Last week, state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, showcased her proposal to create “uniformity among public, private, and charter schools in the state.”
Stewart filed her bill earlier in the month with her office insisting “there are various inconsistencies in requirements for the three types of schools in Florida Statute.” The bill would mandate that all teachers have a bachelor’s degree and would have private schools follow the same construction standards that public and charter schools currently follow. The bill would also “require private schools to follow state academic standards, administer state exams to an eligible percentage of students, receive state grades, and require at least 20 minutes of recess for primary schools.”
Last week, Stewart weighed in on why she filed the bill.
“There should be some standard of parity in the state no matter what school you choose. There have been stories coming out about some alternative schools and their lack of professionally educated staff, substandard facilities, and limited ability to show academic progress among students,” said Stewart.
“I’m not trying to limit the options that alternative choice schools seek to offer, but address the lack of accountability for the sake of all children. Regardless of school choice there should be qualified instructional personnel, and not substandard conditions, which is irresponsible use of tax dollars, and it’s up to the legislature to do something about it. We owe this to all the children,” Stewart added.
The bill was sent to the Education Committee; the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; and the Appropriations Committee last week. So far, Stewart does not have any co-sponsors for the bill and there is no related legislation in the House. Stewart will have a tough time getting the bill through the Legislature with both chambers controlled by the GOP.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.