Closing Florida’s Talent Gap by Improving Educational Opportunities

 

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Why It Matters to Florida

From local businesses to major corporations, a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. To secure Florida’s future, employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce. Florida wins when we close the gap by putting students ahead of special interests. The Florida Chamber will continue to champion the best education system for Florida.

The Florida Chamber’s focus includes:

  •  Preparing Students for Success
  • Innovation and Outcomes Are Essential
  • Quality School Choice Matters
  • Improving Attainment and Access to Higher Education
  • Preparing Florida’s Workforce to Address Florida’s Skills Gap

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

  • Preparing Students for Success
    Ensuring a talented workforce for tomorrow begins with empowering our youngest learners today. Preparing children to learn provides a foundation for future successes and helps them develop skills such as self-discipline, persistence and cooperation-skills that re essential to their future success in the workforce.
  • Innovation and Outcomes Are Essential
    The Florida Chamber understands the importance of STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Medicine) education in schools. We will continue to support a focus on STEMM concepts throughout Florida’s education system in order to ensure that Florida’s students become and remain globally competitive.
  • Quality School Choice Matters
    At the Florida Chamber we recognize that education is not a one-size-fits-all option. We continue to advocate for parents to have the freedom to choose the best learning environment for their children .
  • Preparing Florida’s Workforce to Address Florida’s Skills Gap
    Advocating for increased attainment and making college more affordable is a top priority for the Florida Chamber. In addition to adequately preparing Florida’s students to enter the workforce, we must also focus on attracting and retaining world class talent.
  • Improving Attainment and Access to Higher Education
    In order for Florida to remain one of the top business climates in the nation, we must increase educational opportunities in both higher education and in the 21st century vocational trades.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

We believe that a quality education and workforce development system is the best way to enable Floridians to compete in a 21st century global economy. Be a part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Business Alliance for Early Learning and help us invest in the future of Florida’s students.

 

GrayRobinson’s Kim McDougal Featured on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

 

Florida 2030: Talent Supply & Education Recommendations     Learn More About Education

 

 

GrayRobinson’s Kim McDougal discusses K-12 education funding, college affordability and school choice on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

Closing Florida’s skills gap by improving educational opportunities is essential to providing Floridians with jobs that allow them to succeed.

“The Florida Chamber has done a great job with businesses, you have the LaunchMyCareerFL.org for the students to make sure every student knows, ‘If I pursue this degree, these are the types of jobs and wages those jobs pay,’” said McDOUGAL.

In an ever changing world, McDougal also notes that it’s just as vital to ensure the existing workforce has the skills they need, just as it’s important to ensure students are prepared to earn when they graduate.

 

Workforce is Changing – Florida Must Be Ready

According to research found in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s newly released Florida 2030 recommendations on Talent Supply & Education, the future of work is changing and Florida has both challenges and opportunities on the horizon. Click here to learn more.

Lawmakers Vote to Improve Educational Opportunities

Sweeping education reforms that span cradle to career were just passed by the Florida Legislature.

In the area of Higher Education, SB 4 would expand the Bright Futures Scholarship and further cement Florida’s World Class State Universities.

This year’s K-12 omnibus bill, HB 7055, continues Florida’s school choice legacy by passing several student-centered policies.

From local business to major corporations, a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Florida wins when we close the gap by putting students ahead of special interests.

 

Legislative Session Coming to a Close

The 2018 Legislative Session is scheduled to end Friday, March 9. The Florida Chamber of Commerce is your number one resource for what passed, what didn’t, and what needs more work. Be on the lookout for the Florida Chamber’s end of session news brief.

Florida Chamber Education Update: Week 5

The Florida Chamber of Commerce believes a quality education system is the best way to ensure our students can get the skills and training they need to compete in a rapidly changing global economy. That’s why we are fighting hard to make sure Florida’s entire education system continues to improve. Here’s a recap of this week’s education discussions in the Florida House and Senate:

School Choice (HB 7101, Rep. Bob Cortes)

The Florida Chamber supports legislation that empowers all students to succeed by providing options for high-quality education programs. This bill, which passed out of the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday, and subsequently passed out of the House Education Committee on Thursday, removes barriers that inhibit high-performing charter management organizations from replicating their success and expanding. HB 7101 will now head to the House floor. Similar legislation in the form of SB 796, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, was set to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Monday, but was not considered as the meeting ran out of time.

