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Rick Scott Signs 'Transformational' Education Bill

April 21, 2013 - 6:00pm

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 1076, ensuring, he said, that Florida students are prepared for college and careers and have the necessary skills to compete for jobs in a competitive global economy.

Scott was joined Monday by Senate President Don Gaetz, Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, legislators, and education and business leaders from across Florida.

Said Scott, This legislation transforms our education system and is an important step to ensuring the success of our future workforce who are students in our classrooms today. As I travel the state, families tell me they worry about three things: getting a great job, a quality education, and keeping their cost of living low. This legislation helps us take a giant step forward toward that goal.

This legislation, coupled with my recommended $1.2 billion increase for K-12 education and historic total of $480 million to support $2,500 pay raises for our classroom teachers, will ensure Florida is a national leader in education. I appreciate the hard work and commitment by President Gaetz and Speaker Weatherford, along with their collaboration with my office, to get this bill passed for our students.

Scott and his fellow Republican lawmakers appear on a collision course over the teacher pay raises. Republicans in the House and Senate are pushing for raises to be award based on merit, while Scott wants an across-the-board raise for every teacher in Florida. Scott talked Monday morning with reporters and reiterated that one of his two main priorities for the legislative session is to give teachers an across-the-board raise.

The legislation takes steps to making sure Florida students have the skills for the jobs of the 21st century and ensure they can effectively compete for jobs in an ever-competitive global economy. This legislation impacts Florida K-12 public school students by:

-- Creating a pathway to a diploma that can be meaningful for students going on to college or a career by demonstrating the skills required for high school graduation, including earning national industry certifications in over 200 different professions, occupations and careers. This means students will be able to graduate from high school and have the qualifications to get a great job.

-- Requiring financial literacy to be taught in our high schools so students have a better understanding of the risk of debt. Middle school students will now have the opportunity to study entrepreneurship.

-- Teachers will be rewarded for student success by giving bonuses to teachers that provide direct instruction toward the attainment of industry certifications. This legislation also increases bonuses for teachers whose students achieve high scores on IB and AP exams.

This legislation impacts Florida higher education institutions by:

-- Taking steps to ensure Floridas university system is focused on helping students obtain jobs.

-- Providing Floridas colleges with the flexibility needed to provide bachelors degrees for $10,000 or less in tuition.

-- Directing the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education to create metrics that let Floridians know how well state universities and colleges are doing. Metrics include: percent of graduates employed or enrolled in further education, average wages of employed graduates and average cost per graduate.

Additionally, this legislation helps adult education students complete Action Steps to Employment, which will help accelerate their employment following graduation and increases the number of adult education students who are prepared for postsecondary education and employment.

Senate President Don Gaetz said, The Career and Professional Education Act does far more than reform education, it transforms education in our state. This bill lashes education to the realities and opportunities of the economy, making it far more likely that our graduates will earn diplomas and degrees that qualify them for real jobs.

House Speaker Will Weatherford said, "Florida continues to lead the way as education innovators. Now, we will be home to the first fully-accredited, online public research university institute in the nation. These bold higher education reforms will help increase Florida's global competitiveness and ensure our students have meaningful opportunities after high school. I appreciate the Legislature's hard work on this landmark legislation and thank Governor Scott for his support and willingness to sign it into law."

Sen.John Legg said, Thanks to the work of education leaders, the Florida Senate, House and governor, today we have a law that will positively affect the way students learn across the state. I was happy to sponsor this legislation and to be on hand to see this bill get signed today. I thank Governor Scott for his leadership on this issue.

Sen.Bill Montford said, As a senator and the CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, I listen to the concerns and ideas of educators and education leaders throughout the state. This law addresses many of those concerns and was developed to help our students succeed. I thank Governor Scott for his work to improve education in the great state of Florida.

Rep. H. Marlene O'Toole said, Its our duty as lawmakers to help provide Floridas students a high-quality education. I would like to thank Governor Scott, Speaker Weatherford, President Gaetz, and the entire education team for their efforts on this important legislation.

