Florida schools prepare lists of book, program titles for state

The big story: Florida’s school districts are the latest to get instructions to report all the controversial materials in use in their classrooms.

Soon after the state’s universities were told to provide lists of all their diversity, equity and inclusion programs, districts got a Florida Department of Education directive to detail the materials they have related to that topic and several more, including sex education, culturally relevant teaching and social-emotional learning.

In higher ed, the information request was followed by demands to eliminate programs, and legislation to cut state funding for them. The directive to districts came without explanation, but superintendents anticipated state officials soon will clarify with speeches and lawmaker proposals.

The information is due to the state today.

“We’re not afraid to let them know what we’re doing in our county,” said Citrus County superintendent Sam Himmel, immediate past president of the state superintendents association. “Now we wait and see what the information is when they send it back to us.” Read more here.

Hot topics

Attendance zones: Hillsborough County superintendent Addison Davis offered another new proposal to redraw school boundaries in hope of gaining public and school board backing. Support has been limited for other approaches, which Davis has said are needed to make the district more efficient.

Library books: The Duval County substitute teacher who was fired after posting a video showing empty school bookshelves plans to bring national attention to Florida’s new book reviewing process, Business Insider reports.

New College: Trustees hired former education commissioner Richard Corcoran to lead a conservative overhaul of the liberal arts college. But does the school have enough money available to pay the $699,000 price tag? • About 150 students walked out of classes to protest the school’s direction under the new leadership, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Corcoran said his mission is to bring New College closer to the liberal arts college goal of teaching students how to think, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Safety and security: A proposal to allow parents to walk their children to classrooms each morning in Sarasota County schools has some people worried about potential security breaches, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Students at a Leon County elementary school are decorating crosswalks near their school to attract attention and slow down traffic, WFSU reports.

Superintendents: An Escambia County School Board member announced plans to seek a referendum on whether to return the district to an elected superintendent, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. Voters moved to an appointed position in 2018. • The fate of Flagler County superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt grew dim as three board members appeared to oppose an extension of her contract, which ends in June, Flagler Live reports.

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Teacher pay: Volusia County teachers ratified a new contract implementing added pay provided by the Legislature, WFTV reports. District officials recently were chastised by the State Board of Education for the delay in arriving at a deal. • An audit of the Palm Beach County school district’s supplemental pay system found a lack of controls over the money, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Other school news

The Alachua County School Board adopted new student fees and a related waiver policy. Any families that believe they cannot afford the fees may apply for a waiver, Main Street Daily News reports. • The district has seen its population rebound of students needing English as a Second Language courses, WUFT reports.

Students at a Broward County high school planned to walk out of classes to protest the education policy of Gov. Ron DeSantis. They were threatened with disciplinary action, but walked out anyway, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Florida has required school teachers to take mental health training since 2018. Just one quarter of Brevard County schools have met the requirement, WKMG reports.

Before you go … Three weeks later, and this Nintendo-themed spoof is still topping the trending chart. Love Mario Kart? Enjoy this SNL parody.

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