Shevrin Jones reflects on 2023 wins for students, residents

Jones, Shevrin
‘I’m happy we were part of starting a conversation about how we move students along and not retaining them based on flaws within our system.’

Miami Gardens Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones closed out the 2023 Legislative Session with several wins, including successful work legislation to aid bereaved families and bolster state insurance regulations.

But of all his victories last year, Jones said none topped a pair of measures he passed without a single “no” vote in either chamber that will improve education provisions for countless students in the years to come.

“It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at how we matriculate students. Are we doing it because they understand or because we just want to move them along? And when we retain students, why? What mechanisms are we putting in place to ensure that when we do move them along, they’re not getting stuck in the school-to-prison pipeline?” he said.

“Even this year, when the Legislature was looking at deregulating education when it comes to retention and revamping how students progress, I’m happy we were part of starting a conversation about how we move students along and not retaining them based on flaws within our system.”

The first bill (SB 196) expanded Florida’s public school guidance services for academic and career planning. Prior to the bill’s passage, students were required to complete a career and education planning course as early as sixth grade, after which they received an academic and career plan.

Kissimmee Democratic Rep. Kristen Arrington carried a companion measure in the House.

SB 196, effective July 1, 2023, added a new requirement that the plan be developed in consultation with a certified school counselor. It also mandated that the plan include more information on career and technical education pathway options and work-based learning opportunities.

Further, the measure expanded the required annual school district parental notification on high school acceleration options to include information — presented in language understandable to students and parents — on career and academic planning options as well as foundational and soft-skill credentialing programs.

The second measure (SB 290) focused on students with disabilities. Jones sponsored nearly identical legislation to lesser success in 2022.

It requires public schools — with the consent of parents — to establish comprehensive plans, designed by an “individual education plan team,” for the progression of students with disabilities beginning in kindergarten.

Such plans must include, among other things, intensive reading interventions to ensure students are keeping up.

Democratic Rep. Robin Bartleman of Weston and Republican Rep. Fred Hawkins of St. Cloud sponsored a similar bill in the House.

Outside the halls of the Legislature, Jones said he was pleased with his work to “galvanize the community” through workshops and collaborations with We The People University, an organization primarily focused on educating citizens on their rights during police encounters.

Jones, a career educator who has been involved with the group for years, said his work with the group in 2023 centered on engaging residents in the political process.

“People involve themselves in something when they feel they’re a part of it. We were able to do that, and I’m looking forward to replicating that in other communities across the state, where people can learn more about how to get involved through the offices of their legislators and county commissioners, write legislation, give it to lawmakers and request funding if they have a nonprofit organization,” he said.

“It’s about how to build a community coalition within their area. People want to know that. We can’t just assume there’s no interest among people, because there is.”

He said he’s also proud of how his community united in protest alongside civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and Reverend Al Sharpton in opposition of the state’s rejection of an Advanced Placement African American history course in January.

“We saw the people come to Tallahassee to push back on this extreme, right-wing agenda that we have right now,” he said. “And it wasn’t just the Black community that came together. Many people understand that a knock on one is a knock on all, and that was evident this year.”

Jones said he regrets not pushing harder this past year for his colleagues on both sides of the political aisle to focus more on the “real issues” Floridians struggle with rather than the numerous controversial bills Republicans pushed into law — from a six-week abortion ban and an expansion of a measure critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law to permitless carry and banning transgender people from using restrooms of their identified gender.

“Some of the controversial bills we passed last year truly pushed a dangerous political agenda, the negative consequences of which will be felt by Floridians for years to come, and many of those policies drove some Floridians out of the state because they don’t feel safe for their children or themselves,” he said.

“I wish I could have done a better job looking at what collaboration looks like as it pertains to the Senate, to become a more independent body that in the long run puts more food on people’s tables, clothes on people’s backs and money in people’s pockets.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Sonja Fitch

    December 26, 2023 at 5:49 am

    Thank you! Free speech and listening is the best tool we can assure for our students! Basics of reading writing and numbers can be used successfully to educate our children! Dogma ain’t a solution for the Common Good!

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Expert on Everything" American

    December 26, 2023 at 8:06 am

    Good Morn ‘Ting America,
    The results are in from The Earl Pitts American University of Political Science. I’ve deployed our students to the border 3 weeks ago to conduct “Scientific Polling” of incoming illegal’s voting preferences.
    Below are the Sage Results:
    Biden or Replacement: 18%
    Trump: 37%
    DeSantis 40%
    *No Illegals knew of the “lesser Republicans” and thus there was a 0% support for them.*
    NPA’s, Independants, Green Party, Weed Party, Sex Pervert Party, Other: 5%
    Refused To Particapte: 18%
    You are welcome America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • JD

      December 26, 2023 at 2:16 pm

      A rebuttal to the provided statement, it’s important to analyze and address each claim critically:

      Source Credibility: The “Earl Pitts American University of Political Science” is mentioned as the source of the study. However, this institution’s credibility and academic recognition are unclear. In scholarly research, the reputation and established credibility of the institution are crucial for the reliability of the results.

      Methodology of ‘Scientific Polling’: The methodology described – deploying students to conduct polling at the border – raises several concerns:

      Sampling Bias: Targeting a specific demographic like “incoming illegals” does not provide a representative sample of the broader population or voter base.
      Voting Preferences of Non-Citizens: The focus on “illegal’s voting preferences” is misleading since non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, are not eligible to vote in U.S. elections.
      Poll Results: The distribution of percentages among political parties and candidates seems arbitrary without a proper methodology:

      Lack of Detail: The poll results lack detail on how the percentages were calculated and the number of respondents.
      Zero Percent for ‘Lesser Republicans’: Claiming that no respondents knew of any “lesser Republicans” is an overgeneralization and unlikely statistically.
      Categorization of Political Parties: The inclusion of non-traditional party categories like “Weed Party” and “Sex Pervert Party” lacks professionalism and appears to be an attempt at humor rather than a serious political analysis.

      ‘Refused to Participate’ Percentage: The mention of 18% who refused to participate might be the only plausible statistic in this context, as non-participation is a common issue in polling. However, without context or methodology, its relevance is unclear.

      Overall Tone and Presentation: The overall tone and presentation of the results are informal and lack the seriousness typically associated with academic or scientific polling. This raises questions about the intent and accuracy of the information presented.

      In summary, the claims made in the statement lack credibility due to unclear methodology, potential sampling bias, and the implausibility of the results. Accurate and reliable political polling requires transparent methodologies, representative sampling, and adherence to professional standards, which this statement does not demonstrate.

  • Domino

    December 28, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    How does one make $229K a year and have a negative net worth?
    State of Florida Tallahassee, FL $ 29,697.00
    Broward Sheriff’s Office Fort Lauderdale, FL $ 75,000.00
    Moneythink San Francisco, CA $ 125,000.00

    My Net Worth as of July 3, 2023 was -$ 12,223.37.

Comments are closed.


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