Critics score small victories as Florida school culture war bills advance

The big story: As expected, the Florida House advanced two searing education bills to third and final reading on Tuesday.

The amendments were less expected – a couple that passed and one that was withdrawn.

Just before MPs gathered on the floor, the sponsor of the bill called ‘don’t say gay’ dropped his proposal that could have led to LGBTQ students being kicked out to their parents, without their permission.

During discussion of this bill, the sponsor, Rep. Joe Harding, won party support to add an administrative remedy for parents who say their schools broke the rules, but don’t have the ways to proceed.

On the bill inspired by what Governor DeSantis called the “Stop WOKE” Act, Democrats found support for two of the many amendments they recommended.

Read our story about it here. More than Florida politicsUSA TodayFlorida Network.

Democratic legislative leaders said they know they don’t have the votes to stop such measures, but will continue to fight to improve them, WFSU reports.

The survey says… The University of North Florida conducted a survey on some of these issues. Florida voters were split almost evenly, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The Florida Education Association also conducted a survey on how certain education issues are handled, Florida politics reports.

Excerpt from the court file… A full panel of the 11th Federal Circuit heard arguments in the nationwide lawsuit regarding the St. Johns County School District’s policy on restroom use by transgender students. The discussion centered on whether the district violated the Equal Protection Clause or Title IX, the Courthouse News Service reports. • The Biden administration sided with the student in the case, Bloomberg Law reports. • Some judges were suspicious of the district’s position, reports Law360.com.

More action in Tallahassee

The University of South Florida is one of four public schools seeking a new president. State Senator Jeff Brandes has explained his proposal to protect research papers from the public records, reports WUSF.

Lawmakers have proposed major changes to the state’s Baker law. If passed, they would be the first major reforms to the measure in 50 years, Florida politics reports.

The House has also made progress… A bill that seeks to address issues districts are having in complying with the requirements of state school safety laws, Florida politics reports. • A proposal to demand an instruction on the victims of communism, Florida politics reports.

Today in Tallahassee… The full Senate is due to meet at 3 p.m. The special order schedule includes SB 1054 on financial literacy, SB 892 on charter schools, and SB 896 on educator certification for veterans. • The House Education and Employment Committee meets at 1 p.m. where it will consider 11 bills, including HB 1193 on testing, HB 865 on charter schools and HB 1115 on financial literacy . • Education Estimate Conference meets at 8:30 am to review public school enrollment.

Follow What’s Happening at Tampa Bay Schools

Subscribe to our free gradebook newsletter

We’ll break down the local and national education developments you need to know every Thursday.

You are all registered!

Want more of our free weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s start.

Explore all your options

Hot topics

Youth mental health: Florida schools have made the issue a priority, but are struggling to meet the children’s needs.

School threats: A Broward County teenager spent two weeks in custody for a threat she did not utter. the Sentinel of the Sun explore how it happened.

Sex education: It’s not required in Florida schools, and three districts in northwest Florida don’t offer it, WEAR reports.

Shortage of substitute teachers: The Citrus County School Board discussed plans to raise substitute salaries as soon as possible, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

Superintendent’s turnover: New Broward County Superintendent Vickie Cartwright has agreed to a contract through 2024, WLRN reports. The terms were less than Cartwright, the district’s first female superintendent, had originally desired.

Funding sources : The Flagler County Commission again delayed action on the school board’s unanimous request to increase the impact fee, Live flagging reports.

School Board Battles: The state’s attorney declined to press charges against state representative Randy Fine, accused of cyberbullying, Brevard school board member Jennifer Jenkins, Florida today reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here is the link to yesterday’s recap.

Before you leave … Who needs Dunes when can you get Elmo? Waiting for the full version.

• • •

Sign up for the gradebook newsletter!

Every Thursday, get the latest updates on what’s happening at Tampa Bay area schools from Times education journalist Jeffrey S. Solochek. Click here to join.

Carol C. Reed