Rep. Janet Adkins said, It was an honor to join Governor Scott and my fellow members of the Florida House for the signing of SB 1076. This legislation will prepare our students for college and connect the skills of our students with the needs of employers. I applaud Governor Scotts commitment to Floridas education system. I was happy to sponsor this bill.

Rep.Jeanette M. Nuz said, We have made a big step forward with todays bill signing and because of the leadership of Governor Scott, Speaker Weatherford, and President Gaetz, Florida students will be better prepared as they compete in the global workforce. I applaud Governor Scotts commitment to education.

Rep.Elizabeth Porter said, Governor Scott understands that we need to empower our school districts, teachers and students to make sure that we are graduating students who can go on to college or a great career. I applaud his leadership on education issues.

Rep.Marti Coley said, This bill recognizes the diversity of our student population by offering multiple pathways to a standardized diploma. Governor Scott and the Legislature have prioritized the needs of students and teachers, holding standards high while better preparing students to participate in Floridas growing economy.

Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett said, My thanks to Governor Scott for his unwavering support of a high-quality public education for every Florida student. The legislation signed today boosts the opportunities students have to prepare for their postsecondary education and a rewarding career.

State Board of Education Chair Gary Chartrand said, On behalf of the State Board of Education, I want to thank Governor Scott for his superb leadership and steadfast commitment to education. Because of this legislation, Florida students will benefit from a full range of options and possibilities that will better prepare them for their future.

Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna said, I am proud our colleges have embraced the governors challenge to work to develop high-quality bachelors degree programs costing students $10,000 or less. Access to high-quality, affordable education and job training opportunities is the foundation of the Florida College System.

Frank T. Brogan, chancellor, State University System of Florida, said, "We are grateful that Governor Scott and the Legislature share our dedication to making the State University System of Florida the most efficient, high-quality and accountable university system in the country. This landmark legislation will not only benefit our universities and our students, but will provide a good return on investment for all the people of Florida."

Joe Pickens, president, St. John's River State College and chair of the Florida College System Council of Presidents, said, On behalf of the Florida College System, we thank Governor Scott for signing the Career and Professional Education bill, SB 1076 by Senator Legg. The CAPE bill will create an even tighter link between the education we provide in the Florida College System and the jobs which our students are seeking. Stronger incentives and performance funding for industry certifications and job placement have always been a priority for us, and will ultimately benefit our students as they complete degrees and certificate programs and embark on careers. Thank you, Governor Scott, President Gaetz, and Speaker Weatherford for a landmark piece of legislation to help the nearly 1 million students we serve become better prepared for jobs.

Wendy Link, board member, Florida Board of Governors, said, I applaud Governor Scott for signing this bill that will transform Floridas education system and ensure Florida has world-class colleges and universities.

University of Florida President Bernie Machen said, "On behalf of the University of Florida, we applaud Governor Scott's commitment to academic excellence in Florida. This legislation will put Florida higher education on the map by creating a pathway for our universities to be nationally renowned."

Barbara Jenkins, Orange County Schools superintendent, said, By improving our requirements for high school graduation, we are ensuring our schools are better preparing students for the next step in their lives whether that means they continue on to college or they are prepared for a great career. I applaud Governor Scotts leadership on this meaningful legislation and his continued focus on students and teachers during this years legislative session. Governor Scott demonstrates his commitment to Floridas teachers by proposing an across-the-board $2,500 pay raise for our full-time classroom teachers. Increasing salaries rewards our teachers for their service and supports recruitment and retention of talent in our districts.

Mark Wilson, president and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce, said, By expanding Career and Professional Education (CAPE) academies in Florida, Governor Scott and the Legislature are ensuring students will be better prepared to enter the workforce. CAPE academies will equip students with the skills needed for tomorrows jobs and this type of education innovation will encourage businesses to invest in Florida. Expanding CAPE academies will make Florida more competitive and help ensure our students are ready for a changing economy.

Tom Feeney, president and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida, said, Floridas business community relies on our state for having a great education system that prepares our students to compete for the jobs of tomorrow. I applaud Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for this common-sense law that strengthens Floridas education system.

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