Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Florida Athletes May Soon be Required to Submit their Menstrual History to Schools…


Florida’s children who are the most vulnerable; those in need of inclusion the most … are being targeted; singled out by Governor Ron DeSantis only to bring national attention in his quest for power, securing his candidacy for president in 2024…

This latest requirement for Florida’s high school female athletes sharing their personal menstrual history goes beyond what anyone…other than family or a doctor, should know!!

He does not care how his authoritarian actions hurt Florida… especially our children…

He only became our governor by voter suppression and a lack of strong support of the Democratic candidate, Charlie Crist…

I myself remember, living in Flagler and Volusia County where he was our representative, and did absolutely nothing…

Now, with his divisive agenda, he has a strong support of those with money giving him the national stage…

This latest attack is once again hurting our high school athletes…

A proposed draft of a physical education form in Florida could require all high school student athletes to disclose information regarding their menstrual history, which opponents are pushing back against. Richard Bagan via Unsplash

Read more at:

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

DeSantis Targets and School Boards With Teachers Bill of Rights – Sun Sentinel

When I began my teacher journey back in the seventies…Even though our pay was quite inadequate… We had such hope, and a surplus of teachers…So much so, I had to travel 90 miles a day, just to teach…

Being apolitical, I did not realize, nor appreciate our teacher’s union…For years, stayed away from joining…

I then realized by those “No Child Left Behind ” years …We sure needed that unity of the union for our advocacy… And especially now in these divisive times it is critical…

So for me, doing my part, now, even though I am retired, I am proudly a member of my local, ACEA; Alachua County Education Association, FEA; Florida Education Association and AFT; American Federation of Teachers….

Divide and Conquer… Governor Ron DeSantis is once again using his authoritarian control over our Teachers Union…

Delaney Johnston January 23, 2023

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday unveiled a series of proposals aimed at school boards and teachers’ unions, the latest salvo in his battles over education policy in the state.

At an event in Jacksonville, DeSantis unveiled what he called a “Teachers Bill of Rights,” which would give teachers the green light to stand up to their school boards if they felt their policies violated state law.

He also proposed banning teachers’ unions from automatically deducting dues from paychecks, imposing stricter term limits on school board members, and amending the state constitution to allow school board candidates to reveal their political parties in the now bipartisan races.

DeSantis said he wants an additional $200 million for the special fund created to increase teachers’ salaries, bringing the total for teachers’ salaries in his recommended budget for next year to $1 billion.

A total of $3 billion has been spent on salaries over the past three years, he said.

Much of that money, however, went to raising starting salaries for new teachers, so the state still ranked 48th for average public school teacher salaries last year, according to the National Education Association, one place lower than when DeSantis took office in the year 2019

The state also had 5,300 vacant teaching positions this month, more than double the number two years ago, according to the state teachers’ union.

DeSantis’ proposals to the school boards came after he got involved on an unprecedented scale in local board races for governor and promoted conservative candidates across the state. That included Orange County, where Moms for Liberty member Alicia Farrant won a seat on the board.

“What we’ve seen over the years is that you have … counties in Southwest Florida that voted for me by about 40 points, and yet they vote people into school boards that’s like a completely opposite philosophy,” DeSantis said. “…And sometimes it’s hard not to know because you have all these names on one ballot.”

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, wrote on Twitter that eight-year term limits on school board members instead of the current 12 and partisan elections aim to “essentially get rid of current members over time and improve public education partisan.” This goes way deeper than just culture wars — this is an educational power grab.”

The new proposals would have to be approved by the legislature or, in the case of a constitutional amendment, by state voters by referendum.

They come just days after DeSantis and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz made national headlines by banning an AP African American Studies course in the state and announcing plans for the state to fund all parents who send their children to voucher schools, regardless of income want to send.

His proposal on teachers’ rights is modeled after the Parents Bill of Rights, which allowed parents to ignore COVID restrictions in schools. DeSantis said the state will “protect” teachers from their boards or unions.

“[If] A teacher must either obey state law or listen to a school board or school union or administrator telling them to break state law. If they comply with state laws, they are protected,” DeSantis said. “…And it doesn’t matter if a school board or a superintendent disagrees.”

