The Foundation for Florida’s Future highlighted a bevy of bills and budget items passed by the Florida Legislature in a celebratory email sent out by the education advocacy group Friday.
“More Florida children will get a better education – that is the takeaway from this year’s legislative session,” said Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “Lawmakers have continued a tradition in which each new generation of leaders adds to a reform effort that has changed the face of American education.”
Topping the list of nine bills and 15 line items passed by this “generation” of lawmakers was a measure put forward by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and Rep. Chris Sprowls, both Republicans, which would open up school choice for Florida families.
“The best educational fit for a child may be a public school less than a mile down the road. But if a district boundary line intersects that road, the school might as well be in China,” Levesque said. “It is time to tear down invisible barriers that block students from attending schools that best meet their needs, even when there is available space. I want to thank Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto and Representative Chris Sprowls for their leadership in helping to get this issue to the finish line.”
Levesque also singled out proposals from Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Ray Rodrigues to boost competency-based education, which the FFF director said: “breaks the mold of a one-size-fits-all education model by building a foundation where instruction can be personalized for every student.
“This is what helps meet the real goal – students demonstrating mastery of material,” he continued. “This is the future of education.”
Among the other items lauded by the group was a $16.2 million expansion of the newly renamed “Gardiner Scholarship Program,” which helps out students with disabilities and has already picked up a signature from Gov. Rick Scott.
“Because of such vision, Florida schools and Florida students are achieving at an all-time high by any measure,” Levesque said. “It has been an honor to work with so many passionate advocates for children and parents.”