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The Florida Roundup
The Florida Roundup is a live, weekly call-in show with a distinct focus on the issues affecting Floridians. Each Friday at noon, listeners can engage in the conversation with journalists, newsmakers and other Floridians about change, policy and the future of our lives in the sunshine state.Join our host, WLRN’s Tom Hudson, broadcasting from Miami.

Changes to higher education, Florida's housing market and a controversial Flagler school assembly

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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

On this week's Florida Roundup, we discuss the start of a much different year at Florida’s public universities after big changes pushed by the governor. Also, the cost of borrowing money to buy a house is rising, and a Florida school superintendent apologizes after Black students were singled out for an assembly about test scores.

College students and teachers are returning to campus for a new school year at Florida’s public universities — a very different school year.

Last May, the governor signed into law two bills targeting funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs at state universities and colleges. The laws ban certain topics like critical race theory from campus classrooms and ban general education courses that “distort significant historical events.”

This week, the state Board of Education passed rules banning students and faculty from using restrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex at birth, or they must use a uni-sex bathroom. Violating the rule could get an employee fired.

It is the most recent regulation in what has been a year of significant changes for Florida’s public colleges and universities governing classroom instruction, employee relations and searches for top leaders.

Guests:

  • Divya Kumar, reporter covering higher education for the Tampa Bay Times. 
  • Steven Walker, education reporter at the Sarasota-Herald Tribune.  


Florida’s housing market 

It is expensive to be a Floridian. All this sunshine doesn’t come cheap. The housing market has been on a tear for years ... and that just picked up speed during the pandemic. Prices have not cooled off much, if at all.

Then there is the cost of cash to buy a home — assuming you can find one. The number of homes for sale in Florida has dropped by more than a third since the summer before the pandemic. And interest rates have roared higher … now close to a two-decade high.

So what does all this mean in Florida as the state wrestles with an affordability crisis?

Guests:

  • Brad O’Conner, chief economist for Florida Realtors. 
  • Yvette Clermont, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Florida. 


Fallout after Flagler school assembly

The school year began with an apology to some students and parents in Flagler County. A week ago, Black students at Bunnell Elementary were taken to an assembly about test scores while their white classmates stayed in class.

In a video posted on the Flagler Schools website, Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore says although there was no malice intended, “it was executed in a way that does not align with the views of Flagler schools.”

Guest:

Danielle Prieur, reporter at WMFE.

Copyright 2023 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.

Bridget O'Brien produces WLRN's The Florida Roundup as well as morning newscasts. A long-time public radio geek, she feels that audio journalism can take a story beyond text and allows listeners to truly connect through the power of voice. With a background in drama, she brings a theatrical element to everything she does.