By The Florida House of Representatives, 03-31-23
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 31, 2023) — Today, on the heels of approving the largest expansion of school choice in the nation, the Florida House continues to prove its commitment to students by passing several education bills which set Florida students up for success.
“The Florida House is focused on providing educational opportunities and improving academic outcomes so that our students are prepared to thrive in the global economy,” said Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast). “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our bill sponsors, Florida is poised to unlock the full potential of every student in the state.”
CS/CS/HB 7039, Student Outcomes by Representative Dana Trabulsy, creates a framework for increasing mathematics proficiency among Florida students by identifying those who need help, providing instruction tailored to their needs, and monitoring their progress to get them on track. The bill also helps struggling readers improve by expanding New Worlds Reading Initiative eligibility to prekindergarten students, enhancing school district summer reading camps for students retained in 3rd grade, and grounding all reading instructional strategies in the science of reading.
“The long-term success of our students depends on their mastery of foundational literacy, reading, and mathematics skills in the early grades,” said bill sponsor Representative Dana Trabulsy (R-Fort Pierce). “This bill equips teachers, parents, and students with resources that are grounded in the science of reading. I am grateful to our Members for supporting this transformative policy that ensures our children learn to read so that later, they can read to learn.”
CS/HB 733, Middle School and High School Start Times by Representative John Temple, requires that the instructional day for all traditional public and charter schools begin no earlier than 8:00 a.m. for middle schools and 8:30 a.m. for high schools.
“Studies have proven that a good night’s sleep improves a student’s physical and mental health, safety, academic performance, and overall quality of life,” said bill sponsor Representative John Temple (R-Wildwood). “This bill establishes appropriate school start times as a way to improve both academic scores and mental well-being. I am proud to have passed this legislation and appreciate the support of Speaker Renner and my House colleagues to ensure that all Florida students are given the tools they need to be successful in school and in life.”
CS/HB 379, Technology in K-12 Public Schools by Representative Brad Yeager, helps students disconnect from technology addiction and reconnect to learning opportunities in the classroom by restricting access to social media on school grounds and prohibiting the use of wireless communications devices during instructional time. The bill also creates a new social media curriculum for students in middle and high school on the social, emotional, and physical effects of social media.
“This bill gives Florida teachers the tools they need to ensure that our children have a distraction-free learning environment where they can excel academically,” said bill sponsor Representative Brad Yeager (R-New Port Richey). “I am proud to have earned the support of my House colleagues on this important legislation which protects Florida students from the effects of social media.”
CS/CS/HB 1069, Education by Representatives McClain and Anderson, reinforces parental rights in education by prohibiting classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and specifies that instruction in other grades must be age and developmentally-appropriate and consistent with state standards. The bill also protects school personnel and students from being forced to use pronouns that do not correspond to an individual’s biological sex and requires the Department of Education to annually approve all instructional materials used to teach reproductive health.
“This bill protects Florida students from exposure to age-inappropriate content,” said bill sponsor Representative Stan McClain (R-Ocala). “Florida parents are free to voice what books and materials their children have access to at school. I’m proud to have worked with Representative Anderson on this legislation to strengthen parental rights and empower parents to protect their kids from exposure to inappropriate material.”
“Parents expect that when they send their children to school, they are there to learn the core concepts and skills they need to become successful adults,” said bill sponsor Representative Adam Anderson (R-Palm Harbor). “This bill further protects parental rights and strengthens parental involvement by ensuring instruction at school is age and developmentally appropriate and that conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity primarily happen at the home.”
CS/CS/HB 633, K-12 Education by Representative Michelle Salzman, provides that active duty military dependents have access to schools in the school district that they move to, no matter when they transfer, and repeals the penalty for schools that exceed class size maximums. The bill does not affect a school district’s obligation to meet class size requirements and to create a compliance plan when it exceeds these requirements. Removing the financial penalty for noncompliance allows schools to direct more funds to the classroom.
“I appreciate the support of my colleagues who passed this good, pro-American bill today,” said bill sponsor Representative Michelle Salzman (R-Pensacola). “Allowing active duty military families access to any school in Florida is the right thing to do. Military children don’t get a say in where their family is stationed. The least we can do is ensure that those children are provided a high-quality education at the school of their choice.”
HB 265, High School Equivalency Diplomas by Representatives Susan Plasencia and Johanna López, provides consistency across the state for students who wish to sit for the GED exam. The bill prohibits a school district from requiring a student that is at least 16 years old to take any course prior to sitting for the GED exam unless the student failed to attain a passing score on the GED practice test.
“There are inconsistencies among Florida school districts which force students who have passed the Pre-GED test into a classroom instead of scheduling them for the GED exam,” said bill sponsor Representative Susan Plasencia (R-Orlando). “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation calls for uniformity and removes barriers to the advantage of Florida students.”
“I am proud to have sponsored this legislation, along with my colleague Representative Plasencia, to promote consistency across the state for underage GED test takers who are at least 16 years of age,” said bill sponsor Representative Johanna López (D-Orlando). “Florida students benefit from us coming together to address inconsistency and barriers found within our education system.”
CS/HB 1035, Teacher Training and Conduct by Representative Karen Gonzalez Pittman, directs the Commissioner of Education to review all teacher training requirements and eliminate any duplicate, unnecessary, or overly burdensome requirements. The legislation also empowers teachers with avenues to seek relief if directed by the school or district to take action that would violate state or federal law.
“In Florida, we value our teachers and want to assist in the recruitment and retention of our education workforce,” said bill sponsor Representative Karen Gonzalez Pittman (R-Tampa). “This legislation empowers teachers and allows them to return their focus and talents to educating Florida’s students.”
HJR 31, Partisan Elections for Members of District School Boards by Representatives Spencer Roach and Tyler Sirois, empowers voters and parents by proposing a constitutional amendment to require partisan elections for candidates for school board. The resolution increases candidate transparency and strengthens the electorate’s ability to make informed decisions by disclosing candidates’ party affiliations during the campaign and on the ballot.
“This measure is about allowing Florida voters the opportunity to decide if they want more information on the candidates who intend to serve on their local school boards,” said Representative Spencer Roach. “Political candidates should not be required or allowed to hide their allegiances from voters. I appreciate the opportunity to present this resolution to my colleagues and am grateful for their support.”
“Florida parents and voters deserve transparency,” said Representative Tyler Sirois. “I encourage Floridians to support this good measure which will promote accountability and give voters additional information on the school board members who influence the education of our children.”
CS/CS/HB 19, Individual Education Plans by Representative Allison Tant, requires school districts to provide information and instruction to a student with disabilities and his or her parents on self-determination and the legal rights and responsibilities relating to educational decisions that transfer to the student upon turning 18. The information provided must include options for maintaining parental involvement in educational decision-making, as well as a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act waiver, powers of attorney, guardian advocacy, and guardianship.
“This bill allows the parents of students with disabilities the option to maintain an active role in their child’s education once the student has reached the age of majority,” said bill sponsor Representative Allison Tant (D-Tallahassee). “Today, the Florida House helped families stay involved in their loved one’s education without the burdensome and costly need to establish guardianship through the courts.”
For more information on these bills, please visit www.myfloridahouse.gov.