Florida Senate - 2022                                     SB 896
       By Senator Burgess
       20-00922A-22                                           2022896__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to educator certification pathways for
    3         veterans; amending s. 1012.56, F.S.; expanding
    4         eligibility to seek educator certification to
    5         specified military servicemembers who have completed a
    6         specified education requirement; authorizing the
    7         Department of Education to issue a temporary
    8         certificate to specified military servicemembers who
    9         have completed a specified education requirement;
   10         specifying the duration of a temporary certificate for
   11         specified military servicemembers; amending s.
   12         1012.59, F.S.; making a technical change; providing an
   13         effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) and subsection
   18  (7) of section 1012.56, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   19         1012.56 Educator certification requirements.—
   20         (2) ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA.—To be eligible to seek
   21  certification, a person must:
   22         (c)1. Document receipt of a bachelor’s or higher degree
   23  from an accredited institution of higher learning, or a
   24  nonaccredited institution of higher learning that the Department
   25  of Education has identified as having a quality program
   26  resulting in a bachelor’s degree, or higher. Each applicant
   27  seeking initial certification must have attained a minimum
   28  cumulative at least a 2.5 overall grade point average of 2.5 on
   29  a 4.0 scale in the applicant’s major field of study; or
   30         2. Document 48 months of active-duty military service with
   31  an honorable discharge or a medical separation and completion of
   32  60 college credits with a minimum cumulative grade point average
   33  of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, as provided by one or more accredited
   34  institutions of higher learning or a nonaccredited institution
   35  of higher learning identified by the Department of Education as
   36  having a quality program resulting in a bachelor’s degree or
   37  higher.
   39  The applicant may document the required education by submitting
   40  official transcripts from institutions of higher education or by
   41  authorizing the direct submission of such official transcripts
   42  through established electronic network systems. The bachelor’s
   43  or higher degree may not be required in areas approved in rule
   44  by the State Board of Education as nondegreed areas. The State
   45  Board of Education may adopt rules that, for purposes of
   46  demonstrating completion of specific certification requirements,
   47  allow for the acceptance of college course credits recommended
   48  by the American Council for Education (ACE), as posted on an
   49  official ACE transcript.
   51         (a) The Department of Education shall issue a professional
   52  certificate for a period not to exceed 5 years to any applicant
   53  who fulfills one of the following:
   54         1. Meets all the applicable requirements outlined in
   55  subsection (2).
   56         2. For a professional certificate covering grades 6 through
   57  12:
   58         a. Meets the applicable requirements of paragraphs (2)(a)
   59  (h).
   60         b. Holds a master’s or higher degree in the area of
   61  science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
   62         c. Teaches a high school course in the subject of the
   63  advanced degree.
   64         d. Is rated highly effective as determined by the teacher’s
   65  performance evaluation under s. 1012.34, based in part on
   66  student performance as measured by a statewide, standardized
   67  assessment or an Advanced Placement, Advanced International
   68  Certificate of Education, or International Baccalaureate
   69  examination.
   70         e. Achieves a passing score on the Florida professional
   71  education competency examination required by state board rule.
   72         3. Meets the applicable requirements of paragraphs (2)(a)
   73  (h) and completes a professional preparation and education
   74  competence program approved by the department pursuant to
   75  paragraph (8)(c) or an educator preparation institute approved
   76  by the department pursuant to s. 1004.85. An applicant who
   77  completes one of these programs and is rated highly effective as
   78  determined by his or her performance evaluation under s. 1012.34
   79  is not required to take or achieve a passing score on the
   80  professional education competency examination in order to be
   81  awarded a professional certificate.
   82         (b) The department shall issue a temporary certificate to
   83  any applicant who:
   84         1. Completes the requirements outlined in paragraphs
   85  (2)(a)-(f); and
   86         2. Completes the subject area content requirements
   87  specified in state board rule or demonstrates mastery of subject
   88  area knowledge pursuant to subsection (5); and
   89         3.a. Holds an accredited degree or a degree approved by the
   90  Department of Education at the level required for the subject
   91  area specialization in state board rule; or
   92         b.For a subject area specialization for which the state
   93  board otherwise requires a bachelor’s degree, has completed 48
   94  months of active-duty military service with an honorable
   95  discharge or medical separation and 60 college credits with a
   96  minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, as
   97  provided by one or more accredited institutions of higher
   98  learning or a nonaccredited institution of higher learning that
   99  the Department of Education has identified as having a quality
  100  program resulting in a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  101         (c) The department shall issue one nonrenewable 2-year
  102  temporary certificate and one nonrenewable 5-year professional
  103  certificate to a qualified applicant who holds a bachelor’s
  104  degree in the area of speech-language impairment to allow for
  105  completion of a master’s degree program in speech-language
  106  impairment.
  107         (d)1. Except for a temporary certificate issued under sub
  108  subparagraph (b)3.b., each temporary certificate is valid for 3
  109  school fiscal years and is nonrenewable.
  110         2. Each temporary certificate issued under sub-subparagraph
  111  (b)3.b. is valid for 5 school fiscal years and is nonrenewable.
  113  At least 1 year before an individual’s temporary certificate is
  114  set to expire, the department shall electronically notify the
  115  individual of the date on which his or her certificate will
  116  expire and provide a list of each method by which the
  117  qualifications for a professional certificate can be completed.
  118  The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to allow the
  119  department to extend the validity period of a temporary
  120  certificate for 2 years when the requirements for the
  121  professional certificate were not completed due to the serious
  122  illness or injury of the applicant, the military service of an
  123  applicant’s spouse, other extraordinary extenuating
  124  circumstances, or if the certificateholder is rated highly
  125  effective in the immediate prior year’s performance evaluation
  126  pursuant to s. 1012.34 or has completed a 2-year mentorship
  127  program pursuant to s. 1012.56(8). The department shall extend
  128  the temporary certificate upon approval by the Commissioner of
  129  Education. A written request for extension of the certificate
  130  shall be submitted by the district school superintendent, the
  131  governing authority of a university lab school, the governing
  132  authority of a state-supported school, or the governing
  133  authority of a private school.
  134         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (3) of section
  135  1012.59, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  136         1012.59 Certification fees.—
  137         (3) The State Board of Education shall waive initial
  138  general knowledge, professional education, and subject area
  139  examination fees and certification fees for:
  140         (c) An honorably discharged veteran of the United States
  141  Armed Forces or a veteran of a reserve component thereof who
  142  served on active duty and the spouse or surviving spouse of such
  143  a veteran.
  144         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.