Education legislation

Members of ’98 Constitution Revision Commission file briefs supporting state’s position in adequacy lawsuit

A group of appointed members from a 1998 Constitution Revision Commission filed a legal brief Tuesday arguing the state has fully complied with a constitutional mandate, proposed by the commission and approved by voters that year, requiring Florida public schools to be “high quality” and adequately funded. The CRC contingent was among five different groups that filed amicus briefs supporting the state’s position in the highly charged adequacy lawsuit, and its legal argument was notably at odds with that of a separate group of appointment members who weighed in earlier in July. The adequacy suit, first in 2009 by a Gainesville-based...

Florida Board of Education approves rules governing two educational choice programs

Florida is set to become the first state in the nation to implement two unique scholarship programs – one for victims of bullying and the other for public school students struggling with reading. Rules governing these two educational choice programs, the Hope Scholarship and the Reading Scholarship Accounts, were adopted by the Florida Board of Education today. Step Up For Students, a nonprofit that publishes this blog, will be the only scholarship organization in Florida administering the two new programs. It will receive an administrative allowance equal to 3 percent of the scholarships. AAA Scholarship Foundation, the other state-approved scholarship...

Colleges wary of dual enrollment change

By Lloyd Dunkelberger News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE — State colleges could face higher costs after a new law revamped the dual-enrollment program for students at private high schools who take courses at public colleges and universities. Dual enrollment is an increasingly popular program that allows students from grades six through 12 to take post-secondary courses that help them complete high school as well as get a head start on college degrees. More than 60,000 students are using the program to attend state and community colleges and state universities. During the 2015-2016 academic year, 56,245 dual-enrollment students attended Florida’s 28 state and community colleges,...

Fla. charter schools grapple with security funding

Even before a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School, Cynthia Aversa had been looking for ways to hire a school resource officer at the charter school she runs on Florida's Treasure Coast. After the shooting in Parkland, Fla., Aversa promptly decided to contract with the local Sheriff's office to place a full-time deputy at Indian River Charter High School, where she is principal. But she is still not sure how she is going to pay for it. “The actual nuts and bolts of the finances of the program have not come to the forefront,” she said. “The most...
Florida Capitol

What school choice bills passed the Florida Legislature in 2018

The response to a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School overshadowed many other education issues before the Florida Legislature this year. Appropriately so. It's also an election year, which brings an earlier start to the legislative session and can limit policymaking bandwidth. But that didn't stop lawmakers from creating multiple new programs and pushing several long-standing school choice priorities over the finish line. Here's a breakdown of what passed and what didn't, as far as educational choice is concerned. For comparison, it's worth looking at the agenda before the session started. PassedHope scholarships Victims of bullying or violence will have the ability...

Mastery-based learning proposal fails in Florida Legislature

Bills expanding a state initiative to help students learn at their own pace fell by the wayside late in Florida's legislative session. The House approved its version of the "mastery-based learning" bill. But Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, was stymied in multiple attempts to advance the proposal in the Senate. In a last-ditch effort, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, attached a version of the proposal to SB 88 — a bill creating a high school financial literacy course. The amendment also would have made the financial literacy course optional, watering down a longtime priority of Senate Education Chairman Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange. Late Friday,...

Update: Sweeping education bill headed to Gov. Rick Scott

The most wide-ranging education bill of this year's session in the Florida Legislature is headed to Gov. Rick Scott. One Democrat and 19 Republicans backed HB 7055 in a contentious 20-17 Senate vote, with four Republicans joining 13 Democrats in opposition. The House gave the bill final approval hours later. Opponents put up resistance. They tried unsuccessfully to remove a contentious teachers union certification proposal. The bill also provoked the usual debates about charter schools and private school choice. Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, attempted to strip a provision that would allow companies to receive up to $57.5 million in tax credits on corporate leases....
Florida Capitol

A guide to the endgame for school choice issues in the Florida Legislature

Two education-related bills are expected to overshadow the rest over the next few days in Tallahassee: The Legislature's response to last month's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, and final votes on the wide-ranging HB 7055. But below the radar, there are a few other issues worth watching going into the legislative session's final week. Pieces of HB 7055 The Florida House has scheduled votes today on two bills that mirror portions of HB 7055, which is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate. One, HB 1, would create the Hope Scholarship program championed by Speaker...