House panel advances ‘education recovery’ math scholarship plan

A $4 million proposal to create “return to education” scholarships for K-12 students affected by emergencies crossed the first of four House billboards on Monday.

HB 1117sponsored by Republican Rep. St. Johns County. Cyndi Stevensonhas three stops ahead of it as time runs out for Session 2022. But the House Early Learning and Elementary Education Subcommittee was unanimous on the bill at its last meeting. .

Stevenson said the bill provides “financial resources” to affected families “to help alleviate learning loss.” A “study savings account” made available to school children has been closed. The bill targets help for students with low scores on standardized tests in language arts or math, or who have otherwise been identified as having performance issues.

The legislation aims to help “kids who we know are at risk anyway, and the termination could be particularly costly,” Stevenson explained.

The proposal, funded by remaining reading scholarship funds, would create so-called educational recovery scholarship accounts for students in schools closed for more than ten consecutive school days due to an emergency, which would include natural disasters. This would mirror the reading of scholarship accounts, but broaden the scope of service to students struggling with math.

The scholarships would be in the amount of “approximately $1,000” and available, according to Stevenson, on a first-come, first-served basis “in case of emergency”.

Stevenson admitted that these emergencies were “pretty unusual” when asked how many students could be helped by the scholarships. She said that while it was impossible to say how many people would be served, it would not be an “overwhelming amount”.

While some aspects of the proposal need to be fleshed out, recent student performance testifies to this need. Standardized tests have shown a drop in student performance after COVID-19 precautions led to schools closing in 2020.

The National Coalition for Public School Options has come forward to support the legislation.

A version of this bill is also in the Senate, and like the House version, it has a number of upcoming review points. Sen. by Jason Brodeur accompanying invoice (SB 488) has yet to have its first committee hearing, and it has three stops left before the full Senate addresses it.

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