Book bans and bad math

School libraries:  HB 1467, signed into law last year, requires school districts to catalog every book in school libraries and establish a review process for parental complaints. “Every district is interpreting it all differently,” said Jen Cousin a critic of the law and cofounder of Florida Freedom to Read.  Tallahassee Democrat. Ocala Star Banner. Collier and Lee County public schools have banned or restricted 42 books combined. Collier has reviewed 115 books and banned three, while Lee has reviewed 33 books and banned just one under the new law. Other books are restricted to certain grade levels or require parental permission to read. Naples Daily News. A Hillsborough County Commissioner wants to expand the review process to public libraries in order to prevent youth from checking out controversial books their parents might object to. Tampa Bay Times.

Legislature: A new bill proposal would change the way unions for public employees would be able to collect dues. The changes would impact the state’s teacher union but not unions for law enforcement or firefighters. WFLA.

Escambia: Florida Rep. Michelle Salzman is calling for Tim Smith, the Escambia County School District Superintendent, to step down from his position. Pensacola News Journal. Carol Cleaver of the Escambia County Education Association says the district is already down 27 teachers and has seven openings at one school alone. She worries that SB 202, a bill to expand eligibility to the Family Empowerment Scholarship program, would reduce funding for the district and prevent them from filling teacher spots for fewer students. WEAR.

Indian River: Brian Barefoot, Indian River County School Board member claims that a public education is under attack and that a “the biggest threat to national security threat this country faces is a deteriorating public education system.” Barefoot also called on people to set aside divisiveness and work together for results. TC Palm.

Polk: Polk County Schools are heading to Puerto Rico to recruit teachers and support staff. WFTS.

Seminole: An Orlando area police officer was charged with a DUI after crashing his pickup truck as he tried to pickup his daughter at Choices in Learning Elementary School in Winter Springs. WESH.

Florida Policy Institute: Florida Policy Institute offered a rebuttal to the House Fiscal Analysis that HB 1 would cost $209 million, a far cry from the think tank’s $4 billion estimate. The left-of-center think tank and scholarship critic claims the House analysis made several errors. However, it should be noted that FPI’s original estimate included students who were already enrolled in private schools through existing scholarship programs. FPI. WPTV.

National: Republican Senators in Idaho killed an education savings account plan, claiming they had no idea how much the program would cost. The defeat of the program came after the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy announced the program would cost $45 million in the first year and balloon to $363 million within a few years. The think tank claimed it based its estimates on growth from similar programs in Arizona and Florida and cited the left-of-center Florida Policy Institute and Grand Canyon Institute, both critics of school vouchers. It should be noted that the Idaho-based think take made some poor assumptions as the group estimated that 12% of the state’s public school students will accept the voucher, almost double the rate in Florida which is home to the nation’s largest K-12 private school scholarship programs. Florida Politics. Idaho Statesman.