December 2, 2021
Florida House targets Chinese interference in higher education

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Florida House targets Chinese interference in higher education

| 12/17/2020

Florida House targets Chinese interference in higher education

Florida lawmakers will consider legislation to protect state universities and research institutions from interference by China, state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said Tuesday. In a tweet, Sprowls said the legislation will come as part of efforts by the House Select Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions, which was set up by former Speaker Jose Oliva in response to reports of Chinese meddling at Moffitt Cancer Center and at the University of Florida. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida teachers ask for priority access to coronavirus vaccine

As the COVID-19 vaccine gets distributed, a Central Florida teacher's union is calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to put teachers near the top of the list for doses. One Orange County instructor, Sarah Yelensky, told FOX 35's Sydney Cameron that educators should be offered the vaccine after the highest priority group, which includes healthcare personnel and long-term care facilities. [Source: WOFL]

Florida educators charged in teacher certification test scheme

A Florida couple, both educators, entered not-guilty pleas Friday in federal court, after being hit with more than 100 wire-fraud and racketeering charges stemming from an alleged scheme that involved selling Florida teacher-certification test information. Kathleen M. Jasper, 42, and Jeremy M. Jasper, 40, are alleged between January 2016 and March 2020 to have sold fraudulently obtained content from the Florida Teacher Certification Exam and the Florida Educational Leadership Exam, which is for administrators. [Source: CBS Miami]

Florida bill to create campus ‘intellectual freedom’ survey introduced again

A controversial proposal to require Florida’s colleges and universities to survey students and faculty members as part of annual “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” assessments will again likely spark committee debate during the 2021 legislative session. Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, on Monday pre-filed Senate Bill 264, which is similar to failed “intellectual freedom” bills he filed in 2019 and 2020 as a state representative before being elected to the Senate in November. [Source: The Center Square]

Florida State University receives most 2020 Florida TaxWatch Awards of any state university

For the fifth consecutive year, Florida State University employees claimed a total of 14 Florida TaxWatch Productivity Awards, the most by any institution in the State University System. The Florida TaxWatch Productivity Awards recognize and reward state employees and workgroups who find ways to improve services, increase efficiencies and save Florida taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Within the past year, FSU has identified cost savings and cost avoidance that affect the entire campus. The 14 FSU programs recognized save students, families and taxpayers more than an estimated $86 million annually. [Source: FSU News]


› JU to offer masters programs at new Palm Coast health care campus
Jacksonville University has partnered with the city of Palm Coast to build a campus in Flagler County and begin offering health care graduate programs to Flagler and Volusia counties, Jacksonville University President Tim Cost and Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland announced Tuesday. The new JU Palm Coast Campus and the school’s main campus in Jacksonville are two anchors of what the school expects to become an education corridor stretching through Northeast Florida.

› Pasco superintendent defends sharing data with sheriff, as teachers object
Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning angrily defended the district sharing private student data with the Sheriff’s Office during a Tuesday School Board meeting, after parents and teachers called for changes to a controversial program that uses the data to identify kids who could “fall into a life of crime.”

› Failed by distance learning, more students plan to return to school
Distance learning has failed many South Florida students during the pandemic, leading to a push by local schools to get kids back on campus. Schools are trying to persuade more parents that schools are safe places in the age of COVID-19 and that online learning may not be the best option, as data shows the number of student absences and F grades have more than doubled since last year.

› Clay County teachers union, school district reach tentative agreement on pay raises
After a month-long impasse, Clay County School District leadership resumed talks with representatives of the Clay County Education Association and reached a tentative agreement on how teacher pay raises will be distributed on Monday. According to the union, the minimum salary for teachers will move to $44,867 and all teachers will get a minimum salary increase of $1,200. Starting pay for Clay County teachers was $38,000 for the 2019-2020 school year.

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