Monday, January 18, 2010

Franklin Sands Statement Re Florida Council of 100 Report, Closing The Talent Gap

Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement in response to today’s Florida Council of 100 “Closing the Talent Gap” report concerning the state’s workforce.

“I applaud the Florida Council of 100 for developing a detailed report on how to improve public education in Florida. The business community is an important stakeholder in our education system and their input is appreciated.

“The report contains some recommendations that many Florida House Democratic Caucus members support, including increased academic standards for high school graduation, enhanced use of end-of-course exams, and a requirement that primary teachers in the state’s public prekindergarten programs hold at least a four-year college degree.

“However, while I sincerely hope to see education reform addressed in a bipartisan fashion this year, I am concerned that many of the recommendations in the report will bring controversy and unproductive political rancor. The report unnecessarily includes several troubling recommendations, including a proposal to revive the unconstitutional `Opportunity Scholarship’ vouchers, a weakening of the Class Size Amendment that voters approved in 2002, and a greater emphasis on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test rather than what Florida House Democrats support, a broader and more progressive accountability system.

“I urge legislative leaders to review the report with a great deal of caution, concern and with an eye toward building bipartisan consensus on education reform.”

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