New Law overhauls education

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SARASOTA - Sweeping changes to education are now in effect in the Florida.  Governor Scott signed SB 1076 into law, and the bill could impact students from kindergarten all the way to college.

"It's one of the biggest overhauls since Governor Scott has been governor," said Pat Barber from Manatee Teachers Association.  "The bill allows different career paths to take different requirement for graduation."

Barber says that means high school students who don't plan to attend college will no longer be required to take some of the same courses as those who are.

"The expectation is that this will help us lower our graduation drop out rate," said Barber.

According to Joe Follick a representative from the Department of Education, the bill will also give teachers more flexibility to teach other topics.  "This bill does everything from introducing economics people need to survive as adults, with a emphasis on career planning whether you want to go to trade school, want to get a job or want go to college.  There is going to be a curriculum and a place for you in our schools," said Follick.

But new requirements at the K-12 level are just the beginning.  The comprehensive bill also affects colleges and universities.  "The 2nd most important part for universities is performance based funding, " said Casey Welch a representatives from the University of South Florida.

In addition to laying out the standards to be considered a university, schools can now receive state funding for better preparing students for the workforce.

"What they came up with, is a to measure how schools are preparing students and they are tying to connect those matrix and attaching some funding to them.  So that universities that perform well on their specific matrix is going to receive bonus funding for meeting those marks," added Welch.

In addition, the new law also makes the University of the Florida, the state's online school. The plan is to target out of state students, similar to the University of Phoenix online program.