~Students represent delegations back home on Florida education reform~

Tallahassee, FL- Student leaders unveiled a set of education policy recommendations that include a call for higher curriculum standards in K-12, increased graduation requirements in high school, and a change in the way Florida disburses its financial aid for college students. Fresh from debate at Florida’s 2nd Annual Student Education Policy Conference, student leaders shared specific education policy recommendations during a student-led press conference in Tallahassee on March 10th. Following the press conference, students met with key legislators and presented their resolutions during their visit to the Capitol. “As college students, we are at the end of the Florida education pipeline and I believe our experience as students can add tremendous value to the education reform debate,” said Vincent Evans, senior at Florida A&M University. “As students, it’s our responsibility to get involved in the public debate and we’re excited about doing so,” said Evans. The student delegates suggest that the legislature support efforts that allow for a differential diploma system. “I believe such a system will lead to a more aligned curriculum and overall readiness regardless of a student’s career path,” said Stanford Taylor, senior at the University of North Florida. Student delegates say that a differential diploma should be established only if graduation requirements include four years of math, four years of science, and end-of-course examinations. Also included in the student recommendations this year is a requirement that all State University System and Florida College System applicants complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). “If changes are not made to require FAFSA application completion as a priority, students will continue to miss out on available Federal aid,” said Frank Hernandez, senior at the University of South Florida. The student delegations recently met in Tampa to debate and come to consensus on education reform measures important to them. Florida College Access Network, a statewide network promoting college readiness, access, and success for underrepresented students, is coordinating and facilitating the effort.

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