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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Charlie Crist, Florida Council of 100 urge fixes to education 'talent gap'

14

January

The state's leading business organizations are about to unveil a report on the "talent gap" in Florida's workforce, calling upon the state to work with business leaders and educators to develop a "comprehensive, coordinated, date-driven mission" and plan for ensuring Florida has the educated talent it needs for a strong economy.

The Council of 100 is scheduled to release its 86-page "Closing the Talent Gap" report during a press conference at the Capitol with Gov. Charlie Crist, formerly education commissioner and a product of Pinellas schools. The report includes a host of recommendations, not all of which will be popular or easily turned into law or policy.

Among them:

  • Raise grade 10 FCAT scores required for graduation, and raise FCAT writing standards.
  • Make FCAT an end of year, online assessment.
  • Use end of course exams.
  • "Raise the bar" on what it takes for elementary and middle schools to get A and B grades.
  • Do more for at-risk students through turn-around programs and support.
  • Expand the state's private school voucher program and try to re-establish the Opportunity Scholarship program adopted under Gov. Jeb Bush but overturned in court.
  • Establish more stringent standards for ensuring teacher quality and performance - and make it harder for teachers to achieve tenured status.
  • Amend the class size requirement so that counts are based on the school level, not individual classroom levels.
  • Double state university system funding over 5 years through higher tuition and more state money.
  • Reform Bright Futures, raising qualification standards and directing the money saved to need-based aid and giving full tuition coverage only to students pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:14pm]

    

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