Dozens of groups call on Florida to restart school-based survey on kids’ health risks
Nearly 80 Florida nonprofit organizations and advocates are calling on the state Department of Education to reverse its unexplained decision to drop out of a CDC school-based survey that asks students about everything from their daily diet and exercise regimen to suicidal thoughts, sexual orientation and gender identity. On Tuesday, 38 groups and 40 individuals signed a letter to Jacob Oliva, the Florida Department of Education’s interim commissioner, saying the survey — administered in Florida since 1991 — plays a “critical role” in helping kids struggling with mental illness, bullying, peer pressure and unhealthy lifestyles. More from the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Trend, and the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida lawmakers rolled back testing this year. But some teachers say it's not enough
Lawmakers made massive changes to testing in state schools this year — swapping the yearly Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA tests, for three shorter "progress assessment" tests throughout the school year. WUSF recently asked local teachers if newly passed laws help or hurt their efforts in the classroom. Here's what some told Kerry Sheridan and Bailey LeFever about the testing changes. [Source: WUSF]
Commentary: Every week should be National Teachers Week
Now more than ever, we need to support public education and our teachers who continue to give our students their all in the face of mounting challenges. But when it comes to supporting Florida students, politicians in Tallahassee are playing party politics with our children’s education. Our state is headed down an anti-teacher, anti-public education movement that is hurting students, and exacerbating chronically underappreciated and underpaid teachers. As a result, teachers are leaving their careers at alarming rates. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Small districts could be cut out of textbook deals
Some of Florida’s most financially strapped small school districts could have paid thousands of dollars more for textbooks than their larger counterparts, and local officials are asking state leaders to do something about it. A whistleblower identified as “John/Jane Doe” recently sent allegations to state officials about publishers potentially violating state law by providing free or discounted instructional materials to some districts but not offering the same deals to all 67 county districts. [Source: News Service of Florida]
A cash gift paid directly to a university for tuition on behalf of a student is exempt from the gift tax. So is a gift paid directly to an institution such as a hospital for certain health care expenses. When a gift goes to a non-spouse, non-charitable recipient for general use by the receiver, the gift tax can apply if it exceeds the “annual gift tax exclusion.” For 2022, the exclusion is $16,000. This limit is indexed to inflation. It was $15,000 last year. [Source: Florida Today]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› A Florida senior’s graduation speech goes viral over what he couldn’t say [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
In Florida, it's hard having curly hair. During Pine View School's graduation ceremony Sunday, Zander Moricz spoke about his experiences and activism as Pine View School's first openly gay class president, but in his commencement address, he never said he was gay. Instead, he used his curly hair as a euphemism for his sexual orientation. Moricz said the decision to censor his speech was "dehumanizing," but he didn't want to risk ruining the ceremony for his fellow students.
› FIU strengthens international business education with grant renewal from U.S. Department of Education [FIU News]
The U.S. Department of Education has renewed Florida International University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) grant. Increased to $1.33 million, the grant will have a total impact of nearly $2.7 million with matching funds. The grant is one of just 16 CIBER grants awarded to leading universities across the country this year and, for the second time, the only one awarded in Florida.
› Boca Raton teen picks up high school diploma, graduates from college on same day [WSVN]
A South Florida teenager received his high school diploma on the same day he graduated from college. Nathan Nieves’ mind-blowing accomplishment puts a twist on the typical commencement activities, which has taken him into the history books. Although it might be tempting to call the Boca Raton teen an overachiever, he said nothing has come easily for him.
› Pasco braces for book challenges with ideas for new school library rules [Tampa Bay Times]
Unlike many other school districts in Florida, Pasco County has not faced an influx of challenges to the books on its shelves. That hasn’t stopped district officials from looking for ways to limit the potential fallout that a book battle might create. A team of educators has scoured the shelves to locate titles that have generated controversy in other counties, in order to have a full accounting of everything in the collection, superintendent Kurt Browning said. But they’re not pulling materials out of circulation, he added. He wants to keep it that way.