Florida Keeps Raising the Bar

January 14th, 2011 by Comments Off on Florida Keeps Raising the Bar

Florida Governor Rick Scott took office last week and appears ready to stand behind the kind of reforms that made Florida a national leader in education reform and positive results for students under former Governor Jeb Bush.

His education transition team proposed several bold reforms including:

  • Parents could receive 85 percent of their child's per-pupil grant to use for private school tuition, virtual schooling or private tutoring. Since those options typically cost less per pupil than public education, the state would conceivably save 15 percent.
  • Students would be allowed to take online classes full-time, part-time or by individual courses.
  • A new classification of charters – High Performing Charter Schools – would receive greater operational flexibility, equitable funding, expedited approval processes and flexibility in enrolling students.
  • High performing charters could increase enrollment by 25 percent.
  • Any charter school with a waiting list could increase enrollment with students from schools that do not outperform that charter.
  • A new teacher evaluation system would be implemented to ensure at least 50 percent of the evaluation is based on student progress.
  • A new salary schedule would give effective teachers, and those who teach in low-income, low-performing schools, more money. It would also give teachers the option of dropping tenure protection in exchange for higher salaries.
  • Tenure would be eliminated for newly hired K-12 teachers. Individual contracts would never exceed three years.
  • Seniority will not be a consideration when reducing staff.
  • Parental consent would be required before a student is placed with a teacher who is determined to be less than effective.
  • The A-F school grading system would remain in place.
  • Schools would provide annual individual student achievement growth charts, to show parents how their kids are progressing versus predicted growth and college-ready standards.
  • Parents of students at failing schools would be empowered with a "parent trigger" law which would allow a majority of the parents to radically alter the administration of the school.
  • Parents would receive an annual statement detailing their school's revenues, how the money was spent and overall academic outcomes for the year. The results would have to be compared with results from other schools.

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is something that I am proud to be a part of today. The research conducted by education groups like yours is invaluable in helping form opinions and allowing people to reach conclusions that ultimately help them make the right decisions.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes