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December 13, 2001

CONTACT: Bill Edmonds

Florida Education Secretary Jim Horne Presents Plan for 21st Century Education Department
Reorganization will focus on realigning, refocusing and reinvigorating the state's education system from top to bottom

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Education Secretary Jim Horne today outlined a bold reorganization for Florida's education system. In presenting the proposal to the Florida Board of Education, Secretary Horne outlined a plan that will refocus Florida's education system on its core mission: higher student achievement.

“Florida's current education system has its roots in the past,” Secretary Horne said. “It does not meet the needs of today and it will not meet the challenges of tomorrow. We must advance in a new direction which will lead to a true first class education system. This new organization will recommit itself to the core mission of educating students. Everything else is secondary.”

The 2001 Florida Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law a sweeping education governance reorganization plan that is the impetus behind Secretary Horne's efforts to reshape and reorganize Florida's education delivery system.

Secretary Horne pointed to the Bush-Brogan A+ plan as an example of education reform that is succeeding and that has led to greater accountability and higher test scores throughout the state. “We are going to build on the success of efforts like A+ and make sure that our reorganization takes advantage of the momentum that this has created,” Secretary Horne said.

The reorganized education department will break the mold of old thinking by asking one question: Is this activity or function in the core mission of the department of education? “When the answer to the question is yes, then we will know we are on the right track,” Secretary Horne said. “However, where we cannot answer yes to that question, we will be implementing our legislative mandate to eliminate duplication, achieve greater efficiencies and realign those activities.”

“Reorganization will support an education system in Florida that teaches the students what they need to know in able to soar to high achievement levels as they move through high school and into postsecondary education,” Secretary Horne said.

The reorganization plan will realign operations, re-deploy expertise to necessary functions, promote a customer-focused approach and respond to the needs of Florida's students, parents, educators and administrators.

Secretary Horne will present his final plans for re-organization to the Florida Board of Education in January.