Prior to 3/5/2008 the newsclips are available in a PDF archive.
News Clips 03/14/2013
CAPE flies through committee stop
Source: Florida Current, 03/13/13
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By James Call
A major education theme this legislative session is, in the words of Senate President Don Gaetz, “lash education to the realities of the economy.”
That’s the idea behind SB 1076, which expands vocational training in high schools and extends it into colleges and universities. The measure, which builds upon a 2007 initiative establishing career academies in each school district, sailed through a Senate committee Wednesday on a unanimous vote.
“It underscores how education is critically linked to Florida’s new economy,” said sponsor Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz. “It makes significant changes to start to realign our high schools, our community colleges, universities with the kinds of jobs of today and tomorrow versus the jobs of 2003.”
The Career and Professional Education Act provides for five separate paths to a high school diploma, enables students to earn industry certification starting in middle school and through higher education, and creates performance-based funding for adult education programs, colleges and universities.
“We want to be able to target the funding in areas that will ... reward our universities, our colleges, our high schools in providing education that’s relevant to the economy,” said Gaetz, R-Niceville.
Representatives from Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber and a think tank created by former Gov. Jeb Bush all spoke in favor the bill. The Manufacturers Association of Florida, citing a shortage of skilled workers, has lobbied for more opportunities for students to earn industry credentials. Currently, high school students can earn certifications in health care, information technology and automotive mechanics while working toward a traditional diploma. Legg’s proposal builds upon what is already in place.
"It’s almost a dream come true,” said Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, who like Gaetz is a former school district superintendent. “Let’s remember that the manufacturing of today is quite different than manufacturing was a generation ago. This is recognition that these are tough, tough jobs intellectually.”
The proposal is for a high school freshman to choose one of five options to earn a diploma. The options are a 24-credit program; an Advanced International Certificate of Education curriculum; an International Baccalaureate curriculum; an 18-credit college prep program; or an 18-credit career prep program.
Although the bill does not contain an appropriation it shifts around education money, increasing the cap for industry certification programs from $15 million to $60 million. It also authorizes up to $15 million in performance-based funding for adult education programs and the college system, and ties an unspecified amount of performance-based funding for universities awarding degrees in fields specified by the Board of Governors.
Legg said the idea is to target state dollars to specific areas: the skills needed for students to succeed tomorrow.
“The days of construction, while there is still a need there (but) those jobs aren’t in as much demand as to how to program a computer, how to work with the various technology, of cloud virtualization: Those are the jobs that are coming,” said Legg.