Feds warn Florida to reconsider withholding money from school boards over mask mandates
President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday warned top Florida education officials to “reconsider your threatened actions” after the state said it would try to thwart attempts to use federal money to cover salaries of county school-board members who approved student mask requirements.
State Board of Education eyes 11 school districts over mask policies
Continuing to pressure school districts over their handling of COVID-19, the State Board of Education has scheduled a meeting next week to look at whether 11 districts have complied with rules aimed at preventing student mask mandates.
A St. Pete cop dies of COVID. His widow shows us true selflessness | Editorial
Uncommon selflessness. On a day of unspeakable loss, Karen Weiskopf had more to give. Speaking at her husband’s funeral Tuesday, the widow of St. Petersburg police officer Michael Weiskopf, who died Aug. 27 after battling COVID-19, used her own tragedy as a warning. “I promise you,” she told the crowd at The Coliseum, speaking of the coronavirus, “it’s grueling, dangerous — and it will destroy ...news.yahoo.com
Duval County Schools responds to Education Department’s mask mandate ultimatum
In a letter sent to Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Duval County School Board said it chose to put in place a mask mandate for students with a medical opt out after 11 school district employees died and more than 1,600 cases were reported in schools over the first three weeks.
Officials withhold school board salaries over mask mandates
Florida state education officials on Monday began to make good on threats to withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates, despite a circuit judge last week ruling the ban unconstitutional. Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced that the Florida Department of Education has withheld an amount equal to monthly school board member salaries in Alachua and Broward counties, as directed by the State Board of Education.news.yahoo.com
Florida Board of Education to consider sanctioning 2 mask-mandating school districts
The Florida Department of Education has scheduled an emergency meeting of the State Board of Education for Tuesday to consider funding cuts tor two school districts that have rebuffed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order allowing parents to ignore mask mandates.news.yahoo.com
Editorial: Our kids’ education should be based on fact, not propaganda
It’s either chutzpah or hypocrisy, maybe both, that leads Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and the Florida Board of Education to crack down on our children’s history lessons. First, they spread fear that our kids will actually learn that (gasp!) the United States has not always been purely mom and apple pie. Then, satisfied they’ve sufficiently whipped up hysteria, they require a civics ...news.yahoo.com
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.
Education commissioner says a Duval teacher who hung BLM flag was fired. She wasn’t.
During a speech at a private conservative college last week, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran referenced Amy Donofrio, a Jacksonville teacher who generated controversy after she was removed from her classroom in March.
FSU eyes candidates to replace Thrasher as president
As Florida State University seeks a successor to retiring President John Thrasher, a committee Friday started interviewing nine finalists for the job --- as questions swirled about a potential conflict of interest for one high-profile candidate and as a student campaign emerged for another.
Emergency Order: State exams can be optional for Florida seniors, 3rd graders to graduate
Florida high school seniors will be able to graduate this year and third graders can move on without passing the normally required state assessments, according to a new executive order signed Friday by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
Florida lawmakers look to address ‘COVID slide’
“I do believe that the children who have had the biggest COVID learning slide have been the ones who are learning remotely. The federal government requires 95 percent of Florida students in grades 3 through 8 to sit for math and English-language arts exams. The Biden administration and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran both appear to be forging ahead with a plan to keep standardized testing in place for the current school year. The commissioner said Monday that roughly 65 percent to 70 percent of Florida students are back in classrooms getting in-person instruction. Under the bill, that customized plan could include mid-year promotion to the next grade, summer school or supplemental education support.
St. Johns school board asks education commissioner to lift negative consequences for state tests
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – In a letter sent to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, members of the St. Johns County School Board asked the state not to penalize the school district based on the results of the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) tests. “We want to give the test because we want to understand where our children are performing. AdThe letter, which was also signed by Superintendent Tim Forson, cites the U.S. Department of Education which said assessment flexibility was needed due to the ongoing pandemic. “Man students and staff members have missed time at school due to the illness itself, or mandatory quarantine, and students struggled in online platforms for a variety of reasons,” the letter states. Standardized testing begins April 15 and continues through May 28 in Florida schools.
Florida superintendents ask state education commissioner to limit importance of standard testing due to pandemic
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Statewide school testing begins next month, but Florida superintendents are worried their students might not be ready. Pointing to a need for flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of Florida Association of Superintendents and Pinellas County Superintendent Michael Grego on Wednesday urged Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to ask the federal government for waivers related to student assessments and accountability. But Corcoran sign an order February 15 requiring in-person testing for students in grade 3 and up. The US Department of Education has also been urging states to move forward with testing. Standardized testing begins April 15 and continues through May 28 in Florida schools.
State grants extra time for standardized tests
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Amid a debate about whether students should be required to take standardized tests in person as COVID-19 continues to spread, the state Department of Education is giving an additional two weeks for the Florida Standards Assessments and a statewide science test to be administered. “The department will use best efforts to respond to all such requests within five days,” the emergency order says. During Monday’s committee meeting, senators asked Kelly whether the state will meet a federal requirement that 95 percent of Florida students in grades 3-8 sit for math and English-language arts exams. The state assessments that have been given a time extension are subject tests in English-language arts and reading, writing, math and science, which are administered to students in grades 3-10. Corcoran’s emergency order also gives school districts “flexibility for administering tests on nights and weekends,” a spokesman for the education department told The News Service of Florida in an email Monday.
