For Immediate Release:
May 5, 2017
The Florida Coalition of School Board Members celebrates Major Wins
with passage of Landmark Testing and Many Other Key Legislative Initiatives
Florida Coalition of School Board Members had several major legislative initiatives wins today, after weeks of committee appearances, and meetings with chairman, representatives and senators in Tallahassee during the 2017 session. The education conforming bill HB7069 delivered wins in many, many, of our supported issues. View Text of HB7069 Here
The Coalition’s original legislative platform adopted in November of 2016 Found here
- Fewer, Better, Transparent, Tests: Our key legislation HB549 was taken up and passed unanimously out of the Florida Senate 38-0 May 4th, and engrossed into theHB7069 Friday May 5th. The bill also addressed our “School visitation by a school board member” initiative along with phonics-based education for teachers and coaches.
- HB989 – Instructional Materials Adoption by Rep Byron Donalds: A top-5 issue of ours was taken up by Sen Sponsor Pres Tom Lee and passed. It will be sent off to Governor Scott to be signed into law.
- Virtual Education Expansion, HB833: removing the prior year public requirement for eligibility, passed
- Charter Student Capital Outlay Sharing: Expected to clear in the budget conforming bill.
- Gardiner Scholarship enhancements, HB15 by Rep Jennifer Sullivan: Taken up by Senate companion bill sponsors Grimsley and Simmons to expand the Gardiner Scholarship program and increase the travel scholarship for students attending schools outside of their district.
FCSBM is grateful to the members of the Florida House and Senate who had the courage to pass these landmark pieces of ‘Student First’ legislation addressing student assessment reform, instructional materials adoption, and more educational choices for families. We thank the bill sponsors, Pres. Pro Tempore Sen. Anitere Flores and Chair Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., and House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Michael Bileca for hearing the voices of School Board Members, teachers, and other stakeholder groups. Through the collaboration of many great minds, we have a bill that is a quantum leap forward in student-centered education.
“One of FCSBM’s core values is ‘Balance of Accountability & Reasonableness in Assessments’ so we are excited to see this significant testing reform pass. This path has been long and arduous with many groups and legislators lending their voice to shape this important policy, but the final result is incredible progress forward for teachers, families, and students.” -Shawn Frost, FCSBM president
This legislation ticks off several boxes FCSBM members expressed in an August 2015 survey:
- Paper and Pencil testing for grades 3-5
- A step forward, via an independent alignment study, towards using ACT/SAT in place of the FSA in High Schools.
- Moving the tests to the end of the year so teachers have time to teach, students have time to learn, and the test measures a year’s worth of progress in a year’s time.
It has several other features which our members approved before the 2017 session began, including:
- Publishing past tests bringing transparency to the process
- Providing parents with an easy to read and easy to implement guide to help their student succeed
- School Board Member Access to Schools without an appointment
- Removes prior year public attendance requirement for Virtual School
- Removal of statutory caps on certain teacher bonuses
- Provides for greater community involvement in instructional materials adoption
Other items our Legislative Task Force supported after the November platform was set are:
- HB436- Religious Expression in Public Schools (Religious liberty) by Sen Baxley and Rep Daniels
- American Founders’ Month and Civics Literacy Education
- Removal of Bonus Caps for Teachers around certain tests (IB/AP/CAPE)
The Florida Coalition of School Board Members is a non-partisan non-profit (501c3) individual membership organization for elected school board members and candidates. To learn more, visit www.fcsbm.org.
Contact: Shawn Frost, President FCSBM info@FCSBM.org or (850) 391-0421