December 4, 2023
How new laws are changing public schools for teachers, parents and students

Florida Trend Education

How new laws are changing public schools for teachers, parents and students

| 5/25/2023

How new laws are changing public schools for teachers, parents and students

As the school year comes to an end, teachers and students in K- 12 classrooms across Florida — and parents — are grappling with new laws about what can be taught and what books are allowed in classroom bookshelves and school libraries. Colleges and universities are also facing big changes, as the DeSantis administration rolls out a new vision for higher education. More from WUSF, WFSU, WBUR, and the Tampa Bay Times.

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Driving successes

As president of Tallahassee Community College and a veteran law enforcement official, Jim Murdaugh knows the value of workforce training in helping people improve their circumstances, including those who have had run-ins with the law. Reginald Watkins is just such a person. The Florida Department of Corrections cleared him to drive commercially while on probation. He has since been hauling construction materials from Florida to Tennessee to Nebraska. [Source: Florida Trend]

School start time changes in Florida raise many questions. Here’s the latest

School officials will soon be gearing up to push back start times for many high schools under a new law that mandates changes to the beginning of the school day — but some lawmakers and education experts are wary of the challenges that could come with such a change. The changes stem from a measure (HB 733) approved by the Legislature earlier this month and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis days later. Under the law, which goes into effect in July and must be implemented by 2026, middle schools will be prevented from beginning the “instructional day” earlier than 8 a.m., while high schools will be barred from starting the school day before 8:30 a.m. [Source: Click Orlando]

Florida continues to emphasize civics education as national test scores fall

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed several bills over the past few years designed to improve the U.S. history and civics knowledge of Florida students. The need for such reform was spotlighted by a decline in eighth grade social studies scores on The National Assessment of Educational Progress examinations. These tests designed to measure student achievement in several subject areas in the fourth, eighth and 12th grades. [Source: The Center Square]

New College of Florida faculty vote to censure the board of trustees

Faculty at New College of Florida have voted to censure the school's board of trustees. The formal statement of disapproval sent to college leadership lays out more than a dozen complaints. The motion states that board members are "failing in their fiduciary duties," by — among other things — not addressing what they say is the inappropriate conduct of several trustees. [Source: WUSF]


› UCF to boost high-tech nursing education
The University of Central Florida got a $5.5 million donation from the Helene Fuld Health Trust to be used for part of the school’s future new $68.78 million, 90,000-square-foot nursing building in Lake Nona. The money will fund the Orlando-based public university’s 12,000-square-foot Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation, Technology, Innovation & Modeling (STIM) Center within the future nursing building.

› Tampa Bay teacher unions busy recruiting as new law threatens their role
Every afternoon for the past two weeks, the Pinellas County school district’s two primary employee unions have posted a YouTube video announcing $100 gift card winners. The awards are an incentive to sign up for a new payment system the unions launched in anticipation of Gov. Ron DeSantis signing a measure that forbids school districts from collecting dues for the organizations.

› Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration banned by Florida school
A poem written for President Joe Biden’s inauguration has been placed on a restricted list at a South Florida elementary school after one parent’s complaint. In a Facebook post on Tuesday, poet Amanda Gorman vowed to fight back. Her poem, “The Hill We Climb” was challenged by the parent of two students at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, along with several books.

› Florida International University law school soars
Florida International University’s College of Law is now among the top three law schools in Florida, alongside University of Florida and Florida State University, climbing 38 spots to the 60th spot among all the nation’s law schools. U.S. News and World Report ranked FIU Law 32nd among the best public schools for Law education for the 2023-2024 year, and 60th among all law schools, surpassing for the first time the University of Miami.

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