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PRESS RELEASE

May 14, 2004

Alia Faraj
(850) 488-5394

Frances Marine or
MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush Signs Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement Act
Law will strengthen Florida's partnership with College Board, allows all 10th graders to take PSAT for free

APOPKA — Governor Jeb Bush today signed Senate Bill 2184, creating the Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement Act. The bill authorizes the Department of Education to contract with the College Board to prepare students for post-secondary success and opportunity, with a particular focus on minority students and students who are underrepresented in postsecondary education. Governor Bush signed the historic bill at Apopka High School and was joined by Representative John Quiñones, who sponsored the House of Representatives' version of the bill.

"Florida's ground-breaking partnership with the College Board has created unprecedented opportunity, motivating and preparing more students for a post-secondary education," Governor Bush said. "I applaud the Legislature for passing this bill and providing more resources and assistance to students, which will play an important role in Florida's continued progress in closing the achievement gap."

This bill codifies the partnership Governor Bush established with the College Board and will strengthen outreach to students. It requires public high schools to provide the pre-PSAT or PLAN to all enrolled 10th grade students, and to use the test results to identify students ready to enroll in advanced courses, as well as those needing additional assistance.

"This is an outstanding opportunity for our students. This will provide minority students, who continue to excel another avenue to pursue their goals," said bill sponsor Sen. Les Miller. "This is a great opportunity to put a program that has been so successful in working with the DOE into statute."

"This bill will strengthen and make permanent a program — the first of its kind in the nation — begun by the Governor several years ago. By dramatically increasing the opportunities for students in predominantly minority high schools to take Advanced Placement classes and get a head start on earning college credit, we are going to be able to turn around some of our toughest schools," Representative Quiñones said.

Since the state began its partnership with the College Board, more Florida students are taking the PSAT and Advanced Placement classes than ever before. Florida is leading the nation in minority test takers with 17 percent of all African American and 27 percent of all Hispanic PSAT test takers. The number of Advance Placement test takers has also increase of more than twice the national increase with a 116 percent jump among African Americans and 102 percent increase among Hispanic students.

The partnership also provides:

  • Teacher training and professional development for teachers of Advanced Placement (AP) and other advanced courses

  • Professional development for middle school teachers and administrators

  • Teacher training and materials that are aligned with the Sunshine State Standards

  • Assessment of individual student's strengths and weakness through the use of the 10th grade assessment

  • College entrance exam preparation activities

Also participating in today's bill signing ceremony was State Representative Bruce Antone, who co-sponsored the bill and Superintendent of Orange County Schools Ron Blocker.

For more information on Florida's unique partnership with the College Board, please visit www.myflorida.com.