(a) The Legislature recognizes that skilled teachers make an important contribution to a system that allows students to obtain a high-quality education.
(b) The intent of the Legislature is to require the State Board of Education to attain a system for development and approval of teacher preparation programs that allows postsecondary teacher preparation institutions to employ varied and innovative teacher preparation techniques while being held accountable for producing graduates with the competencies and skills necessary to achieve the state education goals; help the state’s diverse student population, including students who have substandard reading and computational skills and students with limited English proficiency, meet high standards for academic achievement; maintain safe, secure classroom learning environments; and sustain the state system of school improvement and education accountability established pursuant to ss. 1000.03(5) and 1008.345. (2) UNIFORM CORE CURRICULA.— (a) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 that establish uniform core curricula for each state-approved teacher preparation program.
(b) The rules to establish uniform core curricula for each state-approved teacher preparation program must include, but are not limited to, a State Board of Education identified foundation in scientifically researched, knowledge-based reading literacy and computational skills acquisition; classroom management; school safety; professional ethics; educational law; human development and learning; and understanding of the Sunshine State Standards content measured by state achievement tests, reading and interpretation of data, and use of data to improve student achievement.
(c) These rules shall not require an additional period of time-to-degree but may be phased in to enable teacher preparation programs to supplant courses, including pedagogy courses, not required by law or State Board of Education rule with the courses identified pursuant to paragraph (b).
(3) DEVELOPMENT OF TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS.—A system developed by the Department of Education in collaboration with postsecondary educational institutions shall assist departments and colleges of education in the restructuring of their programs in accordance with this section to meet the need for producing quality teachers now and in the future.
(a) The system must be designed to assist teacher educators in conceptualizing, developing, implementing, and evaluating programs that meet state-adopted standards. These standards shall emphasize quality indicators drawn from research, professional literature, recognized guidelines, Florida essential teaching competencies and educator-accomplished practices, effective classroom practices, and the outcomes of the state system of school improvement and education accountability, as well as performance measures.
(b) Departments and colleges of education shall emphasize the state system of school improvement and education accountability concepts and standards, including Sunshine State Standards.
(c) State-approved teacher preparation programs must incorporate:
1. Appropriate English for Speakers of Other Languages instruction so that program graduates will have completed the requirements for teaching limited English proficient students in Florida public schools.
2. Scientifically researched, knowledge-based reading literacy and computational skills instruction so that program graduates will be able to provide the necessary academic foundations for their students at whatever grade levels they choose to teach.
(4) INITIAL STATE PROGRAM APPROVAL.—
(a) A program approval process based on standards adopted pursuant to subsections (2) and (3) must be established for postsecondary teacher preparation programs, phased in according to timelines determined by the Department of Education, and fully implemented for all teacher preparation programs in the state. Each program shall be approved by the department, consistent with the intent set forth in subsection (1) and based primarily upon significant, objective, and quantifiable graduate performance measures.
(b) Each teacher preparation program approved by the Department of Education, as provided for by this section, shall require students to meet the following as prerequisites for admission into the program:
1. Have a grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for the general education component of undergraduate studies or have completed the requirements for a baccalaureate degree with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale from any college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association as defined by State Board of Education rule or any college or university otherwise approved pursuant to State Board of Education rule.
2. Demonstrate mastery of general knowledge, including the ability to read, write, and compute, by passing the General Knowledge Test of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination, the College Level Academic Skills Test, a corresponding component of the National Teachers Examination series, or a similar test pursuant to rules of the State Board of Education.
Each teacher preparation program may waive these admissions requirements for up to 10 percent of the students admitted. Programs shall implement strategies to ensure that students admitted under a waiver receive assistance to demonstrate competencies to successfully meet requirements for certification.
