By: Mike Vasilinda
Governor Rick Scott signed a major education bill today that creates an online university, gives universities a chance to reach the top 25 nationally, and gives high school students a three year path to a career, not just a diploma.
With the stroke of his pen, Governor Rick Scott may have changed high school forever. “And we should all be proud of how this will help Florida children in jobs when they finish their education.”, Governor Scott.
The legislation allows a student to graduate in just three years with 18 credits instead of the current 24. One option is a career path such as an auto mechanic. Another student could choose a three year 18 credit path to an associate degree, like nursing, in a community college.
Orange County School Superintendent Barbara Jenkins, says the plan is a good fit for some students. “We think we can get students to very high paying career and technical careers. Potentially without algebra II and chemistry in some instances.”, says Jenkins.
Students could also short circuit the usual high school path to earn certifications in computer or information technology. Each of Florida’s 67 counties have had much smaller version of the program called Career Academies since 2007.
Last year, 28 thousand students earned industry certificates. House Speaker Will Weatherford calls the new legislation transformational. “It allows students to be free to pursue the careers that they want to purse and not have an education system that is one size fits all education system.”, says Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.
The existing Career Academies have a success rate of 84 percent. That’s a full ten points higher than the state’s graduation rate as a whole.
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