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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Sen. Legg files bill to offer more pathways to graduation



As he promised back in December, state Sen. John Legg has filed legislation that would give high school students more course options that count toward graduation.

The bill would not change the standards that students must meet. Instead, it would allow students to substitute industry certifications that they successfully complete for courses that contain the same material. Legg has argued that it makes little sense to have students take both a straight academic course for credit and a hands-on career-oriented course that meets the same academic goals.

“The CAPE Act recognizes that industry certification in our global market is key for our students’ success," Legg said in a news release. "It recognizes that high-skilled industry level certification; along with partnership from our school district technical centers, community colleges, and state universities will empower our students for a brighter tomorrow. This bill closes the gap between our high schools, post-secondary system and the workforce. It will place tools in the tool box for our teachers, ensuring that our children are competitive."

Legg has called this bill one of the Senate's top education priorities for the year. The state has made the connections between school and career and college readiness a key target moving forward. The bill also calls for the State University System to work with the K-12 system to identify and retain the state's top student talent in Florida higher education. It adds financial literacy and enterpreneurship skills as components for state standards. And it places more emphasis on providing technology and digital instructional materials to students in prekindergarten through high school by 2013-14, a need identified also by the State Board of Education.

There has been some question over whether Gov. Rick Scott's budgeted $100 million for technology needs is enough.

So far there is no companion bill in the House. Keep an eye on this bill. It promises to loom large in education reform conversation this session in Tallahassee.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:16pm]


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