Gov. Rick Scott signs school acceleration bill into law
Without commentary, Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law a measure aimed at requiring schools to provide more options for high-performing students and their parents.
The law now requires districts to provide clear options for whole-grade promotion (including midyear), subject-matter acceleration, and early and accelerated graduation. Districts must revise their student progression plans to delineate exactly how parents may access such programs. Principals also are granted more authority to make decisions about how to implement acceleration models, and to grant students entry into the programs.
"It says we need to look at students on an individual basis and see what type of education is appropriate for them," said state Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, who pushed to have legislation on this matter for the past few years. His motivation, he said, was the question of "what are we doing for our brighter kids?"
"And don't accept the song and dance," he said. "Make schools show how they do it. Let the child soar. Don't shackle them in a class that is average."
The bill also changes some funding streams for schools. Most notably, it sets performance-based funding for end-of-course exam courses, contingent upon students passing those tests. It also would provide funding to high schools for students who passed the end-of-course exam but did not take the course.
Legg said the law gives more power to parents and principals, while requiring districts to focus on ways to help students who aren't categorized as gifted but still are above average. "I don't think many superintendents are focusing on these issues," he said.