Florida Senate Interim Project Reports Review Literacy Intervention, Workforce Applicability of State’s Graduation Requirements

Oct 15, 2009

The Florida Senate Committee on Education Pre-K – 12 (“Committee”) released two Interim Project Reports today, October 15, 2009:  One report reviewed literacy intervention best practices and another evaluated the applicability of Florida’s current high school graduation requirements in future workforce applications.

Summaries of each are provided below. 


Interim Report 2010-111:  A Review of the Department of Education and School District Practices for Reading Intervention in Middle and High Schools Where a Majority of Students are Reading Below Grade Level

During recent years, Florida student scores on standardized reading tests suggest that student literacy begins to diminish during the middle grades and falls substantially during the high school years.  While Florida has successfully implemented research-based reading programs at the elementary grade level, it has been determined that established interventions for struggling readers and the overall enhancement of literacy skills for all Florida students may need to be revisited in order to better prepare them for the global economy.  

In its report, the Committee makes the following recommendations to address the issue:

  • Current standards assigned for grade-level reading achievement at third grade should be increased;
  • Support for literacy and comprehensive curriculum should be increased;
  • Teacher preparation practices and requirements for certification should be revised;
  • Professional learning opportunities for secondary teachers should be revised; and
  • Effective instructional time for struggling readers should be increased.

To view the full report, click here.


Interim Report 2010-112:  A Review of the Effect of State High School Graduation Requirements on Student Preparation for Post-Secondary Education and the Workforce

Because of prevailing economic conditions indicating that Florida should be making targeted investments in the “STEM-Related” skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), it is anticipated that efforts to raise the State’s high school graduation requirements will be proposed during the upcoming 2010 Regular Legislative Session.  The general consensus is that Florida must be poised to attract new business enterprises in order to revitalize and expand its economy.  Those same businesses are expected to primarily evaluate the State’s ability to produce a talented workforce before relocating to Florida. 

The Report concludes that, in order to make Florida globally competitive in “STEM” subjects such as mathematics and science, the following revisions should be made in the State’s current education and teacher development practices:

  • Pre-K-20 science and mathematics instruction must be revised to make instruction relevant to students. This requires universities, colleges, education preparation institutes, and school districts to emphasize the actual art of instruction in their curricula for the preparation of teachers.
  • Reading skills instruction must be incorporated in all content areas beginning at grade 4 and continuing through grade 12, in order to support student success in the STEM areas.
  • Professional development, teacher preparation programs and the certification of teachers needs significant revision to develop quality teachers and instruction. Professional development must emphasize instruction that is engaging and meaningful to students. Teacher preparation programs should revise their curricula based on the student learning data of their graduates. Finally, certification to teach in Florida should require a candidate to demonstrate a more significant understanding of content.
  • Florida should aggressively recruit STEM educators from post-secondary institutions and the high-tech business sector. The Florida Department of Education (“DOE”) and school districts should determine if there are barriers to recruiting such candidates.
  • The DOE should continue, within budgetary constraints, its efforts to acquire assessments to identify appropriate instruction, including rigorous end-of-course assessments.
  • The Florida Legislature should require a comprehensive review of current STEM-related funding to ensure that it is non-duplicative and based on sound research and a return on the State’s investment.

To view the full report, click here.


Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.


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