Florida Chamber of Commerce wants more public funds for private schools

By | 10.20.11 | 4:15 pm

The Florida Chamber of Commerce logo (Pic via dotflorida.org)

The Florida Chamber of Commerce today released its 2012 legislative agenda, which includes support for education changes that strengthen charter schools, expand the use of public funds for virtual/private schools and broaden the use of technology in the classroom.

The Chamber’s 2012 agenda (.pdf) states that “working with partners such as the Foundation for Florida’s Future, The Florida Council of 100, Workforce Florida and other education reform advocates, Florida is leading the way for innovative education reforms needed to cultivate a talented workforce with the skills to succeed in the new economy.”

The Florida Council of 100′s “Closing the Talent Gap” (.pdf), published in January and heralded by the Chamber, states that the “crisis in human capital represents a vast and growing unmet need for a highly skilled and educated workforce — our state’s most important resource for driving sustainable economic development and a diversified economy.”

The Council of 1oo study developed a business perspective that describes its “vision of Florida’s Talent Supply Chain” that would be “access oriented, market driven, focused on high standards, accountability and incentives and cost effective.”

The Foundation for Florida’s Future and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, led by former Gov. Jeb Bush, have promoted the type of education changes the Chamber supports in the 2012 legislative agends.

Last month, state Rep. Erik Fresen and state Sen. Don Gaetz (both Republicans and both Chamber advocates) were invited to speak at the National Summit on Education Reform, organized by the Foundation for Excellence in Education in San Francisco.

State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale (the Chamber’s 2011 most valuable legislator) recently filed a bill ”deleting a provision relating to the calculation of class size categorical allocations and the reduction and reallocation of funds; deleting a provision that requires the Commissioner of Education to prepare a reallocation of funds for school districts that have met the class size requirements.”

The Florida Constitution currently caps the number of students per classroom at 18 for pre-kindergarten through grade 3, 22 for grades 4 through 8, and 25 for grades 9 through 12.

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