Students head back to school as Florida faces worst teacher shortage in state history
The new school year is upon us and many schools are still on the hunt for teachers. The teacher shortage made headlines during the pandemic and continues to be a persistent problem in many parts of the country. Florida has more than 5,000 unfilled teaching positions. The state ranks 48th in pay, with teachers there making an average of $51,000 a year, according to the National Education Association. "The health of the teaching profession is at or near its lowest points in the past 50 years," says Melissa Arnold Lyon, co-author of a report on the state of the teaching profession. She says money is a big reason why. More from Newsweek, CBS News, and First Coast News]
Florida officials predict increased student aid costs for taxpayers
Florida officials project that taxpayer-funded student aid will increase in coming years as more students graduate from high school in the Sunshine State. The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research’s Education Estimating Conference was held on Friday to discuss projections for various scholarship programs for Florida college students in fiscal 2023-24 to fiscal 2028-29. [Source: The Center Square]
Classrooms have become political battlegrounds in Florida. Will it intensify this year?
As they prepare to start a new school year over the next week or two, many public school teachers, students and parents are anxious over returning to a classroom, the place where some of the most controversial laws signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis will play out. Laws or new rules by the Florida Department of Education dictate what can be taught about race, gender identity and sexual orientation, empower parents to challenge school library books and prohibit teachers from asking students about their preferred pronouns. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida’s new higher education law faces legal challenges
A group of plaintiffs connected to New College of Florida has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a recently passed law bringing major changes to the state’s higher education system. The law, known as SB 266, is “the latest salvo in the culture wars being fought in Florida by Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature,” says the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida has made headlines this year for the state's decision making concerning learning material at both the adolescent and higher-education levels in schools across Florida among other hot-button cultural issues. And even with that controversy, Florida still places high in regards to a college education. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› 12 school districts adopt UF-designed artificial intelligence education program [Gainesville Sun]
The world is changing, and artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly prevalent – even in schools in Florida. High schools across the state will offer AI coursework this upcoming year through a UF-designed education program. The program's goal is to equip youth with the skills required for an AI-enabled workforce.
› Stalled FAU presidential search fuels anger among donors and trustees [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The stalled search for the new president of Florida Atlantic University is causing conflict on the school’s Board of Trustees as well as threats by major donors to stop giving to the university. Tuesday’s meeting of the trustees, held via videoconference, was the first since the State University System’s Board of Governors suspended the presidential search July 7 to investigate alleged “anomalies,” including the use of a straw poll to narrow candidates and a voluntary diversity survey by a search firm that asked questions about applicants’ sexual orientation and gender identity.
› Class action approved in USF shutdown case [News Service of Florida]
A Hillsborough County circuit judge has certified a class action in a lawsuit about whether the University of South Florida should return fees to students because of a campus shutdown early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Darren Farfante issued an order Monday approving a request by named plaintiff ValerieMarie Moore to make the case a class action that would apply to students enrolled at USF in 2020 and the spring semester of 2021.
› St. Petersburg College launches mental health courses for law enforcement [Tampa Bay Times]
St. Petersburg College on Monday announced a new program to train local law enforcement officers how to better respond to colleagues and members of the public with mental health challenges. The three-semester curriculum includes six courses in counseling and interviewing skills, as well as substance abuse and family interactions. Said to be the first of its kind in the state, the program came about after the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association approached the college.