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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Federal Education Policy Changes Afoot?

creature-1529281_640I have avoided posting all of the speculation about possible changes in education leadership and policy in the new administration.  It is just plain hard on my peace of mind, especially when most of it will not happen.  I firmly believe that the real changes will be through the change in leadership in the Florida legislature.  As you know, I am not sanguine on those.   You can see previous posts.

This morning, however, I ran across an article that helps us think more realistically about what change at the federal level would take.  This Ed Week article reviews legislation that would have to be amended to redirect funding.  It also points toward a likely push for school choice funding in the Congress.  It is worth a read.

 

The Silly Season Has Overtaken Us?

american-flag-1109393_640In today’s Tallahassee Democrat, Leon County Schools have been chided.  It seems the state legislature passed a measure allowing students to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance.  The Department of Education said the district went too far by creating a form to do so and putting it in the Student Handbook.  The State is involved in a lawsuit over parent’s rights to opt their children out of tests, but it is OK to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance as long as you do not tell parents?

What is that Shakespearian line:  Something is rotten in Denmark?  Should we be thinking about other things to improve our educational system?

Testing Reform to Rise Again

IMG_0471Is there hope for a rational testing system?  Senator Don Gaetz has been a moderating voice on Florida’s overwrought testing and accountability system.  He called for the reduction of the weight from 50% to 30% of the student gain scores that are counted in teacher evaluations.  Then, in the 2015 session, he proposed substituting national tests like the SAT and ACT for the FSA.  Since college bound students must take these tests anyway, it is redundant to have them sit for state assessments as well.

 

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Budget Talks on Education Break Down

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Representative Fresen refused to accept most parts of Senator Gaetz’s education funding plan.  Now, the talks will escalate to the House and Senate Appropriations committees.  It will be up to Chairmen Lee and Corcoran to hammer out a deal.  According to news reports, the only agreement between the two was to avoid increasing local property taxes to support new education funding.

 

 

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Education Funding Strategy Getting Clearer

dollar-726881_1280Senator Gaetz and Representative Fresen are meeting this weekend to hammer out the education budget.  I received a list of Representative Fresen’s proposals.  It shifts $430 million in projected funding increases from local property taxes to the State.  The new per student amount would be $7,178.49 and tops the 2007 level by about $52 per student.  This is long overdue.

There are increases in specific areas and as much total funding as reported earlier.

 

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New Omnibus Bills Pass Senate Appropriations

japan-82123_1280The two new bills heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee today were not really new.  Senator Gaetz collapsed a number of existing bills into two omnibus bills.  The recess bill did not get included.  The limit on capital outlay for public school facilities was included.

The second bill relates to early childhood education, open enrollment, dual enrollment, private school sports participation, and charter school accountability.

These bills move on next week.  A lot of negotiation will happen between the House and the Senate.  The specifics follow:

 

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