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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida Senate loads up charter school bill

A House bill aimed at streamlining and strengthening the rules governing Florida charter schools has become the Senate's vehicle of choice for pushing some of its leaders' favored education proposals that didn't gain traction on their own.

Before passing HB 7009, which the House had already approved 87-29, senators tacked on amendments tackling Common Core testing, student assignments based on teacher evaluations, and school-district sponsored "innovation" schools, as well as changing the House's recommendations on charter school reporting and operations.

The changes, which now head back to the embattled House, would:

Postpone implementation of Common Core associated tests until all schools have the proven technological infrastructure to handle the load;

Prohibit the assignment of a student to a teacher with a "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory" evaluation two years in a row (taken from the failed parent trigger bill);

Allow school districts to create innovation schools of technology that would operate similar to charter schools; and

Establish different charter school operation rules, including provisions to let charters hire at-will employees, and setting conditions for after a charter is closed or revoked.

House members have already begun offering amendments of their own, in case the bill finds its way back onto the calendar. Friday is set for sine die. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The House approved the revised bill 76-42.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 2, 2013 11:29am]


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