Hotly-debated education bills left out in analysis on FL lawmaker “grades” for 2022 session

By: - April 12, 2022 6:55 pm
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Classroom. Credit: Pixabay.

Republicans in the House and Senate largely got good grades — As and Bs — in an analysis on education policies in the 2022 legislatives session. Democrats generally fared worse in the GOP-controlled Legislature, with some Ds and even some Fs.

But a trio of hotly-debated education bills were not calculated in the grading, despite having major implications for Florida’s public schools.

The analysis on education was from the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a non-profit founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The organization used a familiar A-F scale, based on how lawmakers voted on certain bills and other actions related to “student-centered policies.”

Overall, there were about two dozen bills related to both the House and Senate in the analysis, from new state exams including what’s called progress monitoring, to a new high school requirement for financial literacy and new scholarships, or vouchers, for children from law enforcement families.

“By grading lawmakers on a scale of A-F, just like students and schools, Florida’s Education Report Card gives the public a clear and comprehensive assessment of who is keeping the promise of a quality education for every student in the Sunshine State,” the Foundation said in a press release on Monday.

But while the analysis used a wide range of education policies, there were three notable absences: HB 7, Individual Freedom, HB 1557 Parental Rights in Education, and HB 1467, K-12 Education. They were widely publicized, and critics believed those bills — which overshadowed most legislation in the session — would create a chilling effect in Florida classrooms.

HB 7 is about how race can or cannot be discussed in public schools classrooms and workplaces; HB 1557, referred to by critics as Don’t Say Gay or Don’t Say Gay or Trans, restricts certain classroom instruction on LGBTQ topics, and HB 1467, which could lead to removing certain books from school libraries.

The Phoenix asked for comment from the Foundation on why those three bills were not considered in the grading process.

“The bills I shared with you are the ones we considered,” said Joe Follick, director of state communications for ExcelinEd, which is connected to the Foundation.

Here are the grades for Republicans and Democrats in both chambers, based on the Foundation’s analysis:

Senate:

A+: 12 Republicans, no Democrats

A: 12 Republicans, 3 Democrats

B: 6 Democrats, no Republicans

C: 4 Democrats, no Republicans

D: 2 Democrats, no Republicans

House:

A+: 20 Republicans, no Democrats

A: 56 Republicans, 5 Democrats

B: 1 Republican, 2 Democrats

C: 10 Democrats, no Republicans

D: 9 Democrats, no Republicans

F: 15 Democrats, no Republicans

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.

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