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PRESS RELEASE

February 20, 2007

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

State Board of Education Approves 2007 Legislative Priorities

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida State Board of Education on Tuesday approved its 2007 legislative priorities. In January, the State Board discussed the proposed priorities that address key issues facing education in Florida. Educator bonus programs, teacher mentoring incentives, stronger standards revision processes and reading initiatives are among the top priorities.

"The State Board is committed to working with the Florida Legislature to see these priorities become law and strengthen our state education system," said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. "Florida has been successful in creating reforms that help students achieve academic success. Now is not the time to sit idle, but to take action and take our students to the highest level of achievement we know they are capable of accomplishing."

The State Board approved the following legislative priorities for 2007:

  • Educator Bonus Program — Establish a statewide bonus program in law to recognize and reward outstanding educators and instructional personnel for improving student achievement. The State Board recommends increasing the bonus to 10 percent of the educator’s salary to at least 25 percent of our outstanding educators. This aligns the State Board’s recommendation with Governor Charlie Crist’s recent budget recommendation.
  • Teacher Mentoring Programs – Mentoring is critical to helping new teachers stay committed to teaching. The State Board recommends strengthening the mentoring component of the Dale Hickam Excellent Teaching Program and developing an incentive-based mentoring program to encourage more teachers to participate. The State Board also recommends amending the William Cecil Golden Program in law to statutorily establish a public recognition program for high-performing school leaders.
  • Strengthen the Standards Revision Process — The State Board recommends that the process for revising and adopting Sunshine State Standards be strengthened in law. To ensure Florida’s students are prepared to compete globally, teacher professional development, changes to instructional materials and assessment revisions must occur more efficiently.
  • Reading Initiatives – Florida’s students are making significant gains in reading. To further literacy achievements for students, the State Board supports Governor Crist’s goal to have a reading coach in every Florida school.
  • Continuing Secondary School Reform – To encourage students to take more rigorous coursework that prepares them for postsecondary education and the workforce, the State Board recommends expanding weighted funding for middle school students who pass certain high school courses. This will give school districts more incentive to offer certain high school courses to middle school students.

To view the 2007 legislative priorities, visit http://www.fldoe.org.