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PRESS RELEASE

January 18, 2005

MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Winn Highlights Legislative Priorities

TAMPA — Pledging to work with the Legislature, Education Commissioner John Winn today laid out a legislative agenda building on previous reforms and enhancing the quality of education for all students. The legislative priorities focus on reading and ending social promotion, aiding and supporting educators, and providing meaningful and sound educational choices for parents and students. The Commissioner announced the Department of Education's (DOE) legislative agenda during the monthly State Board of Education Meeting.

"Florida has come a long way in the six years since implementing Governor Bush's A+ Plan, but we must build on that success to ensure our students receive the highest quality education possible," Commissioner Winn said. "This is a solid agenda that will build stronger students, educators, and learning environments. I look forward to working with the Legislature to execute these reforms and make the future of education in the Sunshine State even brighter."

The department's legislative priorities include:

  • Making Reading a Permanent Priority — Continue Florida's success in reading by ensuring that reading is funded annually by being part of the public school funding formula. An additional proposal will put the Just Read, Florida! office in statute to assist districts in research-based reading strategies in the long term.
  • Ending Social Promotion — Implement a phased-in plan for ending social promotion by developing standard criteria for the promotion of students from one grade to the next.
  • Middle Grades Reform — Place greater focus on academic rigor, require middle grade students to earn a certain number of credits, establish a uniform grading scale, require students to only repeat those courses that they failed, and require below basic readers to take an additional reading class.
  • Career Education Excellence — Review high school graduation requirements and student course enrollments to ensure instruction and standards focus on rigor and relevance.
  • High Performing Educational Leaders — Develop a statewide system for professional development for school leaders including training opportunities, and higher pay based on improved student performance.
  • Charter School Accountability — Strengthen and streamline the charter school start-up process, as well as increase accountability and monitor student and school progress, while rewarding success.
  • Scholarship Accountability — Strengthen Florida's choice programs by taking safeguards to ensure an appropriate student learning environment.
  • Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Science — Move the administration of the science portion of the FCAT from the 10th grade to the 11th grade; this, as a result of receiving input from teachers.
  • K-20 Accountability — Repeal the provision in law that places 10 percent of education funds at risk if certain performance measures are not achieved by public schools, community colleges, and state universities and develop a system-wide measure of indicators showing progress based on performance data.
  • Capital Improvement Fees for Community Colleges — Authorize community college boards of trustees to increase their capital (building) improvement fee.
  • Clarify State Board of Education Roles and Responsibilities — Amend various statutes to reflect the current governance structure of the State University System.

For more information on DOE programs or legislative priorities please visit www.fldoe.org.