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The Point, Aug. 15, 2023: Rounding up the changes to Florida education as school year begins

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The stories near you

• NPR News: A lot is happening in Florida education. These are some of the changes kids will see. "The Florida education system has been in the spotlight lately as Gov. Ron DeSantis banned diversity and inclusion programs at public, postsecondary institutions, and the state's board of education approved a controversial social studies curriculum."

• News Service of Florida: Heat warning stickers are going up on Florida gas pumps. "As heat advisories continue, motorists fueling up across Florida will soon see stickers on gas pumps warning against leaving children and pets in vehicles."

• Daytona Beach News-Journal ($): Floridians are getting fed up with record summer heat. When does Florida actually get cold? "...the Sunshine State's winter barely lasts two months. Yet, many just want to see a heat index that isn't over 100 degrees. Already dreaming when you can break out the sweaters and order a hot coffee without sweating? You only have a few more months to wait."

• Gainesville Sun ($): Former GPD chief Tony Jones to serve as investigator for State Attorney's Office. "Jones, 67, who has been working as a special adviser for the city of Gainesville's juvenile and community programs for the past year, announced his retirement from the city last month effective Oct. 1. But with nearly five decades of experience, Jones hasn't been one to sit by idle as longstanding issues throughout the community need to be addressed."

• WCJB: UFPD investigates ‘rash’ of catalytic converter thefts on campus. "UF Police Department officers say thefts were reported in Garage 5 and 14 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Both thefts involved Honda Elements. Officers say the victims made delayed reports from when the crimes occurred. Officers have increased patrols of all campus parking areas as they investigate the thefts."

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Hernando County superintendent starts new year with optimism. "Hernando County starts the new school year not too far removed from the contentious battles that saw some board members calling for superintendent John Stratton to be removed. Some criticized him for how he handled some issues, including the fallout after one teacher showed fifth graders a Disney movie with a gay character."

• WUFT News: Outreach Thrift Store sees and sorts it all, serving Gainesville’s local communities for decades. "Surrounded by dull, gray shingles, Outreach’s bright blue door is a beacon. The store stands steadfast for many, a reliable place for affordable, second-hand clothing. Across the main building employees brave the box, sorting daily donations while discarding what cannot be sold."

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Around the state

• Politico: DeSantis: ‘We’ve basically moved on’ from Disney’s lawsuit. "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled on Monday that he wanted an end to his war with Disney, saying the media giant should drop its lawsuit against the state."

• Politifact: DeSantis says he removed critical race theory from K-12 schools, but districts say it wasn’t taught. "Critical race theory, or CRT, is a broad set of ideas about racism being woven into American systems that’s rooted in legal academia. Experts said the theory is more common in higher education, typically in law or graduate school courses."

• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): New College professors, students file lawsuit to block DeSantis' higher education law. "A group formed to push back against Gov. Ron DeSantis' conservative takeover of New College of Florida has joined with professors and students at the college to file a lawsuit alleging a new law pushed by DeSantis violates free speech protections. The lawsuit seeks to have SB 266, signed into law by DeSantis during a press conference at New College in May, declared unconstitutional."

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Florida history teachers explain how they'll educate students amid controversial new standards. "Florida's newly approved high school curriculum includes instruction on how violence was 'perpetrated against and by African Americans' during some high-profile race-related massacres including the 1920 Ocoee massacre. The massacre occurred when a Black man trying to vote was attacked by a white mob."

• Florida Today ($): Florida school districts tell parents: Sign this form if your child prefers another name. "In districts across Florida — including Brevard, Orange, Seminole, Sarasota, Leon County and more — administrators are in the process of getting the form out to parents as the new school year kicks off."

• News4Jax: Clay County schools police officer dies in scuba incident. "The district said Officer Tony Reno died in a 'scuba diving incident' on Saturday in South Carolina. He was the Student Resource Officer at Plantation Oaks Elementary in Orange Park and had been with the school district since last September."

• Florida Politics: Economists agree: Florida’s Medicaid program headed into the red this year. "Florida’s safety net health care program is expected to swing into the red during the current budget year, a turnabout from the last few years where extra federal money tied to the COVID-19 public health emergency resulted in surpluses that the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration and the Republican Legislature used to fund other priorities."

• WLRN/Key Biscayne Independent: Getting canceled: Key Biscayne is in the eye of the insurance crisis. "State Sen. Alexis Calatayud, who represents Key Biscayne, touted the Legislature’s role after she spoke to the Village Council on July 19. But she likened turning the property crisis around to turning a giant ocean liner. Barrier islands like Key Biscayne – vulnerable to sea level rise and tropical storms – are in the eye of the crisis."

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): 'Targeted': Andrew Gillum rips justice system as he raises money for legal defense fund. "Three months after beating federal corruption charges in court, Andrew Gillum is appealing to supporters once again for donations to his legal defense fund."

• FLKeysNews ($): A rarely seen whale has died in the Florida Keys, and biologists are investigating. "Fish and wildlife officers towed the (Gervais’ beaked whale) to a local marina where it stayed until it was taken to a U.S. Park Service station in Key Largo, where scientists conducted their necropsy — an autopsy for animals — on Monday beneath tents set up under a canopy of trees over a boat ramp."

• WTSP-Tampa Bay: Loggerhead turtle with missing flippers to complete deep-dive trials at The Florida Aquarium. "The Florida Aquarium's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center is on the cusp of another success story as one of its turtles, a 262-pound loggerhead with missing flippers, appears to be rising to a crucial challenge: diving and swimming in deep water."

From NPR News

• Politics: Donald Trump is indicted in Georgia for seeking to overturn the 2020 election

• Climate: Just how hot was July? Hotter than anything on record

• National: The number of dead from Maui's fires rises as local residents press to see Lahaina

• National: Kansas newspaper says it investigated local police chief prior to newsroom raid

• National: Coast Guard says 4 divers who went missing off S.C. coast were found alive

• Health:California grads headed to HBCUs in the South prepare for college under abortion bans
Ethan Magoc curated today's edition of The Point.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news
Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news