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.

Thank Sen. Grimsley for Healthcare Efforts

Please take a moment to thank Sen. Grimsley (R-Sebring) for her efforts sponsoring a Florida Chamber-backed healthcare-related bill increasing healthcare provider capacity and allowing nurse practitioners to practice to their fullest potential.

Senator Grimsley’s efforts will help reduce healthcare costs while also helping to provide greater access to care.

Click here to send Sen. Grimsley a thank you note.

Say “Thanks” Now

Your opinion matters. Share your thoughts with Sen. Grimsley by clicking here.

Florida Chamber Applauds Passage of Bills Increasing Healthcare Provider Capacity

 

Legislation Allows Nurse Practitioners to Practice to Fullest Potential

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (March 31, 2015) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds Senator Denise Grimsley on today’s passage of two healthcare-related bills increasing healthcare provider capacity and allowing nurse practitioners to practice to their fullest potential.

The Senate Health Policy Committee today passed SB 532, while the Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed SB 614 – both sponsored by Sen. Grimsley (R-Sebring). Both Florida Chamber-backed bills help reduce healthcare costs while also helping to provide greater access to care.

Ensuring Florida’s healthcare delivery system has the capacity to respond at a high level of quality and meet the needs of Floridians is a top priority for the Florida Chamber.

“Baptist Health South Florida is pleased to join the Florida Chamber in congratulating Senator Grimsley on her efforts to increase access to healthcare,” said Phillis Oeters, Vice President of Government and Community Relations, Baptist Health South Florida. “We look forward to this legislation successfully moving forward in the legislative process.”

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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.