Legislators Go Back to School

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Republican Sen. Charlie Clary was at Everitt Middle School early Monday morning shadowing principal Linda Landon. The senator says the class size amendment is one important topic in the upcoming legislative session.

"Class size is still a big issue everyone is trying to cope with, so it's kind of good for me to discover things that are happening and do a little fact-finding mission."

Jennifer Keener teaches the sixth grade, and she hopes Clary will see her overcrowded classroom and work to limit class size.

"There gets to be too many, for spatial reasons you can't get around in the classroom, circulate and get to every student in the allotted time."

Clary says the legislators will probably look to send the class size amendment back to the voters.

"Nationwide, every study has shown the class size doesn't really have a benefit unless you get it into the elementary school age. The middle and high school really doesn't change a whole lot, but it costs the schools dearly."

At Mosley High School, Rep. Allan Bense spent his day talking with students about what they expect from their legislators.

"We're sure not perfect in Tallahassee and getting out and with the students and teachers is an eye-opening experience."

In one class of ninth graders, the students encouraged Bense to do away with the dreaded FCAT, saying it's not a fair measure of their education.

Bense says the test is here to stay, at least until an alternative can be found.

"We spend almost $15 billion a year in education. I think the taxpayers want some accountability, how much are children learning in a year's worth of time."