Competency Based Education Update

TrainIconThanks to all of the parents, teachers and other education advocates who reached out to the Senate Appropriations Committee and urged them to vote no on SB 1714 (aka Competency Based Education).

Sadly, the bill passed the full Appropriations Committee last week. We are grateful that Senator Hays voted no. The author of the bill, Senator Brandes, did listen to our concerns and has pledged to work with Senator Hays to write amendments about the issues concerning us before the bill reaches the floor, which we appreciate. We are also asking Senator Brandes to commit to working with us on comprehensive student data privacy reform next year.

However, we are disappointed that the CBE bill has now been worked into SB 524. Sometimes referred to as a “train bill,” SB 524 encompasses many previous bills that are now rolled into one. We believe this is done as a way of confusing the public and pushing legislation through without proper vetting.

There are many other aspects of SB 524 that are not good for education, such as the Best and Brightest Teacher Bonus Program (formerly SB 978) which rewards teachers based on their high school SAT and ACT scores. Neither of these tests has been proven as an indicator of teacher quality.

Call to Action

The full Senate will be voting on SB 524 as early as Tuesday, March 1. Please contact all Senators and ask them to oppose this bill. If needed, please see our sample email below.

Please tweet using: #LetUsOffThisCrazyTrain

Send a mass email using this list:, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

And/or call or Tweet using the following information:

Senator Joseph Abruzzo
District Office – (561) 791-4774
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5025

Senator Thad Altman
District Office – (321) 868-2132
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5016

Senator Aaron Bean
District Office – (904) 346-5039
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5004

Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
District Office – (239) 338-2570
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5030

Senator Ron Bradley
District Office – (904) 278-2085
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5007

Senator Jeff Brandes
District Office – (727) 563-2100
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5022 

Senator Oscar Braynon
District Office – (305) 654-7150
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5036

Senator Dwight Bullard
District Office – (305) 234-2208
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5039

Senator Jeff Clemens
District Office – (561) 540-1140
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5027

Senator Charles Dean
District Office – (352) 860-5175
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5005

Senator Nancy Detert
District Office – (941) 480-3547
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5028

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
District Office – (305) 643-7200
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5040

Senator Greg Evers
District Office – (850) 564-1026
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5002

Senator Anitere Flores
District Office – (305) 270-6550
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5037

Senator Don Gaetz
District Office – (850) 897-5747
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5001

Senator Bill Galvano
District Office – (941) 741-3401
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5026

Senator Rene Garcia
District Office – (305) 364-3100    T
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5038 

Senator Andy Gardiner
District Office – (407) 428-5800
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5013

Senator Audrey Gibson
District Office – (904) 359-2553
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5009

Senator Denise Grimsley
District Office – (863) 386-6016
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5021

Senator Alan Hays
District Office – (352) 742-6441
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5011

Senator Dorothy L.  Hukill
District Office – (386) 304-7630
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5008

Senator Arthenia L.  Joyner
District Office – (813) 233-4277
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5019

Senator Jack Latvala
District Office – (727) 793-2797
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5020

Senator Tom Lee
District Office – (813) 653-7061
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5024

Senator John Legg
District Office – (813) 909-9919
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5017 

Senator Gwen Margolis
District Office – (305) 571-5777
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5035

Senator Bill Montford
District Office – (850) 487-5003
Tallahassee Office – Same as District office

Senator Joe Negron
District Office – (772) 219-1665
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5032

Senator Garrett Richter
District Office – (239) 417-6205
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5023

Senator Jeremy Ring
District Office – (954) 917-1392
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5029

Senator Maria Sachs
District Office – (561) 279-1427
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5034

Senator David Simmons
District Office – (407) 262-7578
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5010

Senator Wilton Simpson
District Office – (727) 816-1120
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5018

Senator Christopher L.  Smith
District Office – (954) 321-2705
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5031

Senator Eleanor Sobel
District Office – (954) 924-3693
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5033

Senator Darren Soto
District Office – (407) 846-5187
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5014

Senator Kelli Stargel
District Office – (863) 668-3028
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5015

Senator Geraldine Thompson
District Office – (407) 245-1511
Tallahassee Office – (850) 487-5012

Sample Email

Dear Senators,

Vote NO to SB 524! SB 524 is now a train bill FULL of flawed education policy. Originally 15 pages about higher education funding, it’s now 59 pages and contains about eight separate concepts altered by approximately 35 strike-alls or additions, including the ridiculous “Best and Brightest” bill. This is NOT an appropriate way to pass education, or any, policy. Please vote NO on this train-wreck of a bill.

The most concerning additions to the original bill include:

  • Competency Based Education (CBE) Pilot Program (SB 524), this bill imposes computerized Competency Based Education or “personalized learning” without parental consent on entire school districts over a 5-year period at which time it becomes permanent, giving districts no path to disengage from CBE. This could radically restructure our public school system, yet little to no legislative discussion regarding the realities of CBE has occurred. • This program is experimental, and there is no evidence or research it will work. Parental consent should be required before a child participates in a experimental pilot study, and appropriate education options should be available to children whose parents decline to give consent. • The poorly designed pilot program described in the bill can be rapidly scaled to include all schools in the participating districts and, with permission by the Commissioner of Education, could be rapidly spread to Charters and districts throughout the state, even before data showing possible effectiveness has been evaluated. • Competency Based Education will be full of daily data collection, and will put our children’s personally identifiable information at risk. • Studies show young children learn best from face-to-face interactions with teachers, not computers. • Educational decisions should be made by human beings, not computer algorithms. • “Personalized learning” by computers is an oxymoron. • This program could radically restructure our public school system, yet little to no legislative discussion regarding the realities of CBE nor of the possible unintended consequences has occurred. • CBE is a massive unfunded mandate. The full cost of implementing a computer-based CBE program in a district has not been discussed but would require frequent upgrades of technology infrastructure and programming.
  • Best and Brightest Teacher’s Bonus (SB978), the bill that makes permanent the ridiculous idea of rewarding teachers for their own high school SAT and ACT scores. This bill is so bad that even its sponsor, Senator Legg, voted against it in committee.
  • Charter Capital Outlay Funding (SB1064) further removes local school board control of local funds and its House companion is very controversial, requiring local districts to share local tax dollars with for-profit charters, with little to no way to recover those funds if the charter fails.
  • Principal Autonomy Pilot Program (SB434) also erodes local school board control, requiring districts to fund schools they have no fiscal control over.

Please vote NO on SB 524, it is a train wreck of a bill full of bad education policy.

Thank you,

Name, address, phone number



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s