Florida Five: School district cleanses Christianity from its ranks, gay marriage kicked-up to state Supremes

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

hs football
Photo Credit Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel

Florida school district replaces football chaplains with ‘life coaches’: A few minutes before, he had been preparing to start his seventh year as chaplain for the Olympia High School football team in Florida. But now, those plans had been changed – radically changed. “I received a call from the coach,” Schmidt told me. “He said Orange County Public Schools is no longer allowed to have chaplains as a part of the football program.” Schmidt, who is a campus pastor of the First Baptist Church of Windermere, Florida, listened as the football coach explained the district’s decision to cleanse Christianity from its ranks. Read more

Florida court ask state Supreme Court to address gay marriage questions: Florida’s highest court is being asked to decide whether or not the state’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional. In an unusual decision, the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday asked the Florida Supreme Court to settle the question due to “great public importance.” If the high court takes up the case, it could result in having the issue settled even before the U.S. Supreme Court acts. The ruling is connected to a Hillsborough County divorce case involving a same-sex couple who had been married in Massachusetts but since relocated to the Tampa area. Read more

Lee County makes history, opts out of Common Core testing: Lee Schools made history Wednesday night when they voted to become the first school district in the state to opt out of all statewide, standardized tests. The motion passed three to two with the support of board members Don Armstrong, Tom Scott and Mary Fischer. The decision was received with overwhelming cheers and applause in the packed auditorium of opt-out supporters who donned red in an act of solidarity. Read more

As Scott talks about review of education standards, Jindal sues feds over Common CoreAs Gov. Rick Scott order a “review” of Florida’s education standards — Common Core in all but name — his counterpart in Louisiana today filed a lawsuit against the federal government in an attempt to stop the controversial standards. — Louisiana’s Republican governor has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards. Read more

Statewide teachers union to take “legal action” against voucher program: The statewide teachers union plans to announce new “legal action” against Florida’s school voucher program at a press conference Thursday, union leaders said. The voucher program, also known as the Tax Credit Scholarship Program, enables corporations to fund private-school scholarships for low-income children. The businesses receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits in exchange for their contributions. The cap on tax credits for the program is set by state law. Read more

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