House Passes Student Testing Reform Legislation
By Steve Crisafulli // March 21, 2015
Rep. Steve Crisafulli Legislative Update Report
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Last week, the House unanimously passed important legislation that addresses concerns about student testing without retreating from school accountability.
Our reforms centered on maintaining a strong accountability system while also increasing transparency for parents and maximizing flexibility for school districts.
HB 7069 is a broad bill that includes many important reforms.
The bill eliminates unnecessary and duplicative state and district assessments by repealing the statewide, standardized 11th grade English language arts (ELA) assessment, repealing the required administration of the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) to high school students, removing prescriptive remediation and progress monitoring requirements, and prohibiting the administration of final exams in addition to statewide, standardized end of course (EOC) assessments.
To provide greater transparency to parents and students, the bill requires the use of a uniform assessment calendar with common definitions to make the administration, purpose, and use of assessments.
The bill also grants districts more flexibility in measuring student performance in grades and subjects not associated with the state assessment program and in evaluating teacher and administrator performance by reducing the student performance and instructional practice evaluation components to one third each.
These reforms will strengthen both our schools and our accountability system, so our students continue to receive a first-rate education that prepares them to succeed in today’s world.
Legislation Paves Pathway to Economic Independence for Persons with Disabilities
Strengthening pathways for economic independence for persons with disabilities is an important component of our 2015 Work Plan legislative agenda.
The House passed two bills this week that will help students with disabilities receive the education that best suits their needs.
ABOVE VIDEO: Rep. Steve Crisafulli, the new House Speaker, is from Merritt Island, a seventh-generation Floridian and a member of a prominent citrus family. A cousin, the late Doyle E. Carlton, served as governor from 1929 to 1933, while one of Crisafulli’s grandfathers, Vassar B. Carlton, was chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Crisafulli and his wife, Kristen, have two daughters.
HB 7095 expands the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) Program to a greater number of students with unique abilities.
The PLSA program provides eligible students with a scholarship that parents can use to purchase a combination of approved educational services or products so parents have the flexibility and freedom to provide their children with a high-quality, individualized education.
HB 7091 creates the ‘Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program Act,’ which allows postsecondary institutions in Florida to seek approval to offer a Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program (FPCTP) for students with intellectual disabilities.
The bill also establishes the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities to serve as the statewide coordination center for providing information regarding programs and services available for students with disabilities and their parents.
This bill helps pave a pathway to economic independence for students with disabilities by ensuring we have high-quality postsecondary options available for them to gain the education and training they need to best utilize their own unique abilities in Florida’s workforce.
In addition, the House Economic Affairs Committee unanimously supported the creation of the Florida Unique Abilities Partner program, which recognizes businesses that employ individuals with disabilities.
The program also recognizes businesses that contribute to organizations or establish their own program that contributes to the independence of individuals with disabilities.
People with disabilities often face difficulties entering the workforce and do so at a much lower rate than most individuals. I applaud the House and Senate’s efforts to help persons with disabilities build a stronger foundation for financial independence.
House Begins Discussions on 2015-16 Budget
The sole constitutional obligation of the Legislature is to annually pass a balanced budget.
Last week, each appropriations subcommittee proposed their yearly budgets, which are used to build the Fiscal Year 2015-16 House budget.
This process allows each subcommittee budget to be presented to the public, discussed and debated by members, and fully evaluated.
Building on the work done by the appropriations subcommittees, the Appropriations Committee released a proposed committee bill that contains a draft $76.1 billion budget for consideration on Friday.
I believe the House is off to a good start in producing a fiscally responsible budget that addresses our state’s critical needs.
I look forward to continuing to work on this important issue in the weeks ahead.