Education bill provides teachers with bonuses, makes use of VAM score optional, and aims to bring quality school choice to communities with failing schools
Tallahassee, FL – May 9, 2017 – Yesterday, Florida lawmakers passed a major education bill. HB7069, a 278-page document, includes language on a variety of key education issues from critical capital outlay funding to a return to paper/pencil tests for some subjects, K-5 recess to teacher bonuses.
“What we witnessed this session is a legislature that demonstrated by their actions their commitment to protect a parent’s right to pick the best school for their child,” said Ralph Arza, FCSA’s Director of Governmental Affairs. “The reforms were bold –and because of their boldness, they will be classified by the protectors of the status quo as controversial and hurting public education, which they are not. They protect children and beg reform from district bureaucracies. Thank you Speaker Corcoran, Representatives Michael Bileca, Manny Diaz, Jr., and Chris Latvala, and the 20 brave Senators who voted yes on HB7069.”
“All of the bills that we passed were transformative, bold … transform kids lives,” said Speaker Corcoran during a press briefing during the day of the annual session. And he’s right. HB7069 aims to bring equity to education funding and provide quality school choice options to communities with chronically failing district-run schools.
Here are just a few highlights from HB7069:
- Require school districts to share local mileage funds with public charter schools. As the law reads now, districts may share mileage but only a couple of districts do. Charter school parents pay into mileage through property tax but those funds only help students at district-run schools.
- Eliminate the state’s Algebra II end-of-course assessment requirement.
- Expand and revise the Best & Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program to provide all “highly effective” teachers with a $1,200 bonus, and all “effective” teachers with an $800 bonus.
- Authorize a high-performing charter school to establish more than one charter school in any year if it operates in the area of a persistently low-performing school and serves students from that school.
- Eliminate a requirement that “value-added model” or VAM (student performance on state exams) be used in teacher evaluations. Teachers and school leaders had advocated for this change.
- Mandate 20 minutes of recess a day at all public elementary schools. Charter schools are exempt from this.
- Streamlines the teacher temporary certificate application process. The goal is to encourage professional, especially those in the field of Math and Science, to become educators.
- Require FDOE to study whether the ACT or SAT can be used in place of the state exams (like the FSA) required for high school graduation.
- Create a “schools of hope” program to encourage public charter schools with a track record of success serving low-income communities to come into areas with persistently low-performing district-run schools (two consecutive school grades of D, or one failing grade).
The whole thing is now in Governor Scott’s hands. HB7069 is tied to the state budget. Therefore, the Governor can accept the budget along with the education bill, or veto the entire thing. A veto would force a special session, and stop the legislation from becoming law. A two-thirds’ vote in both chambers — 80 votes in the House and 27 votes in the Senate — would be needed to override a Governor’s veto.
Charter school stakeholders — teachers, parents, administrators, governing board members — are encouraged to reach out to Governor Scott to voice their support for this legislation and ask him to support it.
Click here to email Governor Scott and ask him to support education equity and HB 7069.