Florida couple charged with stealing state trade secrets
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As many as 10,000 Florida teachers and principles are believed to have passed their certification exams using materials the federal government alleges were stolen from the state. Kathleen Jasper, 42, and her husband, Jeremy, 40, face 108 counts of wire fraud and three counts of stealing trade secrets, in this case the contents of the teacher certification exam and the executive leadership exam. He said the department has also worked to replace the questions at issue to preserve the integrity of teacher certification exams. “If the charged allegations are proven, stealing questions from Florida’s teacher certification exams and then profiting by selling live test questions, especially to unknowing educators, is despicable,” Corcoran said. He said the content his client is accused of stealing was already available on the state Department of Education’s website.
Families weigh learning options as school districts finalize plans for spring 2021
Here’s where they stand at last check:Duval County Public SchoolsDuval County families have until Friday to cancel Duval HomeRoom for the spring semester. As of Wednesday, Duval County Public Schools Spokeswoman Sonya Duke-Bolden said, 2,200 families have requested to opt out of Duval Homeroom for the third quarter. Also, as of Wednesday, 80,780 students were enrolled in brick and mortar classes, 27,203 in Duval HomeRoom and 1,481 were learning via Duval Virtual Instruction Academy. Duke-Bolden added that these numbers do not include charter school students. St. Johns County School DistrictThe St. Johns County School District told News4Jax a survey was sent to families with students participating in distance learning, asking about their intended second-semester learning option.
Gov. DeSantis: Schools will remain open, remote learning to continue next semester
Ron DeSantis on Monday announced that remote learning will continue into the next semester and schools will continue to be required to be open five days a week. The announcement was expected after Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said in early November that distance learning will continue into 2021. DeSantis said all parents should have a choice to enroll students in either in-person or online learning, but continued his criticism of the decision to close schools and businesses. “Schools are a safe place to be.”Corcoran said the now updated emergency order will keep full funding in effect for school districts that continue to offer virtual learning. Across Florida, cases continue to climb.
Emergency order for schools not coming before Thanksgiving
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s education commissioner has said he hoped to have a new emergency order detailing how public schools would operate beginning in January before Thanksgiving arrived. But it looks like the order will be coming later than expected. “I would say I think the next emergency order is going to be a significant improvement based on our first 90, 100 days in school,” Corcoran said. And Corcoran said in the spring there will have to be greater efforts to intervene when online learning isn’t working for a student. A spokesperson for the Department of Education said the agency expects to have the updated emergency order issued before the end of the month.
Florida education commissioner says distance learning will continue into next year
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida students will be able to continue to learn remotely through the second half of the school year as the state grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said Wednesday. The Florida Education Association teachers union sued the state in July after Corcoran ordered school districts to offer in-person instruction when the 2020-2021 school year began. Corcoran told the state education board Wednesday that he expects to release another order addressing the pandemic by the end of this month. The Florida Education Association is asking the full court to reconsider the ruling, even as schools across the state have resumed in-person instruction. “We have not yet made that determination,” said Jason Wheeler, Community Information Specialist for Flagler County Schools.
Florida looks to close book on school reopening fight
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Trying to end months of legal wrangling, the state is urging an appeals court to keep in place a decision that backed Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran in a fight about reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. A key issue in the legal fight has involved part of the order that dealt with the way public schools are funded. In his Aug. 24 ruling that granted a temporary injunction, Dodson said the order left school districts with “no meaningful alternative” about reopening classrooms. But the panel of the Tallahassee-based appeals court overturned Dodson’s ruling on a series of grounds.
Court asked to reconsider school reopening fight
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Education Association and other plaintiffs asked an appeals court Monday to reconsider a decision that backed Gov. The order effectively conditioned a portion of money on school districts submitting reopening plans that included the use of brick-and-mortar classrooms, in addition to offering online alternatives. In an Aug. 24 ruling that sided with the plaintiffs and granted a temporary injunction, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson said the order left school districts with “no meaningful alternative” about reopening classrooms. “An injunction in this case will allow local school boards to make safety determinations for the reopening of schools without financial penalty,” Dodson wrote. “In fact, the emergency order does not require school districts to do anything.
Florida appeals court sides with state in school reopening fight
School districts assign teachers to classrooms and approve or deny their requested accommodations. In his Aug. 24 ruling granting a temporary injunction, Dodson said the order left school districts with “no meaningful alternative” about reopening classrooms. “The offer to provide increased state funding to school districts that reopen for in-person instruction is also rational,” Rowe wrote. But because the commissioner exercised his discretion to provide waivers from the funding statutes and rules, school districts were eligible to receive increased funding. The appeals court decision said Corcoran’s order gave school districts discretion about how to handle the situation.
