As families strive to provide their students with the best education, it is important for them to have a full understanding of the ways to contribute to making this possible. Along with being actively involved in their child’s school, parent involvement can and should reach beyond home and even school walls.
Families have a voice at the state and even national levels of education policy. They are encouraged to reach out to legislators and policymakers to provide feedback, express concerns, to influence education policies that affect their schools and communities. Additionally, families are encouraged to stay informed about the decisions being considered and made each day at the legislative level.
Being empowered is being equipped with the knowledge, resources and tools necessary to ensure the best decisions are made to meet the educational needs of our students, contributing to our vision of preparing students for college, a career, and life.Learn about our legislative platform and email your legislative contacts about educational initiatives you care about:
2020 Legislative Platform
Invests in the Recruitment and Retention of High Quality Teachers
Action: Ensure additional funding for teachers and support staff contributes to employee FRS contributions.
Recruitment and retention of great teachers remains a challenge, particularly in high demand certification areas and hard to staff schools. COVID- 19 has had an impact on our human capital.
Provide a Graduation Path for Students who Are WorkForce and Career Ready
Action: Ensure that students can be covered by employer’s risk coverage through cost neutral measures.
During the last Session, Governor DeSantis and the Department of Education established the Strengthening Alignment between Industry and Learning to 60 initiatives. An ambitious goal for the state to increase the percentage of individuals holding high-value postsecondary degrees, certificates, or training experiences to 60% by 2030. Although DCPS strives to ensure that our students have work-based learning opportunities, businesses are reluctant to employ students due to the increase costs of liability insurance for student employees.
Invest in High Quality Education for All Students
INCREASE MENTAL HEALTH ALLOCATION FUNDING:
Action: Increase FLDOE Mental Health Assistance Allocation to hire additional mental health professionals to allow DCPS the opportunity to provide evidence-based school behavioral health services with fidelity and give us the ability to build district-wide capacity to meet the needs of the whole child.
According to the American School Counselors Association and Association of School Social Workers, the recommended ratio is one counselor to every 250 students. To reach recommended student ratios, we would need $41 million dollars for these professionals. With the additional $2.8 million dollars allocated last Session, we have been able to begin reducing our staffing ratios.
INCREASE CLASS SIZE CATEGORICAL FUNDING:
Action: Increase the Class Size Amendment Categorical to enable districts to restore reasonable class sizes in all instructional areas.
Compliance with class size reduction school-wide averages is calculated for each public school as required by F.S. Section 1003.3(1). The funding has not kept pace with increasing district enrollments and the increase in average teacher pay, including benefits. Without proper funding, a responsibility imbalance is created for teachers teaching non-core classes.
Electives like music and arts, resource classes, advanced placement courses, and physical education are examples of courses with disproportionate student enrollments.
Maintain High Standards for Governance and Leadership
Action: Uphold rights enumerated in the Florida Constitution for duly elected school boards.
Propelled by a record-breaking graduation rate and learning gains made by students in math and reading, Duval County Public Schools is now closer to an A than it has ever been. The district leaped six overall points and is now just 4 points shy – less than one percentage point – from an A-rating. Please oppose local bill J-1 seeking a referendum to move from appointed to an elected superintendent.
2021 Legislative Platform
Skilled Workforce and Economic Development
Action: Restore 2012 FTE calculation of funding for courses beyond a base
6-period/1.0 FTE day.
The costs for providing advanced study, distance learning and career readiness programs exceeds the current FTE funding. To best accommodate students during the COVID-19 crisis and to meet requirements for advanced study and industry certified programs, we have implemented a 7 or 8 period school day. In order to maintain, promote, and increase college prep, and dual enrollment programs; a program cost factor could be applied to weight the FTE for Dual Enrollment.
Higher Student Achievement through Accountability
Action: Establish a new baseline for assessing student growth and create a pathway to exit Differentiated Accountability.
COVID-19 has had significant impacts on student learning, health, and safety. SY 2020-21 assessment results should be used to inform instruction and as an updated baseline year for school grades in SY 2020-21. Create a pathway for turnaround schools that demonstrated significant gains despite COVID-19 to exit Differentiated Accountability.
Quality Efficient Services
Action: Ensure that school choice opportunities are provided with quality administrative support to address their growing needs.
School Districts provide a variety of services including but not limited to annual evaluation services for home education students, interscholastic athletic waivers, and ESE/IEP Services to charter and private schools. The current administrative fee percentage does not compensate for the services extended. For example, Step Up for Students receives a 3% flat rate for services provided per student. Instead a varying fee structure, we could increase efficiency by streamlining the administrative fee percentage to a flat rate for all services.
Higher Student Achievement through Retention of High Quality Teachers
Action: Maintain categorial funding to support teachers and recruit new teachers to our District.
Recruitment and retention of great teachers remains a challenge, particularly in high demand certification areas and hard to staff schools. COVID-19 has had an impact on our human capital with record retirements and year-long leaves of absences. Although we remain in negotiations with our union, we know that the categorical funding provided will help us to take a meaningful step for our teachers.