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Governor Signs Bill Promoting Classical Education, and Limiting School Book Challenges

WJXT via the The Florida Channel

Florida - Tuesday April 167, 2024: Governor DeSantis signed a wide ranging education bill into law Tuesday during a ceremony held at the Jacksonville Classical Academy, a charter school.

House Bill 1285 promotes the adoption of 'classical education' by providing a process for a struggling school to convert to a charter school. Under the new law, if a school receives either two straight Ds, or an F on their school grade, it is deemed a 'turnaround school,' and the school district must take corrective action. "You can't just let these kids languish in 'F' rated schools," said the Governor.

The legislation also allows high school students to explore military service opportunities, and ensures that college and university students can work part time jobs while enrolled.

"By focusing on core academic subjects and rejecting indoctrination in the classroom," said the Governor, "we have become a standard-bearer for educational excellence."

Education Commissioner Manny Diaz also cited the provisions in the new law that allow teachers to get a classical education certificate which he said would bolster "efforts to increase the teacher pipeline.”

HB 1285:

  • Enables classical schools to prioritize enrollment for families moving from one classical school to another. 
  • Empowers aspiring teachers to obtain a classical teaching certificate developed by the State Board of Education.
  • Requires that school districts and charter schools provide 11th and 12th grade students with the opportunity to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Test and the ability to consult with a military recruiter.
  • Ensures postsecondary institutions allow students to work their way through school.
  • Protects from conflicts of interest between a postsecondary institution and its trustees.

Book Challenges:

  • Ensures that book challenges are limited for individuals who do not have children with access to the school district’s materials. 
  • Unlimited objections remain for parents with children in the school district, which includes home schooled students accessing district materials.
  • Individuals without children in the district will be limited to one objection per month.Protects schools from activists trying to politicize and disrupt a district’s book review process. 

Purple Star Schools of Distinction Program

  • Continues to support military families with the Purple Star Schools of Distinction Program.
  • Institutes Purple Star School Districts, which recognizes districts with Purple Star Schools making up 75% of schools in their district.
  • Helps to ensure a seamless transition for military families moving into Florida by requiring schools to provide them with support and resources.