Putting Education Reform To The Test

Let Us Set Our Goals, Joel: Florida Superintendents Find 50 Ways To Cut Red Tape


Commissioner Stewart and Gov. Scott meet with teachers at Ft. Walton Beach High School during the Education Listening Tour.

Gov. Rick Scott asked seven school district superintendents last September to come up with recommendations for cutting red tape in education.

The goal was to save money and give teachers more time to focus on teaching instead of unnecessary paperwork.

The committee has provided a list of more than fifty recommendations based on the governor’s statewide education listening tour.

Scott and Education Commissioner Pam Stewart heard from educators about all the time spent on unnecessary or outdated regulations.

“Cutting burdensome regulations was something we were asked to do in almost every visit,” Scott said.

Committee recommendations include:

  • Repeal the requirement of annually reporting all recycled materials to the county using the department’s designated reporting format.
  • Amend statue to give districts flexibility in determining how best to require schools to review their data and set goals for improvement, or require the completion of the plan only for failing schools.
  • Shut down the statewide school safety hotline. Concerns should be reported locally.
  • Repeal requirement for districts to monitor students who leave school and enroll as home school students.
  • Repeal the statute that says schools can open no earlier than 14 days before Labor Day.
  • Amend statute to provide more time and flexibility to districts in the application of performance pay for public school personnel.

The Florida Department of Education also surveyed the other sixty school superintendents for suggestions.

“When we provide relief to school districts from unnecessary regulations,” Commissioner Stewart said, “that allows them to free up resources and provide more learning time for students.”

These are only ideas, and Gov. Scott hasn’t said how quickly he may act on them. Some recommendations require changes to statutes, while others are simple rule changes.

The Superintendent Committee:

William Husfelt, Bay County

Robert Runcie, Broward County

Dr. Douglas Whittaker, Charlotte County

Wallace Cox, Highlands County

Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Orange County

Dr. Joseph Joyner, St. Johns County

Dr. Margaret Smith, Volusia County


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