Putting Education Reform To The Test

Grades Are In For Florida’s Lawmakers

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The Foundation for Florida's Future has given out a lot of 'A's.

The grades are in, and 17 Florida lawmakers were named to the honor roll on the Foundation for Florida’s Future 2012 report card.

The foundation was started by former Gov. Jeb Bush, and graded lawmakers based on their votes for a handful of bills.

The group supports raising standards for students, holding teachers and schools accountable and expanding public and private school choice.

Included in the tally were bills expanding access to online or virtual schools, allowing students to graduate early, and expanding a program which grants tax credits to fund private school scholarships.

Lawmakers also got positive points for approving a state budget which added $1 billion to K-12 education funding — though much of that money was eaten up by rising costs.

The list also included the parent trigger, which allows parents in failing schools to vote on ways to restructure the school.  Those options include converting the school to a publicly funded but privately run charter school.

The bill was the only one on the list the Legislature failed to approve.

Among those making the honor roll was Polk County Republican Sen. JD Alexander, who pushed colleagues to create the state’s 12th university, Florida Polytechnic. In total, 13 Republicans and 4 Democrats were named to the honor roll.

Just two Republicans earned less than an ‘A’ grade in the House — Rep. Tom Goodson got a ‘D’ while Rep. Mike Weinstein got a ‘C.’ Only three House Democrats earned better than an ‘F’: Rep. John Julien received an ‘A;’ Rep. Leonard Bembry a ‘D;’ and Rep. Darren Soto a ‘C.’

Grades were more mixed in the Senate.

Check out the report card here.


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