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Florida Senate Committee Backs Bills Aimed at Deregulating Public Schools

Three bills aimed at deregulating schools are going through the Florida legislature. On Tuesday, the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee voted to back the legislation. Lawmakers are describing the bills as cutting “red tape” on several issues.

Proponents of these bills say this will help public schools by giving them more wiggle room on several school issues, such as testing, where government-regulated money can be spent, and staff decisions. Opponents say some of the deregulation will dilute the quality of our public school system.

Last month, in an interview with CBS12 News Palm Beach County School District Superintendent, Mike Burke said he hoped the Florida legislature could help public schools out.

“There’s been talk of trying to deregulate public schools now that we’re competing with private schools and the vouchers. So we wanted to share that message as well, that when there’s opportunities to remove like unnecessary bureaucracy, and regulation, let’s let’s explore that,” said Supt. Burke.

Superintendent Burke says the new laws that have taken effect over the last few years are directly impacting staff and creating challenges for the district.

“We have kind of a long list of things we’d like to see addressed,” said Burke.

One of the three proposals the senate is looking at removes regulations for passing the English Language Arts tests and lowers the weight of the standardized math exams to 30 percent of the student’s final course grade.

At the legislative delegation meeting in November Senator Gayle Harrell, R- District 31 said lawmakers will do what they can to help.

“I think what we really need to look at is what types of regulations are necessary. What types of regulations are maybe not so necessary that we can make it easier for districts to really individualize and meet the needs of the students in their district,” said Sen. Harrell.

The fact that the fiscal policy committee has already approved these bills, could mean they will be discussed at the beginning of the legislative session, which starts in January.

Source: CBS 12