Florida’s push for parental rights in education has deep national roots

The big story: For the past two years, Florida has led a national Republican education movement called parental rights.

Its push to provide in law a “fundamental” role for parents, often casting the school system and its educators as foes, is not a singular one. Other states have adopted many similar statutes, such as restrictions on instruction about race and gender, while also calling for the teaching without “indoctrination.”

The impetus for this national wave did not begin with Florida, though, nor did it start just four years ago when lawmakers here began advancing the legislation. Its roots are decades old, spearheaded by a conservative Christian lawyer from Virginia whose once-fringe views have now hit the GOP mainstream.

Read more about Michael Farris, the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, from the Washington Post.

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A screenshot from video posted on social media by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, Aug. 30 showed flooding along Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach from Hurricane Idalia. [ Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office ]

Stormy weather: Schools across Florida remain closed as Hurricane Idalia hits the Big Bend area as a Category 4 storm. Several schools are being used as shelters. Get the latest on Idalia from the Tampa Bay Times.

Security: Students and parents at a Miami-Dade County high school had their fears escalated by a prank call claiming a shooter was on campus, WTVJ reports. While police warned against hoax threats, families called for increased security measures.

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Gender identity: Families seeking to flee Florida laws restricting services to and lessons about transgender individuals are looking to more welcoming states, and Illinois is standing out as a top option, Chalkbeat reports.

Discipline: The Broward County school board delayed its vote on the fate of a controversial arrest diversion program, with members saying they needed more information to make a decision, WLRN reports.

Contract talks: Broward County teachers and the school district reached a tentative agreement that would provide raises up to $12,000, WPLG reports.

Book challenges: Florida school districts that removed library books with LGBTQ+ themes and characters have not indicated whether they will return the titles to the shelves, despite the state’s acknowledging laws governing instruction about gender identity do not apply to library book selection, Popular Information reports. • A public reading of inflammatory excerpts of library books prompted the Indian River County School Board to order the removal of 20 titles without conducting a full review, TC Palm reports. Moms for Liberty pushed the strategy in hopes that the board would stop the recitations, triggering new state law that says books must be immediately removed if parents are not allowed to read them aloud.

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Before you go … Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day. There’s no school today. If you still have power, try making your own marshmallows from scratch.

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