Florida Virtual School cuts back after fewer students complete courses
Florida Virtual School has put a pause on hiring and is taking other cautious financial measures amid a drop in full-time students completing courses over the past year. The completion of courses is a key metric for the school, which only gets paid if students finish online classes. After a significant influx of enrollment in recent years driven by the pivot to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic, the number of students completing courses through the virtual school has dwindled. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Schools received billions in stimulus funds. It may not be doing enough.
Recent test scores underscore the staggering effect of the pandemic, which thrust much of the nation’s students into remote learning for extended periods of time. Students in most states and across almost all demographic groups experienced major setbacks in math and reading after many schools closed their doors. In 2022, math scores underwent the largest declines ever recorded on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which tests a broad sampling of fourth and eighth graders dating back to the early 1990s. [Source: NY Times]
Appeals court urged to reverse Florida education ruling
Arguing that the measure has violated speech rights and led to discrimination, attorneys for students, parents and teachers are urging a federal appeals court to revive a challenge to a 2022 Florida law that restricts instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools. The attorneys filed an 80-page brief last week at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, contending that U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor erred when he dismissed the challenge to what Republican legislators called the “Parental Rights in Education” law — and opponents labeled the “don’t say gay” bill. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Black Florida students are suing the state over less funding for their HBCU
A Florida judge, for now, is allowing a class-action lawsuit to go forward that accuses the state of discriminating against a historically Black university while prioritizing its largest public university, which is predominantly white. Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida heard oral arguments Thursday in the first court test for a class-action lawsuit filed in September. He dismissed the state’s request to dismiss the suit, but did ask for revisions. [Source: NBC News]
As school board candidates backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Moms for Liberty gain a foothold across Florida, they’ve targeted superintendents as barriers to their agenda. Since November, the chief administrators in Broward, Brevard, Flagler, Collier, Sarasota, Escambia and Duval counties have been fired or pushed to leave. The interim leader in Brevard was quickly pushed out, too. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› School security key for Florida five years after Parkland [Tampa Bay Times]
Five years after the Parkland school shooting massacre, Florida continues to seek school safety reforms in hopes of preventing another incident. This week, the Hernando County school district held a summit for teachers and administrators to discuss initiatives aimed at bolstering security and making families feel comfortable sending their children. Among the speakers was Max Schachter, who lost a child at Parkland.
› Florida student privacy bill bans educational apps from selling data [PIRG]
Florida’s bill bans educational platforms from gathering any more information from students than is reasonably necessary to deliver the primary service of being a learning tool. It also bans companies from using student data for any non-educational purposes. This means student data cannot be sold to third parties or used for targeted advertising.
› USF researchers work to create a safer, more prepared Florida for hurricane season [USF News]
The 2023 hurricane season has officially begun and University of South Florida researchers are exploring ways to increase safety and preparedness across the state. The devastation from Hurricane Ian – a deadly Category 4 storm that made landfall in September 2022 – will be burned into the memories of many for years to come. Through interdisciplinary research, USF is investigating solutions to many of the horrors faced during storms like Ian.
› Miami education advocates host event to protest ‘irrationality and vagueness’ of book bans [Miami Herald]
Prominent Miami educators and literary and civil rights organizations came together Tuesday night to raise awareness about censorship and to offer a stark rebuttal to the recent decision to restrict four titles from elementary students in one Miami-Dade County school. The event — which drew a crowd of about 300 community members, teachers and young children — was to highlight the “irrationality and vagueness” of recent laws targeting what can or can’t be taught in public school classrooms.