Florida Governor DeSantis announces $289 million in new education funding – NBC 6 South Florida
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced $289 million in additional funding for educational programs to help close achievement gaps, improve STEM education, and build student resilience.
DeSantis announced the funding during a press conference at the City of Hialeah Educational Academy on Wednesday morning.
Funding includes $105 million for after-school and summer learning camps to help struggling students catch up, $47 million for primary materials aligned with Florida’s new English language standards , math, civics and Holocaust education, $50 million to support reading intervention and professional development for reading coaches, $44 million to support STEM learning programs and practices, $22.5 million for resources to help parents become more involved in their children’s education, and $5 million to create regional mental health resilience teams that serve students.
“We’re going to maintain our commitment to high standards and academic performance, but we’re going to do it in a way that’s really going to provide meaningful feedback to teachers and parents that’s going to help students,” DeSantis said.
On Tuesday, DeSantis signed a bill to replace current Florida standardized tests in public schools with year-round assessments to better gauge each student’s progress.
Tests will be given at the beginning, middle and end of the school year so that teachers can better assess student achievement in English and math. DeSantis said testing will take less time than Florida’s current standards assessments.
“We can get the same information from the FSA in a much shorter time frame and in a way that we get very quick feedback for parents, teachers and students,” DeSantis said. “Under the FSA, students, parents and teachers would receive results after the school year. Well, it was too late to do anything about it. How will you remedy if you see problems?”
The bill was a priority for DeSantis, who announced the proposal last September.
Fall and winter test results must be provided to teachers within one week and to parents within two weeks. Tests will take place on computers unless there is a specific need for a child to take a paper-based test.
“By eliminating the FSA and moving to progress tracking, we’re really going to help strengthen conversations between parents and teachers so they can work together to make sure our kids are successful,” DeSantis said.
The Florida Education Association said in a press release that it was hopeful when DeSantis announced plans to eliminate Florida’s standards assessment, but is disappointed with the outcome.
“This bill does not reduce testing but increases it. The bill does not focus on student learning or giving teachers time to monitor and assess children’s progress. In fact, it will probably add more work to already overstretched teachers,” said Andrew Spar, the teacher’s union president.