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Monday, December 26, 2011

Education bills the Florida legislature needs to pass

The Florida Legislature beats the concept of parent choice like a drum yet there is one choice they deny families and that’s to allow their children to opt out of the FCAT. Like most educators already do more and more parents are seeing how the FCAT has hurt education, why not let parents decide if their children will take the test or not?

Speaking of the FCAT, the score for passing the test is constantly moving. Why don’t we make governor Rick Scott, Education Commissioner Gerald Robinson, Florida Senate President Mike Hadropolis and Speaker of the Florida house Dean Cannon take the high school FCAT test and average the scores for the new cut score? Who wants to bet the test will get significantly easier to pass?

The legislature needs respect home rule and return control of schools to their home cities and towns. Each year the number of unfunded mandates and their costs goes up and up (tens of millions in Jacksonville). If they are going to have mandates they should pay for them and they should also recognize each mandate from Tallahassee erodes local control, which I thought was one of the tenants of the Republican Party.

The legislature should stop violating Florida’s constitution. There are two amendments the Republican dominated Florida legislature routinely snubs its nose at. The article which makes education the paramount (first and highest) business of the state and the one calling for smaller class sizes, the one reform (not charter schools, vouchers or virtual schools) that has evidence saying that it works. We reverse those trends and education cannot help but improve.

Finally how about treating teachers as well as they treat charter schools. High performing charter schools get ten additional years. High performing teachers are now at will employees that can be fired at the end of a year for pretty much any reason, or no reason for that matter.

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