Extra Credit: Gender Support Plan; US teacher jailed in Russia - SmartBrief

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Extra Credit: Gender Support Plan; US teacher jailed in Russia

Will a Gender Support Plan help students limited by Florida's Parental Rights in Education law? Are sneaker giveaways a fix to chronic absenteeism?

4 min read


protest of "don't say gay" law in Florida

Joe Raedle/Getty Images -- Protestors in Florida in March 2022 after the passage of the Parental Rights in Education law in Florida.

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A fraught tightrope between student acceptance, rejection. Florida’s Lee County Public Schools has addressed the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, which some have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, by creating a Gender Support Plan that will let teachers and administrators know a student’s gender pronoun preference and outline support issues. By law, a parent must sign the form — a nonstarter for many affected students. Some people worry the confidential document is actually a discriminatory effort to keep track of nonbinary or transgender students, but the district says the form is part of its Equity Plan to lay out protections for LGBTQ students in the midst of the new law.

Telling truancy to take a walk. The Shoes That Fit nonprofit is trying to give kids around the country one more reason to be physically active and one less reason to avoid school by outfitting them with brand-name sneakers that help them dip a toe into the sneaker culture. “When our kids get their new athletic shoes, 70% percent of our schools report an increase in physical activity, and 40% of our schools report higher attendance,” according to a company survey. This story reminds me of a school laundry service that kept some Washington, D.C., kids in class who previously had been embarrassed to show up in unwashed uniforms. 

A teacher, marijuana and Russia — the education version of Brittney Griner. Marc Hilliard Fogel is no Brittney Griner; he’s an International Baccalaureate history teacher from the US rather than a pro basketball player. But he, too, has been held in Russia — 11 months, in his case — for trying to enter the country with a small amount of prescribed medical marijuana for pain. He recently received a 14-year sentence and is distraught that he may not be included in a possible prisoner swap that’s in the news. “Teachers are at least as important as bballers,” he wrote in a letter home.

Medical education may get a DEI injection. The Association of American Medical Colleges has prescribed a recommended set of skills, knowledge and values that health care professionals should learn — as preparatory and/or continuing education — that would, among other things, reduce bias and increase understanding of social drivers of health issues. They see this as important for “learners and educators at every stage of their careers” and as important as “the latest scientific breakthroughs.” One of SmartBrief’s health newsletters covered the news earlier this month, but the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board opined about it more recently. Its writers find some aspects worthwhile but discount much of it as “woke” and wonder if it will discourage young people from becoming doctors

Fun facts: Young adult migration in the US. Looking for free, factual fodder for classroom lessons on social studies, geography, math and more? Head to the interactive data tool, data tables and research paper about young adult migration from the Census Bureau and Harvard University. You’ll find lots of information on the movement between childhood and adulthood of people born between 1984 and 1992.  

No, teaching requirements aren’t disappearing this much. A startling headline (Newsweek has since fixed it) suggested that Florida is now allowing veterans — and their spouses — to get a teaching certificate without having a bachelor’s degree, in large part by observing classrooms for just 12 hours. Snopes checked this out and rated it false: Veterans can get a five-year, not permanent, certificate after the 12-week observation period and meeting other criteria, but spouses are not eligible for the program. Nevertheless, many professional teachers are concerned. 

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Diane Benson Harrington is an education and leadership writer at SmartBrief. Reach out to her via email, Twitter or LinkedIn


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