February 6, 2023
Plaintiffs urge federal court to keep blocking Florida education law

Florida Trend Education

Plaintiffs urge federal court to keep blocking Florida education law

| 12/29/2022

Plaintiffs urge federal court to keep blocking Florida education law

Professors and other plaintiffs are urging a federal appeals court to keep in place a preliminary injunction against a new Florida law that seeks to restrict the way race-related concepts can be taught in universities. Attorneys in two challenges to the law filed documents Thursday arguing that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should reject a request by the state to allow the restrictions to be in effect while a legal battle continues. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

School districts continue to battle teacher shortages

According to Florida Education Association, the latest numbers from August show there were 10,771 vacancies for teachers and support staff in Florida. It’s a statewide issue many fear won’t improve anytime soon. “I think we’re facing a very difficult time where, as a community, we need to pay attention to our teachers because it’s just going to continue to get worse if we don’t,” said Cheryl Courier, Vice President of Southeast Practice for Kelly Education. [Source: WFTS]

Students launch effort to make threatened scrub-jay official Florida bird

A group of environmental science students at Seminole High School in Sanford have joined a decades-long effort to knock the mockingbird off its perch as the state bird and replace it with the Florida scrub-jay. “Since the scrub-jay is found only in Florida, it should be chosen as the state bird without a doubt,” said Navya Sharma, a senior at Seminole High, noting the designation would bring attention to preserving the threatened bird’s natural scrub habitat. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida lawmaker aiming to have social media safety taught in classrooms

Children are racking up more screen time than ever before on social media and state Sen. Danny Burgess thinks they need social media safety taught in the classroom. Burgess proposed the bill for the second time this year and has hopes of making it law. If approved, for the first time in Florida’s history, the state might require public schools to teach social media safety. [Source: WFLA]

Appeals court declines to rehear in University of Florida COVID-19 shutdown case

The full 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday refused to hear arguments in a potential class-action lawsuit contending that the University of Florida should return fees to students because of a campus shutdown early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorneys for graduate student Anthony Rojas asked the full appeals court to hold what is known as “en banc” hearing after a divided three-judge panel ruled in November that an Alachua County circuit judge should have dismissed the lawsuit. [Source: WCJB]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› 2022: an exciting year for education in Alachua County
The University of Florida and Alachua County Public Schools have had a busy 2022 as they grappled with challenges coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. 2022 brought changes in leadership for UF and ACPS. Alachua County Public Schools lost its superintendent in March and UF’s longtime president announced his retirement in January. In addition, the district ushered in its first all-women school board and two investigations were launched into ACPS due to the mishandling of funds.

› Feds, Okaloosa school district reach settlement
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Okaloosa County school district have reached a settlement after an investigation into allegations of abuse and improper restraint and seclusion of children with disabilities. The department began the investigation in September 2020 based on allegations from as early as the 2015-2016 school year, according to the settlement. The allegations involved potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

› Scholarship offers Tampa Bay high school seniors $25,000 for college
The Sunshine Opportunity Scholarships program is accepting applications through March 2 from Tampa Bay area high school seniors for its 2023 college scholarships. The awards are worth $25,000 over four years ($6,250 per year), renewable annually for students who remain in good academic standing. Applicants should be high-achieving high school seniors in Hillsborough, Pasco or Pinellas counties who have overcome significant obstacles in life and who plan to attend a Florida public university for their undergraduate studies.

› Orlando-bound Barry Manilow asks public to help him honor local music teachers
Hitmaker Barry Manilow feels passionately about music education — and the students who find a home in their school’s bands. “These classes are so important to them,” said the “I Write the Songs” singer in a phone call from Palm Springs, California. “They turn into their second family.” Manilow will perform Jan. 17 at the Amway Center in Orlando. In the run-up to his concert, the singer’s Manilow Music Project will honor a music teacher with $10,000 — $5,000 to the teacher and $5,000 to the teacher’s school for instrument purchases — and the public will vote for the winner.

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David Denor at the 2022 Florida Southern College Winter Commencement
David Denor at the 2022 Florida Southern College Winter Commencement

David Denor, the publisher of Florida Trend Magazine, was the
keynote speaker during Florida Southern’s Winter graduation.

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