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PRESS RELEASE

April 15, 2003

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Department of Education
(850) 201-7130

State Board of Education looks at ways to improve Florida's process of teacher certification

TALLAHASSEE — The State Board of Education today heard plans to restructure and streamline the process of teacher certification with the goal of providing a smooth and friendly process for certifying new teachers.

"The Department of Education needs to do a better job in certifying teachers, especially in light of the shortage of teachers this state faces," said Chairman Phil Handy. "We need to move forward with a certification system that is responsive to the thousands of qualified individuals who want to teach in Florida."

The Department of Education is now reengineering its teacher certification procedures and is developing ways to use technology to speed up the process of gaining a teaching certificate.

The board, meeting in Tallahassee, also approved proposals to allow students at Okaloosa-Walton Community College to pursue baccalaureate degrees in Nursing and in Project and Acquisitions Management.

The nursing degree will be a joint program under an agreement with the University of West Florida, which will be the degree-granting institution.

"Florida is in great need of more trained nurses," said Chairman Handy. "This cooperative agreement between the University of West Florida and Okaloosa-Walton Community College will help meet this need. This joint program is the kind of flexible solution to Florida's education challenges that our K-20 system can provide."

The Okaloosa-Walton Community College baccalaureate of applied science in Project and Acquisitions Management is designed to meet the needs of the local military community.

Education Commissioner Jim Horne said both programs open doors for those students in Okaloosa and Walton counties who cannot move to another part of the state to get a bachelor's degree. "The programs approved today give more Floridians opportunities to gain four-year degrees and move on to satisfying careers," Horne said.

In addition, board members acted on recommendations from the Charter School Appeal Commission regarding two charter school applications. The board voted to:

  • Overturn the Bradford County School Board's rejection of a charter school application by The Believer's School of Learning.

  • Uphold the Bay County School Board's rejection of a charter school application by the Beaches Charter School.

Following the meeting, board members conducted a workshop on Florida's system of assessment and accountability. Board members heard a history of Florida's accountability measures, talked about the reporting and use of achievement results, and engaged a panel of teachers from across Florida in a discussion of the development of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.