Diane Rado

Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

Turkey, pork, bringing home the bacon: 1,540 pet projects slipped into 2023-24 state budget

By: - June 6, 2023

When the Florida Legislature approved a $117 billion state budget in May, 1,540 local projects slipped into the massive document, from museums, soccer and football fields, and after school programs to libraries and community centers, water main projects and wastewater treatment facilities – often with big price tags. The record number of local projects, often […]

On public education: ‘We are in the middle of culture war vs. aspiration. Hope vs. fear.’

By: - June 2, 2023

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and a staunch public education advocate, said at a national conference Thursday evening: “We are in the middle of culture war vs. aspiration. Hope vs. fear.” That’s a reference in part to the clash between Republicans and Democrats over the nation’s public schools, where books are […]

The Gettysburg Address: On Memorial Day, Lincoln’s short but immortal speech still resonates

By: - May 29, 2023

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We […]

A day after his presidential announcement, DeSantis signs millions in tax exemptions for Floridians

By: - May 25, 2023

From baby and toddler products to back-to-school items, hygiene products, gas stoves and more, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed into law a long list of tax exemptions — sales, property and corporate income — adding up to tens of millions of dollars. The governor signed the bill a day after his presidential announcement on […]

From the FL governor’s mansion to a presidential run, DeSantis faced travails and success

By: , and - May 24, 2023

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has filled out the federal paperwork to officially become a 2024 candidate for president of the United States, the Florida Phoenix has compiled a chronicle of the trajectory of DeSantis’ tenure, from moving into the governor’s mansion on Jan. 8, 2019, to a presidential run. The Phoenix, which launched on […]

Federal lawsuit: FL school district sued over removing, restricting books; violating Constitution

By: - May 17, 2023

On the day that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a slate of bills to protect innocent children — including more restrictions on what kids can read in classrooms and school libraries — PEN America and others have filed a lawsuit in a federal court on book bans in Escambia County School District in Florida’s Panhandle. A […]

A contentious overhaul for higher education: DeSantis pushes far right in bill signings

By: - May 15, 2023

While Gov. Ron DeSantis brags about top college rankings in Florida’s state university system — using specific metrics from U.S. News and World Report — families and college kids should know this: There won’t be a data point about preventing “woke ideologies” in the rankings. There won’t be other metrics in rankings that would essentially […]

GOP lawmakers restrict pronouns, remove books, expand ban on gender identity discussions in schools

By: - May 4, 2023

Amid sharp divisions between Republicans and Democrats, the Legislature has approved measures for Florida’s public schools that could help or hurt — by restricting “pronouns,” quickly removing certain books in classrooms and school libraries, and expanding a ban on discussion in sexual orientation or gender identity. The GOP-controlled chambers have focused on protecting youngsters at […]

Expansion: GOP to ban instruction in ‘sexual orientation or gender identity’ in PreK to 8th grade

By: - May 2, 2023

GOP lawmakers are pushing to expand a ban on “sexual orientation or gender identity” in Florida’s public schools — this time in grades PreK through 8th grade. It’s essentially Part 2 of a ban that occurred last year, with kindergarten through 3rd grade, and was dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. That 2022 legislation was […]

high school classroom, school, education

Change up for term limits for local school board members, but why so fast?

By: - May 1, 2023

In 2022, lawmakers approved 12-year term limits for local school board members in Florida, but a year later, the House and Senate chambers decided to impose 8-year term limits. But what’s the rush? “Why are we back here so fast on this to change it,” state Sen. Jason Pizzo asked in the Florida Senate on […]

Senate vote on higher ed bill reveals what undergrads might face in general education courses

By: - April 28, 2023

After weeks of gut-wrenching debate on the fate of Florida’s public universities, the state Senate on Friday approved legislation to reshape the way university undergrads would learn in essential general education courses — and now students may no longer learn certain things. The legislation came to a vote of 27-12, with one senator not voting. […]

‘Tyre Sampson Act:’ Teen’s death from amusement ride will help increase safety on rides in FL

By: - April 28, 2023

In March of last year, 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell to his death from a 400-foot tower ride operated by Orlando Slingshot. On Friday, the Florida Senate unanimously approved legislation to ensure that amusement rides are safe in Florida. The legislation is titled the “Tyre Sampson Act.” The House is moving on the legislation as well. […]