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. 9 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, 41 42 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 43 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.