(a) The Legislature recognizes that effective 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 maintain a system for development and approval of teacher preparation programs which allows postsecondary teacher preparation institutions to employ varied and innovative teacher preparation techniques while being held accountable for producing program completers with the competencies and skills necessary to achieve the state education goals; help all students in the state’s diverse student population 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 AND CANDIDATE ASSESSMENT.— (a) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 which 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, the following:
1. Candidate instruction and assessment in the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices across content areas.
2. The use of state-adopted content standards to guide curricula and instruction.
3. Scientifically researched and evidence-based reading instructional strategies that improve reading performance for all students, including explicit, systematic, and sequential approaches to teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and text comprehension and multisensory intervention strategies.
4. Content literacy and mathematics practices.
5. Strategies appropriate for the instruction of English language learners.
6. Strategies appropriate for the instruction of students with disabilities.
7. Strategies to differentiate instruction based on student needs.
8. The use of character-based classroom management.
9. Strategies appropriate for the early identification of a student in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge and the referral of such student to a mental health professional for support.
10. Strategies to support the use of technology in education and distance learning.
(c) Each candidate must receive instruction and be assessed on the uniform core curricula in the candidate’s area or areas of program concentration during course work and field experiences. Beginning with candidates entering a teacher preparation program in the 2022-2023 school year, a candidate for certification in a coverage area identified pursuant to s. 1012.585(3)(f) must successfully complete all competencies for a reading endorsement, including completion of the endorsement practicum through the candidate’s field experience under subsection (5), in order to graduate from the program.
(d) Before program completion, each candidate must demonstrate his or her ability to positively impact student learning growth in the candidate’s area or areas of program concentration during a prekindergarten through grade 12 field experience and must pass each portion of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination required for a professional certificate in the area or areas of program concentration.
(3) INITIAL STATE PROGRAM APPROVAL.—
(a) A program approval process based on standards adopted pursuant to this subsection and subsection (2) must be established for postsecondary teacher preparation programs. Each program shall be approved by the department, consistent with the intent set forth in subsection (1) and based upon evidence of the institution’s and the program’s capacity to meet the requirements for continued approval as provided in subsection (4) and by the rules of the State Board of Education.
(b) Each teacher preparation program approved by the Department of Education, as provided for by this section, shall require students, at a minimum:
1. For admission into the program, to 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. To demonstrate mastery of general knowledge, including the ability to read, write, and perform in mathematics, by passing the General Knowledge Test of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination by the time of graduation or, for a graduate level program, obtain a baccalaureate degree from an institution that is accredited or approved pursuant to the rules of the State Board of Education.
(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. (4) CONTINUED PROGRAM APPROVAL.—Continued approval of a teacher preparation program shall be based upon evidence that the program continues to implement the requirements for initial approval and upon significant, objective, and quantifiable measures of the program and the performance of the program completers. (a) The criteria for continued approval must include each of the following:
1. Documentation from the program that each program candidate met the admission requirements provided in subsection (3).
2. Documentation from the program that the program and each program completer have met the requirements provided in subsection (2).
3. Evidence of performance in each of the following areas:
a. Placement rate of program completers into instructional positions in Florida public schools and private schools, if available.
b. Rate of retention for employed program completers in instructional positions in Florida public schools.
c. Performance of students in prekindergarten through grade 12 who are assigned to in-field program completers on statewide assessments using the results of the student learning growth formula adopted under s. 1012.34.
d. Performance of students in prekindergarten through grade 12 who are assigned to in-field program completers aggregated by student subgroup, as defined in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), 20 U.S.C. s. 6311(b)(2)(C)(v)(II), as a measure of how well the program prepares teachers to work with a diverse population of students in a variety of settings in Florida public schools.
e. Results of program completers’ annual evaluations in accordance with the timeline as set forth in s. 1012.34. f. Production of program completers in statewide critical teacher shortage areas as identified in s. 1012.07.
4. Results of the program completers’ survey measuring their satisfaction with preparation for the realities of the classroom.
5. Results of the employers’ survey measuring satisfaction with the program and the program’s responsiveness to local school districts.
(b) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules for continued approval of teacher preparation programs which include the program review process, the continued approval timelines, and the performance level targets for each of the continued approval criteria in paragraph (a). Additional criteria may be approved by the State Board of Education. The Commissioner of Education shall determine the continued approval of each program based on the data collected pursuant to this section and the rules of the State Board of Education.
