Executive Summary

In 1998, the citizens of Florida approved passage of Amendment VIII to the Florida Constitution whereby the voters voluntarily gave up their right to elect a commissioner of education and a state board of education. This change authorized the governor to appoint a new state board of education, thus affixing full responsibility for educational performance to the governor as chief executive officer of the state.
In 1999, subsequent to the passage of this amendment, the standing commissioner of education appointed a blue-ribbon committee to review and recommend changes to the Florida system. A report was made to the legislature in the spring 2000 session.
In August 2000, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed the Education Governance Reorganization Transition Task Force to lay the groundwork for the system transition by the 2003 constitutionally mandated timeframe. The task force has now completed its work and its report is being considered by the Spring 2001 Florida Legislature.
This Backgrounder evaluates the current state of affairs in the Florida system. Questions addressed include the following:

Why change the organizational structures?
How successful has Florida been in delivering education services?
Does the current system have a coordinated statewide vision?