Florida Chamber Education Priorities Head to the Governor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 11, 2016) – The Florida Legislature continues to move our state and our students in the right direction with the passage of a bill that includes several Florida Chamber legislative priorities.

HB 7029 strengthens and expands school choice options, ensures we are helping to train, and retain, the best teachers for our students, works to further streamline graduation requirements for Florida’s high-schoolers, codifies performance funding for Florida’s 12 public universities and 28 state colleges, and champions efforts that will renew a focus on the importance of early learning.

We commend the Florida Legislature, who made it possible for the many successes in education that Florida saw this Legislative Session. Students with unique learning abilities will be able to take advantage of greater learning opportunities with the John M. McKay Scholarship Program and the Gardiner Scholarship Program, current college and career readiness programs will be strengthened, and highly effective, professional educators wanting to teach STEM subject courses will have an easier pathway for certification. Many Florida students will now be able to take advantage of an education system which allows them to advance at their own pace based on their mastery of concepts and skills with the new Competency-Based Education Pilot Program.

The Florida Chamber knows the existing one-size-fits-all system of education is struggling to consistently meet the individual needs of each student and equip them for success in the 21st century, and thanks to the hard work of the Florida Legislature, Florida’s students are on the path to continued competitiveness and excellence.

Florida Chamber-Backed Education Bills Pass Full Legislature

Furthering Florida’s reputation as a leader in education, the Florida Legislature has passed several Florida Chamber-backed education bills this session.

A talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic strategy. By providing additional school choice options, quality teacher improvement programs, and ensuring that students can take advantage of customized learning options, the following bills will help Florida’s students continue to remain globally competitive in our 21st century economy:

  • HB 189, sponsored by Representative Manny Diaz and Senator Travis Hutson, creates an alternative, streamlined certification route for professional educators wanting to teach STEM subject courses. This new certification route allows Florida’s students greater opportunities for STEM involvement at earlier levels of learning, which will help to position Florida as a global leader in high-tech, high-wage job creation.
  • HB 837, sponsored by Representative Michael Bileca and Senator Kelli Stargel, will further a parents’ rights to choose the best education for their child. By making improvements to the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program, more students with disabilities will be able to take advantage of additional access to high quality education programs. This bill also includes improvements to Florida’s dual enrollment program for high school students, which helps to ensure students are career and college ready.
  • HB 1365, sponsored by Representative Ray Rodrigues and Senator Jeff Brandes, creates a Competency-Based Education Pilot Program, which will allow students to advance at their own pace based on their mastery of concepts and skills. The existing one-size-fits-all system of education is struggling to consistently meet the individual needs of each student. This legislation takes a step forward in reconsidering the status quo in order to equip them for success in the 21st century.

The Florida Chamber commends the Florida Legislature for their commitment to securing Florida’s educational future.