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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What didn't pass the Florida Legislature?

Now that the Florida Legislature has ended its 2011 session, many observers are assessing the fallout.

Hundreds of bills go to the Legislature each year. By some estimates, as many as 500 involved some aspect of education this year. What's surprising is that so many that had failed in the past won approval this time out, perhaps because the opposition has shrunk so much.

Teachers face evaluations based on test scores, which will affect their pay. Continuing contracts are a thing of the past. (SB 736) Some families will have more access to private schools using publicly funded scholarships. (SB 1388, SB 1656) Charter schools can get 15-year contracts. (SB 1546) Virtual school can grow. (HB 7197) Class sizes can grow. (SB 2120)

And on the list goes. Yet some things did not make it through the session nonetheless. Among them:

Rep. Kelli Stargel couldn't get her bill to have teachers grade parents out of subcommittee.

Sen. Steve Wise lost his bid to eliminate school board member pay in its first and only committee vote.

Rep. Bryan Nelson's bill to let school districts sell ads on school buses failed in the House and Senate.

Sen. Gary Siplin saw a long-standing bill to allow invocations and prayers at secondary school events fall to the wayside for yet another year.

Sen. Joe Negron gave up on his attempt to create vouchers for all, a/k/a education savings accounts, though he vowed the idea will be back.

Also falling short were bills to ban students from leaving school during lunch, a requirement that schools close for Veteran's Day, and of course the annual attempt to discontinue the FCAT.

Did we miss any? Let's hear your thoughts on the legislative successes and failures of the session.

[Last modified: Monday, May 9, 2011 10:54am]


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