(c) Each teacher preparation program approved by the Department of Education, as provided for by this section, shall provide a certification ombudsman to facilitate the process and procedures required for graduates to obtain educator professional or temporary certification pursuant to s. 1012.56. (5) CONTINUED PROGRAM APPROVAL.—Notwithstanding subsection (4), failure by a public or nonpublic teacher preparation program to meet the criteria for continued program approval shall result in loss of program approval. The Department of Education, in collaboration with the departments and colleges of education, shall develop procedures for continued program approval that document the continuous improvement of program processes and graduates’ performance. (a) Continued approval of specific teacher preparation programs at each public and nonpublic postsecondary educational institution within the state is contingent upon the passing of the written examination required by s. 1012.56 by at least 90 percent of the graduates of the program who take the examination. The Department of Education shall annually provide an analysis of the performance of the graduates of such institution with respect to the competencies assessed by the examination required by s. 1012.56.
(b) Additional criteria for continued program approval for public institutions may be approved by the State Board of Education. Such criteria must emphasize instruction in classroom management and must provide for the evaluation of the teacher candidates’ performance in this area. The criteria shall also require instruction in working with underachieving students. Program evaluation procedures must include, but are not limited to, program graduates’ satisfaction with instruction and the program’s responsiveness to local school districts. Additional criteria for continued program approval for nonpublic institutions shall be developed in the same manner as for public institutions; however, such criteria must be based upon significant, objective, and quantifiable graduate performance measures. Responsibility for collecting data on outcome measures through survey instruments and other appropriate means shall be shared by the postsecondary educational institutions and the Department of Education. By January 1 of each year, the Department of Education shall report this information for each postsecondary educational institution that has state-approved programs of teacher education to the Governor, the State Board of Education, the Board of Governors, the Commissioner of Education, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, all Florida postsecondary teacher preparation programs, and interested members of the public. This report must analyze the data and make recommendations for improving teacher preparation programs in the state.
(c) Continued approval for a teacher preparation program is contingent upon the results of periodic reviews, on a schedule established by the State Board of Education, of the program conducted by the postsecondary educational institution, using procedures and criteria outlined in an institutional program evaluation plan approved by the Department of Education. This plan must incorporate the criteria established in paragraphs (a) and (b) and include provisions for involving primary stakeholders, such as program graduates, district school personnel, classroom teachers, principals, community agencies, and business representatives in the evaluation process. Upon request by an institution, the department shall provide assistance in developing, enhancing, or reviewing the institutional program evaluation plan and training evaluation team members.
(d) Continued approval for a teacher preparation program is contingent upon standards being in place that are designed to adequately prepare elementary, middle, and high school teachers to instruct their students in reading and higher-level mathematics concepts and in the use of technology at the appropriate grade level.
(e) Continued approval of teacher preparation programs is contingent upon compliance with the student admission requirements of subsection (4) and upon the receipt of at least a satisfactory rating from public schools and private schools that employ graduates of the program. Each teacher preparation program shall guarantee the high quality of its graduates during the first 2 years immediately following graduation from the program or following initial certification, whichever occurs first. Any educator in a Florida school who fails to demonstrate the essential skills specified in subparagraphs 1.-5. shall be provided additional training by the teacher preparation program at no expense to the educator or the employer. Such training must consist of an individualized plan agreed upon by the school district and the postsecondary educational institution that includes specific learning outcomes. The postsecondary educational institution assumes no responsibility for the educator’s employment contract with the employer. Employer satisfaction shall be determined by an annually administered survey instrument approved by the Department of Education that, at a minimum, must include employer satisfaction of the graduates’ ability to do the following:
1. Write and speak in a logical and understandable style with appropriate grammar.
2. Recognize signs of students’ difficulty with the reading and computational process and apply appropriate measures to improve students’ reading and computational performance.
3. Use and integrate appropriate technology in teaching and learning processes.
4. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Sunshine State Standards.