Fewer, Better Tests (SB 926, Sen. Anitere Flores)

The Florida Chamber continues to support the enhancement of our statewide assessment and accountability systems, which is why we endorse SB 926. This bill cleared the Senate Education Committee on Monday after a compromise between lawmakers was struck. Following the adoption of several amendments, this bill now contains pieces of a few different testing reform proposals. The revised bill now pushes back the state assessment window to the last three weeks of school, requires easy-to-understand, parent-friendly score reports to be utilized, allows school districts to use paper-and-pencil exams instead of computerized tests, repeals the Value-Added Model (VAM) formula used to evaluate teachers, eliminates various End-of-Course (EOC) exams, allows students who pass certain exams (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate) to be exempt from the statewide assessment in those areas, requires the Commissioner of Education to review nationally-recognized college entrance exams to determine alignment to Florida’s standards, and requires the Department of Education to conduct a study on Florida’s statewide assessment achievement levels – including how best to define the levels in order to communicate the meaning of these levels to students, parents and teachers.

Voluntary PreK Education (SB 468, Sen. Kelli Stargel)

Few investments in education programs are more valuable than those that help students to read. The Florida supports SB 468, which was passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, as it provides additional opportunities to assist young students who are struggling readers, offers additional training to teachers, reading coaches and school principals and proposes additional accountability to the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program.

Best & Brightest (SB 1552, Sen. David Simmons)

We support legislation that provides students with high-quality teachers and administrators. That’s why we support this bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday. SB 1552 expands the eligibility criteria for the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program and creates the Florida Best and Brightest Principal Scholarship Program.

Educational Options (SB 1314, Sen. Denise Grimsley)

The Florida Chamber supports SB 1314 because it helps all students succeed by providing options for high-quality education programs. This bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, revises and strengthens the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. A related bill, SB 902 Gardiner Scholarship Program, sponsored by Sen. David Simmons, which expands access to the Gardiner Scholarship Program, was scheduled to be heard in the same meeting. Due to the committee running out of time, SB 902 was not considered. The House companion bill (HB 15, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan) was passed out of the House Education Committee on Thursday. HB 15 will now head to the House floor.

Digital Learning & Virtual Education (HB 833, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan)

The Florida Chamber will continue to fight for an education system which also creates an atmosphere that allows parents to take control of their child’s academic future. This bill, which was passed out of the House Education Committe on Thursday, removes the prior year in public school requirements and provides that all K-12 students, including home education and private school students, are eligible for both full-time and part-time virtual instruction options. HB 833 will now head to the House floor.

Take Action Now

For more information about where the Florida Chamber stands on these and other education-related issues, click here or contact me at bhunt@flchamber.com.

Education Initiatives

 

From Students & Parents to Teacher Development, Supporting Reforms Helps Florida’s Future

 

Why It Matters to Florida

One of the most common concerns we hear from businesses of all sizes is the need for a qualified workforce and highly-trained talent pool. The Florida Chamber believes a talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic development strategy. From early learning to lifelong learning, Florida wins when we match business needs with talent. While the teachers’ union continues to put their interests before Florida’s students, the Florida Chamber will continue to fight for students and champion Florida’s entire education system — especially Florida’s future workforce.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

  • Early Learning
    At the Florida Chamber, we recognize that education is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We will continue to ensure parents, students and teachers are equipped with the best educational options for success.
  • Championing School Choice Options and Competition
    Consider this: today’s kindergarten class will be entering the workforce in 2030. Will these students be prepared? Quality early learning opportunities and reading programs can help turn today’s youngest learners into tomorrow’s high-wage earners.
  • Empowering Florida’s Best Teachers
    To ensure America’s best teachers train and remain in Florida, the Florida Chamber will continue to champion additional professional development and benefit options for Florida’s teachers.
  • Investing in Digital and Virtual Education Technology
    Creating a talent pool that can meet the needs of businesses means investing in technology initiatives throughout Florida’s educational systems that fuel options and innovations.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

Florida competition is no longer Georgia or California, but Brazil, India and China. And while reforms continue to move Florida in the right direction our fight is far from over. From championing early learning initiatives to supporting a K-12 system that allows students to succeed, Florida wins when we place the needs of our students before the needs of special interests.

