Below is a statement from Senator Don Gaetz:
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) today attended Florida Governor Rick Scott’s signing of Senate Bill 1076, the Career and Professional Education Act. The bi-partisan legislation, sponsored by Senator John Legg (R-Lutz) with the strong support of Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), expands current CAPE initiatives, initially sponsored by President Gaetz through Senate Bill 1232 in 2007, into postsecondary education and establishes incentive funding programs to reward education institutions that prepare students for success.
“The Career and Professional Education Act does far more than reform education, it transforms education in our state, and I am grateful to Governor Scott for signing this bill into law today, and to Senator Legg and Senator Montford for their work to make this legislation a reality for Florida students,” said President Gaetz. “By lashing education to the realities and opportunities of the economy, this legislation makes it far more likely that our graduates will earn diplomas and degrees that qualify them for real jobs.”
Senate Bill 1076 integrates technology skills and knowledge into K-12 classrooms and higher education certificate and degree programs, redefines one rigorous-standard high school diploma and revises high school graduation requirements for all students to increase student academic achievement, enhance employability, and increase the likelihood of college and career success.
“This bill will strengthen Florida’s families and economy by expanding opportunities for students to gain skills targeted toward industry-specific jobs, earning above average wages,” stated Senator Legg. “The CAPE Act recognizes that industry certification in our global market is key for our students’ success. It recognizes that high-skilled industry level certification; along with partnership from our school district technical centers, community colleges, and state universities will empower our students for a brighter tomorrow. This bill closes the gap between our high schools, post-secondary system and the workforce. It will place tools in the tool box for our teachers, ensuring that our children are competitive.”
“Across Florida we have thousands of high-paying, high-demand jobs that remain unfilled, yet more than half of our college graduates are unemployed or underemployed,” said Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee). “This legislation addresses that situation by promoting an aggressive strategy to link education to our economy, giving our students the tools to succeed in college and in their careers.”
Integrates Technology Skills and Knowledge into Classrooms and Degree Programs –
- Expands software applications for students with disabilities in pre-K through grade 12.
- Establishes new mechanisms for students to demonstrate digital skills and knowledge, including:
o Florida Cyber Security Recognition and the Florida Digital Arts Recognition for elementary school students.
o Florida Digital Tools Certificate for middle school students.
- Recognizes State University System excellence/preeminence and expands State University System Information Technology, Cloud Technology, and other high-demand economically-driven program and degree options, including online instruction.
- Establishes a new Institute for Online Learning at one of Florida’s nationally-recognized, high-research state universities that will offer high-quality, fully online bachelor degree programs at 75% of the cost of in-state tuition.
Focuses Education on Employer and Economic Job Demands – Provides performance expectations and funding incentives to reward education entities that align programs with economic demands:
- Provides performance/incentive funding to school district technical centers and Florida College System institutions that provide instruction leading to rigorous industry certifications.
- Authorizes Florida College System institutions to offer complete bachelor degree programs at a cost of no more than $10,000 in tuition and fees.
- Requires the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors to use employment outcomes when recommending funding allocations to the Legislature.
Redefines One Rigorous-Standard High School Diploma– Revises high school graduation requirements for all students to increase student academic achievement, enhance employability, and increase the likelihood of postsecondary success and codifies Next Generation Sunshine Standards to reflect State Board adopted subject area standards.
Creates Mechanism for Preeminent State Universities– A state university that achieves all 12 metrics is authorized to operate an Institute for Online Learning that offers high-quality, fully online bachelor degree programs at an affordable cost (no more than 75% of the tuition rate specified for resident, Florida students). A state university that achieves 11 of the 12 metrics is authorized to operate a University Enhancement Initiative to further advance national excellence.
Establishes the Complete Florida Degree Program – Establishes a pilot project as a formal program for online bachelor degree options in state universities, coordinated through the University of West Florida in collaboration with other state universities.
$10,000 Bachelor Degrees at Florida College System Institutions – Establishes authority for the waiver of Florida College System tuition and fees for the purpose of offering baccalaureate degrees for state residents for which the cost for the degree program does not exceed $10,000.
For more information on Senate Bill 1076, please click here.