Last year, Florida legislators made historic changes to education. Tenure for new teachers was eliminated. Instructor evaluations were revamped and linked to student test scores. And a new compensation system was passed to reward those whose students achieve the highest gains.
In the 2012 session, which starts Tuesday, the focus is likely to shift from K-12 to higher education. Gov. Rick Scott and others say they want to find ways to make the state university system more effective and boost the number of students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Whether the Legislature is ready to pass wide-sweeping changes to higher education is another matter. To date, no bills have been filed and several legislators said they are still researching what possible action to take. Redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts and the budget are likely to be at the top of the agenda, and lawmakers will also be focused on effectively implementing last year's K-12 overhaul.