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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Parent empowerment act clears Florida House



Despite criticism from several parent and teacher groups, the Florida House has approved a "parent empowerment" bill that would give parents the right to petition for a specific turnaround option for schools deemed failing in the state's school grading system.

The bill also would prevent schools from assigning students in two consecutive years to teachers evaluated as needing improvement.

"This bill gives that parent who is so vested in the success of their child a stronger voice," sponsor Rep. Michael Bileca, R-Miami, said to close debate.

The 80-34 vote went mainly along party lines, with Republicans Tom Goodson  and Mike Weinstein voting no, and Democrats Darren Soto and Ari Porth voting yes. 

The House rejected a Democrat-sponsored amendment that would have given parents at charter schools the same opportunity to petition to convert their school, if failing, into a traditional public school.

The fate of the Senate version of this bill remains in question. It has not made it to its final committee stop, Budget, and Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, filed a complaint against the way it was handled in the Pre-K-12 Appropriations committee, where it narrowly passed 4-3.

[Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 6:52am]


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