Bright Futures: The Florida Senate unanimously approves a higher education bill that includes the permanent expansion of the Bright Futures scholarships program. S.B. 4, which was sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, would provide full funding of tuition and fees for the 41,000 students who qualify for the Academic Scholar award. Those students must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and a score of at least 1,290 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT. Another 50,000-plus students who qualify for the Medallion Scholar award would receive 75 percent of tuition and fees. The bill also expands the Benacquisto Scholarship awards, which are full scholarships for out-of-state National Merit Scholar award winners. Sunshine State News. Associated Press. News Service of Florida. Tampa Bay Times. Politico Florida. WFSU.
Schools of Hope: The Florida Board of Education is expected to start working next week on the rules that will determine how charter school networks can qualify to be “hope operators” under the state’s new “Schools of Hope” law. The draft rules would designate charter school organizations as a hope operator in any three ways: They have received a federal grant for the expansion of high-quality charters; received financial backing from the Charter School Growth Fund; or been chosen by a local school board to turn around a struggling district public school. Hope operators can apply to open charter schools within 5 miles of persistently struggling public schools. If the rules are approved, the process could be opened to charter school companies in February. redefinED.
Bethune statue: A Senate committee approves a bill that would place a statue of famed educator Mary McLeod Bethune in the U.S. Capitol. Her statue would replace the one of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith. The bill now moves to the full Senate for a vote. Associated Press. Florida Politics.