‘The landscape has changed,’ Miami-Dade superintendent says about politics in classroom, as students protest

MIAMI – A rally was held on Wednesday, what is that last day of school for many students, to protest recent legislation impacting schools in Florida.

Demonstrators were out over what they call a surge in attacks on education coming from Tallahassee.

“We are upset about what’s happening. We see these as fascist attacks,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, President of United Teachers of Dade.

Hernandez-Mats called them egregious laws, mentioning several specifically, such as school vouchers.

“They’re trying to privatize public education,” she said.

Laws they say try to disband unions or ban classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity at all grade levels.

Issues they argue are driving teachers away.

“Since January, there has been over 200 resignations,” said Hernandez-Mats. “We know that there are still a lot of vacancies in our public school system.”

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Jose Dotres spoke to Local 10 News on Wednesday, saying there are close to 20,000 high school graduates this year.

A total of $606 million dollars in scholarships was awarded to seniors across the district.

This was the school year when students finally came back full-time to in-person learning following the pandemic, which left behind learning loss.

“We are seeing growth both in mathematics and in reading,” said Dotres.

He was also asked about politics in the classroom.

“The landscape has definitely changed,” he said.

Dotres also answered questions about students who identify as LGBTQ and the perceived attack from Tallahassee.

“We have to attend to all students,” he said. “The individuality of every single one of our students is important and we’re here to support them.”

Miami-Dade Schools was recently in the limelight after books were moved around following the objections of one parent.

“We’ve looked at it, and the committee did follow the proper procedure,” said Dotres.

For more information on the MDCPS Summer 305 program, click here.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.