Revised house bill would expand options for charter and virtual schools

Rep. Manny Diaz
The Florida House Education Committee revised a testing bill today to include an amendment that would help charter and virtual schools.

Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, filed a 76-page amendment to HB 773, adding certain aspects of several education bills.

The amendment includes a portion HB 7101 by Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Altamonte Springs that would allow high-performing charters to replicate more than once per year if they open in an area served by a persistently low-performing school.

It also includes provisions from HB 833, by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, allowing all students to have access to online courses.

Sullivan’s bill — and the companion bill by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala — would give students in second through fifth grade who did not attend public school the ability to enroll in part-time virtual instruction.

Diaz also added terminology from HB 1111, which would give charter schools more freedom to train teachers and get them certified. The bill would create a new mentorship-based path to a Florida teaching certificate, and allow charter schools and charter school management companies to create their own teacher mentorship programs.

Rep. Larry Lee, D-Port St. Lucie, joined colleagues from both parties who approved the revised bill.

“I am going to be supporting this bill,” he said. “It needs a little bit of work. I am of the opinion that let’s not let perfect get in the way of good.” 

Charter Schools, Education and Public Policy, General