FSU presidential search controversy continues
Florida State University has narrowed down its presidential candidates to three candidates. Notably, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran isn’t one of those, after the university’s accreditation was threatened over his candidacy. But some are now calling for the search to be halted.
Bush group weighs in on school reopening fight
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. An influential education group led by former Gov. Jeb Bush is backing the state in a legal battle about an order requiring school districts to open classrooms for face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is chaired by Bush, filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday at the 1st District Court of Appeal supporting Gov. A Leon County circuit judge last month ruled that a July 6 order issued by Corcoran about reopening classrooms was unconstitutional. The state immediately appealed the ruling by Circuit Judge Charles Dodson to the Tallahassee-based appeals court.
Florida judge rejects putting schools ruling on hold
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Siding with teachers unions, a Leon County circuit judge Thursday lifted a stay of his earlier ruling that a state order requiring schools to reopen in August is unconstitutional. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and other state education officials of ignoring the Florida Constitution by requiring school districts to resume face-to-face instruction this month amid the coronavirus pandemic. Attorneys for Corcoran and DeSantis immediately filed a notice of appealing Dodson’s ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeal. Under law, that notice of appeal automatically placed a stay on Dodson’s ruling -- effectively putting it on hold until the Tallahassee-based appeals court can resolve the case. In Thursday’s order, Dodson scolded the state for misrepresenting his temporary injunction.
State says school ruling should remain on hold
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida officials are urging a Leon County circuit judge to keep in place a stay on his ruling that a state mandate to reopen brick-and-mortar schools is unconstitutional. Ron DeSantis immediately filed a notice of appealing Dodson’s ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeal. Under law, that notice of appeal automatically placed a stay on Dodson’s ruling — effectively putting it on hold until the Tallahassee-based appeals court can resolve the case. Late Tuesday, attorneys for the Florida Education Association and the Orange County teachers union asked Dodson to lift the stay. “The court should deny the motion and maintain the stay so that families already beset by uncertainty and concern will not be further burdened by repeated and potentially contradictory orders,” the state’s lawyers wrote.
State eases rules on Bright Futures program
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran late Wednesday signed an emergency order that eases some eligibility requirements for awards under the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The order said Corcoran found it necessary to take steps such as partly suspending rules and laws that require students to complete volunteer service hours. Such documentation shall be considered as evidence that a student has completed the required number of volunteer service hours for scholarship eligibility, the order said. Depending on the level of the Bright Futures scholarship award, students are required to complete at least 30 hours or up to 100 hours of volunteer service to qualify. The College Board has no scheduled dates for SAT administrations until Aug. 29, according to its website.
Education commissioner questions pre-game prayer policies
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As a three-year legal battle continues over the issue, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran wants the Florida High School Athletic Association to reconsider policies that prevented Christian schools from offering a prayer over the stadium loudspeaker before a 2015 state championship football game. “Policies that are overbroad or restrictive may deny students their constitutional right to private religious expression. Cambridge Christian filed the lawsuit against the athletic association, arguing that the decision blocking the use of the loudspeaker for the prayer violated First Amendment rights. The 2015 game that led to the lawsuit involved Cambridge Christian and Jacksonville’s University Christian School. “The state must not censor private religious speech of its students, even where that speech is given at a state-sponsored event or on public property.”