Fl Council of 100 laments "talent gap," urges fixes
The state's leading business organizations are about to unveil a report on the "talent gap" in Florida's workforce, calling upon the state to work with business leaders and educators to develop a "comprehensive, coordinated, date-driven mission" and plan for ensuring Florida has the educated talent it needs for a strong economy.
The Council of 100 is scheduled to release its 86-page "Closing the Talent Gap" report during a press conference at the Capitol with Gov. Charlie Crist, formerly education commissioner and a product of Pinellas schools. The report includes a host of recommendations, not all of which will be popular or easily turned into law or policy.
- Raise grade 10 FCAT scores required for graduation, and raise FCAT writing standards.
- Make FCAT an end of year, online assessment.
- Use end of course exams.
- "Raise the bar" on what it takes for elementary and middle schools to get A and B grades.
- Do more for at-risk students through turn-around programs and support.
- Expand the state's private school voucher program and try to reestablish the Opportunity Scholarship program adopted under Gov. Jeb Bush but overturned in court.
- Establish more stringent standards for ensuring teacher quality and performance -- and make it harder for teachers to achieve tenured status.
- Amend the class size requirement so that counts are based on the school level, not individual classroom levels.
- Double state university system funding over 5 years through higher tuition and more state money.
- Reform Bright Futures, raising qualification standards and directing the money saved to need-based aid and giving full tuition coverage only to students pursuing degrees in STEM fields.