Florida Session Week 2 Highlights: Five Issues We’re Watching

Florida Session Week 2 Highlights: Five Issues We’re Watching

Friday, January 19, 2018

Week 2 Highlights

Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session was in full swing this week as policy makers began to consider the dozens of education-related bills filed in both the House and Senate.

As we look toward next week, here are five issues we’re watching.

Mastery-Based/Personalized Education

SB 968 (Senator Jeff Brandes) and HB 1035 (Representative Jennifer Sullivan)Provides flexibility to school districts participating in Florida’s mastery-based education pilot program and allows more districts to participate. Through this program, students are empowered to play a greater role in their learning, and participating districts can create programs tailored to a student’s unique strengths, interests and needs.

Gardiner Scholarship Funding

Ensuring the more than 1,300 Florida students with special needs currently waiting to participate in the Gardiner Scholarship Program have access to the benefits of a customized education.

Dual Enrollment Access 

SB 1064 (Senator Dennis Baxley)Ensures that all students, including private school students, have free, open access to dual enrollment courses at their local state colleges.  Legislative changes made in 2012 and 2014 have negatively impacted private school students and their ability to access dual enrollment courses by making each private school negotiate an articulation agreement with local colleges.

Hope Scholarship Program 

SB 1172 (Senator Bill Galvano) and HB 1 (Representative Bryon Donalds)Protects students who have been bullied or harassed by giving them the opportunity to move to a safer public or private school through the Hope Scholarship program. SB 1172 is scheduled to be heard at the Senate Education Committee meeting on Monday, January 22.

Computer Science Education

SB 1056 (Senator Kathleen Passidomo) and HB 1213 (Representative Liz Porter) Expands computer science education so that students have access to courses that prepare them for success in college and career. The bill also provides opportunities for teachers to be certified and trained to teach these courses, and provides additional incentives for teachers. SB 1056 unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee on January 16.

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