Gov. DeSantis proposes $75 million for vocational education program in state
Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking lawmakers to approve creating two workforce education programs by using $75 million in federal coronavirus relief funds. Speaking at a news conference Monday in Melbourne, DeSantis pitched using the money to launch what he’s calling the “Get There Faster Initiatives.” The proposed programs, one to serve high school students and another for adults, are aimed at speeding up pathways to receiving certificates and credentials for jobs. More from the News Service of Florida and NBC Miami.
Funding concerns linger over Bright Futures scholarships
One of this legislative session’s most high-profile education bills was largely toppled on Tuesday by the collective furor of a group of students trying to “save” the state’s popular Bright Futures college scholarship program. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, would have reduced Bright Futures scholarships based on specific majors that “do not lead directly to employment.” It also would have cut scholarships based on how many college credits students earned through Advanced Placement and other related programs. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the News Service of Florida.
Florida education commissioner suggests FSA scores may not count toward student, school performance
With concerns growing among children and parents, the scores of the Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA exams, may not end up counting toward student retention and graduation, or critical factors like teacher pay and school funding, Florida's education commissioner suggested on Monday. The FSA exams are due to begin on April 5, but during such an unprecedented school year, many parents are worried about how the tests will impact their child's future. [Source: WPTV]
Out-of-state students with Florida grandparents could get in-state tuition
Attending a Florida public university soon might get more affordable to high-achieving non-residents whose grandparents live in the state. But the offer of in-state tuition rates for those potential students would be available only if their home state offers a similar deal in return to Floridians, under a bill moving through the Florida Senate. “I thought that was a fair deal,” said Sen. Joe Gruters, the Sarasota County Republican who chairs the Education Committee. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that masked students can be seated as close as three feet apart with no increased risk to them or teachers, but the usual six feet of distance remains the guideline for activities such as lunch, assemblies and sporting events. However, one Duval County teacher said the updated CDC recommendation it won’t really change anything for his classroom. “There's no social distancing going on anyway. We've been within six feet of each other all year long," veteran teacher Chris Guerrieri explained. [Source: First Coast News]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida Senate eyes charter school proposal [News Service of Florida]
A proposal that would allow state colleges and universities to authorize the creation of charter schools and sponsor the schools is advancing in the Florida Senate. The proposal would allow higher education institutions, upon approval by the state Department of Education, to solicit applications from charter schools. The Senate Committee on Education approved the measure (SB 1028) in a 6-4 party-line vote on Tuesday. Universities currently can sponsor charter developmental research schools, often referred to as lab schools. Three charter lab schools now exist in the state.
› Florida International University returning to pre-pandemic schedule [Tampa Bay Times]
Florida International University plans to return to pre-pandemic scheduling, starting in the summer session, the school announced. Since the global pandemic began, the Miami-based university has held classes either online or with social distancing measures in place. But with vaccinations underway, the university is ready to offer a “robust and safe on-campus experience for students,” Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth Furton wrote email sent to students and faculty on Tuesday.
› Mote Marine Laboratory and City of Anna Maria working together for marine science education [WWSB]
The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is partnering with the City of Anna Maria to build a new marine science education and public outreach center at the Anna Maria Pier. It has been unanimously approved by the city’s commission and signed by Mayor Dan Murphy and Mote President and CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby.
› Pandemic relief package includes $111 million to aid Jacksonville colleges, students [Floriida Times-Union]
Four Jacksonville colleges will receive a combined $111.7 million in federal aid through the American Rescue Plan signed into law this month, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson’s office reported Friday. The money will be important to students’ financial plans, because at least half at each school must be spent on financial aid grants, but details on the use of the rest are limited.