It could potentially affect teachers who squabble with their school boards over the interpretation of issues ranging from the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law to the “Stop WOKE” law banning critical race theory, both of which are broad.

The educators and board members speaking at the event spoke out against their boards’ vaccination mandates and other anti-COVID measures.

“At my current charter school, I am free to choose whether or not to wear a mask, and ‘social distancing’ and quarantining healthy children due to proximity are foreign words,” said Leah Hannigan, a former public school teacher in Duval.

Charlotte Joyce, a member of the Duval School Board, said: “During the pandemic we have seen teacher unions push for mask requirements and vaccinations. Because of our amazing governor, he just put an end to it and said, ‘We’re not going to have that in the state of Florida.’”

DeSantis’ proposal to end the automatic deduction of union dues also targeted teachers’ unions, which he felt had too much power.

“That’s your choice,” DeSantis said of paying membership dues, a critical funding source for unions. “If you want to do it, send money, that’s fine. But automatically deducted when you sign a power of attorney form? They don’t even tell you how much is deducted.”

He added that union officials “should not earn more than the highest-paid teacher. You have these people making huge sums of money, and the teachers make half of that amount. how is that fair How is that something that makes sense?”

However, he did not say if he would attempt to pass legislation mandating it.

Diaz continued to attack teachers’ unions after the event, writing on Twitter that unions are “standing in the way of teachers getting the raises they deserve.”

A spokeswoman for the Florida Education Association. the national teachers’ union, did not return a request for comment…

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Florida teachers forced to remove or cover up books to avoid felony charges | Florida | The Guardian

Erum Salam
Tue 24 Jan 2023 12.06 EST

Florida ‘s children are being held captive by the authoritarian control of Governor Ron DeSantis;

Book bans, a factual accounting of history, the enclusitiy of all children…Our schools are not able to teach!!

He is now going after teachers!!!

State’s new bill goes into effect prohibiting material unless deemed appropriate by a librarian or ‘certified media specialist’

School teachers in Florida’s Manatee county are removing books from their classrooms or physically covering them up after a new bill went into effect that prohibited material unless deemed appropriate by a librarian, or “certified media specialist”.

If a teacher is found in violation of these guidelines, they could face felony charges.

The new guidelines for the Florida law, known as HB 1467, outline the books be free of pornographic material, suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material, and appropriate for the grade level and age group.

In order to determine if the books meet these guidelines, certified media specialists must undergo an online training developed by Florida’s department of education.

With only a few or even one media specialist present in each school, the process to vet books is lengthy.

Scrutiny of teaching material in Florida schools heightened under the leadership of the rightwing Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, whose administration says it is actively working to “protect parental rights”, which includes a prohibition on childhood education on gender, sexual orientation and critical race theory.

DeSantis has emerged as a legitimate rival to Donald Trump in the Republican party. The former US president has already declared his 2024 candidacy for another White House run, while DeSantis is widely expected to do so later this year.

As part of his appeal to the party’s rightwing base DeSantis has sought to portray himself as a culture war warrior, cracking down on LGBTQ rights and taking conservative stances on the fight against Covid-19 and a host of other issues such as immigration.

In 2021, he announced the Stop Woke (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act to “give businesses, employees, children and families tools to fight back against woke indoctrination”.

Teachers have condemned the new guidelines.

The Manatee Education Association union president, Pat Barber, told local TV station Fox 13: “We have people who have spent their entire careers building their classroom libraries based on their professional and educational experience and understanding of the age of the children they teach.”

Barber added: “Now, their professional judgment and training are being substituted for the opinion of anyone who wishes to review and challenge the books. We’re focused on things that cause teachers to want to walk away from education because they can’t focus on their mission of educating children.”

Some teachers are even covering up their library books with paper…

Don Falls, a history teacher at Manatee high school, told the Herald-Tribune newspaper: “If you have a lot of books like I do, probably several hundred, it is not practical to run all of them through [the vetting process] so we have to cover them up.”

More school districts in Florida are expected to follow suit as a result of such policies this year. The state’s education department issued a deadline of 1 July 2023 for when “the superintendent of schools in each district must certify to the FDOE Commissioner that all school librarians and media specialists have completed this training”.

