“WHAT THEY ARE SAYING…” | Florida Dep’t. of Education Press Release | Jan 13, 2020

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING…

Education Leaders and Stakeholders Praise Governor DeSantis as “The Education Governor”

~ 2020 is the year of the teacher ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., January 13, 2020 – Below is what state officials and education stakeholders are saying in support of Governor DeSantis’ 2020 Legislative Session priorities, ensuring 2020 is the year of the teacher.

Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran said, “Governor DeSantis has proven himself time and time again that he is not only the Education Governor, but Florida is the Education State. Governor DeSantis’ is focused on elevating and celebrating educators, and has made it clear that 2020 will be the year of the teacher. Florida educators deserved to be fairly compensated because they have the most important jobs in the state, inspiring the minds of Florida students to become the hardworking leaders of tomorrow. He will not stop working until that goal is achieved. I am looking forward to a successful 2020 Legislative Session and working with the Legislature to make Governor DeSantis’ teacher pay proposal a reality.”

State Board of Education Chair Andy Tuck said, “It is clear that with Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida is on track be the best state in the nation for education. Last year, we had a tremendous legislative session and I’m looking forward to working with the Governor and our Legislators to make 2020 even better. Florida students are my top priority and I will continue working until all students receive a world-class education.”  

Excellence in Education Executive Director Patricia Levesque said, “We applaud Governor DeSantis for his visionary leadership on behalf of Florida’s students. He is rightfully prioritizing their long-term success by aligning career and technical education with real-world jobs and focusing on improving teacher recruitment and retention. He is building on 20 years of nationally recognized progress in educational choice by giving more families—especially the thousands still on waiting lists—access to the learning environments that work best for their children. We look forward to working with him and all those who strive to ensure each and every child in Florida has access to a quality education.”

Former Senate President Andy Gardiner said, “When my son was born, we made a commitment to help him and all Florida families. He has a unique ability and our job is to help children find their unique abilities. To see where the Scholarship has come under Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership and to have met the many families, we are completely humbled and thankful for the work he has accomplished.”

Kurt Browning Florida Association of District School Superintendents said, “I am ecstatic Governor DeSantis proposed raising the base student allocation, and prioritized teacher pay increases. Teachers are critical for student success, and I look forward to working with the Legislature to pass these important priorities.”

Juhan Mixon, Executive Director of Florida Association of School Administrators said, “Governor DeSantis has continued to make education a priority in Florida, and he has proved his commitment to working with education leaders across the state so we can make Florida’s education system the best in the nation. We applaud Governor DeSantis for prioritizing teacher pay and for being a champion for all Florida students.”

Florida School Boards Association President Tim Weisheyer said, “Of all the work that occurs at every level of our education system, the interaction between teacher and student is the primary determinant of student success. My fellow Board members and I dedicated as much of the limited dollars we receive from the state as we could towards higher compensation and benefits for our teachers. The district, with the help of Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, will now quickly get the additional salary dollars in the pockets of our teachers where they belong. The members of the Florida School Boards Association remain committed to working collaboratively with our teachers to lessen their workload while they serve our students with excellence.”

President of Valencia College Sandy Shugart said, “There are 28 local, home grown institutions of higher education here in Florida. Together they represent the Sunshine State from the sparse rural areas of North and North Central Florida, to the highly developed urban areas in Central, South and coastal areas of Florida. We appreciate Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran’s focused leadership on a new funding model that will address the unique demographic nature of the Florida colleges to ensure the best service to our students.”

President of Tallahassee Community College and Chair of the Council of Presidents for the Association of Florida Colleges, Jim Murdaugh said, “We greatly appreciate the vision set forth in Governor DeSantis’ Bolder, Brighter, Better Future Budget, and his support and commitment to the critical role the Florida College System plays in developing talent to meeting our state’s workforce needs.”

President of Polk State College, Angela Falconetti said, “Governor DeSantis has again shown his commitment to higher education by putting forward a budget that elevates students. We will continue to support his efforts to provide affordable, quality higher education opportunities for our students and their families.”

President of Saint Johns River State College President Joe Pickens said, “Governor DeSantis has presented a budget that promotes a bolder, brighter, better future for the Florida College System and its students. I applaud Governor DeSantis’ investment in the Florida College System to provide Floridians with access to a world-class education. From providing incentives to promote programs that lead to high-wage job opportunities for our students to encouraging students who are in their “last mile” to complete their degree, the Governor’s budget reflects his commitment to the nation’s best higher education system.”

President of Saint Petersburg State College Tonjua Williams said, “Investing in higher education is critical as Florida strives to become number one in the nation in workforce development. The Governor’s proposed budget will provide pathways to a brighter future by expanding access to higher education that will increase career opportunities for our residents. The Florida College System and the State University System are committed to developing talent to meet the needs of our industry partners to ensure our communities thrive.”

Bob Ward, President and CEO of The Florida Council of 100 said, “As business leaders, we know that education is the building block of prosperity. We want to ensure every student in Florida receives the very best education to prepare them for successful futures. Governor DeSantis’ Bolder, Brighter, Better budget supports teachers in meaningful ways, empowers students to succeed, and allows schools to practice mastery-based education. We applaud Governor DeSantis for his commitment to Florida’s students.’’

Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill said, “I want to thank Governor DeSantis for his commitment to parental choice in education. He is the strongest possible advocate for our families. Last fall, the parents of more than 170,000 children started applications for the 100,000 available scholarships under the tax credit program before we had to close the application. Step Up ended our application season with 35,500 eligible students who did not have an awarded scholarship because of insufficient funds. Governor DeSantis’ bold budget and vision is allowing more Florida families to take charge of their student’s education and we applaud his commitment to educational opportunity.”

