This is an update to Jonathan’s earlier post tracking bills related to science education.
Physics made a comeback on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives late yesterday afternoon. Late the previous night, Representative Fresen, sponsor of the House graduation requirements bill (HB 1293), filed an amendment to put physics into his bill and to – get this – take Agriscience Foundations out.
He did not include the biology end-of-course test in his new amendment since that is what got yesterday’s amendment into trouble. The amendment was adopted Thursday afternoon. Then the bill’s most contentious provisions dealing with raising the required score for graduation on the 10th grade reading, writing and math FCAT score to 10th grade proficiency were addressed, and the bill was approved by a relatively contentious 75-42 vote.
The bill is now in the Senate’s court. The Senate companion (SB 2654) was “temporarily postponed” by the Senate K-12 Appropriations Committee on Monday. The good news in the House is that physics is in and Agriscience Foundations is out. The bad news is that there is no mention of Earth/space science.
Representative Mayfield, sponsor of the biology-only high school science testing bill, tucked her testing plan into another bill on student achievement in the secondary grades, HB 7087, as an amendment that she filed Thursday morning and was adopted that afternoon. HB 7087 passed a minute later on a unanimous vote. Here’s the relevant language of Mayfield’s amendment:
During the 2010-2011 school year, an end-of-course assessment in biology shall be administered as a field test at the high school level. Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, the end-of-course assessment in biology shall eplace the comprehensive assessment of science administered at the high school level. During the 2011-2012 school year, each student’s performance on the end-of-course assessment in biology shall constitute 30 percent of the student’s final course grade. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, a student must earn a passing score on the end-of-course assessment in biology in order to pass the course and receive course credit.
Mayfield’s own biology-only testing bill, HB 543, passed on its own, once again on a unanimous vote. There is no mention of any subject but biology in her bill.
Now it is up to the Senate how to respond. At present, there is no high school science testing provision in any active Senate bill. As mentioned above, the Senate graduation standards bill is in a coma in the K-12 Appropriations Committee.
In a related development, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law a bill that would boost salaries for teachers with proper math or science certification. That is the sort of commitment it is going to take to make our state world-class in science education.