Key HUF 2022 Legislative Priority
Native Language Assessment
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced that would require Florida’s Department of Education to adopt various assessments in the most predominant languages spoken by English Learners (EL) at home. Additionally, the bill would require statewide standardized assessments used in K-12 and high school equivalency exams to be offered in the students’ home languages.
Prioritize early childhood education.
The fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 budget signed by Governor Ron DeSantis includes almost $1.7 billion from Federal COVID-19 relief funds for the Office of Early Learning (OEL) to deploy in a manner that aligns with federal guidance. OEL must engage with early learning stakeholders across the state to determine the plan they will submit to the Legislature and the Administration for Children and Families for use of these funds.
Florida has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use these considerable federal funds to build a childcare future that supports working families and broadly provides a quality learning experience for children. OEL and the Legislature, in partnership with early learning stakeholders across the state, should utilize the childcare stabilization funds earmarked for Florida to set the stage for an urgently needed transformation in childcare.
- Support boosting funding for both School Readiness and the Voluntary Pre-K program to better serve more families and buoy childcare operators.
School Mental Health Counseling.
The pandemic is exacerbating the gap in Florida’s mental health resources. Suicide-related calls have increased among Florida’s youth and more Floridians are reporting anxiety or depression.
- Support mental health initiatives for English Learners, and all students, to mitigate the risks of stress on their social-emotional well-being.
State financial aid for college students who are undocumented.
Support opening eligibility to both merit- and need-based financial aid and in-state tuition to all undocumented students who are currently eligible for in-state tuition, including DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, at both the undergraduate and graduate level.