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Florida teachers move to block DeSantis questions on CRT

As a public school teacher, having taught kg- fifth grade, here in Florida…

We never taught...Critical Race Theory…

Our children have benefited from true, developmentally appropriate history…Until the authoritarian leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis…

Tags: Education, Ron DeSantis, Florida

Florida Teachers Move to Block DeSantis Questions on CRT

Florida teachers move to block DeSantis questions on CRT
Associated Press

Published: January 11, 2023 at 9:40 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A group of Florida college professors on Wednesday asked a federal judge to block Gov. Ron DeSantis from requesting spending data on diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory programs in state universities.

The filing comes as part of a lawsuit against the so-called “Stop WOKE” Act, which restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in colleges. Tallahassee U.S. District Judge Mark Walker has blocked the law, though DeSantis’ office is appealing the decision.

The Republican governor in late December requested that state colleges submit spending data and other information on programs related to diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory, which examines systemic racism. The schools were asked to submit the data by Friday.

The college educators, who are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Defense Fund, argue the governor’s request violates the court order blocking the “Stop WOKE” Act.

“This is just another step towards enforcing this unconstitutional law and is clearly intended to continue to chill the speech of instructors and students in Florida. We cannot allow these threats against free speech to continue,” Jerry Edwards, staff attorney of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The law prohibits teaching or business practices that contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilt for past actions committed by others. It also bars the notion that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by their race or gender, or that discrimination is acceptable to achieve diversity.

The governor began pushing for the law late last year and the Republican-controlled Legislature passed it during the 2022 legislative session.

Critical race theory was developed during the 1970s and 1980s in response to what scholars viewed as a lack of racial progress following the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. It centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society.

Conservatives have rejected critical race theory, arguing the philosophy racially divides American society and aims to rewrite history to make white people believe they are inherently racist.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

“Hope” … Florida’s Schools… Vote…November 8

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness…”

Our Florida schools have an opportunity to get out of the political restrictions created by Republican control beginning in 1999 …

That has been exacerbated by the authoritarian control by our latest governor, Ron DeSantis…

Right here, in my former school district, Alachua County…Our school board is grappling with these very issues…

Gershon Harrell
The Gainesville Sun

House Bill 7, aka ‘Stop WOKE’
HB 7 allows for the teaching of African-American history but prohibits classroom instruction and curriculum being “used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”

HB 1557 also HB 7 have both sparked outrage and protests around the state. In Alachua County and statewide, high school students staged a walk out in protest of the HB 1557 after it passed the Florida House in a 69-47 vote.

DeSantis signed the measure into law March 28

HB 7 led to the Florida Department of Education rejecting some math textbooks after it was claimed the books “contained prohibited topics” that included references to critical race theory.

Alachua County Public Schools will soon have a better idea of how new laws restricting discussions around race, sexual orientation and gender identity will affect classrooms.

The county School Board will hear from school district attorney Francine Turney about recommended updates to a number of board policies, including those changing due to Florida House bills 7 and 1557, at a Wednesday workshop at 1 p.m. Already parents are seeing the effects of the latter law in requirements for their permission for health screenings.

House Bill 1557, known as Parental Rights in Education and called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents, also prevents classroom discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten though third grade. House Bill 7, known as the Individual Freedom bill and dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act” by supporters, prohibits classroom discussions on certain topics regarding race and gender.

Trans youth at risk:Medicaid for Florida’s transgender youth at risk under Gov. DeSantis

‘Don’t Say Gay’ protest:Alachua County students mobilize in protest of the controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Textbook ban:School board approves 4 of 11 math textbooks after DeSantis’ crackdown on critical race theory

The measures were signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The district has to update its instructional learning materials to fall in line with state standards, according to backup materials for the meeting.

House Bill 1557, aka ‘Don’t Say Gay’
HB 1557 prohibits classroom discussions surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade classes, while requiring instruction to be age appropriate in other grades.

The district implemented this policy for kindergarten through third grade classes on July 1, when the law went into effect, according to the district. For grades four and up, it takes effect only after the Florida Department of Education develops rules or guidance on age-appropriate instruction.

The law also requires parents to be made aware of health care services offered and allows for parents to deny or accept them. It further gives parents the right to file a complaint with the school district if there is any violation of the law.

