- 34 state lawmakers in Florida achieved perfect scores in the 2023 Florida Education Report Card.
- The “Honor Roll” list included 31 Republicans and three Democrats who passed significant education legislation.
- Four Democrats received the lowest grade of ‘D’ in the report.
34 state lawmakers in Florida, spanning the Senate and House of Representatives, achieved perfect scores in the 2023 Florida Education Report Card published by the Foundation for Florida’s Future. The report assesses legislators’ contributions in this year’s Legislative Session to enhancing student outcomes, opportunities, and access to quality education.
Those receiving top marks appeared on the analysis’ “Honor Roll” list, demarcating lawmakers that succeeded in passing prominent education legislation. The list, featuring leaders such as Rep. Paul Renner and Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, features 31 Republicans and three Democrats.
In contrast, four Democrats — Reps. Daryl Campbell, Michelle Rayner-Goolsby, Angie Nixon, and Johanna Lopez — all received a grade of ‘D,’ the lowest throughout either chamber in the Capitol.
According to the organization, grades are determined by legislators’ voting records and exhibited leadership. Voting records in both the House and Senate are evaluated based on the ratio of favorable votes on student-centered policies to the total voting opportunities on those policies.
The conservative-leaning Foundation was formed in 1995 by former Gov. Jeb Bush and focuses on advancing policies that “promote student achievement and success” while also advocating for reforms and initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of education, expanding educational opportunities, and increasing student outcomes.
“Florida’s 2023 legislative session brought notable changes for our state’s families, educators, and children, building on more than two decades of student-centered policies that make the Sunshine State the best place in the nation to learn and live,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “Each Floridian can celebrate the bipartisan work this session that put students first. This collaborative effort will pay off for generations to come.”
Florida’s Legislative Session placed an emphasis on education reform, highlighted by the passage of House Bill 1, which expands school choice options and alters the concept of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). The measure, introduced by Rep. Kaylee Tuck, who received an A+ in the report, eliminates financial eligibility restrictions and current enrollment caps at schools statewide, effectively creating more options for parents to choose a school for their children, whether that be traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online academies, or homeschooling.
Moreover, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed new legislation into law last week (HB 7039) aimed at addressing students’ declining math and reading skills, which were further disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill requires schools to identify students in kindergarten through 4th grade who struggle with math or show signs of dyscalculia. The law was prompted by the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) measures, which revealed a decline in scores for 4th and 8th-grade students in 2022.
Smaller pieces of legislation will see Florida’s school start times pushed back to fight against childhood sleep deprivation, school board term limits decreased to eight years, and amendments to capital outlay plans in order for charter schools to receive a higher proportion of district funding.