The Constitution Revision Commission Education Committee met this afternoon to consider several important education-related proposals to amend the Florida Constitution, including, among others, proposals relating to public and charter school authorizers, school choice programs, and the prohibition against using public revenues in aid of religious entities. You may wish to review our Discussion and Key Points for many of the proposals that were considered today. In addition, you may access the meeting video on the Florida Channel website under the “Video Archive” tab. Please click on the link below for more information on the meeting and the proposals that were considered today.
The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) Education Committee met to consider several proposed revisions to the Florida Constitution that are of interest. Please note that the Committee has adopted a procedure for considering the proposals over two separate meetings. In the first meeting, proposals are presented, amended (as needed), and debated, but NO VOTE is taken on approval of each proposal – that vote is reserved until a subsequent meeting. As a result, today’s agenda included proposals that were subject to final consideration and vote while others were considered but no vote was taken. In addition, several proposals on today’s agenda were withdrawn from further consideration. The outcome of today’s committee action is noted for each proposal.
The proposals that were given final consideration and vote include the following:
Proposal 4 – Religious Freedom — sponsored by Roberto Martinez – PASSED; PLACED ON CRC CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
This proposal revises Article I, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would remove the existing provision — commonly known at the “No-Aid Provision” or Blaine Amendment” — that prohibits the use of public revenues in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or any sectarian institution.
Proposal 45 – Public Education — sponsored by Erika Donalds – PASSED; PLACED ON CRC CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
This proposal would amend Article IX, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would revise the text of this Article to provide that adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools “allowing the opportunity for each student” (rather than “that allows students”) to obtain a high quality education. In addition, the proposal specifies that no provision in Article IX may be construed to limit the Legislature from making provision for other educational services that benefit the children and families of this state that are in addition to the system of free public schools.
Proposal 71 – Charter School Authorization — sponsored by Erika Donalds – PASSED; PLACED ON CRC CALENDAR ON 2ND READING
This proposal would amend Article IX, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would authorize the Legislature to enact laws providing alternative processes to authorize the establishment of public schools in the state.
Proposal 89 – Public Education — sponsored by Nicole Washington – WITHDRAWN FROM CONSIDERATION
This proposal would amend Article IX, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution. This proposal adds to the existing text of Article IX, Section 1(a) to specify that the purpose and intent of the state’s public education system is to develop the intellect of the state’s citizens, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective workforce, and to prepare students for a job. In addition, the proposal adds Section 1(d) to provide that, in order to build Florida’s talent pipeline for the careers of today and tomorrow and align the state’s education, workforce, and economic development efforts, it is the intent of the people to provide high quality and affordable postsecondary education opportunities.
Proposal 93 – Education — sponsored by Roberto Martinez – PASSED; ON CRC LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE AGENDA
This proposal would amend Article IX, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would authorize the school board of a high performing school district to choose to be designated as a charter district that would be exempt from all provisions of the Florida K-20 Education Code in the same manner as a charter school designated by Florida law. A charter district would remain under the governance of the school board.
The proposals that were subject to a first hearing but await final consideration at the next CRC Education Committee meeting include the following:
Proposal 10 – Civic Literacy – sponsored by Don Gaetz – CONSIDERED AND PLACED ON CRC EDUCATION COMMITTEE AGENDA FOR 2/1/18
This proposal revises Article IX of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would add a new section that would provide that, as education is essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the legislature shall provide by law for the promotion of civic literacy in order to ensure that students enrolled in public education understand and are prepared to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens of a constitutional democracy.
Proposal 30 – Basic Rights – sponsored by Roberto Martinez – ON CRC EDUCATION COMMITTEE AGENDA FOR 2/1/18
This proposal revises Article I, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would amend the prohibited bases of government discrimination so that this provision would provide that no person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or “any” disability (rather than “physical disability”).
Proposal 59 – Religious Freedom – sponsored by Marva Johnson – WITHDRAWN FROM CONSIDERATION
This proposal revises Article I, Section 3 and Article IX, Sections 1 and 6 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would revise the current prohibition on the use of public revenues in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or any sectarian institution to provide an exception for educational programs. The proposal would specifically authorize public funds to be appropriated to private schools in the event that a student’s right to an education that meets his or her individual needs and learning differences is violated. In addition, the proposal stipulates that a public school student is entitled to a meaningful education, a positive school environment, high educational standards and assessments that accurately captures abilities and knowledge, qualified teachers, school choice, express and hear various points of view, protection of privacy, and due process.
Proposal 82 – Education – sponsored by Brecht Heuchan – WITHDRAWN FROM CONSIDERATION
This proposal revises Article IX, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would prohibit a school board from setting the opening date for schools in the school district for earlier than seven days before Labor Day each year.
[NOTE: In addition to the above, the Committee was scheduled to consider one proposal relating to post-secondary education — Proposal 70 — but it was WITHDRAWN FROM CONSIDERATION.]