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Education Overhaul

January 25th, 2010 by flanews

The governor is asking lawmakers to approve more education spending to help jump start plans to overhaul the states school system. The proposed changes range from paying teachers based on their students test scores to easing class size requirements. As Whitney Ray tells us, the changes wont come easy.

A horse named Tuffy and a popular childrens book character greeted students at the state capitol Monday, encouraging them to read. Good reading skills will be vital for these students eyeing esteemed careers, but before these kids make the jump from dreamer to doer theyll have to graduate, a task that may soon become harder in Florida.

Drastic changes to graduation requirements, curriculum, and the FCAT are being pushed by policymakers, but the changes could cost some serious coin which is raising concern among some lawmakers confused about where theyre supposed to find the cash.

Governor Charlie Crist is asking lawmakers to find an extra 500 million education dollars in a state budget depleted by falling sales tax revenue. Crist says gambling revenues and a freeze on class size requirements will help increase funding. Teacher Unions oppose the freeze.

I think a lot of people are using the economy to try to kill something they never supported in the first place, said Mark Pudlow, a spokesman with the Florida Education Association.

Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp says the economy will play a huge role in how much reform is approved this year.

When moneys tight youve got to get back to the basics, reading, writing and arithmetic, said Kottkamp.

But even the basics cost billions in Florida leaving lawmakers with some tough decisions come March. Some of the changes being championed would bring the state in compliance with the Race to the Top standards making Florida eligible for a billion dollars in federal funding.

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