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SECRETARY'S NEWSLETTER

January 25, 2002

CONTACT: Lauren Cain
Director of Communications
850-201-7406

Florida Board of Education
From the desk of Jim Horne, Secretary

SPECIAL EDITION for 2002 Regular Session of the Legislature

"Education, Education, Education."

-- Florida Commissioner of Education Charlie Crist Responding to Governor Jeb Bush’s 2002 State of the State Address

Governor Bush's State of the State Highlights Continued Commitment to Education

Unveils proposals focused on reading, security, and technology

Governor Jeb Bush delivered his State of the State address this week on the opening day of the 2002 Legislative Session, outlining his continued commitment to Florida students at all levels. Here are some of the highlights:

READING INITIATIVE -- Working in coordination with the success of the A+ Plan, Governor Bush proposed investing more than $50 million in state and federal funds to enhance reading in kindergarten through 8th grade. This money will go toward professional development for teachers and innovative reading programs for students. "If education is the foundation of success in our state, then reading is the foundation of education," Governor Bush said.

ENDING SOCIAL PROMOTION -- Governor Bush proposed strengthening social promotion language to ensure that Florida's school districts comply with the law that was passed as part of the A+ Plan. "There should be consequences for school districts that continue to circumvent the law," said Governor Bush. "Enforcing the social promotion portion of the A+ Plan law is a commitment to never wash our hands of a child's future."

FUNDING AND PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS

Education funding has increased nearly $4 billion during Governor Bush's administration.

In 1999, there were 78 "F" schools in Florida. Today, two years into the Governor's A+ Plan for education, there are no failing schools.

In 1999, only 21 percent of Florida schools were high-performing ("A" or "B" schools). Today, 41 percent of the schools are high-performing –- nearly double the number in just two years. This translates into a first-rate education for thousands of Florida schoolchildren.

TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE -- Governor Bush is proposing the creation of the Florida Technology Development Initiative, providing $100 million to build centers of excellence among our universities dedicated to the key research necessary for building our promising technology sectors. "New facilities, laboratories, and endowed academic chairs will be the catalysts for entrepreneurial investment," said Governor Bush. "If we seize this opportunity, the best and the brightest academics, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs will call Florida home. And they in turn will help build businesses that will fuel our economy for the next century."

Legislative Priorities of the Florida Board of Education

  1. Consolidate / Revise and Clarify the Florida School Code to reflect the new governance structure

    Adopt the Florida Board of Education’s recommendations on revisions to the school code. Work with the Legislature to consolidate, revise and clarify statutes in the Florida School Code to reflect the new governance structure.

    Recommend changes to make the Florida School Code more parent/student/user friendly.

  2. Transition the Education Governance Structure and Delivery Systems to reflect Florida's new Education System

    Empower the state universities with institutional independence.

    Devolve initial powers and duties for University Boards of Trustees to allow for local governance similar to what is established for local Community College Boards of Trustees.

    Continue the implementation of the merger of the Department of Education and related governance boards.

  3. Provide Maximum Funding Flexibility with Accountability to Local Education Boards

    Support on a case-by-case basis additional efforts by the K-20 education system to achieve funding flexibility.

    Assist the Community College System in achieving its goal of getting the CCPF funding model into statute.

    Modify the current need-based financial aid program to allow for use by part-time as well as full-time students.

    Work with the Community College System to consolidate and clarify current matching grants programs.

  4. 4. Support the Governor’s budget initiatives to provide additional funding for Florida's K-20 education system

Community Colleges Honors Lawmakers Who Have Taken the "Road More Traveled"

The Council of Florida Community College Presidents, the Community College Board of Trustees and the Florida Association of Community Colleges honored the 47 current Florida legislators whose postsecondary education includes attending a Florida Community College. "It speaks volumes about the strength and impact community colleges have on the lives of Floridians that nearly 30 percent of our current legislature attended a community college," said David Armstrong Interim Chancellor for the Division of Community Colleges. We appreciate the support these lawmakers and others have demonstrated as one of the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who have taken the education ‘road more traveled.’ "

For a complete list of honorees, visit the Division of Community Colleges website.

Florida Board of Education Defines Strategic Imperatives

The Florida Board of Education outlined seven Strategic Imperatives as the top priorities for education in Florida. The priorities reflect the four goal areas of the state’s K-20 Education structure and will serve as the framework for the first statewide, seamless education strategic plan. The top strategic imperatives for education are:

  1. Increasing the supply of highly qualified K-12 instructors

  2. Increasing the rate of learning and completion at all levels, especially high school, and increasing the percentage of high school graduates, especially low-income and minority students, who enter postsecondary education without remediation.

  3. Applying existing academic standards at all levels consistently.

  4. Aligning financial resources with the performance expectations at each level of the K-20 system.

  5. Setting and aligning academic standards for every level of the K-20 education system.

  6. Improving the quality of school leadership at all levels.

  7. Appropriately aligning the workforce’s education with the skill requirements of the new economy.

FBOE Approves Workgroups on K-20 Accountability and Postsecondary Education Funding

The Florida Board of Education has approved the creation of two workgroups to look closer at issues at the center of the state’s new student-centered governance structure: accountability and postsecondary funding.

