State asks judge to toss out education fight
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is asking a federal judge to toss out a challenge to a controversial new law that restricts instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in Florida public schools. Lawyers for the state filed a 60-page motion Monday arguing that U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor should dismiss the case filed by the LGBTQ-advocacy groups Equality Florida and Family Equality, students, parents and teachers. The law (HB 1557), which has drawn nationwide attention, prevents instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade and requires that such instruction be “age-appropriate … in accordance with state academic standards” in older grades. [Source: News Service of Florida]
State’s FSA results show achievements among students in math, English
New statewide test results from the Department of Education show achievement gaps between students are closing. The results cover how students, from third to eighth grade, scored in math and English. Included in the results is a breakdown of how students scored based on race and their socio-economic background. The categories were white, African American, and Hispanic students, as well as students who were identified as “economically disadvantaged.” More from WJXT and Florida Trend.
Here’s what Florida’s ‘Stop WOKE’ law could mean for your child’s education
Among the many laws taking effect on Friday, Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act” may be among the most contentious with the possibility of multiple litigations arising to challenge its constitutionality. “Critics are going to challenge it because they take the position that it restricts speech in an unconstitutional way,” said News 6 legal analyst attorney Steve Kramer. “The state’s position is that it may restrict speech, but it restricts speech in a limited context for a state employee in a state job with a state paycheck and therefore they don’t have that right to speech in that position. That doesn’t restrict what they can say outside of the classroom only what they can do in the classroom.” [Source: Click Orlando]
New law expands Bright Futures scholarship eligibility, allows paid work to meet service requirement
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday morning signed a bill that will allow students seeking a Bright Futures scholarship to use a paid job to meet service requirements. Before, students had to volunteer for up to 100 hours to qualify for the scholarship and get tuition at state colleges and universities. DeSantis said 120,000 students qualified for the scholarship this year and he hopes the law change will increase that number. More from Florida Trend and News4Jax]
Even though it's summer break, the teaching and learning continues for some. Danielle Wolfe is an A+ Teacher for Florida Virtual School, and she likes to bringa a special guest to her classes to reduce stress. "Our course work is challenging, but our courses are easy to navigate for students and the best part is they're getting that individualized attention from us, so it really is a classroom of one," Wolfe says. "I am so connected to my students because they're still kids who want to know their teacher supports them and cares about them and is in their corner." [Source: Spectrum News 13]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Fighting labor shortage, Brevard Public Schools will begin $15 minimum wage early [Florida Today]
At a Tuesday Brevard County School Board meeting, Brevard Public Schools superintendent outlined several ways the district is attempting to recruit and retain staff members, including an early adoption of the $15 minimum wage. Starting July 1, all BPS employees will make at least $15 per hour.
› UF College of Pharmacy moves into top 3 of national research rankings [UF Health News]
The University of Florida College of Pharmacy moved up two places to No. 3 in the nation for total research funding in the latest American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, or AACP, report released June 23. The No. 3 ranking is the highest ever achieved by the college when compared to peer institutions. AACP compiles research data from more than 140 colleges of pharmacy around the country. For the first time, the UF College of Pharmacy ranked No. 3 in all three major categories where research funding is reported: NIH funding ($22.1 million), federal funding ($25.9 million) and total funding ($32.3 million).
› Longtime USF benefactors Frank and Carol Morsani give another $7M [Tampa Bay Times]
The University of South Florida on Tuesday announced a $7 million donation from longtime local philanthropists Frank and Carol Morsani. The gift will be used to create scholarships for students, an endowed chair position in geriatrics and a director and professor position for “ethical leadership” in business. The Morsanis have donated to USF since the 1970s, giving to the school’s athletics programs in its early days.
› UNF digs deeper to reveal possible center of native village [AP]
Victoria Hayes and Kaia Lacey found buried treasure Wednesday morning as they used spoons to gently scrape the side of a small hole at an archaeological dig on Big Talbot Island. Pirate gold was not the bounty unearthed by these University of North Florida archaeology students, but a curved piece of glazed pottery that offers more important clues to a Native American village dating back four centuries among these trees.