Ron DeSantis

Alfredo Zuniga / AP

COMMENTARY 

On the opening page of his guerrilla memoir "Fire from the Mountain," Nicaraguan revolutionary Omar Cabezas calls his birthplace "a ghost town” during Semana Santa, or Holy Week, because everybody bolts for the countryside or the beaches to congregate and party.

This is Semana Santa, the week before Easter, and Nicaragua is still congregating and partying – in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic that's killed almost 90,000 people worldwide.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

The president of a national union representing teachers and nurses argues Gov. Ron DeSantis has mishandled the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic by sending mixed messages about whether schools should be closed and waiting to issue a statewide order instructing residents to stay at home.

Wilfredo Lee / AP via Miami Herald

The Trump Administration’s year-long efforts to dislodge authoritarian regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba have so far failed. That’s raised frustrations among South Florida’s exiles. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Miami on Thursday to address their anxieties.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday appointed Ryan Petty to the Florida Board of Education, subject to state Senate approval.

Petty’s 14-year-old daughter Alaina was murdered in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and he has since become a national advocate for school safety reforms.

Petty founded a nonprofit called the WalkUp Foundation. The organization’s mission is to persuade students to “walk up” to their peers who seem like they need a friend and seek help from adults if necessary.

Menly Cortez / State Innovation Exchange

Two months ago, Democratic state Rep. Cindy Polo of Miami Lakes visited a prison in El Salvador. Polo met an inmate named Berta Margarita Arana, a Salvadoran woman serving eight years for attempting an abortion.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Florida teachers have won some battles on the pay front in recent years — but for them, it’s too little, too late.

Chris Cutro / Miami Herald

Palm Beach County has the highest high school graduation rate in South Florida — and it’s the only district in the region that’s outperforming the statewide average, according to newly released data from the Florida Department of Education.

But Palm Beach’s 87.1 percent graduation rate for the class of 2019 is down just slightly from the previous year’s 87.2 percent.

Monroe County also saw a slight drop last year, from 86.4 percent to a flat 86 percent.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in his element when he gave the opening speech last month at the national convention of the Federalist Society, the organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers.

Citing Federalist papers and 162-year-old U.S. Supreme Court cases, the Harvard-trained attorney made an articulate case against the branch of government he said felt “superior” to the others.

“I think judicial power is too robust right now,” DeSantis said. “And I think the checks upon it are just simply inadequate.”

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed state budget would fully fund Florida’s two affordable housing programs. He is recommending that all $387 million be used for housing needs.

The Florida Legislature created the affordable housing programs in 1992 by raising the documentary stamp tax on real estate transactions.

The money is supposed to be split between two programs, but it often gets sent elsewhere.

As part of efforts to combat illegal immigration, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Department of Corrections are preparing to deputize state correctional officers as federal immigration enforcement agents.

Scott Keeler / Associated Press

Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced a new program that would offer thousands of dollars in bonuses to teachers and principals at schools that show improvement under the state’s grading system.

Cat Gloria / WLRN

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is moving forward with one of the Republican’s chief campaign promises: eliminating  Common Core academic standards from Florida schools.

Shortly after taking office in January, DeSantis issued an executive order directing the state Department of Education to review Florida’s academic standards and provide recommended changes by the end of the year.

Jennifer King / Miami Herald

Miami Dade College’s faculty union is leading a lawsuit against the board of trustees after a new majority of members recently appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis voted to scrap a months-long search for the institution's next president.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN News

Miami Dade College’s board of trustees voted down a proposal to significantly lower the required job qualifications for the institution’s next president, facing pressure from a rowdy crowd of faculty members who booed and applauded throughout Thursday morning’s meeting.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign pledges was to make Israel the first foreign country he visits in office. DeSantis came to South Florida on Tuesday to announce he’s keeping that promise – and that he’ll do more than just visit Israel.

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