Florida Senate Education Leaders Provide a Balance?

legislation1Senate President Joe Negron has announced his Education Committee members.  They appear to share a broader spectrum of interests than those in the Florida House.  The Senate Education Committee Chair will be Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Republican from Volusia County.  Volusia supports public schools and has relatively few charter schools.

 

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Florida State School Board 2017 Priorities

priority-1714375_640What is important to the Florida State Board of Education (SBE) this year?  According to this report, the SBE is focusing on capital outlay funding, charter expansion priorities, streamlining teacher preparation programs, and online education.  As priorities from different stake holders emerge, the negotiation with the legislature will intensify.

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Equity: For each and every child

board-1065698_1280 (1)Equity means providing resources, not just equally, but adequately for all children to succeed.   There is no ‘one size fits all’ curriculum.  Yet, there is a tension between providing opportunity for all students, regardless of their backgrounds, and the efficient allocation of limited resources.  School choice was supposed to give better options, but too often, the choices are no different and ineffective.

The Citizens for Strong Schools lawsuit in Florida is about equity, but this is also a national issue.  I found a blue ribbon panel report that addresses equity and provides direction for educational policy.

In time, Florida may be required to focus on these six directions.  They give us a vision of what could be.

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Florida Senate Education Committee Workshop on Charters

bill montfordjohn leggIf you want to take the pulse of charter school legislative priorities, watch this video.  It is yesterday’s Florida Senate Education Committee workshop on charters.  They have a long list of proposed bills to consider, and they are looking for ways to combine bills in order to move forward.

The two most comprehensive bills were from Senator Montford and Senator Legg.    Continue reading

Come Dream With Me: A Glimpse into What Online Learning Could Be

chrystal-542488_1280I had a glimpse into the future yesterday.  Such a contrast between what is and what could be!  Believe it or not, it was the Senate K12 Education Committee meeting on video.  It started off with a review of the districts’ technology plans.  This past year, the State of Florida administered 4 million tests online.  This year, they will do 5 million.  The infrastructure is there, more or less.

I did not realize that funding for technology was recently incorporated into the FEFP per student allocation.  Thus, the increase is ear marked.  Districts are spending on average, 53% of this technology money for infrastructure.  Thirty one percent goes for assessments, and six percent for professional development.  According to the DOE, this approach is working.

Now for what could be….

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Florida Tax Credit Scholarships Need The Light of Day

business-257880_1280We will do a series of posts on educational issues likely to come up in the Florida legislative session.  We would like to hear from other states as well.  Let’s begin with the accountability of the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship program.

What are the children learning; where is the money going, and how is it spent?

Keeping track of the $86 million for 67, 142 students in over 1400 schools is no easy task.  Transparency issues in reporting have arisen in charter schools.   Senator Legg, Chair of the Education Committee indicated that remedies would be made.  How can he improve transparency in the private school sector for tax credit vouchers?

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EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEETING ON TESTING

Florida capitolSenator Gaetz wants answers to a list of questions about testing. How much time do they take?  What happens if students do not take them.  Where are we on setting passing levels.  He wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart.  She answers at the Senate Committee Meeting on Wednesday.  You can watch it.  Read on, more is happening.

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