Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

What people are saying about Florida's massive education bill

Photol illustration. [istock.com]

Photol illustration. [istock.com]

Florida Gov. Rick Scott today signed HB 7069, a massive and hotly debated measure that makes a number of changes, large and small, to the state's education system.

Among the provisions: mandated recess at elementary schools, a system of charter schools to replace chronically struggling traditional public schools, tighter restrictions on how school districts can spend federal Title I money for low-income students, removing the mandate that districts evaluate teachers using test scores, tweaks that make state testing less onerous, and more.

The bill has been criticized for the way it was put together, with top lawmakers combining some 20 pieces of legislation in secret.

Here's a look at what people are saying:

"I don't think that the honey in this pot is enough to make up for the vinegar. … Every single bit of the good in this bill was calculated. Very much calculated in closed doors. It violates everything that public education advocates stand for. … I see this as almost the end of public education in Florida unless some big amazing miraculous revisions are done, which I don't expect to happen."

— Jinia Parker, parent and administrator, Opt Out Pinellas

• • •

"This bill is the most transformative pro-parent, pro-student, pro-teacher and pro-public education bill in the history of the state of Florida. It ends failure factories. It rewards the best and brightest teachers and principals. It gives bonuses to every highly effective and effective teacher. It puts a focus back on civics education and teaching our students about what made our country great. It provides scholarships to students with disabilities. It mandates recess for our students. It reduces testing. And last, but not least, it forces more money into the classroom by making the money follow the students. In other words it gives children hope and dignity. It says all children deserve a world-class education."

— Rep. Richard Corcoran, speaker, Florida House of Representatives

• • •

"It's like you're getting some change in one hand and then you're getting hit with a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the other hand. … This bill couldn't be any worse. It started off as a good bill and then they just kept tacking on all kinds of garbage which didn't make it through committees."

— Mike Gandolfo, president, Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association

• • •

• • •

"The implementation of HB 7069 will do harm to our schools and to our most vulnerable students. Blindly jumping into this so-called 'fundamental transformation' of how we educate our children is based almost entirely on ideology. At best this is malpractice. This is no way to build a high-quality public education system."

Joanne McCall, president, Florida Education Association

• • •

"This legislation has the power to transform the lives and futures of poor children across the state of Florida. It puts their future before the agenda of bureaucrats and institutions that have deprived them of the quality education they deserve."

— Rep. Michael Bileca, chairman, House Education Committee

• • •

• • •

Video from the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, where school board members and school administrators from around the state are convening for their summer meetings:

• • •

"Today is a sad day for the vast majority of Florida public schoolchildren. Gov. Scott's signing of HB 7069 flies in the face of home rule and forsakes traditional public school students in favor of charter school students. The acceptable parts of HB 7069, like clarifying the Legislature's intent related to annual teacher contracts and reducing the number of state-required standardized tests, are far outweighed by the egregious provisions that permeate this law."

— Kurt Browning, Pasco County school superintendent

• • •

"It is disturbing to witness a monster bill, crated in a back room during the final days of session with little opportunity for Senate review or debate, then become enacted into law. … It's a sad day when party politics take priority over children. I look forward to a constitutional challenge of this conforming bill, which violates constitutional rights of authority as well as governing rules on the passage of bills."

— Rita Solnet, president, Parents Across Florida

• • •

"HB 7069 contains many priorities of the Senate including: a requirement for unstructured recess for our elementary school students, an expansion of the Gardiner Scholarship for students with unique abilities, and greater flexibility for district measurement of teacher performance. Other Senate priorities embedded in the bill include: research-based strategies for reading instruction, allowing districts to return to paper-pencil options for tests, and the elimination of the Algebra II End of Course Exam. I am pleased to see these priorities of our Senators included in the final product signed into law today."

— Joe Negron, president, Florida Senate

• • •

• • •

"We are disappointed that the governor has chosen not to veto 7069. However, we simply have to acknowledge the political process. He is the governor. That's his authority. Our strategy has to be moving forward, can we get some corrective measures in the next legislative session."

— Barbara Jenkins, superintendent, Orange County schools

• • •

"Scott is proving once again that he is a typical Tallahassee politician who is only ever looking out for himself — his pathetic and transparent efforts to advance his own political interests at the expense of hard-working Floridians is the kind of toxic baggage that will follow him into any political campaign he mounts. Wherever he goes, Scott will have to explain why he's draining resources from schools in order to spend tax dollars on a slush fund for his campaign contributors and political cronies."

David Bergstein, spokesman, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Times staff writers Colleen Wright and Jeffrey S. Solochek contributed to this report.

What people are saying about Florida's massive education bill 06/15/17 [Last modified: Thursday, June 15, 2017 6:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    Jason Jerome Springer, 39, is accused of threatening to kill a U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich, according to a federal indictment.  |Hernando County Sheriff's Office photo]
  2. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.
  3. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  4. Money is the issue as Hillsborough strains to fix school air conditioners

    K12

    TAMPA — With more than 200 repair requests tumbling in every day, school officials in Hillsborough County are broadening their circle of air conditioning mechanics as they struggle to control a debilitating cycle of breakdowns and sweltering classrooms.

    Hillsborough school officials want to expand the number of contractors who work on broken school air conditioning systems. But it all gets rolled into a workload that has increased by 40 percent since 2011. "With no increase in budget, no increase in equipment and no increase in manpower, and as the equipment gets older and needs more maintenance, this is going to continue to grow," said Robert Weggman, general manager of maintenance." [iStockphoto.com
]
  5. At Bayonet Point Middle School, solar eclipse becomes a lesson

    K12

    NEW PORT RICHEY — At 2:30 Monday afternoon, students and faculty members streamed out of their classrooms and onto the athletic fields at Bayonet Point Middle School. The attraction: the solar eclipse.

    Isiah Echevarria, 10, left, and Andy Shaw, 11, right, take in the solar eclipse during a schoolwide viewing Monday afternoon at Bayonet Point Middle School in New Port Richey. "It's pretty cool," said Andy, 11. "This is actually my first eclipse. The next eclipse won't be for at least 30 years."