Act Now

A highly-educated workforce drives future private-sector job growth. Be a part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Business Alliance for Early Learning and help us invest in the future of Florida’s students.

From Students & Parents to Teacher Development, Supporting Reforms Helps Florida’s Future

> DOWNLOAD Our Education Initiatives One Pager

A talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic strategy. The Florida Chamber believes a quality education system is the best way to ensure our students can compete in a global economy. We will continue to fight for an education system which also creates an atmosphere that allows parents to take control of their child’s academic future while supporting the growth of quality teachers.

  • Championing School Choice Options
    Empowering parents to take the lead on choosing the best learning environment for their children gives students more opportunities for success and promotes competition, which encourages continual improvements to Florida’s education system.
  • Advocating for Rigorous Accountability Standards
    Continuing to support assessment and accountability systems at all levels of Florida’s education system will help ensure a globally competitive talent pipeline.
  • Improving Professional Development Options for Teachers
    Fighting to improve professional development and benefit options for Florida’s teachers will create opportunities for America’s best teachers to train and remain in Florida, while helping our state remain competitive.
  • Investing in Digital and Virtual Education
    Expanding the use of cost-effective digital learning and virtual education tools throughout Florida’s education system will ensure Florida’s talent pipeline remains able to compete globally.

Florida competition is no longer Georgia or California, but Brazil, India and China. And while reforms continue to move Florida in the right direction our fight is far from over. From championing early learning initiatives to supporting a K-12 system that allows students to succeed, Florida wins when we place the needs of our students before the needs of unions.

ACT NOW:
A highly-educated workforce drives future private-sector job growth. Be a part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Business Alliance for Early Learning and help us invest in the future of Florida’s students.

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.

Patricia Levesque Discusses Education and Closing the Achievement Gap

The key to economic competitiveness and our businesses being able to thrive is having an educated workforce.

– Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of Foundation for Florida’s Future

Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of Foundation for Florida’s Future, recently sat down with Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation Tony Carvajal to discuss Florida’s latest educational achievements, the importance of school choice and accountability, and the need for continued investments in reading, programs and teachers.

“The two things we did the best are school accountability, making sure are schools are paying attention to every child making progress….and dramatic amounts of school choice – charter schools, private school choice, virtual school choice and magnet schools.”

Although Florida’s education system has improved drastically, there is still more work to be done.

“We’re doing fantastic in the state of Florida. We have made so much progress in the last 15 years….We’re not where we need to be though. We still have students that are not graduating from high school and we still have students that need remediation when they graduate and go on to community college.”

Get Involved:

To learn more about what our education leaders are doing to improve the future workforce, attend the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2016 Education Summit on June 2, 2016 in Orlando.

Florida’s Upcoming Special Session Offers Second Chance to Make Florida More Competitive

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

 

The Florida Legislature now has until July 1 to reconvene and pass a budget.
The session could include all, none, or some combination of
the items that were in play during the regular session.

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (May 1, 2015) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced that, while disappointed the 2015 regular session did not produce the anticipated results, the upcoming special legislative session will offer a second chance to make Florida more competitive.

“A special session, or several sessions, brings the hope that legislators can hit the reset button and pick up the business of making Florida more competitive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber.

As media has widely reported, the Florida House and Senate remained $4.2 billion apart on their proposed budgets – primarily due to differing views on approaches to expanding healthcare coverage. As a consequence, lawmakers did not achieve their one constitutional duty of passing a balanced budget during the 60-day regular legislative session.

As a result, lawmakers will have a second chance to pass a budget during a special legislative session – which is constitutionally required before July 1. During that time, the Florida Chamber is hopeful lawmakers will make Florida more competitive by passing a budget that includes:

As Winston Churchill said:  “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

“The Florida Chamber encourages our state’s leaders to rally around a common bipartisan cause – and that cause is stronger and sustainable economic growth in order to expand opportunities for all Floridians,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Summary outlines priorities from the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda that passed during the recently completed regular legislative session, including the Florida Chamber-backed education accountability bill (signed into law by Governor Scott), a smart infrastructure bill designating freight and logistics zones, a growth leadership measure and private property rights bill.

