This article concerns legislation that seeks to provide equal access to Dual Enrollment courses for Florida private school students.  This applies to HomeLife students, since we are classified as a private school in the state of Florida.

This article was reprinted with permission from an email sent by the Florida Coalition of Christian Private Schools Accreditation (FCCPSA).

DUAL ENROLLMENT FIX INTRODUCED

On March 18th Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Perry introduced legislation designed protect the rights of all Florida students who choose to participate in Dual Enrollment.

Senate Bill SB 0924 and

House Bill HB 0981

As most private schools are aware, this fall a few of the institutions in the Florida College System began changing their Dual Enrollment Articulation Agreements with private schools to include tuition charges. In effect, they began applying the financial obligations that public school districts have to the college (which are based on the state funding the district receives for the student) to private schools who do not receive those funds.

If the protections called for in this new bill are not adopted, private school students will find they will be discriminated against by all of the public colleges in the state, not just a few of them, as is the case today.

Includes Funding for College Textbooks!
In addition, this bill also deals with the cost factor of textbooks by providing the funding stream needed so that all students, public, private and home schooled can attend Dual Enrollment classes without being forced to pay tuition, lab fees, or purchase textbooks.

First, we want to thank Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative W. Keith Perry for their hard work in crafting legislation designed to protect all students in Florida. This legislation provides a level playing field and assures that every student has the same access to this outstanding program. If you would like to contact Senator Stargel or Representative Perry directly, just click on their name below the picture and it should take you to their home page.

Second, we want to encourage every private school, their high school students, parents and, yes, even grandparents to contact their state representatives and senators to support this legislation. An email and/or phone call today will put this issue on the radar of your representative. Then, when it comes up for a vote in committee or on the floor, a second contact will remind them that you are watching. Remember, most representatives are not education experts; they may have no idea that some students are treated differently by the colleges. Some elected officials have only their personal experiences in the public school system to guide them, but they represent you, and have an obligation to protect your rights.

The Senate Bill SB 0924 has been referred to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. If one of the following senators is your senator, please contact them ASAP and ask them to vote in favor of protecting the rights of all students in Florida.

To find your state senator by mailing address or zip code, just click on this link . . .

The House Bill HB 0981 has been referred to the Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee.

To find your state representative by mailing address or zip code, just click on this link . . .

If one of the following representatives is your representative, please contact them ASAP and ask them to vote in favor of protecting the rights of all students in Florida.

  Chair:
Nuñez, Jeanette M. [R]
Vice Chair:
Rodrigues, Ray Wesley [R]
Democratic Ranking Member :
Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle [D]

 

Contacting Your State Senator or Representative

From each senator’s or representative’s web page, you will find the contact phone numbers and direct mail addresses for both their home district office and Tallahassee office. In addition, there is an e-mail link if you wish to compose and send an email directly from their web page.
Whether on the phone, physical mail or e-mail, keep it simple.
Your letter should address a single topic or issue. Typed, one-page letters are best. Here is a sample format.
  1. Say why you are writing and who you are. (Support for all students having equal access to Dual Enrollment Courses) List your “credentials.” (Parent, Teacher, etc.) If you want a response, you must include your name and address, even when using email.
  2. Provide more detail. Senate Bill 0924 or House Bill 0981. Be factual, not emotional. Provide specific, rather than general information about how the topic affects you and others. Some examples:
    a) Dual Enrollment is a vital program that helps provide Florida with well-prepared graduates who are more likely to pursue a college degree.
    b) America was built on the principle of equal rights and access. If some students are discriminated against in any government program, it is a violation of their fundamental rights.
    c) If students continue to be denied access to one program like Dual Enrollment, no real financial savings are realized by the state, as additional pressure and costs are transferred to other programs like the Florida Virtual School.
  3. Close by requesting the action you want taken: a vote in favor of the bill.

 

To contact the FCCPSA or to learn more about their organization:

Florida Coalition of Christian Private Schools Accreditation (FCCPSA)
Administrative Office
P.O. Box 5100
Deltona, FL 32728
 
386-218-5310
 

joe.gibilisco@fccpsa.org