Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 360
       By Senator Stargel
       22-00378A-17                                           2017360__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to a middle school study; requiring
    3         the Department of Education to conduct a comprehensive
    4         study of states with nationally recognized high
    5         performing middle schools in reading and mathematics;
    6         requiring a report to the Governor, the State Board of
    7         Education, and the Legislature by a specified time;
    8         providing for expiration; providing an effective date.
   10         WHEREAS, since 1998, Florida has seen a continuing trend of
   11  reading improvement in the elementary school grades, which has
   12  led to an increase of 17 percentage points in reading at or
   13  above proficiency for 4th grade students on the National
   14  Assessment of Educational Progress, while Florida’s 8th grade
   15  students achieved only an increase of 7 percentage points, and
   16         WHEREAS, since 2003, Florida’s 4th grade students have
   17  demonstrated an increase of 11 percentage points in mathematics
   18  at or above proficiency on the national assessment, while
   19  Florida’s 8th grade students have shown an increase of only 3
   20  percentage points, and
   21         WHEREAS, since 2013, Florida’s middle school students’
   22  proficiencies on the national assessment in both reading and
   23  mathematics have remained flat or decreased, and
   24         WHEREAS, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont,
   25  Connecticut, and New Jersey are the top performing states in the
   26  percentage of 4th and 8th grade students scoring at or above
   27  proficiency in reading on the national assessment, and
   28         WHEREAS, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
   29  Jersey, and Washington are the top performing states in the
   30  percentage of 4th and 8th grade students scoring at or above
   31  proficiency in mathematics on the national assessment, and
   32         WHEREAS, Florida’s academic expectations for students in
   33  both reading and mathematics were raised in 2010 and 2014, and
   34         WHEREAS, the performance of Florida’s middle school
   35  students on the state assessments in reading has remained flat
   36  since the state’s standards were raised, while their performance
   37  in mathematics increased slightly between 2015 and 2016, and
   38         WHEREAS, success in the middle school grades is a predictor
   39  of academic success in high school and college and career
   40  readiness, NOW, THEREFORE,
   42  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   44         Section 1. Comprehensive study on middle school
   45  performance.—
   46         (1) The Department of Education shall conduct a
   47  comprehensive study of states with high-performing students in
   48  grades 6 through 8 in reading and mathematics, based on the
   49  states’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational
   50  Progress.
   51         (2) The study must include a review, at a minimum, of all
   52  of the following:
   53         (a) Academic expectations and instructional strategies,
   54  including:
   55         1. Alignment of elementary and middle grades expectations
   56  with high school graduation requirements;
   57         2. Research-based instructional practices in reading and
   58  mathematics, including those targeting low-performing students;
   59         3. The rigor of the curriculum and courses and the
   60  availability of accelerated courses; and
   61         4. The availability of student support services.
   62         (b) Attendance policies and student mobility issues.
   63         (c) Teacher quality, including:
   64         1. Teacher certification and recertification requirements;
   65         2. Teacher preparedness to teach rigorous courses;
   66         3. Teacher recruitment and vacancy issues; and
   67         4. Staff development requirements and the availability of
   68  effective training.
   69         (d) Middle school administrator leadership and performance.
   70         (e) Parental and community involvement.
   71         (3) The department shall submit a report on its findings
   72  and make recommendations to improve middle school student
   73  performance to the Governor, the State Board of Education, the
   74  President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
   75  Representatives by December 2017.
   76         (4) This section expires upon submission of the final
   77  report.
   78         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.