New Manatee schools superintendent applauds repeal of old laws

eearl@bradenton.comMarch 16, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee County school officials say they have no opposition to obsolete education laws meeting their end.

The state Senate took steps this week to repeal more than two dozen education laws that are considered outdated, unpopular or superfluous.

"This is the first time in recent memory that the Legislature has taken a set of bills to get rid of, instead of adding more and more," said Manatee County interim school superintendent Dave Gayler. "This is a good step in the right

direction. These laws have no real effect, and the statute book will be cleaner."

The 2006 policy requiring every high school student in Florida to choose a major is one of the laws getting tossed.

While the law was popular at its inception, Gayler believes the policy is redundant and nonessential.

"It was intended to strengthen course offerings and diploma types in an attempt to make students more work-ready, but it never took off," Gayler said. "It was not embraced, lacked oomph and appears unnecessary."

Gayler said the repeal will not affect existing academies programs in schools around the area.

"The academies are part of a solid program that started in the early 2000s, before the major declaration law," Gayler said. "The academies offer classes that are comprehensive and robust and can operate without a student selecting a major."

School board member Bob Gause said the academies tailor to special interests, such as business or communication, but do not have to do with students picking majors.

The High School to Business Career Enhancement Program is also out, as no districts have participated in recent years. The program let school boards set up internship policies for high school students.

Gause said the Manatee County school board has not been active in this program as far as he knows. But both Gause and Gayler said that the removal of this program will in no way change the internship opportunities that are available for high school students in Manatee County.

"They can still participate in internships, shadowing, and on-the-job training that the school district helps set up through local agreements with various industries," Gayler said. "Internships do not have to be legislated, so the program was redundant because that is something we can do anyway."

The 2003 Family and School Partnership for Student Achievement Act is getting the boot after remaining inactive for several years.

The act's intent was to strengthen partnerships among parents, teachers and principals, and to provide parents with specific information about their child's educational progress. The act also required the Department of Education to establish a parent-response center to answer questions about children's education.

While the act had good intentions, its removal will not be an issue, as a parent-response center doesn't exist.

Some inactive policies getting axed are more outdated, such as 1994 legislation authorizing educational institutions to create centers of technology innovation and establish partnerships with technology industries seeking to update or expand existing technology. According to the Department of Education, no such center exists, and since 1994 there has been plenty of other legislation regarding schools and advancing technology.

Gause said that removing inactive programs takes away the cost-reporting requirements, in which the district must maintain records of a plan for each program, and helps save money.

More changes are on the horizon as the state moves toward adjusting to the new national Common Core Standard.

"Are constant changes in education laws frustrating? I think almost all educators would answer with a resounding yes," Gayler said.

"No sooner do you get settled into a new policy, it is changed or modified. Any time a legislation is removed or left in place for a few years, it helps."

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service