5. Maintain an orderly and disciplined classroom conducive to student learning.
(f)1. Each Florida public and private institution that offers a state-approved teacher preparation program must annually report information regarding these programs to the state and the general public. This information shall be reported in a uniform and comprehensible manner that is consistent with definitions and methods approved by the Commissioner of the National Center for Educational Statistics and that is approved by the State Board of Education. This information must include, at a minimum:
a. The percent of graduates obtaining full-time teaching employment within the first year of graduation.
b. The average length of stay of graduates in their full-time teaching positions.
c. Satisfaction ratings required in paragraph (e).
2. Each public and private institution offering training for school readiness related professions, including training in the fields of child care and early childhood education, whether offering career credit, associate in applied science degree programs, associate in science degree programs, or associate in arts degree programs, shall annually report information regarding these programs to the state and the general public in a uniform and comprehensible manner that conforms with definitions and methods approved by the State Board of Education. This information must include, at a minimum:
a. Average length of stay of graduates in their positions.
b. Satisfaction ratings of graduates’ employers.
This information shall be reported through publications, including college and university catalogs and promotional materials sent to potential applicants, secondary school guidance counselors, and prospective employers of the institution’s program graduates.
(6) PRESERVICE FIELD EXPERIENCE.—All postsecondary instructors, school district personnel and instructional personnel, and school sites preparing instructional personnel through preservice field experience courses and internships shall meet special requirements. District school boards are authorized to pay student teachers during their internships. (a) All instructors in postsecondary teacher preparation programs who instruct or supervise preservice field experience courses or internships shall have at least one of the following: specialized training in clinical supervision; a valid professional teaching certificate pursuant to ss. 1012.56 and 1012.585; or at least 3 years of successful teaching experience in prekindergarten through grade 12.
(b) All school district personnel and instructional personnel who supervise or direct teacher preparation students during field experience courses or internships must have evidence of “clinical educator” training and must successfully demonstrate effective classroom management strategies that consistently result in improved student performance. The State Board of Education shall approve the training requirements.
(c) Preservice field experience programs must provide specific guidance and demonstration of effective classroom management strategies, strategies for incorporating technology into classroom instruction, strategies for incorporating scientifically researched, knowledge-based reading literacy and computational skills acquisition into classroom instruction, and ways to link instructional plans to the Sunshine State Standards, as appropriate. The length of structured field experiences may be extended to ensure that candidates achieve the competencies needed to meet certification requirements.
(d) Postsecondary teacher preparation programs in cooperation with district school boards and approved private school associations shall select the school sites for preservice field experience activities. These sites must represent the full spectrum of school communities, including, but not limited to, schools located in urban settings. In order to be selected, school sites must demonstrate commitment to the education of public school students and to the preparation of future teachers.
(7) STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE.—The State Board of Education shall approve standards of excellence for teacher preparation. These standards must exceed the requirements for program approval pursuant to subsection (4) and must incorporate state and national recommendations for exemplary teacher preparation programs.
(8) NATIONAL BOARD STANDARDS.—The State Board of Education shall review standards and recommendations developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and may incorporate those parts deemed appropriate into criteria for continued state program approval, standards of excellence, and requirements for inservice education.
(9) FLORIDA COLLEGE SYSTEM INSTITUTIONS.—To the extent practical, postsecondary educational institutions offering teacher preparation programs shall establish articulation agreements on a core of liberal arts courses and introductory professional courses with field experience components which shall be offered at Florida College System institutions.
(10) SHORT-TERM EXPERIENCES AS TEACHER ASSISTANTS.—Postsecondary institutions offering teacher preparation programs and Florida College System institutions, in collaboration with school districts, may develop and implement a program to provide short-term experiences as teacher assistants prior to beginning a teacher preparation program or alternative certification program. The program shall serve individuals with baccalaureate degrees who are interested in the teaching profession. This experience may be accepted for use in teacher preparation programs and competency-based alternative certification programs, where applicable.
(11) RULES.—The State Board of Education shall adopt necessary rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section.