Four people sit behind a table

‘We finally have to liberate our district schools’

Four people sit behind a table
Panelists talk school choice at Sarasota Tiger Bay. Photo credit: Jennifer Vigne with the Sarasota Education Foundation.

Each year, Florida passes dozens of new laws affecting school districts. These, in turn, spawn dozens more administrative rules. While each of those policies may seem sensible in isolation, collectively, the burden adds up.

Brian Moore, the general counsel for the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, helps districts across the state keep track of all these new requirements. During a discussion of universal education choice hosted this week by Sarasota Tiger Bay, he said the need to make sense of this constant stream of new rules and make the operational changes they require hamstrings school districts at a time when new learning environments outside public education are trying innovative new approaches to teaching and learning.

“I think public schools might like to jump and follow, but they can’t, because they have to have a school counselor, and this person, and that person, and a salary schedule, and this evaluation system,” he said. “You can’t be nimble and quick when you have all these extra things tying you down.”

That is the spirit behind the current push to ease the regulatory burden on school districts. And it’s a spirit embraced by Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill. (Step Up For Students hosts this blog).

“We have so much talent, so much wisdom in our school districts, and we’re just over-regulating them,” Tuthill said. He added: “We finally have to liberate our district schools and let them be creative and innovative and let all that fantastic energy manifest itself in the best interest of kids.”

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BY Travis Pillow

Travis Pillow is Director of Thought Leadership at Step Up For Students and editor of NextSteps. He lives in Sanford, Fla. with his wife and two children. A former Tallahassee statehouse reporter, he most recently worked at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at Arizona State University, where he studied community-led learning innovation and school systems' responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. He can be reached at tpillow (at)