Section 229.0074, Florida Statutes 2001
229.0074 Division of Independent Education.--
(1) The mission of the Division of Independent Education is to enhance the opportunity to raise the educational attainment levels of students pursuing their education in nongovernment settings by representing their interests, and those of the institutions that serve them, in the Department of Education. The Division of Independent Education has no authority over the institutions or students in Florida's independent education sector. The Commission for Independent Education, administratively housed within the division, shall have such authority as specified in chapter 246 relating to independent postsecondary education, except regarding those institutions described in s. 229.0073(4)(c). The division shall serve as the advocate for, and liaison to, independent education providers and institutions, including home education programs that meet the requirements of s. 232.0201, private K-12 institutions as described in s. 229.808, independent colleges and universities except as otherwise provided in s. 229.0073(4)(c), and private postsecondary career preparation/vocational training institutions.
(2) The executive director of the division shall establish a mechanism for regular interaction and input from independent education providers in the development of policies that provide seamless articulation for all students. The executive director shall:
(a) Learn the interests and concerns of the students and providers of independent education at all levels in order to strongly represent them in the Department of Education.
(b) Articulate the interests and concerns of the students and providers of independent education at all levels in all relevant government settings, accurately reflecting the consensus or differences in opinion among those represented.
(c) Participate with the other division heads in key education decisionmaking processes.
(d) Monitor and participate in rulemaking and other activities relevant to the interests of the independent education sector.
(e) Serve as a key spokesperson for the independent education sector.
(f) Advocate for any necessary educational services and funds for independent education sector families and schools.
(g) Establish a clearinghouse of information.
(h) Foster a collaborative spirit and working relationship among the institutions of the private and public sectors.
(i) Identify and convey the best practices of the independent education sector for the benefit of the other education delivery sectors, and vice versa.
(j) Augment, where appropriate, the efforts of groups representing the students and providers of independent education to communicate their concerns to government.
(k) Facilitate the administration of education services provided by the Department of Education to the independent education sector, such as those relating to teacher certification and background checks.
(l) Encourage student-centered funding and the expansion of family choice in education.
(m) Develop and propose courses of action to the representatives of the independent education sector.
(n) Communicate relevant decisions to the independent education sector.
(o) Establish and oversee the division staff necessary to carry out the division's functions in the most economical and effective manner.
(p) Evaluate pending policies to ensure they do not place additional regulation or mandates on the independent education community.
(3) The powers and duties of the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities and the State Board of Nonpublic Career Education, except as relating to any independent nonprofit college or university whose students are eligible to receive the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida resident access grants pursuant to s. 240.605, shall be combined and transferred to a single board named the Commission for Independent Education, which shall be administratively housed within the division. This single board shall authorize granting of certificates, diplomas, and degrees for independent postsecondary education institutions through exemption, registration, authorization, and licensing.
(4) The Commission for Independent Education shall consist of six citizens who are residents of this state. The commission shall function in matters relating to independent postsecondary education institutions in consumer protection, program improvement, registration, authorization, licensure, and certificate of exemption from licensure for institutions under its purview, in keeping with the stated goals of the seamless K-20 education system. The commission shall appoint an executive director to serve as secretary of the commission and shall elect a chair and other officers as needed from among its membership. Members of the commission shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The commission shall be composed of six members, as follows:
(a) One member from an independent college or university that enrolls students who receive state or federal financial aid.
(b) One member from an independent college or university that does not enroll students who receive state or federal financial aid excluding veteran's benefits.
(c) One member from an independent nondegree granting school that enrolls students who receive state or federal financial aid.
(d) One member from a public school district or community college who is an administrator of vocational-technical education.
(e) Two lay members who are not affiliated with an independent postsecondary education institution.
(5) The establishment of the Division of Independent Education shall not be construed to advance the extension or expansion of government regulation of independent or home education programs, and nothing contained in this act shall authorize the state or any school district to further regulate, control, or interfere with the autonomy of independent K-12 schools or home education programs, or their governance, curriculum, accreditation, testing, or other practices.
History.--s. 12, ch. 2001-170.