Controversial education bills draw strong opposition in Florida

We’ve heard so much about the “cancel culture” lately, where one group is accused of trying to silence the opinions of others with whom they disagree. In the Florida Legislature, the claim has emerged that universities are the place where conservative viewpoints can’t get a fair shake. Some Republican lawmakers say they want to change that situation. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

Is the “cancel culture” a real thing on campus? Some faculty members say it’s tough to present ideas outside the mainstream. Other say the notion that diversity of thought doesn’t exist is just wrong.

The bill to alter Bright Futures scholarships lives on. The Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee will take up the measure on Tuesday. • Lake County Democrats gathered outside sponsor Sen. Dennis Baxley’s office in Lady Lake to demand he kill the bill, the Daily Commercial reports.

Coronavirus concerns

The CDC changed its guidelines for classroom social distancing to three feet, down from six. Duval County teachers said the revision won’t mean much, since social distancing hasn’t really been taking place in school anyway, WTLV reports. • The move will make it easier for schools to put more children in a classroom for state testing, though, WJXT reports.

School employees made the priority list for the coronavirus vaccine. A longtime Duval County bus driver told Education Week he couldn’t understand why it took so long.

Dozens of Marion County school bus drivers have been absent during the pandemic. The school district wants to double the wages of temporary drivers to help ease the load, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

UF is headed back to “largely normal.” That means a return to in-person classes beginning in Summer B, though online options will remain, WUFT reports.

In the classroom

Florida schools are poised to switch to new academic standards. Some teachers say that, after altering how classes operate for a year, changing the lessons doesn’t seem so bad, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The move will require new textbooks again, too, the News-Journal reports.

The Broward County school district bought $200 million for Lenovo devices and accessories since 2013. A grand jury is looking into the spending, which occurred through questionable bidding processes, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

After eight years, an Escambia County middle school is still struggling. The state gave Warrington Middle another year to turn itself around, provided it meets some added expectations, WEAR reports.

From the board room

The group Moms for Liberty got involved in the debate over LGBTQ student rights in Brevard County schools. One of its co-founders got a bag of poop in the mail, Florida Today reports.

Who’s the superintendent? A judge will determine whether the Seminole County School Board can move forward with its choice after it reversed direction, prompting a parent challenge, WKMG reports.

The Polk County School Board finally settled its teacher pay negotiations. It increased the base pay, but rejected a $1,500 raise for veteran educators and refused to boost salaries for paraeducators, the Ledger reports.

A Citrus County charter school is looking for a new principal. Its board has rejected all the candidates so far, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

From the police blotter … A Miami-Dade County high school teacher was arrested and fired after allegations of having a “romantic” sexual relationship with a student, the Miami Herald reports.

Before you go … Some of you haven’t gotten out much in the past year, with the pandemic remaining a threat. How about a trek around the world, virtually, with

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