21st February 2024

Published Feb. 6

The big story: As Florida schools recognize Black History Month, some are seeing the after-effects of the state’s Parental Rights in Education law.

In Miami-Dade County, parents are being asked if they want their children to participate in some of the educational activities. The issue arises over presentations that bring outside experts onto campuses.

And that has some of parents upset. “Something feels very off here,” said parent Jill Peeling, “and the fact that the school needs to cover themselves against the state feels even worse.” Read more from WPLG.

The Parental Rights law also is affecting state lawmakers as they debate proposals to limit children’s access to social media.

Senators advanced legislation that would bar children under 16 from the platforms, but continue to get pushback for not including a way for parents allow their children to log on, Florida Politics reports. Gov. Ron DeSantis is among those asking questions.

Today in Tallahassee … The Senate Education PreK-12 Committee will take up seven bills when it meets at 8:30 a.m. • The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will review three bills when it meets at 11:30 a.m. • The Senate Postsecondary Education Committee will take up one bill and six trustee appointments when it meets at 3 p.m. • The Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee will consider SB 1110 on display of flags at schools when it meets at 3 p.m. • The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will review three bills when it meets at 3 p.m.

Hot topics

Achievement gap: Alachua County educators are digging into data to help figure out why Black students have lower graduation rates than other groups, the Independent Florida Alligator reports.

Book challenges: Some Volusia County residents are rallying in support of reading and against the removal of books from schools, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • About 100 Brevard County students plan to protest books being pulled from their classrooms and libraries, WMFE reports. • Duval County’s proposed science and social studies textbooks have drawn no objections from the public, Jacksonville Today reports.

Growth: The Hernando County school district is preparing to build additions at several schools to cope with rising enrollment, Hernando Sun reports.

Legal counsel: The Flagler County School Board offered little insight into its decision to fire its lawyer in a letter announcing the move, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

School days: Marion County students could see their school start times shift by hours as the school district contemplates new bell schedules that meet state law, WKMG reports.

Top teachers: Eighth grade teacher Tina Hemby is St. Johns County 2024 Teacher of the Year, the St. Augustine Record reports.

University leadership: Florida Atlantic University trustees are poised to extend the contract of interim president Stacy Volnick through 2024, as the school’s search for a full-time president remains suspended, News Service of Florida reports.

Vouchers: Some Hillsborough County families find private schooling more accessible with Florida’s expansion of voucher eligibility, WTVT reports.

From the police blotter … A Marion County school resource officer was arrested on allegations of having sex with a teen student, WOFL reports. • A Duval County elementary school student was arrested on accusations of bringing a loaded gun to school, WJXT reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go … Tracy Chapman rocketed back to No. 1 on the charts after this amazing version of “Fast Car” with Luke Combs.