Florida Chamber’s 2015 Competitiveness Agenda was developed based on input from Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce, partner associations, research, and unfinished business. The chamber’s agenda serves as a blueprint of legislative priorities that help secure Florida’s future and lead Florida to a new and sustainable economy.

 

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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.

Rep. Manny Diaz Discusses Choice, Accountability & Charter Schools

The success of Florida’s education gains cannot be denied. Our state ranks second in the world and first in the nation in fourth grade reading scores, achievement gaps are closing and graduation rates at an all-time high. But according to the Florida Chamber Foundation, our state will need to fill 2 million more jobs by 2030.

The solution? Fewer but better tests, creating quality schools, expanding opportunities and measuring outcomes. Being a globally competitive economy begins with a commitment to rigorous standards and   accountability initiatives. Representative Manny Diaz, Chair of the House Education Subcommittee on Choice and Innovation, discusses the importance for school choice, opportunities, accountability standards and charter schools to Florida’s growing economy.

“There can be no retreat from accountability,” said Representative Manny Diaz, Chair of the House Education Subcommittee on Choice and Innovation. “Having said that, there are instances where there may have been too many tests. We want to continue to measure, we don’t want to back away from accountability, but we want to make sure that when we do measure, its important and it give us a clear picture of where our students are. We need to be responsible for our education system- we are- and we want to have tests that are quality tests and really tell parents and teachers where those students are and what we need to do next to improve their lives.”

A quality educational system is Florida’s new economic development tool, which is why the Florida Chamber  supports school choice options like personal leaning account, tax credit scholarships and charter schools. And with new House proposals regarding charter schools, specifically a new Charter School Innovation Institute at Florida State University, Florida is on the right track to continued success.

“We’ve vetted many national models,” explained Rep. Manny Diaz. “We feel that if Florida is going to continue to be a leader- we have to step up. Now it’s our turn to come back and have a real research center to tell us what are the quality practices, what does a quality charter school look like, and providing that option for parents. It’s only one tool in the toolbox, but we need to make sure it’s a quality tool.”

And while the Florida Chamber believes educational reforms are moving Florida in the right direction, we will continue to advocate against special interest groups that put the agendas of adults before the needs of Florida’s students.

“We should never box somebody’s opportunity in with an arbitrary boundary like a zip code, or what street they live on,” said Rep. Manny Diaz.  “All parents, no matter what their economic status, should have the opportunity of choice. Parents know best when it comes to the educational opportunities of their children. Our tax credit scholarships have been under fire because of a lawsuit. We are continuing to fight on, to make sure that we don’t allow the adults to infringe on the opportunity for 70,000 low income kids that are the most vulnerable in our state. In a state of 19 million people, you would think that adults wouldn’t be bullying 70,000 low income kids. But it’s happening and we are fighting on to make sure that they keep that opportunity.”

Florida Chamber-Backed School Choice Bill Passes House

Today, the Florida House of Representatives passed a Florida Chamber-backed bill that would empower parents to choose the best learning environment for their students.

HB 7037, sponsored by Rep. Bob Cortes (R-Maitland), establishes a charter school institute to provide technical assistance to charter school applicants, increasing the likelihood that only high-quality charter schools earn approval to educate children. The bill also expands access to charter schools for students, as well as access to virtual K-12 education.

The Florida Chamber believes that a quality education, from early learning to lifelong learning, is Florida’s new economic development strategy and school choice is one way to meet Florida’s needs.

As Senator John Legg, Chairman of the Senate Pre K-12 Education Committee, said on a recent Florida Chamber Bottom Line,

“School choice is critical. There is no way that the traditional public school system,
a one size fits all model, will work.”

Get Involved:

Senator Legg Discusses Florida’s Education Initiatives, Assessments and School Choice

Senator John Legg, Chairman of the Senate Pre K-12 Education Committee, joins the Florida Chamber in the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

Listen to hear Senator Legg discuss Florida’s education initiatives, assessments and school choice.