The Scoop: WMNF’s daily digest of news headlines for Friday, July 7th, 2023

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Calls for stronger supply chains before shortages reach medicine cabinets

Prescription drug shortages reached a five-year peak at the end of last year. A Tampa congress member joined medical professionals at a local hospital yesterday to call for change.

 

New College of Florida requests millions to get rid of “cancel culture”

The New College of Florida Board of Trustees approved requesting $2 million dollars from the state Legislature to set up a “Freedom Institute” intended to get rid of what they call “cancel culture” in higher education. About three-quarters of the request would go toward hiring “scholars to work and teach” on the New College campus.

The funding proposal would be subject to approval by state lawmakers during next year’s legislative session. It comes following several changes at the school. Governor Ron DeSantis appointed the majority of trustees to the board earlier this year. The board then voted to place Corcoran, a Republican former House Speaker and state education commissioner, as the school’s interim president. Trustee Amy Reid, who is a professor of French language and Literature at New College, criticized the way the funding proposal was written and some of its citations.

Trustees opposed to some of the proposed changes noted that the process felt rushed. Even DeSantis appointed trustee Christopher Rufo, who has opposed Critical Race Theory on a national scale, called the paragraph hyperbolic.

The board voted to strike the whole paragraph. The New College trustees approved a request for $6 million dollars for three new master’s programs. The programs would be a master’s in marine mammal science, a master’s in educational leadership, and a master’s in environmental economics and policy.

 

New College of Florida approves a contested salary range

New College of Florida approved a proposed pay range yesterday for the school’s next president. They have started accepting applications. Interim president Corcoran is a former Republican State House speaker and education commissioner, with a base salary of $699,000.

The college used Mercer, a consulting firm to analyze presidential pay at 13 comparable schools. Student trustee Keenan voted against the pay range and said that the school is still barely keeping up with being able to cover Corcoran’s salary.

The New College of Florida Board of Trustees voted in favor of funding requests for next year’s legislative session. The board is also proposing new degree options and the construction of a new educational center that is intended to eliminate diversity initiatives.

 

Challenges to increased scrutiny of books in schools

An administrative law judge yesterday rejected a challenge to Florida Department of Education rules that are part of a move to increase scrutiny of books in schools. Judge Darren Schwartz issued an order that dismissed the challenge by the Florida Education Association teachers union. The case involved two rules designed to carry out a 2022 state law. One of the rules involves required online training for school librarians and other employees involved in selecting books for students; the other rule requires elementary schools to post online lists of reading materials. The 2022 law referred to books and materials in a “school library media center,” and the Florida Education Association argued that the Department of Education improperly applied the requirements to books and materials in classrooms. The union contended that the rules were invalid, in part, because the department had overstepped its authority.

 

Free melanoma screening bill stalled in Florida senate

Florida has the highest rate of new melanoma cases in the country. This year, state lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill that – if passed – would make test screenings free. But the bill stalled.

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