New rules approved by state board, crossing guards sought, professor fired and more

New rules: The Florida Board of Education approved several amendments during a meeting on Wednesday that will impact LBGTQ students. Three amendments and one new rule lay out guidelines to align with recently passed legislation regarding the usage of bathrooms, classroom instruction and admission of minors to adult performances. Two amendments address educators specifically, while two others detail guidelines for how districts must treat LBGTQ students who wish to go by a different name or use a bathroom that differs from their sex assigned at birth. Meanwhile, new academic standards were approved involving instruction about African American history after teachers statewide objected to the changes and asked the board to put the proposal on hold. Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. pushed back on assertions by some groups that the standards “omit or rewrite key historical facts about the Black experience” and ignore state law about required instruction. State Rep. Anna Eskamani said the new standards were “inaccurate and a scary standard for us to establish.” Also, TikTok was formally banned in Florida schools.  Florida Today. WUFT. Axios. WBBH. ABC Action News.

Palm Beach: The school district here will have to revisit its Baker Act policy after a federal court judgment. In a statement released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, it says the school district will consider the proposed revisions specifically for students who have disabilities. WPBF. Meanwhile, school leaders here decided to keep the Bible on public shelves. The discussion arose after Barry Silver, a civil rights advocate from Boynton Beach, formally objected in April to the Bible being on library shelves at Olympic Heights High in Boca Raton, where his son was a senior in the spring. The Palm Beach Post.

Manatee: As the first day of school approaches, the Bradenton Police Department will be hiring part-time crossing guards for the 2023-24 school year. Crossing guards will work two shifts daily with pay at $24 per hour. Requirements include frequent standing and walking, a valid Florida driver’s license and passing a background investigation. Bay News 9.

Leon: A hearing officer picked by the county school district to make a recommendation on how to proceed with a challenge to the book “I am Billie Jean King” is telling school board members they should keep it on elementary school shelves. “It is my opinion that removing ‘I am Billie Jean King’ from elementary schools infringes on the rights of parents who want their children to learn about Ms. King and the many contributions she has made to our country,” wrote that official, retired principal D.J. Wright, in her recommendation. The decision now goes to the school board, which will discuss the book challenge at its Monday meeting and vote on a decision Tuesday. The Florida Times-Union.

Flagler: The school board here gathered on Tuesday for a special meeting with members of the Florida School Board Association to discuss what it’s looking for in a new superintendent. In April, the board chose not to renew former Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt’s contract in a 3-2 vote. Since then, the board has partnered with the FSBA to begin its search for the vacant position. The Daytona Beach News-Journal. 

University and college news: State Sen. Randy Fine once floated the idea of a “shutdown” of University of Central Florida. But his next job might be as new president of Florida Atlantic University. Why Fine, who already announced a run for state Senate next year, would want to take the FAU president job is unclear. Orlando Sentinel. Eric Stewart, a Florida State University research professor of criminology, has been fired after an investigation into ongoing, questionable research allegations from the past four years. The decision was effective on July 13 and stated in a five-page termination letter to Stewart from James Clark, FSU’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Stewart held the position since 2007. “You demonstrated extreme negligence in basic data management, resulting in an unprecedented number of articles retracted, numerous other articles now in question, with the presence of no backup of the data for the publications in question,” Clark stated in the termination letter. Tallahassee Democrat.

Opinions on schools: Despite nearly $200 billion in emergency federal spending on K-12 schooling, students are doing worse than a decade ago, and lower-performing students are today less capable of doing math than they were 35 years ago. David Steiner, the 74th.

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BY Camille Knox