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Security in schools: Florida legislators say they agree with a statewide grand jury’s scathing criticisms of flaws in school security and will act on its recommendations when the legislative session begins Jan. 14. The report urged Florida lawmakers to give the Department of Education more authority to enforce state laws. “We gave them some ability to withhold pay from superintendents, but I think that there’s more that needs to be done,” said State Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation. “They suggest criminal charges, sanctions, going after school board members and I think that we need to start looking at that.” The report accused some districts of, among other things, manipulating data on crimes committed by students, ignoring their responsibility to provide armed guards for charter schools and not keeping radio communications system updated…

Civics literacy: A bill that would create opportunities within U.S. history courses for students to participate in local civics projects has gotten the unanimous approval of the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee…

Standardized testing: School districts would need to get the approval of students’ parents before giving Florida Standards Assessments tests to students under a proposed bill filed in the Legislature. H.B. 929 is sponsored by state Rep. Shevrin ones, D-West Park, who said, “Current testing requirements lead to lost instructional time and narrowing of the curriculum, ultimately hurting our students. Beyond these costs, the burdensome assessments cost Florida taxpayers millions of dollars each year as the booming for-profit standardized testing industry continues to profit at our expense.”…

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