17 lawmakers honored by Foundation for Florida’s Future for efforts to improved education

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As Florida welcomes summertime, its students are not the only ones receiving report cards. This week, the Foundation for Florida’s Future released the 2012 Education Report Card, including an Honor Roll of 17 Florida Lawmakers, recognized for going above and beyond in their leadership and dedication to improve the quality of education for Sunshine State students.

A not-for-profit organization aimed at keeping K-12 education in Florida a model for the nation, the Foundation works to advance reforms that allow each child to achieve his or her God-given potential and prepare all students to succeed in the 21st Century economy. Making the Foundation’s 2012 Honor Roll are 10 state senators and seven state representatives, including members of both parties. Honorees in the Senate include J.D. Alexander, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Anitere Flores, Don Gaetz, Andy Gardiner, Bill Montford, Jeremy Ring, David Simmons, Gary Siplin and John Thrasher. In the House, Representatives Michael Bileca, Jeff Brandes, Marti Coley, Richard Corcoran, Erik Fresen, Patrick Julien and Kelli Stargel made the Honor Roll.

“These lawmakers put students first in 2012,” said Former Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “Building on Florida’s foundation of transformational policies, the Legislature launched new student-centered reforms. These bills empower more parents to choose the best school to meet their children’s needs, expand students’ access to customized education and begin a revolutionary shift in our state toward funding education based on student learning – instead of days on a calendar.”

The Foundation’s 2012 reform agenda focused on empowering parents and students, transforming education with technology, funding student achievement, and strengthening and streamlining accountability. With the help of Florida lawmakers, including members of this year’s Honor Roll, education in Florida has dramatically improved over the past 12 years. However, the Foundation acknowledges that Florida’s work is far from complete.

“We applaud these Florida leaders for making education a priority for the 2012 Legislative Session,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “All students can learn when given a real opportunity customized to their unique needs and learning styles. These reforms will help sharpen Florida’s focus on the academic achievement of every student and empower them to make the gains we know they are capable of making.”

The Foundation measures reforms based on seven core principles: rigorous academic standards, measurement of proficiency and progress, data-driven accountability, effective teachers and leaders, outcome-based funding, school choice and digital Learning. Report Card grades were assigned based on scores of 0 – 100, established through each lawmaker’s voting record along with demonstrated leadership.

“Today’s students are not just competing with those in other states for jobs,” added Former Governor Bush. “They are also competing against their peers in other countries. It is our duty to ensure every child is receiving the education that prepares him or her to compete in our global economy. Their future success depends on the education we provide them today.”

The complete Florida’s 2012 Education Report Card can be viewed at www.afloridapromise.org/report.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.