As the head of school at Tampa Bay Christian Academy, Natasha Sherwood knows how important educational opportunity is to Florida families. Last month, she met with lawmakers to share her support for the Family Empowerment Scholarship program. Watch her video below.

Highlights:

  • The House Education Committee unanimously passed legislation to help participating public school districts continue innovating with a mastery-based education pilot to improve student learning.  
  • A bill to strengthen workforce education and increase the number of Floridians earning college degreeunanimously passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education this week. 
  • Legislation to allow Florida colleges and universities to create early college high school programs passed in both the Senate and House.  

Mastery-Based Education: 

House Bill 401, sponsored by Representative Nick DiCeglie, unanimously passed the House Education Committee on April 9. 

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%). 

Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes, is similar to the Senate bill and is expected to be considered by the Senate Appropriations 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, Senate Bill 1308 by Senator Keith Perry unanimously passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education on April 9. 

This committee-proposed bill would: 

  • Create an annual review of career and technical course offerings to ensure they align with regional workforce needs.  
  • Create a “Last Mile” initiative to increase college degree attainment. 
  • 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.) 

The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. 

 

Early College High School Programs: 

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would expand access to early college programs. 

House Bill 189 by Representative Ardian Zika, which would allow colleges and universities to create early college programs, passed the Higher Education Committee on April 9. 

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

A similar piece of legislation, Senate Bill 1342 sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel, passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education on April 9. The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. 

 

Accountability in Educational Opportunity: 

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

The bill is now ready to be considered by the full chamber.