CALLS LEGISLATION THE “RIGHT THING TO DO” WHILE STATING HE IS DISAPPOINTED IN THE PROCESS USED
Melbourne, Florida – Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – Bob White, Republican candidate for governor and proponent of school choice, weighed in on the controversial education bill, HB 7069 urging the governor to sign the legislation. Mr. White does, however, side with opponents of the bill when it comes to the process used in this sweeping education legislation.
HB 7069 was put together in the final days of the 2017 legislative session by leadership. The bill itself is made up of several pieces of legislation largely comprised of house bills that had not made it through the entire committee process and was mostly not seen by the Florida senate chamber prior to the vote on HB 7069. Mr. White feels that, while within the rules, this does not respect our legislative process and should have been handled better by leadership.
However, the positive impact of HB 7069 can not be ignored. White, a long term proponent of school choice and other free market principles being introduced into our education system, calls this legislation a good start to fixing some of our chronically failing public schools while also providing more help for students with disabilities, being more flexible on test protocols for 3rd – 6th graders and even creating a “Founders Month” in which children will learn to be proficient in civics.
The most controversial portion of the legislation, the Schools of Hope, which would give more funding to charter schools in chronically failing school districts, White calls the “right thing to do.” A 2015 study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, published by Stanford University, found that “urban charter schools on average achieve substantially greater levels of growth in math and reading relative to local TPS” (traditional public schools).
Furthering this, a 2014 study by Mathematica Policy Research performed one of the few studies on non-testing based education outcomes and found that students from charter schools on average had higher graduation rates, college entrance rates and higher median incomes as adults.
Even data used by the opponents of the legislation show that the majority of charter schools in the state of Florida rate the highest grading of an A or B (55%) while the majority of the traditional public schools receive a C or below grade (56%). Mr. White acknowledges the higher amount of charter schools receiving a failing grade than the traditional public schools (18% compared to 12%) but urges opponents to also understand that these failing charter schools are eliminated in Florida if they do not improve while traditional public schools will continue failing our students in perpetuity.
In the coming weeks the Bob White for Florida Governor team will be releasing Mr. White’s “Children First Education Plan” in which his goal is to have individual based outcomes and education plans for children to ensure that every child in our state can have the highest level of success in education.