LEGISLATURE PASSES ACCOUNTABILITY BILL – HB 7069
In a move that took many observers and education advocates by surprise, the House took up and passed the Senate’s version of HB 7069 relating to education accountability. The bill had passed unanimously in the House a few weeks ago, but was amended last week when the Senate took up the House version, stripped out the House bill language, and replaced it with the language of the Senate’s version of the accountability bill (SB 616). Though there were relatively few differences between the two versions, most expected that there would be further negotiations between the chambers before a final version was adopted by both chambers. Despite this unexpected turn of events, it is important to emphasize that the bill that passed by the legislature today addresses many of the concerns that had been raised by school board members, superintendents, educators, and parents.
We will provide a more detailed analysis of this bill along with our weekly Video Update on Monday, but for now, we will provide a list of the key provisions of HB 7069. The bill:
- authorizes school to set the school starting date as no earlier than August 10;
- eliminates the 11th grade English Language Arts assessment;
- eliminates requirement for district-wide exams for non-state assessed courses and subjects;
- prohibits districts from giving finals in courses where statewide standardized exams already exist;
- eliminates requirement for progress monitoring;
- limits the amount of time for test administration to no more than 5% of total school hours per student, per year;
- requires that statewide assessment results be returned by the end of the year and district-wide assessment results to be returned within 30 days; eliminates requirement for intensive remedial courses for secondary students;
- reduces the weight given to student performance data used in teacher evaluations from 50% to 33%;
- requires an independent verification of the psychometric validity of statewide, standardized assessments before school grades may be published and before student performance data may be used for teacher and administrator evaluations; and
- provides identification and interventions for students at risk of retention.
Some of these provisions give rise to new questions and concerns. In addition, the bill does not fully address some other concerns that have been raised, particularly those centering on the technological infrastructure necessary for computer abased assessments to be administered in a manner that minimizes disruption to the teaching and learning for students who are not being assessed during any given testing window. However, some of these concerns may be addressed in other legislation that is still under consideration. We will continue to keep you posted on any developments in these areas.
In the Senate Children, Families, & Elder Affairs Committee:
SB 344 – Mental Health First Aid Training Program by Sobel — PASSED
Requiring the Department of Education to establish a mental health first aid training program; requiring the department to use a competitive procurement process to select a statewide association to develop, implement, and manage the program; providing for expiration of the program; providing an appropriation; requiring the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to submit a report to the Legislature by a specified date, etc.
In the House Education Committee:
HB 85 – Public School Instruction / Terrorist Attacks by Hill — PASSED
Requires that instructional staff of public schools provide instruction to students about terrorist attacks occurring on September 11, 2001, & impact of those events.
HB 1045 – Homebound Instruction by Burgess — PASSED
Requires school districts to provide instruction to homebound or hospitalized students; provides for student eligibility, methods of providing instruction to homebound or hospitalized students, & initiation of services.
HB 1145 – Education / Parent and Student Rights by Sprowls – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE (CS)
Revises provisions relating to public and private school choice, fiscal transparency, controlled open enrollment, educational funding accountability, assignment of teachers, salary incentives, and certification of adjunct educators. [NOTE: The bill was substantially amended today. These amendments clarify fiscal transparency and reporting requirements, provide more workable timelines for parents to notify the district of their intention to enroll their child in, and transport their child to, any other public school in the district or in the state that has not reached capacity, revise elements to be considered in determining if capacity is available, and provide that student may continue to attend the chosen school until the student completes the highest grade offered by the school. While some of these amendments improve the bill, several issues of concern remain. We will provide a detailed summary of the current version of the bill with our weekly Video Update on Monday.]
HB 1153 – Vocational Rehabilitation by Ingoglia — PASSED
Requires Workforce Florida, Inc., to include measurable performance goals for employment of persons who have a disability in a state strategic plan.
HB 7125 – Postsecondary Access & Affordability by Higher Education – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Revises provisions relating to apprenticeships, postsecondary tuition & fees, tuition differentials, career education, textbooks & instructional materials, & Higher Education Coordinating Council; creates Florida Apprenticeship Grant Program & Rapid Response Education & Training Program; provides requirements for programs.
HB 7127 – Higher Education by Higher Education – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Revises provisions relating to apprenticeships, baccalaureate degree programs, career centers & charter technical career centers, applied technology diplomas, common placement test, & adult & workforce education programs.
