DeSantis signs bill raising teacher pay, delay in school year discussed, other opening plans and more
School security criticized: School districts across the state are “not moving fast enough” to comply with the law passed last year that requires specific measures to improve security in schools, says the chairman of the state commission that investigated the Parkland school shooting. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the House Education Commission that school districts have “no sense of urgency” to have an armed guard in every school or to prepare for a potential attack, as required by the law. He suggested that districts that are slow to comply should be penalized by the Florida Department of Education. Tampa Bay Times. Florida Politics. Politico Florida. The Broward County School District is struggling to create safe “hard corners” in 20,000 classrooms. Finding one safe spot in a room that’s big enough for all students is one problem, and principals say they aren’t the safety experts who should be choosing the safest corner. Sun Sentinel. The Broward County School District is named one of six American K-12 districts to watch this year. As the site of the 2018 Parkland school shooting, Broward is at the center of the discussion on security in schools. Education Dive.
DOE counsel named to court: U.S. Department of Education general counsel Carlos Muniz has been appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Muniz, 49, has no judicial experience but has been a lawyer for U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. This is DeSantis’ third appointment to the court since he took office two weeks ago. Associated Press. News Service of Florida. GateHouse. Orlando Sentinel. Tampa Bay Times. Education Week. WPLG. Sunshine State News.
Graduation paths: Florida’s high schools are graduating more seniors than ever, but some legislators want to find even more alternative paths to a diploma. “It’s still a big goal of mine,” says state Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, the chair of the House PreK-12 Innovation committee. Several bills have already been filed. One would allow students to graduate even if they can’t pass the required tests as long as they meet other criteria. Another would focus on subject mastery in middle and high schools as ways to assign grades and credits, and another would require all high schools to have advisers to counsel students with a grade point average under 2.0 about alternative graduation pathways and technical training. Gradebook.
Teaching religion: A bill is introduced into the Legislature that would require all high schools to offer students an “objective study of religion.” State Rep. Kim Daniels, D-Jacksonville, who filed the bill, said examples are courses on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament, the New Testament or a combination of all three. Florida Politics. Daniels also said Wednesday she is willing to agree that she broke state law by filing false financial disclosures if the Florida Commission on Ethics turns the case over to House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, to decide if further action is necessary. Florida Times-Union.