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Foundation for Florida’s Future: This Week in Florida Education

Feb 21 • 351 Views • View Comments

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Higher Standard
At a meeting on Tuesday, The State Board of Education adopted 99 changes, including 2 deletions, to Florida’s academic standards. The math and English language arts standards now include additional skills that Floridians have identified as important, while also ensuring that our kids are learning and absorbing the information they need to succeed at higher levels by improving critical thinking and analytic skills. This means that Florida students won’t fall behind and will be prepared for college and the workforce. After consideration of the public input, adoption of changes and deletions, it’s clear that Florida retains full authority for implementation.

Accountability
Also at the State Board of Education meeting in Orlando on Tuesday, Commissioner Stewart introduced a new accountability proposal, which would simplify the A-F school grading formula. Her proposed approach maintains school accountability during this transition time and puts Florida on a path to have a simpler, more transparent, back-to-basics calculation. It’s time we return to an accountability system that truly reflects student progress and gives principals and teachers clear goals to meet. Legislation is expected to be introduced soon that will provide a detailed explanation of the new grading policy.

Protecting Student Data
On Monday & Tuesday, companion data privacy bills passed through the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, making it past their second committees of reference. The legislation updates Florida’s privacy laws and protects students’ personal information. From social security numbers to biometric information, the legislation ensures the prioritization of students’ privacy in the digital age. It requires that parents are annually notified about their rights with respect to education records and establishes a process to transition from using social security numbers as student identification numbers to using a Florida-based identification number. It also prohibits schools and contracted vendors from collecting information regarding political affiliation, voting history, religious affiliation, or biometric information of a student or student’s parent or sibling.

Digital Learning
On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee passed SB 790 to advance digital learning in classrooms. Sponsored by Senator John Legg, the bill ensures that our students will be empowered with digital tools that will help them succeed in the 21st century workforce. It further advances technology-enhanced classroom teaching and learning by creating a dedicated source of funding for school district technology purchases and activities to improve student performance outcomes. It also tasks the Department of Education with developing a Florida digital classrooms plan that establishes minimum protocols, parameters, and requirements for the state and districts. Integrating technology into classroom instruction will ensure that our students are adequately prepared for a competitive economy.

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All year round – especially during Florida’s legislative season – the Foundation will keep you posted on what state leaders are doing to keep the promise of quality education alive in Florida. So stay tuned for the latest updates!

The Foundation for Florida’s Future, a public policy organization led by former Governor Jeb Bush, is advancing reforms to make education in Florida a model for the nation. Visit www.AFloridaPromise.org to learn more about the Foundation for Florida’s Future’s efforts to reform education for the 21st century.

 

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