2017 Legislative Session: Week 1 Highlights

2017 Legislative Session: Week 1 Highlights

Friday, March 10, 2017

Florida legislators hit the ground running this week with legislation that expands educational opportunities for students, especially students with disabilities.

  • House Bill 15 passed the House Pre-K Innovation Subcommittee on Tuesday.
  • House Bill 833 passed the House Pre-K Innovation Subcommittee this week.
  • Senate Bill 360 passed the Senate Education Committee on Monday.

House Bill 15 (sponsored by Representative Jennifer Sullivan), which expands the Gardiner Scholarship program to children with rare diseases and includes other allowable uses of these funds, passed the House Pre-K Innovation Subcommittee on Tuesday.

Two parents of current Gardiner Scholarship students, Kathleen Dale and Lashundra Williams, spoke passionately about how a customized education, made possible by the scholarship program, has positively impacted the lives of their children.

House Bill 833 (also sponsored by Representative Sullivan), which removes barriers so that all Florida students can participate in virtual instruction, also passed the House Pre-K Innovation Subcommittee this week. More than 900 Florida Virtual School students were not able to continue participating in this popular program during the 2016-2017 school year because of arbitrary prior-year enrollment rules currently in place.

Senate Bill 360 (sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel) swiftly passed the Senate Education Committee with a unanimous vote on Monday. The bill directs the Florida Department of Education to conduct a performance study examining what other states are doing to beat the “Middle School Slump” and raise academic achievement in middle grades.

All three of these bills are aimed at improving educational outcomes for Florida’s children.

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