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Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed a new educational reform bill into law which some are calling “an education revolution.” This bill is aimed at revamping high school education in the state of Florida that will lead to more students being able to get a job upon graduation.
Under the new law, graduation requirements have been shaken up to reflect modern employment needs. Students can choose subjects which will prepare them for college, or those which will help them gain skills related to their desired job. It also allows students to substitute industry related courses for subjects like Algebra II, Chemistry, and Physics. Under the new system, Florida’s students can earn national certification in more than 200 different professions or occupations. "There were some additional graduation requirements that we believe essentially would've forced more students to drop out rather than pursuing high school graduation," said Barbara Jenkins, Orange County Schools Superintendent. Not only will the new bill encourage these students to stay in school, it will position them to find employment upon graduation. Scotty Crowe, Assistant Superintendent for Leon County schools says "We can meet the demands of the job market with having students that are ready and prepared through high school to step right in career ready positions.”
This opens up paths for many students whose needs were not being previously met. “It just changes the options. It’s no longer just one option for graduation; it’s much more fair,” Bay District Superintendent Bill Husfelt said. “They get to pick and choose what direction they go instead of us molding all kids into one college area. That’s where we were going wrong.” These changes could very well encourage more students to stay in school through graduation.
Parents and children have more options for their needs, all of which address current economic realities. In addition to graduation requirements, the bill creates ways for middle-schoolers with a gift for math and science to be identified and given the opportunity to attend a state school, financial literacy education in high school economics classes, and a career readiness component to adult education programs. All in all, the bill is simply great for Floridians!
"This bill is going to be great for our families, students, and make sure my children or my grandchildren can live in the great state of Florida because they can get a great job because I know that they can get a great education," said Gov. Rick Scott.
Clearly, Scott understands that education is not one-size-fits-all and that American students need better options. Kudos for taking such a big step forward. I hope other states are taking notes.