Push to raise Florida graduation standards unlikely to pass this session

TALLAHASSEE — The first major piece of education legislation declared dead this session is the push to raise graduation standards for high school students.

Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, said Wednesday that SB 2654 won't be heard on the Senate floor — though the proposal passed the House one week ago — because there just isn't time.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future has been pushing to raise the curriculum requirements for high school students, phasing in Algebra 2 and geometry as required math classes, and Biology 1 and chemistry as required science classes. In addition, the proposal would have increased the required graduation score on the 10th-grade Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test to 3 from 2.

"The bills got farther than I ever expected this year," Altman said.

While the push to raise standards enjoyed widespread support, even with Democrats, the FCAT provision was controversial. Altman said legislators talked about taking out the FCAT part, but it was more than that.

"I think the main thing was … having the time to really vet these additional standards," Altman said.

Altman pointed out that committee meetings start again in the fall.

"We'll be right back at it," he said. "And we'll have more information, and we'll be able to talk with more of the stakeholders, and we'll be better prepared."

Push to raise Florida graduation standards unlikely to pass this session 04/29/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:00pm]

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