DeSantis says closing schools in spring was a mistake
DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran have pushed heavily to reopen classrooms for the new school year. “So, now we’re at the point where the people who advocate school closures are really the flat earthers of our day,” DeSantis said. They’re doing it based on either politics or emotion. Schools in Miami-Dade County begin staggered reopenings on Monday, with Broward County schools restarting in-person instruction on Oct. 9. But you know, we’ve got a lot of blue-collar families and working mothers who have to go to work,” DeSantis said.
Facing state pressure, Miami schools OK reopening next week
MIAMI – Faced with a state ultimatum, the Miami-Dade school board agreed unanimously to reopen schools for classroom instruction next week despite looming fears that they're unprepared to prevent another spike in coronavirus infections. It was either share classroom air again or lose millions in state funding by scratching a reopening plan approved by Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. He ordered the board in a letter last week to follow through on Monday, and said the state would allow only case-by-case exceptions for certain schools. Ron DeSantis have pushed for classroom instruction to begin again. In Miami-Dade, where schools have struggled to successfully implement remote instruction this school year, no school has more than four infections, the numbers show.
Florida education commissioner, board member spar over COVID-19 data
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Wednesday criticized “union bosses” and said Florida has been a model for reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but a member of the State Board of Education defended leaders of teachers unions and called for better data about children infected with the virus. The exchange between Corcoran and Board of Education member Michael Olenick came as the state continues to battle the Florida Education Association teachers union in court about a reopening order and as school districts move forward with offering in-person and online classes to students. “When we opened up schools, you know what every teacher wanted to do, just like every student wanted to do? The unions argue that Corcoran’s order violated the Florida Constitution’s guarantee of “safe” and “secure” public schools because of the pandemic. I think we’re a model for the rest of the nation.”Olenick, however, questioned Corcoran about transparency in reporting COVID-19 cases involving students.
Judges refuse to step aside from schools case
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After getting skipped over for a seat on the Florida Supreme Court, appellate judges Lori Rowe and Timothy Osterhaus on Tuesday refused to disqualify themselves from a legal battle about a state order to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida Education Association and other plaintiffs last week filed a motion requesting that Rowe and Osterhaus step aside from the case, which is pending at the 1st District Court of Appeal. Ron DeSantis — one of the defendants in the case — could consider them for a seat on the Supreme Court. Rowe and Osterhaus were on a short list of Supreme Court candidates submitted to DeSantis in January. But on Monday, DeSantis appointed 5th District Court of Appeal Judge Jamie Grosshans to fill the Supreme Court seat.
Still no word on when state plans to publish COVID-19 data for schools
Since then, there have been calls for the state and school districts to publish data that shows how many positive coronavirus tests have infiltrated public schools. Ron DeSantis said the school coronavirus report is still being developed but offered no timetable for its arrival. RELATED: State data show COVID-19 cases spiking among young people in Northeast FloridaOf the 429 new cases in St. Johns County in September, 146 are in the 15-24 age group, 34% of the cases. DeSantis said Friday that the state has seen very few cases compared to the number of K-12 students that have been in session. That’s not the way it’s going.”Last week, DeSantis said he wants to differentiate between asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 students when the state does finally release a breakdown of the virus in schools.
Florida teachers union says judges should step aside from schools case
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Florida Education Association and other plaintiffs challenging a state order to reopen schools requested Wednesday that two appellate judges step aside from the case because Gov. Ron DeSantis could consider them for an appointment to the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission in January included Rowe and Osterhaus on a list of nine nominees for two open seats on the Florida Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court in the Aug. 27 decision said it couldnt go along with that request. The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued another ruling that allowed Thompson to revise her complaint to seek that fix.
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.
Govenor to parents: Schools are safe
The governor said he is also committed to making sure parents know which schools have outbreaks. Last week the state briefly published a report showing 900 K-12 teachers and students had tested positive for COVID-19. At a roundtable designed to assure parents that sending kids back to the class was safe, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran called the numbers: Its a diminimus amount. Or move quicker than they were to get back to brick and mortar schools said the working mother. It showed 6,167 kids 17 and under had tested positive for the coronavirus since schools began opening Aug. 10.
What led to the first school shut down in Florida
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – As of Monday morning, every school district in Florida has started its school year. But one Central Florida school was open Monday after it became the first school in the state to have closed due to COVID-19 after reopening for the year. According to sister station WKMG, Harmony Middle School in Osceola County shut its campus down for in-person learning for the next two weeks after 10 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran addressed the school closure during a news conference on Monday. So we need our adults in the school system to be very safe,” Corcoran said.
Florida school reopening ruling back on hold
The unions argue that Corcorans order violates the Florida Constitutions guarantee of safe and secure public schools. @EducationFL Richard Corcoran (@richardcorcoran) August 28, 2020After the appeals court put Dodsons ruling on hold Friday, Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram released a statement vowing to continue battling the state over the issue. Corcorans order required school districts to reopen brick-and-mortar schools five days a week in August, unless state and local health officials say otherwise. The states lawyers pointed out that Florida law bases district funding on surveys of the number of children in schools. Corcorans emergency order waived the funding requirements for school districts that submitted reopening plans approved by state education officials.