Review of the week: pop quiz or punishment for teachers? | Local News
TALLAHASSEE — The survey says… not much, if it’s not filled out.
That’s what the United Faculty of Florida, the state’s largest faculty union, is asking students, faculty and staff at state colleges and universities to do with online quizzes that have been posted. line for the first time on Monday.
The investigations are part of a state law (HB 233) that was approved by the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis last year. The law requires that surveys be conducted annually.
Republican supporters of the polls have touted them as a way to gauge what the law calls “intellectual freedom and diversity of viewpoints” on campuses. State university system chancellor Marshall Criser also expressed high hopes for the investigations during a meeting of the system’s board of governors last week.
“I hope it’s a point of pride when I talk to you again,” Criser told the board. “This has never been done in this country before. We are doing a one hundred percent census of our students, faculty and staff.
But the teachers’ union is crying foul and warning that poll results that will be collected by schools and given to state leaders could be used against higher education institutions. The union issued a press release the same day as the polls, urging employees and students to ignore the voluntary polls.
“The state will present all data collected from this investigation, regardless of what it shows, as evidence that our profession indoctrinates students. So I see no reason for our faculty to voluntarily provide information for this purpose when the whole instrument was designed to harm higher education in the first place,” said Patrick Niner, president of the union of professors at Florida Gulf Coast University.
One version of the surveys given to students asks them how they view political trends on campus and how comfortable they feel expressing their views. For example, the survey probes students’ agreement or disagreement with whether their teachers “use class time to express their own social or political beliefs without objectively discussing opposing social or political beliefs.”
Similarly, a version provided to employees of colleges and universities asks questions about how respondents perceive the political leanings of their colleagues, students, and management at their institution.
“If you ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that an expectation of receiving a contract/continuing tenure is that faculty attribute to a particular political viewpoint, indicate which political viewpoint is the ‘wait’, says one such question, giving the options ‘liberal, ‘conservative’ and ‘other’.
Meanwhile, the faculty union is a plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the 2021 law. U.S. District Chief Judge Mark Walker last week denied a request for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the polls from being released.
But Walker also denied a state motion to dismiss the case. The Chief Justice issued a three-page ruling on Tuesday rejecting arguments that the plaintiffs lacked the legal capacity to continue with the lawsuit.
Targeted nursing home care
DeSantis signed another batch of bills from the 2022 legislative session on Wednesday, including a hotly debated measure that will change staffing standards in nursing homes.
The most controversial part of the bill makes changes regarding certified practical nurses, who provide much of the hands-on care in nursing homes.
Current law requires certified practical nurses to provide a minimum of 2.5 hours of direct care per resident per day. The bill reduces that to two hours. The measure also changes a requirement that certified practical nurses and registered nurses provide a weekly average of 3.6 hours of direct care per patient per day, allowing time spent by other types of workers such as physiotherapists.
Proponents have said the changes provide care homes with more flexibility, which in turn could address staffing shortages.
But seniors’ advocacy group AARP Florida and other critics have argued that the measure would reduce resident care.
“This cuts the time CNAs spend with nursing home residents by 20 percent, and we absolutely oppose any reduction in nursing home care,” AARP spokeswoman Jamie Mongiovi said.
DeSantis also signed a measure to ensure that patients and residents of hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities can have contact with visitors.
Dubbed the “No Patient Left Alone Act” (SB 988), the legislation was designed as a response to many facilities cutting off or limiting visitation during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nursing home bills were among 42 pieces of legislation signed by the governor.
Challenger takes off for an agricultural race
Chuck Nadd, a Winter Park resident who flew helicopters for the U.S. military, filed paperwork Monday to fight Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson in the Republican primary for the state’s agriculture commissioner.
Nadd criticized Simpson and other legislative leaders for failing to pass the congressional redistricting maps sought by DeSantis. He also asked Simpson about immigration and his support for the sugar industry, while touting his own platform as promoting “clean water and a strong conservative agenda for the growth”.
DeSantis declined to pick his favorites when asked about the primary on Tuesday.
The governor said Simpson “helped us with a number of different things.” But, DeSantis added, “we still have work to do. We still have work to do this year. But hopefully we’ll be able to get a lot of good stuff across the finish line.
STORY OF THE WEEK: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed 42 bills into law on Wednesday, including a hotly debated measure that will change staffing standards in nursing homes.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The private property insurance market in Florida has collapsed, and it’s obvious that we need to call a special session to deal with this dire situation.” – State Senator Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, on his push to question lawmakers about holding a special legislative session on insurance.