Governor Scott Signs Florida Chamber Education Bill Into Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

Education Accountability Law
Champions Fewer and Better Tests

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (April 14, 2015) – A Florida Chamber-backed education accountability bill reducing the number of education assessments was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott today.

“This legislation reduces the number of tests our students take, including the 11th grade English Language Arts test that we eliminated this year through an Executive Order in February,” said Governor Rick Scott in a press release. “I agree with many teachers and parents who say we have too many tests, and while this legislation is a great step forward, we will keep working to make sure Florida students are not over tested.

HB 7069, championed by Senator John Legg (R-Lutz) in the Senate and Representative Marlene O’Toole (R-The Villages) in the House, called for reducing the number of required state and local education assessments for Florida’s students.

Education is an economic competitiveness imperative for Florida and this country. Championing educational reforms for a globally competitive workforce is a Florida Chamber priority. While there are transition bumps to work out, the Florida Chamber believes that, as a state, we must not step back from higher standards and accountability. Fewer and better tests will help ensure Florida’s assessment and accountability system continues to succeed.

“This is good news for Florida’s students,” said Brittney Burch, Education Policy Director of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “We had many champions in the legislature on this issue, including Senators John Legg and Don Gaetz and Representatives Marlene O’Toole, Manny Diaz and Erik Fresen. Florida wins when we invest in policies that help make our students more competitive and today, we saw the fruits of that effort.”

“We need fewer and better tests,” explained Senator John Legg in a recent Florida Chamber Bottom Line episode. “We’ve gone overboard… the bureaucrats have interpreted the statutes to the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law.

The Florida Chamber thanks the many legislators that put Florida’s students before special interests.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Rick Scott Signs Bill to Cut School Testing

By Drew Wilson

Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 7069 Tuesday, reducing the number of tests Florida public school students take as well as making changes to teacher evaluations and school year start dates.

“This legislation reduces the number of tests our students take, including the 11th grade English Language Arts test that we eliminated this year through an Executive Order in February,” Scott said in a news release.

“I agree with many teachers and parents who say we have too many tests, and while this legislation is a great step forward, we will keep working to make sure Florida students are not over tested.“

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Marlene O’Toole of The Villages, legislates the elimination of the 11th grade English Language Arts test as well as the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test, which Florida high school students are required to take.

It also limits testing to a maximum of 5 percent of a student’s yearly school hours – about nine whole school days a year. Lutz Republican Sen. John Legg sponsored the bill in the Senate.

In addition to cutting tests, the bill alters teacher evaluations by reducing the weight of student performance and instructional practice evaluations. It would also allow districts to set a start date for the school year as early as Aug. 10.

The bill aligns with Scott’s “Let’s Keep Florida Learning” plan, which he released in August 2014. Among other things, the plan calls for a “comprehensive evaluation” of every test Florida students are required to take, a financial reward system for high-performing teachers, and increased investment in technical education centers.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauded the signing in a news release, saying “fewer and better tests” will help ensure the state’s assessment and accountability system’s continued success. Brittney Burch, the chamber’s education policy director, praised Sens. Legg and Don Gaetz, as well as Reps. Manny Diaz, Erik Fresen and O’Toole.

“Florida wins when we invest in policies that help make our students more competitive and today, we saw the fruits of that effort,” Burch said.