In the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee:
SB 954 – Involuntary Examinations of Minors by Garcia – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Requiring school health services plans to include notification requirements when a student is removed from school, school transportation, or a school-sponsored activity for involuntary examination; requiring a receiving facility to provide notice of the whereabouts of an adult or emancipated minor patient held for involuntary examination; providing conditions for delay in notification, etc.
In the House SESSION:
Bills on 3rd Reading:
HB 361 – Military Housing Ad Valorem Tax Exemptions by Trumbull – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
Grants certain leasehold interests & improvements to land owned by U.S. or agency thereof, branch of U.S. Armed Forces, or quasi-governmental agency exemption from ad valorem taxation; exempts such leasehold interests & improvements without need to apply for exemption or property appraiser approving exemption; provides nonapplicability & retroactive applicability.
HB 7141 – Taxation by Finance & Tax – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
Increases property tax exemptions for certain persons; reduces tax rate to certain satellite services; revises distributions of tax revenues from sales & use tax, communications services tax, & gross receipts tax; revises provisions concerning communications services tax & rates; exempts various products from sales & use tax; repeals estate tax; requires circuit court judges to provide monthly reports concerning decedents; creates Defense Works in Florida Incentive to reduce computation of adjusted federal income for certain contractors; extends date for tax credit for certain community contribution donations; increases tax credits for rehabilitation of certain contaminated sites; provides various sales tax holidays. [NOTE: This is the House tax cut package, valued at about $690 million. The Senate tax package is valued at about $550 million.]
HB 541 – Athletic Trainers by Plasencia – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE
Deletes requirement for Governor to appoint initial members of Board of Athletic Training; revises board’s authorization to adopt certain rules; revises requirements for licensure; authorizes board to require background screening; revises responsibilities of athletic trainers to practice under direction of physician; prohibits sexual misconduct by athletic trainers; prohibits unlicensed practice of athletic training; prohibits unlicensed person from using specified titles; revises which acts constitute grounds for disciplinary action; provides exemptions; revises general background screening provisions to include athletic trainers.
SB 290 – Concealed Weapon / Evacuations by Brandes – READ 3RD TIME; PASSED THE HOUSE; PASSED THE LEGISLATURE
Providing an exemption from criminal penalties for carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm when evacuating pursuant to a mandatory evacuation order during a declared state of emergency, etc. [NOTE: This bill does not address several issues of concern, including situations in which such as what may happen if individuals bring weapons to shelters that prohibit guns and unintended consequences that may ensue under stressful emergency situations.]
In the Senate Appropriations Committee:
SB 686 – Military Housing Ad Valorem Tax Exemptions by T. Lee — PASSED
Providing that certain leasehold interests and improvements to land owned by the United States, a branch of the United States Armed Forces, or any agency or quasi-governmental agency of the United States are exempt from ad valorem taxation under specified circumstances; providing that such leasehold interests and improvements are entitled to an exemption from ad valorem taxation without an application being filed for the exemption or the property appraiser approving the exemption, etc.
SB 818 – Maximum Class Size by Garcia – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Requiring the calculation of a school district’s class size categorical allocation reduction at the school average when maximum class size requirements are not met; revising the calculation, etc.
SB 1050 – Agriculture and Consumer Services by Montford – AMENDED AND PASSED WITH A CS
Removing provisions requiring the department to give certain priority consideration when evaluating applications for funding of agriculture education and promotion facilities; authorizing the department to secure letters of patent, copyrights, and trademarks on work products and to engage in acts accordingly; authorizing the Commissioner of Agriculture to create an Office of Agriculture Technology Services; repealing provisions relating to the authority of the Florida Forest Service to dedicate and reserve state park lands for public use, etc.
SB 1054 – Retirement by Evers — PASSED
Authorizing local agency employers to reassess designation of positions for inclusion in the Senior Management Service Class; providing for removal of certain positions, etc.
SB 1114 – Membership Associations that Receive Public Funds by Stargel — PASSED
Requiring a membership association that receives more than a specified percentage of its budget from public funds to file a report with the Legislature; prohibiting a membership association whose membership dues are paid for by public funds from expending such funds on litigation against the state, etc.
COMING UP TOMORROW
There are not legislative committee meetings of interest scheduled for tomorrow. Our next Daily Update will be issued on Monday, April 13, 2015.