A Florida TaxWatch Commentary by Bob Nave (Vice President of Research)
How can scholastic debate and the business community work together to drive Florida's students forward? One option is to look at existing programs, like the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Debate Initiative, which now boasts approximately 15,000 students in every high school and learning center, every middle school, and in more than 100 elementary schools. The Initiative is a partnership between BCPS and local businesses, whose sponsorships and donations are critical in supporting debate opportunities for BCPS students.
Shifting demographics as the Baby Boomer generation exits the labor force will also fuel broader changes for the working population. For these reasons, the needs of the future workforce place a premium on human skills development—equipping individuals with the requisite skills to be prepared for a workforce full of disruption and displacement. Increasingly, postsecondary institutions and industry will both be crucial to training workers for an ever-evolving economy.
FOR STUDENTS, LEARNING IS A CUMULATIVE PROCESS WHEREBY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS ARE DEVELOPED OVER SUCCESSIVE YEARS. As such, any sudden and large disruption to in-person instruction can have a cascading effect on student learning and life outcomes beyond formal education. Due to COVID-19, the unprecedented disruption in learning, especially for K-12 students, raises concerns about what unfinished learning may mean for academic achievement, mental health, and social development in the future. So what happens now?
Broward UP (“Unlimited Potential”) is an innovative, community-centric approach to delivering necessary workforce education in communities most impacted by high unemployment and low education attainment. Pioneered by Broward College, Broward UP seeks to increase college access, improve degree and certificate attainment, and raise economic mobility in six Broward County ZIP codes with disproportionately higher rates of unemployment and lower educational attainment relative to surrounding areas. By providing free, in-demand courses, Broward UP holistically reduces the perpetuation of poverty in communities.
On May 14, 2020, Florida TaxWatch held a virtual roundtable discussion composed of nine current winners of TaxWatch’s prestigious Principal Leadership Award to discuss ways to improve the overall quality of pre-K–12 education by improving the leadership qualities of our principals. Moderated by our Vice President for Research Bob Nave, the panel discussed obstacles to effective school leadership; ways to attract and retain high-quality teachers; professional development for principals; how to get the most from teachers; and principal autonomy. TaxWatch is pleased to present this summary report and its recommendations, and we look forward to a continued discussion with Florida lawmakers and policymakers in advance of the 2021 legislative session.
HB 7087, upon becoming law, would require the Boards of Trustees of Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly), New College of Florida (New College), and the University of Florida (UF) to submit to applications for merger to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSSCOC). Upon approval of the mergers, New College and Florida Poly would become part of UF and specified items and assets of New College and Florida Poly would be transferred to UF.
On January 30th, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed an Executive Order establishing the goal to make Florida number 1 in the U.S. for workforce education by 2030 and to ensure that Florida students are ready for high-demand, high-wage jobs. Building a workforce in health services, transportation, education, computing, trade, utilities, and jobs that require an industry certification or license will require a sizable investment of public and private funds. In this report, TaxWatch takes a fresh look at Broward College, how it compares to other institutions of higher learning in the Tri-County South Florida region, and its return on investment.
Moderated by our Vice President for Research Bob Nave, the panel discussed obstacles to effective school leadership; ways to attract and retain high-quality teachers; professional development for principals; how to get the most from teachers; and principal autonomy.
Per-student spending is an easy-to-use measure by which taxpayers can evaluate public school spending and efficiency. Most taxpayers, however, have little or no idea how much is spent per student in public schools. The most commonly reported per-student spending figures in Florida are based solely on funding provided through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). For the 2017-18 school year, Florida public schools would have spent an average of $7,307 “per student” in FEFP funding. TaxWatch research shows that this is not, in fact, the true cost of education in Florida.
On January 30th, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed an Executive Order establishing the goal to make Florida number 1 in the U.S. for workforce education by 2030 and to ensure that Florida students are ready for high-demand, high-wage jobs. In this report, TaxWatch takes a fresh look at the return on investment of the Florida College System.