SB 468 Stargel will provide funds for training for early learning program teachers, principals and reading coaches. These are the Voluntary PreK programs for four-year olds. Children will be screened for pre reading and math skills and will be eligible for repeating the VPK program if the parents agree. Parents will be given pre and post readiness test results.
It asks the Commissioner of Education to study achievement levels and their relationship to student performance and success. The Commissioner is charged to recommend changes in the meaning of the achievement levels to the Governor and the Speaker, the President of the Senate and the State Board of Education by July 2018.
This is the procedure that is required in existing law to change performance standards on the FSA. It has been tried before. What would the approximate impact be?
Ask children, teachers, and parents about time. They will likely say: “There’s not enough time in a day to do what needs to be done”. There are ways to do something about it. We in Alachua County have been talking about how to reorganize the day to fit in pre school, hands on academic programs, school activities, and after school activities in a semi rational way. We are asking if it is possible, without large influxes of money, to make an 8-5 school day. Could all of these activities happen in one place without driving teachers to distraction?? Our local league will study examples of how this could be done.
Professor David Kirp, University of California, Berkeley, already has some successful examples. In Tulsa, Oklahoma the Union school district has implemented a community-based school program that has defied the demographic odds. School attendance has soared, achievement has risen, and suspensions have plummeted. We need schools like that here.
We have one school, Howard Bishop, that has been identified as a community school. It is just starting in that direction this year, and has not expanded to the full eight hour day. The community social services support, however, are centered not in various offices in town, but in the school. They have a ways to go to catch up with the Union school district, but the Children’s Home Society is helping them.
We all need to help community schools make progress. If nothing else, you can help financially. It is not all about money, though. Oklahoma has lower per student funding than Florida, and this district has found a way to expand the day and still make ends meet. Let’s find out how.
With community support we can begin to dream of a world where the lack of time does not manage us; we manage time! Let’s see if we can make our public schools the envy of the world of choice.
It’s that time in the legislative session. The proposed budgets are out. The bargaining begins. The Florida House wants money for charter schools. The Senate wants money for public schools.
Many legislators want money to expand tuition payments to private, mostly religious schools. HB 15 adds children of military families to the tax credit voucher program. The per student increases from 80 to 88% of the FEFP public school amount for elementary students. Middle school funding increases to 92% and high school to 96% of FEFP. The pretense that the Florida tax credit scholarship program saves money is gone. Corporate taxes that could help Floridians go to private schools that have little accountability and uncertified teachers.
Charter school bills feature getting a share of local property taxes for facilities, taking over struggling public schools, and creating a separate charter school system. In addition, they allow uncertified teachers in charters and require public school facilities be given to charters. There is more.