House and Senate Education Committees Hear Reform Plans

At a December meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees, members heard presentations on two important reform measures: charter schools and a third-grade reading initiative.

Charter School Bill 

Committee members were presented with a description of a charter school bill being proposed by Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison. The bill, as presented, contains a number of provisions that are extremely worrisome. Similar provisions have contributed to a disproportionate number of charter school failures in other states. Click here to see the key components of the bill. 

Chairman Tollison stressed that the bill, as presented, was still in draft form. House Education Chairman John Moore stated that the House is also working on a charter school bill. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more about what it entails.

Florida’s Literacy Initiative 

Committee members also heard about Florida’s intensive reading initiative, which has been the primary reason for that state’s impressive advances in student achievement. Recently, Florida’s fourth graders tied for first place with countries like Singapore and Finland on an international reading assessment.

Committee members were told that “retention alone will not work,” and that Florida’s success lies in the interventions, training, and other literacy supports included in the state’s plan. Critical to that success is funding – Florida’s literacy program was not an unfunded mandate. Schools were provided funding to successfully implement the interventions. Click here to learn more about Florida’s literacy initiative.

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