K-20 Accountability Workgroup -- This workgroup will recommend a project plan and timeline for the recommendation of K-20 performance measures, standards, measurements, reporting, and rewards and sanctions linked to performance. The workgroup will have a diverse membership representing different constituencies but who possess some background public education policy, assessment, measurement, or education accountability systems. The workgroup members should share an interest in developing recommendations that will comply with statutory requirements of s. 229.007, which provides the legislative framework for a comprehensive accountability system. These include representatives of Higher Education Accountability, College and University Boards of Trustees, Institutional President, Students, Council for Education Policy Research and Improvement, Council of 100, One Florida Accountability Commission, Workforce Development, Independent Education Sector, Public School Superintendent, School Board Member, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Floridians for School Choice, Faculty Representative, School Readiness Partnership, Testing and measurement Specialist, Evaluation Specialist, and a Legislator. A significant outcome of this project and the one developing recommendations on higher education funding is the development of performance funding models that comply with statutory requirements. The two task forces will be regularly interacting and sharing progress to facilitate this outcome. The final report will be due to the Board by June 30, 2002.

Higher Education Funding Workgroup -- The Workgroup will advise the Secretary on the development of a project plan and timeline for comprehensive recommendations on postsecondary funding, including reviewing current state funding, student fee levels and the availability of financial aid to facilitate access to postsecondary education; providing greater flexibility to university boards to use student fees to meet the growth needs of the institutions. The workgroup will evaluate "What is" in terms of Florida's funding policies for postsecondary education, "What should be" in terms of desired levels of performance, results and funding; and determine and quantify the difference between "What should be" and "What is." The Advisory Council will include members such as a University President, Community College President, postsecondary student, and faculty member, Certified Public Accountant; representatives of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Independent Colleges and Universities, Independent Education, a Business Association; a Senator, a Representative, University Board of Trustees, Community College Board of Trustees, the Florida Council of 100, Florida Prepaid College Program, the Workforce Community, and the State University System Policy Center advisory council. The final recommendations will be completed by July 15, 2002.

Defining Devolution

In moving toward full devolution of authority to university boards of trustees, it is important to define what is meant by devolution. The following is provided by the Florida Board of Education to provide consistency when discussing devolution:

EMPOWERING THE NEW GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE -- Empower the state universities with institutional independence. University boards of trustees are already defined as bodies corporate and have been given initial powers and duties. Statutes should be updated to include a provision for universities similar to what community colleges have in section 240.317, FS, providing legislative intent that universities are public entities of the state, operated by boards of trustees and that no department, bureau, division, agency or subdivision of the state exercises responsibility or authority to operate the local institution except as specified by law and, the rules of the State Board of Education

OPERATIONAL INDEPENDENCE -- Local Employer: Universities and their boards of trustees should be empowered with the authority to be the employer for the institution. This would include the ability to set up their own personnel programs, to establish governing terms and conditions of employment, to be the "body" for collective bargaining purposes with the authority to resolve disputed impasse issues, and, the ability to clarify and coordinate the strategic planning functions of the university.

OPERATIONAL INDEPENDENCE -- Local Fiscal Agent: Universities and their boards of trustees should be empowered with the authority to be the employer and the fiscal agent for the institution. This would include granting authority for university boards of trustees to establish procurement programs which anticipate the university as both purchaser and provider of goods and services, the ability for institutions, within legislative guidelines, to have authority to borrow funds and incur debt, enter into lease-purchase agreements and the approval and issuance of revenue bonds for university specific projects, the ability to collect, deposit and expend funds. After a complete FBOE review of tuition, financial aid and fees policy, the UBOTs should be given the authority, within FBOE and Legislative established guidelines, to set tuition and fee policy for the local institution.

Upcoming Events

January 29 -- State Board of Education (Cabinet), Tallahassee

February 12 -- Council for Education Policy Research and Improvement, St. Augustine

February 21 -- Charter School Students Day Rally in Tally. With 201 charter schools, (and an additional 51 new charter applications approved), and over 39,000 students in charter schools, choice is alive and well in Florida!

February 25-26 -- Florida Board of Education Meeting, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee.

February 27 -- State Board of Education (Cabinet), Capitol for a Day, Kissimmee

March 14-15 -- Commission for Independent Education (Proposed), Location TBA

March 19 -- FBOE Conference Call

March 20 -- Articulation Coordinating Committee, Tallahassee

April 11-12 -- Education Standards Commission, Tampa

In other News

Letter: Graham plan would create more education bureaucrats
-- The Palm Beach Post, Monday, January 21

Graham Should Embrace Change, Not Fight it,
-- Tallahassee Democrat -- Monday, January 21

Editorial: Florida's state universities ... give trustees a chance
-- Naples Daily News, Tuesday, January 22

We need to build on the education success of the past three years
-- Orlando Sentinel, Sunday, January 20

Give system time to work
-- Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Monday, January 21

Education: Wasted Wooing
-- Florida Times-Union, Friday, January 25

Editorial: Crusade for Campuses
-- Palm Beach Post, Friday, January 25