Proposed federal Title IX rules ripped by DOE’s Diaz, schools in brain health program, and more

New Title IX rules: LGBTQ and victims of campus sexual assault would gain new protections under newly proposed Title IX regulations, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday. The rules to fight sexual assault and violence in education were announced a year after the Biden administration first said it would review them, and would replace Trump administration rules. The changes now face a public feedback period before they can be finalized, meaning the earliest the policies could go into effect would be next year. The department said a separate rule, still in progress, will address the issue of transgender students playing on school sports teams. Associated Press. K-12 Dive. Politico. NPR. The 74. Chalkbeat. New York Times. Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. is accusing the Biden administration of “weaponizing” Title IX, and called the proposed rules “woke insanity.” Politico Florida. Training school employees on how to comply with federal Title IX rules could be complicated by Florida’s new law that will place restrictions on how schools can teach certain race-related topics. News Service of Florida.

Around the state: An administrative reorganization for Miami-Dade schools was approved by the school board this week, the oft-moved start for opening statements in the Parkland school shooter’s trial could be moving again, seven Manatee County schools will participate in a brain health pilot program, Bay County’s school superintendent said the district wants to build one or two K-8 schools in Panama City Beach, Florida won’t be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court decision barring Maine from denying public funds to students who wants to attend religious schools since it already issues funds for students to attend private schools, and a veteran Flagler County teacher’s contract was not renewed after she and some 6th-graders created a TikTok video dancing to a racy Lizzo song. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Miami-Dade: School board members this week approved Superintendent Jose Dotres’ organizational realignment that he says will “maximize efficiencies and eliminate redundancies.” Nine positions were approved by the board, including the new jobs of assistant superintendent of school operations, district director for civil rights compliance, and district coordinator for community engagement. Dotres said the changes will save the district about $160,000 a year. Also approved were about 70 new principals and assistant principals. Miami Herald.

Broward: A day after setting July 6 as the first day for attorneys to make opening statements in the sentencing trial of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz, Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer hinted that may be delayed again due to conflicts with vacations scheduled for some prospective jurors. Scherer did say 12 jurors and eight alternates would be chosen next Tuesday. WTVJ. WPLG. WPTV. Summarizing Day 22 of jury selection in the sentencing trial of Cruz, who has admitted killing 17 students and employees and wounding 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Sun-Sentinel.

Manatee: Seven county schools will participate in a brain health pilot program conducted by the Brain Health Initiative. The program will begin at the Lakewood Ranch Preparatory Academy charter school, and then expand to Lakewood Ranch High, Dr. Mona Jain Middle, Gullett Elementary, Bayshore High, Lee Middle and Bayshore Elementary schools. Participants will be screened annually and receive a brain health report card that includes suggestions for optimizing performance. “This novel comprehensive focus on brain health and performance and … will ensure that the entire school family — including staff, students, parents/caregivers, grandparents, and the greater community — have ready access to state-of-the-art methods to increase brain health and performance outcomes,” said Bradley Warren, principal of Lakewood Ranch Preparatory Academy Lower School. Bradenton Herald.

Leon: The county has been awarded a $3.6 million federal community development block grant, a $1 million grant from Congress and $850,000 in matching funds from the county to turn the Concord school in Miccosukee into a community gathering place. Restoration of the 1940s era school should begin this calendar year and be finished by the end of 2023, according to county commissioners. WTXL.

Bay: School Superintendent Bill Husfelt told Panama City Beach Council members Thursday that the district was looking at two pieces of property in the city as possible sites for one or two new K-8 schools. Husfelt said the district plans to make a decision within six months, and construction would likely begin within two or three years. WMBB. WJHG.

Flagler: School board members approved the district’s decision not to reappoint the 2017 Belle Terre Elementary teacher of the year. Abbey Cooke, who had worked for the district 13 years, and several 6th-graders created a 14-second TikTok video May 11 in which they danced to a clip from the Lizzo song It’s About Damn Time, which includes use of the F-word and references to sex and drinking. Cooke was originally suspended for a day, but that decision was re-evaluated as the video was was brought to the attention of school board member Jill Woolbright, who questioned Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt about the punishment. Flagler Live.

Colleges and universities: A line in a search committee’s job description for the presidency of the University of Florida was altered slightly between the draft and the final description. In the draft, the line read, “Will not advocate for or against any political viewpoint on behalf of the University of Florida.” It was changed to read, “Will not use the University of Florida as a platform to advocate for personal political viewpoints.” Dayna Wright, the chair-elect of the UF Faculty Senate, said, “They want that person to be very cautious when they’re speaking for the university, that they’re speaking for the university and they’re not speaking on their own political preferences or political viewpoints.” WGFL. Damian Fernandez, president of Eckerd College for the past two years, said he’s stepping down Aug. 1 after “I have achieved what I was hired to do.” In 2020, Fernandez replaced Donald Eastman, who had been president for 18 years. James Annarelli, the dean of students and vice president for student life, will step in as interim president while a national search is conducted for Fernandez’s replacement. Tampa Bay Business Journal. Eckerd College.

Florida unaffected by ruling: Florida won’t be affected by this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision barring Maine from denying public funds to students who wants to attend religious schools since that state already issues funds for students to attend private schools. Florida makes public funds available, through a variety of scholarships, for students to attend private schools that may or may not be religious. Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog, helps administer those scholarships. Tampa Bay Times.

Around the nation: Student loan debt will be retired for about 200,000 borrowers who said their colleges defrauded them but whose claims have been awaiting action by the U.S. Education Department, the Biden administration announced Thursday. Politico. The federal Head Start program has had benefits for multiple generations in educational achievement and wages, and for decreasing teen pregnancy and criminal involvement, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Political Economy. K-12 Dive.

Opinions on schools: Blaine Amendments prohibiting the public support of religious schools, once used to bludgeon school choice supporters during legislative debates, are dead. Or, at least mostly dead after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this week determined that states cannot prohibit religious schools from participating in public benefit programs because they teach religious things. Patrick R. Gibbons, reimaginED.

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BY NextSteps staff