Rick Scott Charges Five School Supervisors to Reduce Red Tape
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UPDATE 5 P.M. TUESDAY: One of the first changes that may come from Gov. Rick Scott's "education listening tour" will be to reduce paperwork that impacts the time students learn in class.
Scott, who spent the past week visiting teachers, students, administrators and parents at 12 schools in nine districts, said Tuesday he will charge five district supervisors with coming up with the means to allow teachers to spend more time in the classroom without requiring more money.
“Our goal is to get these five superintendents to give us their suggestions on regulation cuts at the state level to focus on one thing: how can they reduce their paperwork and unnecessary regulations to increase classroom time for Florida students,” Scott said during the start of the state Cabinet meeting in the Capitol.
The need to provide more class time was presented at each of Scott’s school visits, according to his staff.
Scott added that additional directives will be made prior to the 2013 legislative session.
The districts were not immediately identified. Scott said they will represent both large and small districts.
The supervisors will be given 30 days to come up with their recommendations.
The directive comes as Scott continued all last week to offer glimpses into his desire to revamp the statewide testing students must undertake to advance a grade and eventually graduate.
Instead of teaching to the test, as teachers and parents have complained about the FCATs during his state crossing “education listening tour,” he has professed a need to establish a means to evaluate students on what they’ve learned in course work that prepares them for “college and careers.”
Scott has meanwhile professed his intention to maintain -- “at a minimum” -- the current level of education funding. Last session, his request to the Legislature to restore $1 billion back into the Pre-K-12 education budget was approved.
Democrats have contended that the listening tour is a stage in Scott’s 2014 re-election drive. State Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, questioned Scott’s motives for seeking the supervisors' recommendations.
"It's becoming more and more difficult to know where Rick Scott stands on public education and teaching,” Bullard stated in a release.
“Today, he says he would like to reduce paperwork requirements of educators. That's nice, but if Rick Scott is truly listening to teachers, he would know that Florida's education professionals deserve better pay and benefits and wholehearted support from state officials.
"What public school educators don't need is a governor who masquerades as an education advocate but proposes and signs state budgets that drastically shortchange education like Rick Scott did last year. Florida needs an education governor, not a politician who poses as an advocate for teachers when it's politically convenient."
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.