DeSantis targets Florida universities with aggressive agenda – Tampa Bay Times
The big story: Higher education continued to take center stage in Florida’s policy world.
Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to “indoctrination” on Florida’s university campuses by announcing a proposal to prohibit programs and activities that advance ideas on race, diversity and equity he views as ideology.
With his handpicked chancellor at his side, DeSantis called for a major overhaul of the university system, tighter control of faculty tenure and the establishment of civics institutes at three universities.
“There’s really a debate about what is the purpose of higher education, particularly publicly funded higher education systems,” he said. “You have the dominant view, which I think is not the right view, to impose ideological conformity, to provoke political activism. Instead, we need our higher education systems to promote academic excellence.” Read more here.
The governor also expressed his continued support for major change at New College of Florida, where he appointed six trustees to carry out a conservative transformation of the tiny liberal arts honors school. The trustees advanced the cause at their first meeting together Tuesday, including the appointment of former education commissioner Richard Corcoran as interim president to lead the charge. Read more here. See also a tick-tock of the day’s events from the Herald-Tribune.
DeSantis is building his brand with education at the core, the NY Times reports.
Book challenges: Florida Republican officials say some school districts and teachers are overreacting to new rules requiring added reviews of books before placing them in students’ hands, National Review reports. • Some teachers are removing books from their classrooms, saying they have been threatened in law with felony charges for having certain material available, Vice reports.
Black history: A Hillsborough County middle school language arts teacher reminds that Black history is American history, and says it’s important to weave lessons into the entire school year, WUSF reports.
Vouchers: Some North Florida parents and lawmakers have raised fears that a state House proposal to establish universal education savings accounts could funnel money and students away from public education, WTLV reports.
Superintendents: Bay County superintendent Bill Husfelt announced he will retire at the end of July, about a year earlier than planned. He said the decision was “completely personal,” the Panama City News Herald reports.
Other school news
A Seminole County elementary school is finding success with a new approach to reading. It’s pairing fourth graders with kindergartners, WKMG reports.
Alachua County students will get added access to the internet. They’ll have free Wi-Fi on their school buses, the Gainesville Sun reports.
The Palm Beach County school district has finalized attendance boundaries for a new high school and nearby affected campuses. Officials acknowledged not everyone will be happy, the Palm Beach Post reports.