Nearly all school districts closed for Ian as impact forecast today on SW coast, and more

Ian takes a turn: As the projected path of Hurricane Ian shifted more to the south and east on Tuesday and the storm continues to strengthen, more school districts have decided to close because of the anticipated impact. At least 55 of the state’s 67 school districts and about 30 colleges and universities are shuttered at least through today, and many for the rest of the school week. Harsh storm conditions began in the Keys on Tuesday, and will spread to coastal areas in the southwest part of the state as Ian is forecast to make landfall later today near Fort Myers. State residents are being urged to follow local weather reports and check the Twitter ( and Instagram ( accounts of the Florida Department of Education for information. News Service of Florida. Associated Press. Politico Florida. CNN. Miami Herald. Sun-Sentinel. Palm Beach Post. WPLG. WSVN. WTVJ. WFOR. WPTV. WPEC. Florida Times-Union. WJAX. WJXT. WTLV. Florida Today. Fort Myers News-Press. Key West Citizen. Florida Keys Weekly. Tampa Bay Times. WTSP. WTVT. WFTS. WINK. WFTX. WJHG. Bradenton Herald. WWSB. Lakeland Ledger. Lakeland Now. WKMG. WOFL. WFTVWMFE. WESH. Spectrum News 13. Orange Observer. TCPalm. Citrus County Chronicle. Tallahassee Democrat. Gainesville Sun. WGFL. Mainstreet Daily News. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Panama City News Herald. Port St. Joe Star. WFSU. WTXL. WCTVWCJB. WMBB. Weather Tiger. Yale Climate Connections.

Around the state: While most Florida school districts are focused on the storm, there are a few other education-related stories around the state and some nationally that could have a impact locally.

Broward, south Florida: The school district has been ordered by the state to investigate relationships administrators and school board members have with a former employee who now works for a company that has received has received at least $25 million in district contracts in recent years. An investigation was prompted by a complaint filed this summer with the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General about Jillian Haring, a senior adviser for the Boston-based Public Consulting Group. Sun-Sentinel. Prosecutors in the sentencing trial of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz argued Tuesday that Cruz wasn’t as mentally incapacitated as he was portrayed by the defense. In their rebuttal of the defense’s case, prosecutors used Cruz’s own words to argue that his antisocial personality disorder was more to blame for him killing 17 students and employees in 2018 than his mother’s drinking while pregnant with him. Court proceedings now are on hold until Monday because of Hurricane Ian. Closing arguments are still scheduled for the week of Oct. 10. Sun-Sentinel. Associated Press. WLRN. WPLG. WTVJ. Summarizing what happened Tuesday in Cruz’s sentencing trial. Sun-Sentinel. Palm Beach Post. Almost 15,000 public school workers in south Florida will benefit from the Legislature’s decision last spring to increase the minimum wage for all state workers to $15 an hour. “Our bus drivers, our custodians, our cafeteria workers – some of them can see pay increases upwards of $10,000 or more a year. Which is huge when you consider the struggle that so many people who work in our public schools are facing,” said Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Educators Association. WLRN.

Escambia: A move to consider firing Superintendent Tim Smith was put off last week, but the two school board members who pushed for the vote said they expect the issue to come up again soon. Smith’s support eroded earlier this month after the disclosure of a test question in the student handbook for middle- and high-schoolers about a 17-year-old girl who sent her boyfriend nude photos. In the scenario, they later break up and the photos are shared, leading to bullying of the girl and her eventual suicide. Smith apologized and removed the question, but many upset parents urged the school board to “discuss the leadership.” Pensacola News Journal. WEAR. A school district English teacher is claiming that 116 books in school libraries or classrooms violate state law. The teacher, who asked that her name and school not be revealed, has submitted a list to the district. The teacher said, “I’ve met with the superintendent and I asked him point blank ‘do you think this is acceptable,’ and he said ‘no’. And I said well ‘why don’t you pull the books?’ He said ‘well there’s a process.’ ” WEAR.

Alachua: A rising number of fights leading to arrests in schools is prompting the district to consider new disciplinary measures. There have been 174 fights in schools so far this academic year, compared to 152 during the same period in 2021 and 131 in 2019. A resource guide is being developed for teachers that focuses on ways to address behavioral problems, said district spokeswoman Jackie Johnson. The district is also stiffening in-school suspensions to make sure students are not just doing “busy work” that causes them to fall behind and adds to behavioral issues, she said. Gainesville Sun.

Hernando: About 250 school officials, the community and friends and family recently paid tribute to Dr. Paul Farmer, the cofounder of the humanitarian organization Partners in Health and a 1978 graduate of Hernando High School. Farmer died of a heart attack Feb. 22 in Rwanda. He was 62. His sister Jen said, “Of all the accolades, I think this would have meant the most to him. He loved Hernando High and Brooksville.” Hernando Sun.

Colleges and universities: Florida State University eminent scholar Frank Fincham has been awarded a $3.4 million to study the psychology of divine forgiveness. “Divine forgiveness is a source of great comfort for people of faith,” said Fincham, who is also the director of the FSU Family Institute in the College of Health and Human Sciences. “We know very little scientifically about how humans think about, experience and relate to this notion.” Florida State University.

Around the nation: The conservative legal group Pacific Legal Foundation is suing the Biden administration over its decision to forgive up to $20,000 of debt relief to tens of millions of U.S. college students. The group contends the decision is an illegal abuse of authority. Politico. White House officials said Tuesday they will work with Congress to expand access to free school meals for about 9 million more students by 2032. The ultimate goal, they said, it to make school meals free for all students. K-12 Dive. One area of education where there’s no teacher shortage is in virtual schools. “Prior to the pandemic … there was certainly a reticence on the part of a lot of folks in traditional education that [online education] was not going to work,” said Colin Sharkey, executive director of the Association of American Educators. But when COVID introduced teachers to virtual instruction, he said, “some got a taste for it and thought, ‘Wow, this actually really accommodates my professional and personal goals better than returning to the classroom.’ ” The 74. Some school districts are using federal coronavirus aid to give students jobs. For many students, it’s their first jobs. Chalkbeat.

Opinions on schools: Economic opportunity bolstered by education opportunity represents a potent combination for growth. Arizona, Florida and North Carolina are not only top 10 states for black migration but have relatively advanced opportunities for families to choose schools for their children. Matthew Ladner, reimaginED.

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BY NextSteps staff