On Aug. 9, Alachua County Public Schools sent a message home to families regarding health care, stating that parents must give active consent for their child to receive care for chronic health health conditions, vision screenings, dental screenings, hearing screenings and other services.

My heart is breaking for our children and teachers dealing with this…Our children are not being educated with the necessary culture and curriculum…Teachers live in fear they could lose their job …

We are still living with Covid, and our children still are being affected!!!

Many teachers have left teaching and we have a critical teacher shortage…Yet Governor DeSantis is reaching out to veterans and retirees who may not have any teacher preparation classes, nor have experience….

I myself was retired at thirty years due to health issues, was extremely fortunate to resume my teaching career for another eight more years … Before doing so, I had to take another teacher prep class, and take the requred teacher exam before being allowed back into the classroom…

If they gave teachers the respect and paid what they deserve…we would not have a teacher shortage here in Florida or anywhere!

Hope is here for our precious children here in Florida! If we are united and vote for Charlie Crist and Karla Hernandez!!

@andrewsparfea… President of the Florida Education Association…

Let’s go out and work hard to make sure that we have an educator working at the highest levels of our state!

And make Val Deming’s Senator…

She is running against Marco Rubio.. who has done nothing for our children..

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Our Precious Children’sMental Health…

In the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual report evaluating states on indicators of child well-being, Florida — after modest improvements in rankings over time — remains 35th in the nation…

Each year, the Foundation uses 16 publicly available indicators of child well-being organized into four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. All of these come from publicly available national data so the states can be directly compared. Trend data is also presented for each variable to show change over time.

Below, FPI looks at each domain as compared to 2008-20121…

These findings are extremely disturbing…Our children have been dealing with so much… pandemic, divisive politics and poor leadership…

We have a governor who has refused to expand Medicaid…and from my own personal experience…My daughter who has mental health issues has been denied assistance…

We in Florida must vote blue for our precious children…
Having taught 38 years in Florida…
We so need a fighter…with heart…. right now more than ever..

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

#PrayersForUvalde….Our Precious Children…

My last class…Just before retirement
My little first graders, 7 yrs ago…Honor Roll Winners…
Reminding me of how very same they are to those precious babies killed Tues
They’re in high school…

“Pray they live out their dreams”

#PrayersForUvalde #VoteBlueToSaveOurKids 💙🌈🙏🏾🇺🇸🍎

Memories…My precious children… June 2015
Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

What Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill really says | The Week

Here in Florida especially…Our children and schools are definitely under attack…All these concerns are manufactured by divisive politics….

In my many years as a teacher of young children…we never discussed their sexual identity…They were learning how to socialize with others…And to become who they were …And accept our differences…

“What Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill really says | The Week”

MARCH 13, 2022
Why Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill has caused a nationwide uproar
Ron DeSantis.

MARCH 13, 2022
A controversial piece of legislation commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed the Florida Senate on Tuesday after being approved by the House last month. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signaled that he plans to sign the bill. Why is the bill getting so much national attention?

What’s in the bill?

The legislation, more officially titled the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, seeks to restrict the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity with public school children, especially from kindergarten to the third grade.

The text of the bill, which was filed on Jan. 11 by state Rep. Joe Harding (R), stipulates that “[c]lassroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”

“If that language seems vague, it is,” writes CNN. “But vague legislation can have massive consequences.”

The bill also empowers parents to sue schools and teachers that violate this ban, enhancing the ability of Florida’s parents to object to their children’s curricula.

Notably, the “Don’t Say Gay” nickname was created and spread by activist opponents to the bill. The bill does not seek to prohibit the use of the word “gay” in schools, supporters note.

LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida threatened to “lead legal action against the State of Florida” if “the vague language of this bill” is “interpreted in a way that causes harm to a single child, teacher, or family.” Kara Gross of the ACLU’s Florida branch told Time the bill could infringe on teachers’ First Amendment rights.

In his State of the Union speech, President Biden told “younger transgender Americans” he would “always have your back … so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”

DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law. He has repeatedly expressed support for the legislation, though he hasn’t explicitly said he will sign it if it reaches his desk, ABC News reports. If he does, however, the law would go into effect July 1.

Teachers speak out as Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill heads to DeSantis’ desk…