Associated Industries of Florida President and CEO Tom Feeney said, “High-quality, effective CEOs generally lead successful businesses staffed by productive employees. The classroom is no different. Research has consistently shown that students perform better and achieve more when there is a highly-qualified teacher at the front of the room. From the moment our students enter school to the day they graduate from high school, they are preparing. They are preparing for higher education and to ultimately enter the workforce. And, the employers that will eventually hire these students expect them to arrive on the job with certain skills and knowledge sets. Governor DeSantis has proven it is time to move past the status quo and be part of the solution.”

Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson said, “Teachers are vital to Florida’s success and great teachers deserve our best. Governor DeSantis has proven himself to be the Education Governor, and I look forward to the legislature being part of the solution to ensure students succeed. We can’t have America’s best workforce without America’s best teachers.”

Glen Gilzean Jr., President and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League said, “The Reading Scholarship Account program has been a godsend for parents who struggle and can’t afford tutoring for their children. Last year, the Urban League partnered with nine public schools in the central Florida area to provide tutoring to more than 700 disadvantaged students. One out of 4 children who are not reading at grade level by 3rd grade are also not graduating from high school by age 19, or at all. I applaud First Lady DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran for their focus on literacy in Florida, to ensure students are set up for success in their future endeavors.”

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, “It is crucial that our school safety policies and regulations are effective and properly implemented because the safety of our children is a priority. Security officers and guardians must receive the appropriate training as required by law and that such training only be done by a Florida sheriff. We have the responsibility to make schools a safe learning environment for Florida’s children.”

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said, “Economies and education flourish when both are seeded in a safe environment. Governor DeSantis has been a strong advocate for improved safety in our schools to protect our students, teachers, and staff. This is critical because the students of today will improve the Florida of tomorrow.”

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “Governor Ron DeSantis has shown the law enforcement community great support from the beginning. The safety of the community is a top priority and creating better school safety policies will enable us to work collectively to protect our children and school communities.”

Early Learning Advisory Council Board Chair Adrian Alfonso said, “The early learning community is extremely encouraged by the Governor and Commissioner of Education’s prioritization of early learning this legislative session. The future success of Florida’s students begins in the early years.”

Florida Association for Child Care Management Vice President Roy Keister said, “Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran are clearly investing in early learning by increasing the funding of the Voluntary Prekindergarten program this year by $12.8 million for a total of $415 million. The child care provider community wholeheartedly appreciates that the VPK program is getting the attention it deserves.”

Kevin Carr, CEO, FloridaMakes said, “Here at FloridaMakes, we recognize the criticality of connecting industry and workforce needs to targeted educational endeavors. For so long, workforce education has been on the back-burner, but Governor DeSantis’s leadership and support around CTE and apprenticeships has excited and energized our manufacturing community. I’m sure we will continue to see big initiatives from the Governor, and I am honored to get to see first-hand the effect the Governor’s leadership ultimately has on student success.”  

Marsan Carr, Executive Director of Florida Association for Career and Technical Education said, “Many thanks to Governor DeSantis for the priorities he set last year in Executive Order 19-31, ensuring alignment of Florida’s workforce education to the needs of Florida’s employers and economy. EO 19-31 was a call to action that resulted in a policy framework which supports students and business alike. We are encouraged to see Governor DeSantis’s continued commitment to workforce education since last session, with a renewed call for another $10 million this year to expand apprenticeship through the Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant. I am excited to see what more Governor DeSantis has in store for career and technical education this year.”

Florida Association of Student Services Administrators President Mary Alice Myers said, “Addressing the mental health and wellness of Florida’s students is critical to ensuring positive student outcomes and safe schools throughout the state.  Governor and First Lady DeSantis are to be commended for their commitment to enhance mental health supports for children and youth as evidenced by the 2019 increase in the mental health allocation and the First Lady’s H.O.P.E. initiative.  We are appreciative of the important work to be done this legislative session to ensure that all of Florida’s K-12 students have timely access to school-based mental health professionals (i.e., school psychologists, school counselors, school social workers and school nurses).”

Danielle Barreras, Community Engagement Liaison, The Children’s Trust said, “It is fundamental that we encourage the legislature to expand allocation of resources to increase access and funding for mental health services and ensure that policies align to promote and fund these services.”

Beatriz Martinez-Peñalver, Triumph Steps, Inc. said, “Triumph Steps experts have been advocating for emotional literacy in schools for years. We are thrilled with our First Lady’s initiative to have five hours a year of required mental and emotional health education for grades 6 through 12. This is a powerful intervention to begin confronting our current mental health crisis. Happiness is a skill that can be learned. We also believe that adequate resources must be developed by highly qualified mental health professionals to make this a successful endeavor.” 

The Way Christian Academy Pastor Luis Vega said, “We at The Way Christian Academy are very grateful to Gov. DeSantis, Education Commissioner Corcoran and other officials for recognizing the need for school choice and assisting parents in accessing the needed service that provides educational options. The parents know what is best for their children, and school choice empowers families.”

Kingdom Life Preparatory Academy Pastor Otis Young said, “The mission of Kingdom Life Preparatory Academy is to prepare and empower students to achieve their destiny by laying a strong foundation through a quality academic and enrichment program that reaches the whole child. We could not fulfill this mission without the support of Gov. DeSantis, Commissioner Corcoran and the Legislature for expanding choice options for parents, so that they can find the best education environment for each child.”

Lighthouse Seventh-Day Adventist Church Pastor Andre Campbell said, “Over the last 10 years, I have personally witnessed the pivotal role that the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship has played in serving families with children who benefit from having the option to attend private/charter schools. Our students have thrived in the private school setting and were afforded that opportunity directly because these scholarships. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Gov. DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran for the work they have done alongside the Florida Legislature to provide families with expanded options in education.”