JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1285, which builds on Florida’s nation-leading education opportunities by providing high school students the ability to explore military service, empowering students to work their way through school, supporting classical education, and making key improvements to higher education.

“Florida is the number one state in the country for education,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “By focusing on core academic subjects and rejecting indoctrination in the classroom, we have become a standard-bearer for educational excellence. The legislation I signed today continues to build on Florida’s previous accomplishments.”

“Florida strives to provide students and families with the highest quality standards and most innovative pathways to academic success,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “The teaching certificate in classical education bolsters our efforts to increase the teacher pipeline. This is one more reason why Florida is known as the Education State.”

“Florida is laser-focused on continuing to improve school options for students,” said Representative Jennifer Canady. “HB 1285 puts students and their families first. Due to the work of Governor DeSantis and this legislature, Florida has become the nation’s leader in education. Prioritizing student achievement, parental involvement, and high-quality instruction has proven to be a successful model and propelled Florida to a #1 ranking in education in the United States.”

“With the signing of House Bill 1285, Governor DeSantis has further solidified Florida’s higher education system as number one in the nation,” said Ray Rodrigues, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida. “HB 1285 establishes additional accountability measures and creates opportunities for universities to enhance research and innovation to meet the workforce and economic demands of our state.”

Governor DeSantis signed HB 1285, which:

  • Requires that school districts and charter schools provide 11th and 12th grade students with the opportunity to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Test and the ability to consult with a military recruiter.

  • Ensures postsecondary institutions allow students to work their way through school.

  • Protects from conflicts of interest between a postsecondary institution and its trustees.

  • Empowers aspiring teachers to obtain a classical teaching certificate developed by the State Board of Education.

  • Enables classical schools to prioritize enrollment for families moving from one classical school to another.

And, as announced yesterday:

  • Provides a clear and concise process for a struggling school to convert to a charter school.

    • If a school receives either two straight Ds or an F on their school grade, it is deemed a “turnaround school.” If the district’s plan to turn the school around does not succeed, the pathway for the school to find new direction and leadership should be simple and efficient.

    • These changes will eliminate lengthy and drawn-out negotiations between the incoming charter school and the school district, to ensure no student is trapped at a failing school in Florida.

  • A charter school must give preference to kids in the previous school zone and must serve the same grade levels as the previous school.

    • The charter school cannot be charged rent for the facility and the school district cannot charge an administrative fee.

  • Ensures that book challenges are limited for individuals who do not have children with access to the school district’s materials.

    • Unlimited objections remain for parents with children in the school district, which includes homeschooled students accessing district materials.

    • Individuals without children in the district will be limited to one objection per month.

    • Protects schools from activists trying to politicize and disrupt a district’s book review process.

  • Continues to support military families with the Purple Star Schools of Distinction Program.

    • Institutes Purple Star School Districts, which recognizes districts with Purple Star Schools making up 75% of schools in their district.

    • Helps to ensure a seamless transition for military families moving into Florida by requiring schools to provide them with support and resources.

    • For more information on the Purple Star Schools of Distinction program, click here.