Florida legislators began the 60-day legislative session on January 9. Here is what we are watching:

Mastery-based learning. SB 968/HB 1035 would expand a personalized learning pilot program statewide and would allow schools to advance students based on their mastery of a subject, rather than the traditional contact hours in class. 

Virtual education. HB 949/SB 1198 would bar online learning providers from offering publicly funded courses if they earn two straight F’s from the state’s A-F accountability system, but they CAN earn multiple D ratings.

Scholarship oversight. SB 1756SB 1736 and SB 1614 are Senate proposals to increase oversight of the tax credit scholarship programs. While FLOCS has always advocated that accreditation should be the sole accountability required for scholarships, the Florida legislature does not agree. This will be a HOTBED topic this year.

Revisiting HB 7069. This will also be one to watch, although most of the issue currently center around Charter schools.

More McKay access. HB 829/SB 1030 would ease public-school attendance requirements for special needs students who want to start using McKay Scholarships in fifth grade or below.

Special needs evaluations for voucher recipients. SB 564/HB 399 would allow parents to request new evaluations for students who receive McKay Scholarships. School districts conduct the evaluations, which determine the value of the vouchers for children with special needs.

Early learning. HB 951/SB 1192 would allow families to apply for a second year of Voluntary Prekindergarten scholarships for students at risk of being unprepared for kindergarten. SB 1546 would require early learning coalitions to offer at-home, technology-based early learning programs to disadvantaged students.

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