call for the governor to cut costs in the budget, Florida TaxWatch suggested the state expand virtual learning as a savings measure for K-12, colleges and universities. In a new blog post, FSU physics professor Paul Cottle takes exception to the idea, calling it lazy and saying it ignores best practices. He makes a compelling argument. Check it out.

June and Annie Leonard with their mother, kindergarten teacher Jamie Cook, work on their math at their dining room table in Land O'Lakes, as they prepare for distance learning after schools closed in spring 2020 because of COVID-19. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]

Join our daily Facebook conversation to share your views. And be sure to share this roundup with your friends and colleagues. Know someone who might want to sign up for the Gradebook newsletter? Share this link. What are your plans for summer and fall schooling? Send an e-mail to jsolochek@tampabay.com. - Jeff

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