Gov. Rick Scott sat down for an interview with WLRN’s Phil Latzman this morning. StateImpact Florida slipped Phil a few questions.
Here’s a transcript of Scott’s responses. Listen to the full interview here.
Q: Studies show that half of STEM graduates — science, technology, engineering and math — choose careers in other fields. What specific policies are you advocating of schools to graduate more STEM graduates? And how could you make sure those STEM graduates actually take those jobs?
A: What I want to do is I want to start the debate. I want to understand…what I’ve done is, as you know, I’ve asked from our university presidents a lot of information about ‘You know, what sort of research are we doing to find out what sort of jobs are out there? What are employers looking for? What employers needs are?’
Because I believe education is for the benefit of students so they can get jobs when they get out. What sort of studies are we doing? What sort of programs do we have? Are we highlighting the programs where individuals can get jobs? Are we letting individuals know where the jobs are? Are we tracking whether these people get jobs or not.
What I want to do is look at the data and then listen to the individuals in education and get their thoughts first because they should know the right way of attacking this to make sure our students get the education where they can get jobs.
Q: Speaking of that Hillsborough County school officials have asked for a breather on school reform this year as they try and implement merit pay, teacher evaluations, the other changes that were approved last year. Do schools need time to recover this year, or are you going to push a K-12 agenda of similar size and scope for this upcoming session?
A: As you know we had a great year last year. Everything we did was for the benefit of students.
We said no longer will we have tenure for new teachers. So our principals can now pick the teachers that are the best. Get rid of bad teachers, keep the most-effective teachers. Started the process of merit pay so we can compensate our better teachers better. Allow successful charter schools to expand and give students the opportunity that are in bad, poor-performing schools the opportunity to move.
So I think we had a great session last time. My goal this session is to make sure we implement those things well. We have as much measurement as possible that our parents and our students can see where they should want to go to school, what their expectations should be.
Because I think all of us as parents, we want our children to do well.