Florida Education Association pushes for more diversity in efforts to reopen schools in 2020-21

School entrance sign. Photo, CD Davidson-Hiers

When Gov. Ron DeSantis created a task force to “reopen” Florida, an education working group was chosen to participate, with top-level education leaders participating.

What was missing was diversity.

There was just one teacher — a special education teacher in Orange County, but no school board members, guidance counselors, mental health professionals, parents, students and other key people who are essential in schools.

“To dominate an education committee with people who are outside of the education space is an insult — we would like to see some people who actually do the work,” Fedrick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association, said Wednesday in interview with the Florida Phoenix.

In addition to the task force appointed by DeSantis, the FEA’s statewide teacher’s union is now pushing for new groups that could have a say in reopening both PreK-12 schools and colleges and universities in 2020-21.

Ingram sent a letter on Tuesday to Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, encouraging him to create “two statewide committees comprised of experts and advisers to help guide all our campuses through this reopening.”

The FEA is calling for the creation of two separate committees, one for PreK-12 public schools and another for state colleges and universities.

“The committees should be led by those with experiences grounded in public schools and higher education institutions,” Ingram wrote.

For public PreK-12 schools, the FEA suggests the following groups to be included: students, parents community groups, superintendents, teachers from all levels and curriculum areas, support personnel such as bus drivers and paraprofessionals, among others.