Florida Lawmakers Aim To Rescue Kids From Failing Schools

The state of Florida could be heading for one of the most far-reaching public school reforms in recent times after a bill that passed the senate and house landed on the governor’s desk.

The measure is largely aimed at getting students out of schools that chronically fail annual assessments. It would move students from those hopeless schools into charter schools run by private organizations.

The sweeping education reform plan also makes changes to the way teacher bonuses are decided and to annual standardized testing. The legislation also mandates that elementary schools set aside 20 minutes each day for “free-play recess,” although this requirement does not apply to charter schools.

Many Democrats, however, were sharply critical of the bill since the full details were not released until last Friday. Top Republicans negotiated key components in secret. The bill heads to Gov. Rick Scott, who may veto the legislation since it’s linked to the overall state budget.