DeSantis unveils education agenda aimed at teachers


The big story: Gov. Ron DeSantis has presented himself as a friend to teachers.

To teachers unions, not so much.

On Monday, the governor touted his role in establishing a line item in the state budget specifically for teacher raises. He’s proposed increasing the total in that categorical next year by $200 million. He also called for legislation to protect teachers who work to “follow the law” and impose discipline in classrooms.

At the same time, he criticized unions for preventing thousands of teachers from getting their hands on the raise money. So DeSantis called for new restrictions on how the organizations collect union dues and conduct negotiations over salaries.

And he was just getting started. Read more here.

During the event, Florida teacher of the year Melissa Anne Matz praised DeSantis as valuing teachers and making good on his promises, WJAX reports.

Also at his news conference, DeSantis reiterated his opposition to allowing Florida high schools to offer the new AP course on African American studies, saying it promotes an LGBTQ agenda. More from WJXT. • Black lawmakers blasted the move and pledged to fight it, the News Service of Florida reports. State Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, suggested that if DeSantis’ move works in Florida, it will become a model nationwide, NPR reports. • A coalition of faith leaders has announced its opposition to the course ban, WTLV reports.

The governor further called for partisan school board elections and shorter term limits for board members, Florida Phoenix reports.

Hot topics

University leadership: After two searches lasting several months, the University of South Florida has selected its next academic provost.

Testing: Florida’s new standardized testing model is getting mixed reviews as students and teachers await the final round in the spring, TC Palm reports.

Superintendents: Collier County interim superintendent Leslie Ricciardelli has set district priorities as she looks toward winning the job permanently, the Naples Daily News reports. • A letter from the state Department of Education criticizing Broward County superintendent Vickie Cartwright for ignoring requests to provide school safety information could hurt her chances at keeping her job, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Scholarships: A state lawmaker has filed legislation expanding the eligibility requirements for a Bright Futures scholarship, Florida Politics reports.

Classroom libraries: Some Manatee County teachers have removed student access to their classroom libraries amid warnings they could be prosecuted if they provide books that aren’t allowed in law, the Herald-Tribune reports. More from Popular Information.

Choice programs: Florida’s scholarship and voucher model is one of those driving a national push among Republican governors to expand school choice options, The 74 reports.

From the police blotter … A Brevard County school custodian was arrested on allegations of threatening to cut a student with a razor, WKMG reports. • Four Bay County students were taken to a hospital for treatment after their school bus was rear ended, the Panama City News Herald reports.

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