Preserving the promise of American opportunity: Our Public Schools
The League of Women Voters of Florida supports a free public school system for Florida. LWVF strives for a system with high standards for student achievement and with equality of educational opportunity, and will strive for a system that is financed adequately by the state through an equitable funding formula.
The League supports a review of funding sources to provide adequate, equitable and quality education. Key issues include:
1. School choice – The League has completed a statewide study on school choice. See the consensus statements here. Advocacy has been centered on requiring greater accountability and transparency in financial management and reporting. The League has also been tracking the relationship between not-for-profit as required by statute and for-profit management companies. This topic will require continued monitoring and advocacy.
2. School vouchers – The league opposes school vouchers in any form, based on LWVUS’ position. Florida Corporate Tax Credit scholarships have undergone greater oversight as a result of legislation from the 2014 session. We will watch for the results of audits and restrictions on political campaign contributions.
The LWVF joined the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the FTC scholarships as plaintiff with partners from the Florida Educators Assoc., the Florida School Boards Assoc. and the Florida Superintendents Assoc. The case, entitled McCall vs. Scott, and the filing may be viewed here. The Florida Supreme Court on January 18th has rejected this lawsuit. See “In The News” below, or Click here for full story.
3. Common Core/Testing – The LWVF has supported revised assessment standards that allow for comparison among states, districts and across the nation. This relies on the LWVUS study regarding the role of the federal government in public education. In Florida, Common Core has been revised as the Florida Standards. The state contracted with a testing firm that also administers the test in Utah. We support achievement testing and reporting the outcomes; however, the LWVF also recognizes that the transition from FCAT to the FSA will require time for educators and students to successfully master the material. We will continue to monitor this process with full support for making a successful transition.
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself~ John Dewey
SB 964: Montford, Garcia and Lee. This bill would reduce the number of state required tests as well as reduce the negative impact on instruction by:
- allowing SAT/ACT for 10th grade language arts and deleting the FSA 9th grade language arts, civics, algebra II, geometry and U.S. history exams. The FSA for grades three to eight remain along with Algebra I and biology.
- allowing paper and pencil administration of online tests.
- eliminating the Florida DOE supervision of teacher evaluations and rules that tie evaluations to student test score results.
Two other bills would move testing to the end of the school year instead of beginning state-wide testing in February.
- HB 773 Cortes, Donalds, Eagle, Fischer, and Gruthers. The language of this bill is very similar to the language of the SB926 thus is a companion bill.
- SB926 Flores and Bradley. This moves testing to the end of the year but allows students who are expected to be competent based on proficiency measures to take the state assessment once per quarter during the year. It authorizes a comparison of SAT and ACT content with the FSA English Language Arts and Mathematics tests at the high school level.
End of the year testing may have some advantages, but it ultimately fails to reduce both the amount of testing; and the time spent testing that isn’t spend educating. This places the focus on drill, practice, and test preparation rather than on long-term student learning. Share this:
IN THE NEWS:
The Florida Supreme Court did not say why it declined to hear the lawsuit backed by the Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers’ union, but the justices rejected the suit, McCall v. Scott, 4-1.
Click here for full story
League Joins Lawsuits to Ensure High Quality Public Education
The League of Women Voters of Florida and others have taken legal action to defend the state Constitution’s requirement to provide a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education.”
Read the complaint here.
League Concludes School Choice Study
Pat Drago, LWVF Education Co Chair
Sue Legg, LWVF Education Co-Chair
In 2012-13, the League initiated a study to better understand the oversight of public moneys that are allocated to charter schools and other private educational institutions. The League recognizes first and foremost it is a paramount duty of the state to provide for education and that charter schools, while privately owned and managed, are under contract to public school districts, funded by the public and must be accountable to the public. The League does not support direct or indirect tax credit funding for private schools.
Click here to access The League of Women Voters of Florida Statewide Study on School Choice Consensus Report on Charter Schools.
The LWV Education Blog is a tool box filled with data, studies, and perspectives that inform the discussion about school choice, from across the US.
LWV Education blog link
The League of Women Voters of Florida Statewide Study on School Choice:
CONSENSUS REPORT ON CHARTER SCHOOLS
LWV Florida League Education issues