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Florida Ed Board OKs schoolbook rules

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Claire Heddles
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Jacksonville Today
Nassau County bookstore owner Donna Paz Kaufman says teachers regularly shop for books in her store, but she’s seen them become increasingly hesitant to purchase classroom books under new state laws.

Florida school librarians and media specialists must now complete annual training on how to choose schoolbooks, under the rules the state Board of Education approved Wednesday at their meeting in Fernandina Beach. The new required training complies with a new state law that also makes it easier for the public to contest schoolbooks.

The Duval County school district plans to use the new training for the first time to review more than two dozen books that the district purchased but has withheld from shelves. The district already rejected 47 other books from the same collection, Essential Voices, which the distributor describes as “diverse, inclusive” stories.

Under the new rules, only trained, certified media specialists will be allowed to pick books for school libraries, classroom reading lists and elementary classroom libraries.

Read the rest of this story at Jacksonville Today, part of WJCT Public Media.

Claire joined WJCT as a reporter in August 2021. She was previously the local host of NPR's Morning Edition at WUOT in Knoxville, Tennessee. During her time in East Tennessee, her coverage of the COVID pandemic earned a Public Media Journalists’ Association award for investigative reporting. You can reach Claire at (904) 250-0926 or on Twitter @ClaireHeddles.