Florida Senate looking for feedback on education reform

Governor Rick Scott has put a renewed emphasis on education. He’s working to keep the best teachers and expand school choice through charter schools and virtual education. He is committed to ensuring that Florida has an education system to produce a workforce that is prepared to compete in the new, global economy.

The Florida Senate is also working to ensure education reform is a conversation – amongst all Floridians. Today, the Senate Pre-K-12 Committee is holding a hearing to gather comments on “teacher quality and student success.” However, being a Friday, most Floridians are working and are unable to attend such a meeting. To ensure feedback is given on this important issue, the Senate has developed an e-mail account, educationinput@flsenate.gov, for all Floridians to send in their views.

I applaud this initiative and hope all parents, educators, citizens and students let their voice be heard.

Teacher, student, parent passion for reading is inspiring

Every year when we honor Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! it reminds me how passionate our students, teachers, staff and officials are about giving every child the gift of literacy. Next week, hundreds of volunteers throughout the state will be visiting Florida schools to share their personal love of reading.  They’ll bring the message that reading anything, including magazines, e-readers and websites, increases the reader’s vocabulary and knowledge.  They’ll encourage parents throughout their communities to get involved in the fun and simple task of sharing reading with their children.  And most importantly, they’ll be in classrooms interacting with students and talking about how today’s students can contribute to our state’s great future, and it all starts with reading.

We have a ton of events planned next week – from gift card giveaways and PSA contest winners to the Million Minute Read and book signings by Florida authors, including Edward Bloor, author of Taken.   That’s not to mention the hundreds of school and district-specific events organized by our fine teachers and educational leaders throughout the state.   To learn more about how you can participate in next week’s events or to learn more about the many partners contributing to Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! this year, check out our list of events. And this weekend, give some thought to how you can help encourage students, parents, teachers and other Floridians to grow their love of literacy next week and all year round!

School Choice is Your Choice

Welcome to the Florida Department of Education’s new blog, Florida Common Ground. We hope that this blog will be a helpful resource for you, providing tips to help you with your child’s education, education news updates, event notices and much more.   We also hope this blog will serve as yet another resource to contact us here at the Department. We look forward to your questions and suggestions as we work to fuel constructive conversations around the continued progress of education reform in our state and the resulting achievement of our students.

As many parents, teachers and education leaders around the state are aware, our state’s educational landscape can be difficult to navigate at times.  In an effort to help parents better understand the educational options available for their children, the Department of Education is hosting its first-ever School Choice Expo Jan. 22 in Tampa.  If you’ve ever wanted to know more about dual enrollment or advanced placement courses, McKay Scholarships, virtual education or charter schools, this Expo will be extremely beneficial for you.  And if you can’t join us Saturday in Tampa you can still check out a live online feed of the Expo at. For more info about the event, visit www.floridaschoolchoiceexpo.com.

Again, thanks for checking out our new blog. See you next time!