Highlights:

  • School districts could receive more funding for students earning College Board Advanced Placement Capstone Diplomas under a proposal passed by the Florida House.
  • The Senate passed its education package this week, containing the Family Empowerment Scholarship program, which would give students from low-income and some middle-income families scholarships to participating private schools.
  • Florida’s public colleges and universities may be able to authorize the creation of new public charter schools with legislation passed this week by the Florida House.

 

Family Empowerment Scholarship

A Senate Education Committee-proposed bill, Senate Bill 7070, contains several student-centered policies, including a proposal to create a new K-12 scholarship program called the Family Empowerment Scholarship.

On April 25, the Senate passed the legislation, which would give students from low-income and some middle-income families scholarships to attend participating private schools.

Earlier this month, SB 7070 was amended to raise the income limit for the program to include some middle-income families, in addition to low-income families who are eligible. The legislation would allow students from families making up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, the income limit would be approximately $77,000.

The program could serve up to 18,000 students in the its first year.

Mastery-Based Education

House Bill 401, sponsored by Representative Nick DiCeglie, passed the Florida House on April 24.

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%).

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.

Public Charter Schools

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

House Bill 1197 by Representative Jason Fischer passed the Florida House on April 26. The legislation would allow state colleges and universities to authorize the creation of new charter schools in the state of Florida.

Senators are also considering legislation to expand charter school authorizers. Senate Bill 1470 by Senator Manny Diaz Jr., passed the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month and would allow the Charter School Commission to sponsor certain charter schools. Both bills can now be considered by their full chambers.

College and Career Pathways

House Bill 1061 by Representative Toby Overdorf passed the Florida House on April 25. The legislation increases funding to public school districts for students who earn College Board Advanced Placement Capstone Diplomas. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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