2012 Reform Agenda
2012 Legislative Priorities
- Empowering Parents and Students
- Transforming Education with Technology
- Funding Student Achievement
- Strengthening and Streamlining Accountability
Empowering Parents and Students
Parental involvement is key for student success. Florida’s moms and dads must be equipped to make informed choices regarding their student’s education. Every parent should have a choice and a voice in their child’s education, whether that means selecting the best school for their child or improving their current school.
HB 859 - Passed
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program gives low-income families the ability to select the school that will meet their child’s unique needs and learning styles. This legislation expands access and eligibility to more students.
- Increases the statewide tax credit cap, enabling 2,300 more children from low-income families to receive scholarships.
- Expands eligibility by removing the requirement that students in K–5 must have been enrolled in a Florida public school the year before they applied for the scholarship. Now, any low-income student in these grades can participate in the program regardless of whether or not the student was in the public school system the prior year.
SB 1718 - Not Passed
This legislation failed to pass its final vote in the Senate, but it would have guaranteed Florida students the right to learn from effective educators and empowered parents with the information and tools they need to make informed, active decisions regarding the quality of their child’s education.
- Would have created a Parent Empowerment Act, equipping more parents with the right to have a seat at the table with school leaders to improve their child’s persistently failing school. Parents of students in “F” schools would have had a voice and vote to help the district school board select one of the federally mandated turnaround options for failing schools.
- Would have guaranteed that each and every student be assigned to an effective or highly effective teacher at least every other year.
Transforming Education with Technology
HB 7063 - Passed
This legislation moves Florida one step closer to harnessing the power of technology to transform and customize education for the digital age. Through 21st century technology, every student can receive a high-quality education personalized to meet their unique learning style and pace; teachers will be empowered with more tools and rich content to more effectively reach their students.
- Expands access to full-time digital learning options for students in grades 2–5 by removing the prior public school enrollment requirement. Now any K–5 public, private or home education student can enroll full-time in a virtual program.
- Allows eligible Florida elementary school students to take an individual, part-time digital learning course through the Florida Virtual School or through a District Virtual Instruction Program.
- Expands the popular “Tebow Law” to allow full-time Florida Virtual School students to participate in their local school’s extracurricular activities, including athletics, marching band and academic clubs.
Funding Student Achievement
HB 7059 - Passed
Recognizing and rewarding student learning instead of just seat-time is the next step toward providing every Florida student with a quality education that will meet their unique learning style and pace. This year, the Legislature voted to make full funding for specific core courses contingent upon a student demonstrating mastery of the course material. This makes Florida one of the first states in the nation to link funding to students mastering the course content, rather than the number of hours spent in the classroom.
- Bases full funding on a student successfully completing the course, as measured by the state’s end-of-course assessment.
- Funds high school students for 24 credits, not necessarily four years. This allows students to graduate from high school in less than four years if they complete all the general requirements for graduation, yet it still provides full funding to districts even if students graduate early.
- Incentivizes school districts to encourage students to take an end-of-course assessment in lieu of the course if the student has already mastered content.
- Establishes accelerated learning options for K–12 students by requiring each school to offer whole grade and midyear promotions, subject-matter acceleration, virtual instruction in higher grade level subjects and the credit acceleration program.
Strengthening and Streamlining State and Federal Accountability
HB 7127 - Passed
Florida’s comprehensive reforms, including its accountability system, have earned recognition and flexibility from the federal government. This legislation implements Florida’s federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Flexibility Waiver. Florida now has a single accountability system that clearly reports student progress and performance and provides intensive support for struggling schools.
Lawmakers continued Florida’s historic investment in education by maintaining strong funding for programs that incentivize and reward student learning. The Legislature invested an additional $1 billion for public schools this year. These funds will support Florida’s School Recognition Program and critical partnership with the College Board, which provides professional development for teachers to teach more rigorous AP classes in Florida’s schools. The state spending plan also renews Florida’s commitment to reading by providing funding for an additional hour per day of intensive reading instruction for students in the 100 lowest-performing elementary schools, an expansion of Summer Reading Camps for any K–5 student who is having reading difficulties and an emphasis on K–5 reading intervention services provided by reading intervention teachers.