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Black leaders rally in Tally; remaking New College; what is ESG and why does the governor want to ban it?

A student makes her way past the sign at New College of Florida, Jan. 20, 2023, in Sarasota, Fla.
Chris O'Meara/AP
A student makes her way past the sign at New College of Florida, Jan. 20, 2023, in Sarasota, Fla.

Black lawmakers, activists and the Rev. Al Sharpton marched in Tallahassee this week.

The rally was an escalation of their criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s rejection of a new College Board Advanced Placement course in African American studies. Activists say DeSantis is harming education in the state, all as part of a bid to increase his profile in an expected run for president next year.

For his part, DeSantis has doubled down on the controversy, saying he may look to end Florida’s relationship with the College Board altogether. The board administers AP classes for high school students, along with the SAT test.

Guest: Dwight Bullard, former Democratic state senator and political adviser for Florida Rising.

Remaking New College of Florida

The newly remade board of trustees at New College of Florida voted Monday to give the Sarasota school’s interim president, Richard Corcoran, a pay raise of nearly $400,000 over his predecessor.

The board decided that Corcoran, a former Florida House speaker and state education commissioner, will receive a base salary of $699,000, in addition to other benefits. That’s twice the amount that was paid to the school’s former president, who was recently ousted.

All of this is seen as a part of the DeSantis administration’s controversial push to remake education in the state.

Guest: Divya Kumar, higher education reporter at the Tampa Bay Times.

ESG: What is it and why does the governor want to ban it?

DeSantis says he will propose legislation that would bar the state and its local governments from using ESG — or environmental, social and governance criteria — when issuing municipal bonds. It’s an expansion of his push against what he’s called a “woke agenda.”

DeSantis released new details on Monday about his plan to require that state and local government investments be guided only by potential returns. He previously said the state’s asset managers must stop using ESG investing strategies if they want to keep overseeing Florida’s money, including $220 billion of pension funds. However, some analysts say that could cost Florida taxpayers millions of dollars in secret costs every year.

Guest: Ken Russell, director of U.S. public sector engagement and development at Longevity Partners (a financial firm that works in ESG) and a former Miami city commissioner.

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