December 9, 2023
Florida now has school vouchers for all

Florida Trend Education

Florida now has school vouchers for all

| 3/30/2023

Florida now has school vouchers for all

One of the largest private school voucher expansions in the nation was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who hailed it as a “game changer,” even as the overall cost of the move remains clouded. DeSantis signed the measure (HB 1) into law Monday at a private, all-boys Catholic high school in Miami. The legislation makes all Florida students eligible for taxpayer-financed vouchers to attend private schools – a roughly $8,500 award which Democrats deride as a taxpayer supplement to wealthier parents with kids already enrolled in private education. More from the Tallahassee Democrat, the Tampa Bay Times, and the USA Today.

Proposed bill would give Florida teachers a major pay bump

If a bill currently being considered in the Florida Legislature is passed into law, the state's teachers could see a major increase in their base pay. House Bill 271 is making its way through the Florida Legislature, and, if passed, would increase teachers' base pay to $65,000. Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association President Nancy Velardi said an increase in pay for Florida teachers is desperately needed, but she didn't believe the bill had a chance of passing. A previous education funding boost in 2022 increased base pay for teachers to a minimum of $47,500, but even that has been difficult to attain.[Source: Bay News 9]

Florida OKs emergency move allowing TikTok ban at all universities

A state education panel approved an emergency regulation Tuesday that paves the way for Florida to ban the TikTok app on public university campuses across the state. The move by a committee of the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, follows growing calls for a national ban of the app over security concerns. It gives system chancellor Ray Rodrigues the ability to implement a statewide ban “at his discretion” and “as soon as practicable.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Other states are copying Florida’s efforts to ban the teaching of gender identity

Florida’s move to expand its prohibition on teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom comes as Republican lawmakers in other states are pursuing their own versions of what critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The prohibition signed last year by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely expected to announce a presidential run soon, is being copied by GOP lawmakers pushing for similar limits on what can be taught in public schools. [Source: WLRN]

Florida ramps up number of CDL schools

Florida is now able to train 3,500 truck drivers yearly due to its funding of workforce training as the state approved six new third-party FleetForce truck driving schools. The state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) announced it was celebrating FleetForce Truck Driving School’s expansion to 10 new commercial driver license sites thanks to new locations in Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, New Port Richey, Niceville, Ocala and Sunrise. [Source: Transport Topics]


› Florida Power & Light Company, Florida Prepaid College Foundation to deliver $4.2 million in college scholarships
The Florida Prepaid College Foundation (FPCF) today announced it is partnering with Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) to award $4.2 million in college scholarships to students living in the most poverty-stricken zip codes in the state, providing 2-Year College Scholarships to 1,000 students over the next four years. FPL’s donation of $2.1 million, matched dollar-for-dollar by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, is the largest contribution to date since the Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program launched two years ago.

› Later start times for Florida middle and high school students could impact school bus schedules
Changing the start time for Florida middle and high school students came one step closer to reality on Monday. A Florida Senate education committee passed its version of bill — SB 1112, formally titled "Middle School and High School Start Times" — that would require middle schools to start after 8 a.m. and high schools after 8:30 a.m. The goal is to give teenagers more sleep. But on Monday, some state lawmakers recognized the impact this could have on school transportation.

› Florida professors are inviting parents learn about A.I and social media safety
With the influx of children and teens using social media and the prevalence artificial intelligence online, University of Florida professors feel it’s time for parents to get savvy about the topic. “I think a lot of people just need to have some literacy around what privacy is, what kind of data is being taken and captured on there devices or on social media platforms,” said Amelia Winger-Bearskin. “Starting to have those conversations with your children, helping parents make decisions around monitoring and decided when children can use those systems and how they should go about that.”

› Gov. DeSantis names three to State Board of Education
Two new members are joining the State Board of Education, joined by a returning member, following appointments announced recently by the Governor’s Office. One of the two new additions to the Board is Kelly Garcia of Tampa, who sports around 11 years of teaching experience. Former Tequesta Republican Rep. MaryLynn Magar also joins the Board. She spent eight years in the House, closing out her tenure by serving as Speaker Pro Tem for the last two years, leaving in 2020.

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