The big story: Sometimes, ideas fly through the Florida Legislature in no time flat. Other times, it seems like they might never make it across the finish line, no matter how hard people try.
Put the request to require students to take a personal finance course in high school in the latter pile.
It took multiple lawmakers over a decade to get that proposal from a suggestion to a bill to, this year, a law. And you know who couldn’t be happy?
Bankruptcy lawyers and judges, who led the lobbying effort alongside educators. “We would like the folks in Florida to be educated to the extent that we don’t have a job anymore,” said Catherine McEwen, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Middle District of Florida. Read on for that story.
Another effort that was years in the making involved stopping the use of seclusion and restraints on students with special needs whom school staff struggled to control physically. Lawmakers acted in 2021 after nearly 15 years of attempts, and this year further scaled back the use of restraints, as Florida Politics reports.
Schoolbooks: Govt. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure adding more steps for schools to follow when choosing books for their classrooms and libraries. The law also set term limits for school board members, beginning with those elected in November 2022. Critics had concerns about both portions of the legislation. More from the Tallahassee Democrat.
Gender lessons: State Sen. Shevrin Jones, an openly gay lawmaker, said Florida could lose teachers if DeSantis signs a bill that restricts lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, florida phoenix reports. • Several LGBTQ youth continue to speak out against the legislation, WUSF reports, contending the sponsors are attempting to downplay the potential effect. • The bill was the target of jokes at Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, the AP reports.
Board relationships: Flagler County superintendent Cathy Mittlestadt told School Board members to stick to policy and leave daily operations to her administration, Flagler Live reports. She referred to two board members’ actions in particular.
Race relations: The Lee County chapter of the NAACP wants to work with school officials to promote unity and discipline students who participate in racist actions, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. A recent incident at Cypress Lake High School prompted the discussion.
Other school news
The University of South Florida has a new $42 million research center. It’s still awaiting tenants.
Polk County School Board member Lynn Wilson won’t seek a third term. Some residents encouraged him to run again, the Ledger reports.
Duval County students’ reading achievement has been dipping over years. Several groups launched a community-wide reading initiative to spark a turnaround, the Florida Times Union reports.
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The Palm Beach County school district will relocate a school bus stop away from where a fatal crash took place. One student died in the accident, and another was left in critical condition, the Palm Beach Post reports.
Florida Gulf Coast University has four new trustees. One of them is school choice advocate Erika Donalds, the wife of US Rep. Byron Donalds and a former Collier County School Board member, Florida Politics reports.
From the police blotter … A Lee County middle school student was arrested on allegations of making a threat of violence against a school, WFTX reports. • A Volusia County teen faces felony charges on accusations of shooting a school employee with an Orbeez bead gun, WKMG reports.
Before you go… It’s time for a fun animal video!
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