Florida Senate - 2017              PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE
       Bill No. SB 360
       Proposed Committee Substitute by Appropriations Subcommittee on
       Pre-K - 12 Education
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to a middle school study; requiring
    3         the Department of Education to solicit for a contract
    4         to conduct a comprehensive study of states with
    5         nationally recognized high-performing middle schools
    6         in reading and mathematics; specifying areas that must
    7         be reviewed in conducting the study; requiring a
    8         report to the Governor, the State Board of Education,
    9         and the Legislature by a specified time; providing for
   10         expiration; providing an effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, since 1998, Florida has seen a continuing trend of
   14  reading improvement in the elementary school grades, which has
   15  led to an increase of 17 percentage points in reading at or
   16  above proficiency for 4th grade students on the National
   17  Assessment of Educational Progress, while Florida’s 8th grade
   18  students achieved only an increase of 7 percentage points, and
   19         WHEREAS, since 2003, Florida’s 4th grade students have
   20  demonstrated an increase of 11 percentage points in mathematics
   21  at or above proficiency on the national assessment, while
   22  Florida’s 8th grade students have shown an increase of only 3
   23  percentage points, and
   24         WHEREAS, since 2013, Florida’s middle school students’
   25  proficiencies on the national assessment in both reading and
   26  mathematics have remained flat or decreased, and
   27         WHEREAS, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont,
   28  Connecticut, and New Jersey are the top performing states in the
   29  percentage of 4th and 8th grade students scoring at or above
   30  proficiency in reading on the national assessment, and
   31         WHEREAS, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
   32  Jersey, and Washington are the top performing states in the
   33  percentage of 4th and 8th grade students scoring at or above
   34  proficiency in mathematics on the national assessment, and
   35         WHEREAS, Florida’s academic expectations for students in
   36  both reading and mathematics were raised in 2010 and 2014, and
   37         WHEREAS, the performance of Florida’s middle school
   38  students on the state assessments in reading has remained flat
   39  since the state’s standards were raised, while their performance
   40  in mathematics increased slightly between 2015 and 2016, and
   41         WHEREAS, success in the middle school grades is a predictor
   42  of academic success in high school and college and career
   43  readiness, NOW, THEREFORE,
   45  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   47         Section 1. Comprehensive study on middle school
   48  performance.—
   49         (1) The Department of Education shall issue a competitive
   50  solicitation for a contract with private vendors to conduct a
   51  comprehensive study of states with high-performing students in
   52  grades 6 through 8 in reading and mathematics, based on the
   53  states’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational
   54  Progress.
   55         (2) The study must include a review of at least all of the
   56  following:
   57         (a) Academic expectations and instructional strategies,
   58  including:
   59         1. Alignment of elementary and middle grades expectations
   60  with high school graduation requirements;
   61         2. Research-based instructional practices in reading and
   62  mathematics, including those targeting low-performing and high
   63  performing students;
   64         3. The rigor of the curriculum and courses and the
   65  availability of accelerated courses;
   66         4. The availability of student support services;
   67         5. The sequence of courses and the prerequisites required
   68  for advanced courses;
   69         6. The availability of before- and after-school programs,
   70  and efforts to address the summer gap between school years,
   71  including related funding; and
   72         7. The availability of other academic and noncore classes,
   73  and electives.
   74         (b) Attendance policies and student mobility issues.
   75         (c) Teacher quality, including:
   76         1. Teacher certification and recertification requirements;
   77         2. Teacher preparedness to teach rigorous courses;
   78         3. Teacher preparation specific to teaching middle school
   79  students;
   80         4. Teacher recruitment and vacancy issues;
   81         5. Staff development requirements and the availability of
   82  effective training;
   83         6. Teacher collaboration and planning at the school and
   84  district levels; and
   85         7. Student performance data collection and dissemination.
   86         (d) Middle school administrator leadership and performance.
   87         (e) Parental and community involvement.
   88         (3) The department shall submit a report on the findings of
   89  the comprehensive study and make recommendations to improve
   90  middle school student performance to the Governor, the State
   91  Board of Education, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker
   92  of the House of Representatives by December 2017.
   93         (4) This section expires upon submission of the final
   94  report.
   95         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.