Joe believes a quality and affordable public education system is essential to our recovery. Florida House District 49 houses the region's best colleges and universities including the main campus of the University of Central Florida, Valencia College East, Full Sail University and the Barry University College of Law. These institutions are some of our greatest engines for economic growth and need to be supported by state and local government.
Public education is a fundamental right. Until we make a commitment to fully fund our public schools and universities, no reform effort will be successful. Joe is committed to fighting for a quality, affordable and accessible public education system. Joe opposes private voucher programs that take money out of schools that need it most and will fight to restore funding to the state university system. We need to protect and restore the Bright Futures Scholarship and stop tuition hikes which shift the burden of the recession onto the backs of students.
Joe believes that the arts have the power to transform educational experiences and equip students with skills and passion that no other discipline or academic area can. When students are engaged in the arts, they are more likely to attend school, have higher GPAs and increase test scores. Every student in Florida schools, at every grade level, deserves access to a quality arts education.
Joe fully supports enforcing the "Class Size Amendment," which was approved by a majority of Floridians. He believes that a world class education requires class sizes that are manageable.
A world class education system requires world class teachers. We need to pay teachers what they are worth and stop reducing their benefits. Our children are the future of Florida, and we should encourage the best and brightest among us to share their knowledge with young people.
Joe believes we should end high-stakes testing. The F-CAT has a place as an indicator of state education performance but it should not be the only way to assess student achievement or school funding. A more rounded approach should be taken that includes teacher evaluations, student grades, and community factors such as poverty and English proficiency.