Highlights:

  • The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education unanimously passed legislation to help participating public school districts continue innovating student learning.
  • A bill to strengthen workforce education and increase the number of Floridians earning college degrees unanimously passed the House Education Committee this week.
  • ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque was the guest on a podcast with the Education Post’s Lane Wright regarding Florida’s long track record of empowering families with educational opportunity, including private education choice.

 

With the help of a caring teacher and the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) program, Ashley Elliot is succeeding in college despite spending her entire childhood in poverty. Ashley met with Florida lawmakers this week to thank them for their support of the FTC program and to ask them to expand private education choice to low- and middle-income families.

Mastery-Based Education:

Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes, unanimously passed the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education on April 4.

The legislation would give participating public school districts additional flexibility to continue innovating student learning by:

  • Expanding the mastery-based education pilot to other interested districts and university laboratory schools.
  • Providing flexibility for the awarding of high school credit based on mastery of academic content in lieu of the required 135 hours of “seat time.”
  • Providing flexibility for the interpretation of student A-F grades (e.g., A = Mastery instead of 90-100%).

House Bill 401, sponsored by Representative Nick DiCeglie, is similar to the Senate bill and is expected to be considered by the House Education Committee in the coming weeks.

Watch Lynda Hayes, Director of P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School, discuss how mastery-based education empowers students at her school and how legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Nick DiCeglie would help students across Florida.

 

Career and Technical Education:

Legislation to address postsecondary workforce education, HB 7071 by Representative Amber Mariano, unanimously passed the House Education Committee on April 3.

This committee-proposed bill would:

  • Create a “SAIL to 60” Initiative to increase college degree attainment to 60 percent.
  • Put into place a reverse transfer policy that would increase attainment of associate degrees. (Currently students at some four-year universities and colleges who do not complete their Bachelor’s degree programs are unable to be awarded an Associate degree, even if they met the requirements for the degree, because their current institution does not award that type of degree.)
  • Eliminate the Higher Education Coordinating Council within the Florida Department of Education and create the Florida Talent Development Council to guide the state’s strategic planning for career-focused talent development.
  • Create a new competitive grant program, the Florida Apprenticeship Grant Program, available for district career centers, charter technical centers, colleges and other entities authorized to sponsor apprenticeship programs.

The bill is anticipated to move to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

 

Other Bills Moving Through the Capitol:

Lawmakers are considering several pieces of legislation that would expand access to public charter schools and early college programs.

House Bill 1197 by Representative Jason Fischer passed the House Appropriations Committee on April 2. The legislation would allow state colleges and universities to authorize the creation of new charter schools in the state of Florida.

House Bill 189 by Representative Ardian Zika, which would allow colleges and universities to create early college programs, passed the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee on April 4.

In these types of programs, students graduate high school with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The bill now moves to the House Education Committee.

House Bill 1127 by Representative Wyman Duggan unanimously passed the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee on April 1. The legislation would require the Florida Department of Education to maintain a disqualification list so that “bad actors” are not allowed to open or maintain a public charter school.

House Bill 1061 by Representative Toby Overdorf passed the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee on April 1. The legislation increases funding to public school districts for students who earn College Board Advanced Placement Capstone Diplomas.

According to the College Board’s 2018 Advanced Placement results, Florida moved up one spot to the third best state in the nation in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or above on their exams, which provides students an opportunity to earn college credit

Florida families saved an estimated $133 million in future college education based upon last year’s Advanced Placement results.