(c) Each program must prepare and submit to the Department of Education an institutional program evaluation plan. Each institutional program evaluation plan must incorporate the criteria established in paragraphs (a) and (b) and may include additional data chosen by the program. The plan must provide information on how the institution addresses continuous program improvement and must include provisions for involving primary stakeholders, such as program completers, public school personnel, classroom teachers, principals, community agencies, and business representatives in the evaluation process.
(d) Each teacher preparation program must guarantee the high quality of its program completers during the first 2 years immediately following completion of the program or following initial certification, whichever occurs first. Any program completer who is employed in a Florida public school during this 2-year period and who earns an evaluation result of developing or unsatisfactory on the school district’s evaluation system implemented under s. 1012.34 shall be provided additional training by the teacher preparation program at no expense to the educator or the employer if requested by the employing school district or charter school. Such training must consist of an individualized plan agreed upon by the school district and the postsecondary educational institution which includes specific learning outcomes. The postsecondary educational institution assumes no responsibility for the educator’s employment contract with the employer.
(e) Each Florida public and private institution that offers a state-approved teacher preparation program must annually report information regarding its approved programs to the state and the general public. The report to the state must include a list of candidates who are admitted to, who are enrolled in, or who complete a teacher preparation program; additional evidence necessary to document requirements for continued approval; and data necessary to complete applicable federal reporting requirements. The state reporting requirements must minimize a program’s reporting burden whenever possible without compromising data quality. The report to the general public must include, at a minimum, the annual progress data reported by the state under this paragraph and results of the surveys required under paragraph (a), and may include other information chosen by the institution or program.
(f) By January 1 of each year, the Department of Education shall report the results of each approved program’s annual progress on the performance measures in paragraph (a) as well as the current approval status of each program to:
1. The Governor.
2. The President of the Senate.
3. The Speaker of the House of Representatives.
4. The State Board of Education.
5. The Board of Governors.
6. The Commissioner of Education.
7. Each Florida postsecondary teacher preparation program.
8. Each district school superintendent.
9. The public.
This report may include the results of other continued approval requirements provided by State Board of Education rule and recommendations for improving teacher preparation programs in the state.
(5) 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 may pay student teachers during their internships.
(a) All individuals in postsecondary teacher preparation programs who instruct or supervise preservice field experience courses or internships in which a candidate demonstrates his or her impact on student learning growth shall have the following: specialized training in clinical supervision; at least 3 years of successful, relevant prekindergarten through grade 12 teaching, student services, or school administration experience; and an annual demonstration of experience in a relevant prekindergarten through grade 12 school setting as defined by State Board of Education rule.
(b)1. All school district personnel and instructional personnel who supervise or direct teacher preparation students during field experience courses or internships taking place in this state in which candidates demonstrate an impact on student learning growth must have:
a. Evidence of “clinical educator” training;
b. A valid professional certificate issued pursuant to s. 1012.56;
c. At least 3 years of teaching experience in prekindergarten through grade 12;
d. Earned an effective or highly effective rating on the prior year’s performance evaluation under s. 1012.34 or be a peer evaluator under the district’s evaluation system approved under s. 1012.34; and e. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, for all such personnel who supervise or direct teacher preparation students during internships in kindergarten through grade 3 or who are enrolled in a teacher preparation program for a certificate area identified pursuant to s. 1012.585(3)(f), a certificate or endorsement in reading.
The State Board of Education shall approve the training requirements.
2. All instructional personnel who supervise or direct teacher preparation students during field experience courses or internships in another state, in which a candidate demonstrates his or her impact on student learning growth, through a Florida online or distance program must have received “clinical educator” training or its equivalent in that state, hold a valid professional certificate issued by the state in which the field experience takes place, and have at least 3 years of teaching experience in prekindergarten through grade 12.
3. All instructional personnel who supervise or direct teacher preparation students during field experience courses or internships, in which a candidate demonstrates his or her impact on student learning growth, on a United States military base in another country through a Florida online or distance program must have received “clinical educator” training or its equivalent, hold a valid professional certificate issued by the United States Department of Defense or a state or territory of the United States, and have at least 3 years teaching experience in prekindergarten through grade 12.
(c) Preservice field experience must fully prepare a candidate to manage a classroom by requiring the candidate to practice and demonstrate the uniform core curricula specific to the candidate’s area or areas of program concentration with a diverse population of students in a variety of challenging environments, including, but not limited to, high-poverty schools, urban schools, and rural schools. 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 based upon the qualifications of the supervising personnel as described in this subsection and the needs of the candidates. These sites must represent the full spectrum of school communities, including, but not limited to, schools serving low-achieving students. In order to be selected, school sites must demonstrate commitment to the education of public school students and to the preparation of future teachers.
(6) RULES.—The State Board of Education shall adopt necessary rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section.