Book reviews challenge Florida schools

The big story: Florida schools face a new challenge this year as they select books for their shelves.

Whether purchased or donated, all titles should be reviewed by a qualified librarian or media specialist, paying particular attention to recently implemented rules on sensitive topics such as gender and race.

Even though the rules went into effect July 1, the state won’t send guidance on how to implement them until January. District leaders in Pinellas County didn’t want to wait to prepare for the inevitable challenges, so they designed their own process in the meantime.

“We have 131 school library media programs,” said Bronwyn Slack, district library services coordinator. “We had to start talking about it in a real way.”

Read about the effort here.

Hot topics

Student disciplines: Saying the behavior got out of hand, the Pasco County School District announced it would expel students with two medium violations or one serious violation. “There are consequences to your actions,” Superintendent Kurt Browning said.

Compensation of employees: The Pasco County School District has proposed a compensation plan to support employees that would raise everyone’s pay by at least 5%, with hundreds of workers eligible for increases of more than 50%. Negotiators have said they could strike a deal within a week.

Gender issues: The Palm Beach County School District said it would allow students to use whatever name they prefer, WTVJ reports. • The Charlotte County School Board has passed new policies enshrining the state’s latest education laws on gender and race, reports WFTX.

Back to school: South Florida teachers are returning to their classrooms with questions about how they will be treated given the gains made in the conservative agenda advanced by Governor Ron DeSantis and his supporters, reports the Miami Herald.

School Board Policy: Fifteen candidates are vying for four seats on the Orange County school board, reports the Orlando Sentinel. • Marta Perez, a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board since 1998, faces her first challenge since 2014, reports the Miami Herald.

Campus Security: Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission have called for more schools to implement the state guardian program, reports the WTSP. They also expressed dismay at the slowness with which schools are adopting warning systems and discussed the inconsistent use of threat assessments, reports the News Service of Florida. • The Broward County Sheriff said he would like his department to take over policing local schools, reports the Sun-Sentinel. More from Florida Politics.

Other school news

Connor McCord joined the Leon County School Board as a student representative to learn more about the policy and process. While serving during the pandemic, he learned a lot more, reports the Tallahassee Democrat.

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An Osceola County charter school learned Monday that its efforts to retain its charter had failed. The decision has left families and employees scrambling, WESH reports. Meanwhile, school officials have been fighting to reverse the closure, WFTV reports.

The Duval County School District began advertising to attract students. He presents the district as a better alternative to charter schools, which have seen strong growth, reports WJAX.

The Broward County School District spent about $100,000 to send principals and vice-principals to a leadership retreat at the Ritz-Carlton. Officials said they had been doing this for several years, Sun-Sentinel reports.

The Jackson County School District is struggling to find bus drivers. Teachers, coaches and administrators are taking avenues to help fill the void, WMBB reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here is the link to yesterday’s recap.

Before you leave … It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Gorillaz. Always enjoy sound and visuals. Here is their latest.

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